News

New issue tracker and updates on Mconf.org

In the past weeks, Mconf’s issue tracking has been migrated from our old internal Redmine server (that used to be on the domain “dev.mconf.org”) to GitHub. We needed more stability and a centralized point for code, issues and wiki, and GitHub is great for that. We now make full use of issues and pull requests in GitHub for all of our projects.

You can find the list of issues for each project in their GitHub Page. The main projects are:

Moreover, a few days ago Mconf.org has received a few upgrades that improve both the web portal and the web conference backend. Here’s a short summary of what has been added in these updates.

Mconf-Web, the web portal, is now on version 2.2.0, a second update over the version 2.0.0 that was released a few months ago after several months of development. The latest update deployed to Mconf.org includes a few important things:

  • Removal of the features “private messages”, “news”, and “spam reporting”. These features were on Mconf-Web since it first started as a customized version of the open source software Global Plaza. With years of development and usage, we realized that they were very underused and/or were not designed in the way we wanted them to be. This update removes those features, that in the future might be recreated, redesigned and implemented in a way we believe to be more useful for the users. This is also aligned with the goal of making the application simpler and easier to use, since it removes things that were actually more of a distraction than anything.
  • Added translations to German and Spanish, thanks to the community of translator on Transifex!
  • Improvements in the speed of some pages, specially the list of spaces. This page used to load very slowly since there are thousands of spaces in Mconf.org, but now the queries were improved and it now loads as fast as any other page.
  • Several security fixes, bug fixes and code improvements in general. Upgraded libraries and refactoring of (usually old) code always results in gains in security and stability.

As for the web conference system, Mconf-Live, the development has also been going strong in the past months. The latest changes made available on Mconf.org are mostly back-end improvements, most of them related to the stability of the application. The biggest feature change in the past months is certainly the adoption of WebRTC for audio, that improved the quality of the conferences a lot.

The next version of Mconf-Live, to be released in the next few months, will be based on BigBlueButton 1.0, bringing with it all the features and improvements made on BigBlueButton 1.0 over 0.9 and still keeping all the features that are still unique to Mconf-Live.

To see more, sign in to your Mconf.org account (or create a new one) and try it out!

If you have comments or suggestions, reach us out on our contact page. For bugs and features, drop by our GitHub page to create an issue.

By |July 31st, 2016|News|Comments Off

New series of video tutorials

We’ve recently release on Mconf.org’s YouTube channel a few of the first tutorial videos from a series of videos that is being created to teach users about all features available in Mconf.

The videos are meant to be short (up to around 5 minutes) and cover a single feature or use case. For example, there’s a video that shows how to share your microphone in a conference; another tutorial explains the roles users can have in a conference and what each role is allowed to.

We plan on adding several more videos to this playlist as they are finished. The list of topics to be covered includes (but is not restricted to):

  • How to access Mconf, change your profile, account and picture.
  • Creating a web conference, sending invitations and accessing conferences through an invitation.
  • Create spaces and create web conferences in spaces.
  • How to protect conferences with passwords.
  • User roles in a conference.
  • How to share your webcam and microphone.
  • Visualization and control of videos in a confernece.
  • Chat, sharing presentations and using the whiteboard.
  • Desktop sharing.
  • Changing and managing confernece layouts.
  • Recording a conference and watching recordings.
  • Moderation of conferences.

Currently the videos are only available in Portuguese, but we plan on releasing English subtitles for them in the future. If you would like to see these videos in another language, whether you’re able to contribute to the translation or not, let us know!

The playlist (Portuguese only) can be found below or you can also see it on YouTube.

Check out Mconf.org’s YouTube channel at: https://www.youtube.com/mconforg

By |December 6th, 2015|News, Tutorial|Comments Off

Bringing the blog back

Even though we”ve been absent for a long time (our last blog post is from two years ago), the development of Mconf has been going strong during all this time. We can even say it”s more active today than it has been in the first years of the project! A lot has happened in Mconf during this time. In the next few months, we”ll be trying to give you an update on all that”s happened. To start it, this post will give you a brief summary of the most relevant news and features that should be covered in more details in future posts.

As of the time of the last post in this blog, Mconf had a native Android application in development. Given a few issues we had with the application and specially due to the cost of maintaining it, we decided to stop its development in favor of a new mobile application that is being developed using the framework Adobe Air. This makes the mobile client a lot more similar to the web client (that uses Flash) and makes its development and maintenance easier. As a great bonus, Adobe Air also allows the application to run in iOS devices, so the mobile client will, in the future, run on both Android and iOS devices. This application is still in development in a combined effort of Mconf and BigBlueButton.

If you”re an old user of Mconf.org, you certainly also noticed some changes in the site in the past months. Both the landing page of Mconf.org and the web portal (that also runs on the domain mconf.org) were updated. The web portal is the software Mconf-Web, that has received a lot of updates in the past years. It is now very close to what we call version 2.0, a completely refactored version of the first web portal that was previously available on Mconf.org. It includes countless changes, both in the code and in the way it works and looks, most mobile casino of them aiming to make the application simpler, cleaner and more reliable. The landing page has also been updated to a more modern version, with a design that matches the new web portal, and a lot of its content was updated.

As for Mconf-Live, Mconf”s web conferencing module, the changes were also plentiful. We followed the upgrades in BigBlueButton (currently on version 0.9.1), and contributed to it, as you can see in the BigBlueButton and Mconf page. The new features on Mconf-Live include the ability to share multiple cameras, the options to promote users to moderators (or demote them to attendees) from inside a conference, the listen only mode, the shared notes module, the options to download presentations, chat and shared notes, the new options for user status, and the new webhooks module (*phew* phew). We should go into more details about them in future posts. Take a look below for a few pictures of some of these new features.

So that”s it for a brief summary of all that was done during past months. Expect to hear from us again soon!

By |August 25th, 2015|News|Comments Off

Mconf-Live 0.3

We are glad to announce a new version of Mconf-Live, which introduces two new features:

  • A new kind of participant that can only visualize the conference (but not transmit audio or video);
  • A first version of the network monitor.

On the previous version when a user wanted to hear the conference, he was forced to enable his microphone as well. In addition, when the user enables his microphone, the system creates a stream that goes from the client to the server, even if he doesn”t want to talk, just listen. The problem is that every new audio stream creates a server-side overhead, because FreeSWITCH (that handles all the audio processing) generates an outcoming stream for each incoming stream. Each outcoming stream is formed by all the incoming streams except the correspondent incoming stream. The independence among outcoming streams makes it possible to send audio messages to a specific user, such as “You are now muted”.

The audio architecture was designed for high interactive sessions, but it doesn”t fit well on sessions with a low number of interactions but with many users, such as webinars. In theory the current architecture can handle a large number of participants (depending on the hardware), but often you will notice audio artifacts on the session, which are generated during the mixing process.

With this scenario in mind we proposed a simple architectural modification. When the user joins a session, he will receive an audio stream that is the result of all the other users streams mixed – this audio stream is called global stream, or global audio. Only when the user wants to talk that he will click on the headset icon and then join the session as a speaker. Internally the user will leave the global audio and create two new streams, an incoming stream and an outcoming stream, just like it was on the previous architecture.

The modification proposed (and implemented on Mconf-Live 0.3) aims to make the system more scalable and to increase the audio quality. The scalability improvement is due to the removal of the overhead that was generated during the mixing process. In the new architecture, the FreeSWITCH server will mix a smaller number of streams, and it will reduce the processing power needed for it. The audio quality improvement is justified by the same reason: mixing a online casino smaller number of streams will reduce the probability of annoying artifacts.

A side-effect of the proposed architecture is that the user is able to open an incoming stream without opening an outcoming stream. It will reduce by 50% the bandwith requirement to listen an audio session, making the system more friendly to low bandwidth connections.

The UI will remain almost the same, except by two aspects. First, the “Listeners” window now will show the users with the microphone activated, so it will be a “Speakers” window. Last, we added a new button on the toolbar that mutes or unmutes the user”s speakers (see the figure below). Since the user will join the session and start listening automatically with no action required, we had to create a mechanism to mute this audio. The effect of this button is local only – the other users will continue listening normally.

New button on toolbar

We are introducing also on Mconf-Live 0.3 a network monitor. The ability to watch how much bandwidth is being consumed by the system and the latency between the client and the server may help users to identify the reasons for a low quality experience. The bandwidth data is presented at the bottom of the screen and is updated each couple of seconds, and if the user places his mouse over the data, a more detailed window is presented with the bandwidth consumption and latency. This is a preliminary development, and it should evolve on next iterations.

Network monitor accessible through the bottom bar

A test server was set up for the users to test the new version before the final deployment to the Mconf Network, it”s available on http://lab1.mconf.org and the source code is available on GitHub. Any feedback is appreciated, hope you enjoy it!

By |January 11th, 2013|Mconf-Live, News, Technical|Comments Off

Mconf's new website

We are proud to present our brand new website that introduces Mconf”s new visual identity! This website will be an organized repository for all types of content related to Mconf, with explanations about the project, informations about the components that build the system as a whole, news, and any other information that might be relevant to the community. And also, as you can see, we now have a blog!

In the following posts in this blog we will show you what”s happening in Mconf today and what are our plans for the future. But for now, let”s just take a look at our new website. One of the reasons it was created was to remove content that”s specific for Mconf from our web portal (Mconf-Web), that aims to be a generic application for anyone that wants to use BigBlueButton. Pages such as “contact us” and “informations about the Mconf network” were moved to this new website you”re seeing now, casino pa natet making online casino Mconf-Web a bit more generic and reusable.

The content you can find today in this website is the basic structure for what will be added in the future. In the main page we have an overview with a demo where you can test Mconf and take a look at all its features. It also points to the Mconf Portal, the social network that provides access to Mconf and aggregates our communities and users.

Currently, most of the content in this site is located in the about section, such as the page that explains the concept of the Mconf global network and the pages with resources and publications. Also, if you want to know the people behind Mconf you can check our team page and maybe contact us directly.

And, at last, this change happened at the same time another major change is happening: our headquarter was moved to a new lab to accommodate the new members that will be joining our team very soon!

New lab, with windows

New lab, now we have windows! — real windows, not the software :)

By |September 3rd, 2012|News|Comments Off