As I have already mention on my blog, we are in the middle of a '3 nights only' tour for PS Exchange Unplugged which so far has taken us to Cambridge and Manchester. After the 'smoking shuttle' incident on the last Exchange Unplugged Tour I didn't think there was anything worse that could happen .... it appears I was wrong.
It all started when Paul Brombley unfortunately took a turn for the worse and Julian and I stepped in to do his OCS session towards the end of the day. He took us through the setup of his portable OCS environment on the shuttle but unfortunately we could get access to it so we went to plan B and decided to use the internet connection (which had been ropey all day) and use our corporate accounts for the demo. This was all looking good until 10 minutes before we needed to go on when we realised the internet had 'died' and wasn't coming back to life anytime soon ..... PANIC !!!!!!!!
It was at this point that the resourceful and 'we will not give up' ethos of Julian and I kicked in and we decided we were not going to be beaten by the technology. 10 minutes later the both of us were back on the internet and connected to OCS and LiveMeeting ....... using our mobile phones and the local 3G connection!. I will start with Julian's configuration because I think it's even more ludicrous than mine. Julian had his Samsung Windows Mobile device configured with 'Internet Sharing' but because he didn't have his sync cable with him he had to resort to Bluetooth. My connection was a little better with my PC connecting to a HTC Athena using a sync cable and then connecting to 3G/HSDPA with 'Internet Sharing' enabled again. A pretty neat way to get onto the internet given we were in the basement of a hotel. With a few minutes to spare, Julian and I were signed into Communicator and LiveMeeting ready for our session.
We start our session and I explain the situation to the attendees in the room using a diagram similar to this one, this diagram would you believe it looks better than the original :-). Its at this point we start the demos with fingers, legs and everything else crossed.
Julian starts and IM session with Steven Hutchinson from Tayside Fire & Rescue and seconds later escalates to voice ... after a short pause we hear Stevens voice over the speakers .... phew !. Julian then escalates to video and after a short pause again Stevens face comes up on the screen along with Alasdair from Tayside Fire & Rescue (they are on a Microsoft Roundtable). The little 'warning triangle' appears at this point to say the bandwidth isn't perfect and after a few seconds the resourceful RTC Audio and RTC Video codec makes a few changes ... everything settles down and a after a brief introduction from the guys from Tayside, Julian continues with this 'pitch'.
Now I thought this would be enough but Julian, a seasoned 'demoer' of OCS in extreme conditions, decides he wants to push it a little further and I raise my eyebrow as he starts to explain that you can conference other people in and proceeds to drag Neil May from POST CTI into the video call too. A few seconds later, Neil May's face appears on the screen and Neil, Julian, Steven and Alasdair start to have a quick conversation. While this is all going on I have a big smile on my face as I really was amazed and proud of OCS and its ability to take on the challenge of such terrible network conditions and still deliver a great demo .... the next time I have the 'QoS discussion' with anyone, I am going to point them in the direction of this post and simply tell them that 'QoS is optional, not required'.
After the event I had a flick through the feedback forms and I think 'Andy' summed it up quite well with the comment 'Very impressive & something I will recommend'. Well done OCS, well done Windows Mobile, well done Steven, well done Alasdair, Well done Neil and Well done Julian .... indeed a proud day for Deakin !