On Thursday 17th November 2011 my colleague Marieke Guy is giving a talk on “The Benefits of Amplified Events” as part of the University of Bath’s Green Impact seminar series. There will be a live stream of the talk which is being provided by my colleagues Julian Prior and Marie Salter from the eDevelopment team in the Division for Lifelong Learning.
Marieke will be explaining the benefits of amplified events, including ways in which amplified events can help to maximise the impact of ideas presented at an event and provide access to people who are unable to physically attend. One additional important area, which is being addressed in our participation in the JISC-funded Green Events II project, is the environmental impact of events. Clearly avoiding the necessity to travel can provide environmental benefits, and I’m pleased that there has been participation from Spain, Denmark, the US, Canada and Australia at amplified events hosted by UKOLN.
But what of the environmental costs of the video streaming itself? We would like to explore these issues by encouraging remote participants to record details of the bandwidth used in viewing a live video stream of forthcoming amplified events.
Thursday’s seminar will be streamed using the University of Bath’s Adobe Connect service which can host up to 20 participants. If you wish to view the live video stream please register on the EventBrite system. In addition we would like to invite people to give their feedback on the experience and, if possible, to provide statistics on the bandwidth usage. Ideally, ideally it would be useful if remote participants could run simple network tests such as ‘traceroute’ or possibly use the Firebug plugin for FireFox (which tracks data volumes and provides information on the IP addresses and domains used) together with the NetExport extension to save a log called NetExport (which adds the ability to Firebug to ‘export’ the HAR file to your hard drive). If. however, you are not able to install these tools but have an interest in this topic, feel free to sign up – although we’ll be asking you to describe your experiences, including any problems, which will help us to improve our amplification services and advise others on best practices.
Note (added on 16 Nov 2011): If you wish to take part in the exercise of monitoring network traffic for watching the video stream, once you have installed Firebug and the NetExport extension to Firebug you should use the following steps:
- Switch Firebug on for all pages using Firebug icon in top right corner of Firefox. Click the down arrow and choose ‘On for all pages’.
- Click on the Net tab at the top of the Firebug pane that appears and that should bring up a new menu directly below it. That will probably be on ‘All’ (greyed out) if not click on ‘All’.
- Navigate to the relevant Web page. Firebug will start logging all the connections/downloads on that page (don’t navigate away from that page in that tab) it will continue to log all activity from that page.
- When you want to save the log file clink on the ‘Export’ button on the lower Firebug menu – choose ‘Save as’ and save the ‘.har’ to disk, from where it can be e-mailed to the event organisers!
Note, however, that it is currently unclear as to whether this technique will work with the Adobe Connect interface.