Phone bridges at DESY
Most of the DESY meeting rooms now have wonderful speaker phones with
fixed phone numbers which allow
remote participants to merely dial in to join the conference. No PIN
numbers, no prior setup necessary, and you can dial in whenever you want:
extremely convenient! For the meeting-moderators at DESY,
the instructions for how to start the phone conference are
provided on plasticized cards attached to the speaker phones in each room.
||+49 40 8998 1306
||+49 40 8998 1307
|1b/4a or 1b/4ab
||+49 40 8998 1308
||+49 40 8998 1309
||+49 40 8998 1310
||+49 40 8998 1313
||+49 40 89700 781
|+49 40 8998 1317
|1/1, 2/2, 36/11, 7/7b, ...
no phone in room, we will
use the HERMES phone
|+49 40 8998 1317
Dial-in vs EVO
We will broadcast all of our principal meetings both with the phone bridge
and over EVO. The phone bridge provides good audio. The EVO option provides
both audio and video: we will normally have a web-camera set up to transmit
images of the screen so that you can see which slide is currently up and
thus follow the talks more easily. It also offers text-messaging with
the meeting moderator and other EVO participants.
Here are some notes about your choice of audio stream. Your choice is
especially important if you wish to speak at the meeting rather
than simply listen.
Finally, no matter which audio-stream you select, please do
everything you can to avoid background noise from your side.
It has proven to be quite disruptive (e.g. people speaking in the
background at your end, or even breathing too heavily into the
phone ;-)). The best solution is to simply keep your audio input
muted until you wish to speak. To do this over landline you'll
need a telephone with a mute button; from within EVO, just use
the mute-microphone button in the Koala control window.
Speakers should post their slides to the web before their talks.
- The very best audio connection is pure landline: calling the
phone bridge using a landline phone. The ultimate solution is
a pure-landline phone connection plus EVO for the video feed
(i.e. with your computer's microphone and speaker both muted).
- Many people prefer to dial in to the phone bridge using SkypeOut.
This offers the convenience of using a headset and cheaper
long-distance rates, but recently, the SkypeOut audio quality has
been significantly poorer than that of EVO's own audio feed.
(The reason is Skype's peer-to-peer networking strategy,
which is purposely degraded by various commercial ISPs
to discourage its use.)
- Going with EVO-only for all feeds is working very well
at present, and it's the default conferencing method for all meetings.
- For non-collaboration meetings, copy your slides to the
working plots area:
in the subdirectory yymm/ corresponding to the current year
This area can be accessed via the URL:
- For collaboration meetings, copy your slides to the
subdirectory in this area:
URL links to the slides are provided in the collaboration meeting
agendas on the web. Also, as of January 2007, all of these collab-meeting
slide directories are linked to the relevant-month directory
in the working plots area, as its location is easier to remember:
How to use the EVO web-conferencing system
EVO is a web-conference system developed at CERN which offers audio and
feeds as well as desktop-sharing for any number of participants.
Access to EVO is at this web link:
EVO Main Page (You should bookmark it!)
Or, if only interested in audio, via normal telephone line (see
To use EVOvia the web, there are only two steps:
To accomplish this, simply go to the EVO web page, click on their
button, and follow the straightforward steps. The documentation is
pretty good, and brief, but there are a few missing points. These are
described below; they follow the structure of the EVO documentation, so
it's probably easiest to have both side-by-side
as you go through.
- You have to register with some unique username which you will
use hereafter to connect to the system.
- You connect via this same web site for each scheduled meeting.
(Or you can schedule meetings yourself! :-))
After completing the registration steps, you must also wait for an validation
email to be sent to you by the system. It only takes a few minutes.
When you receive it, go to the URL that was sent to you, and then
you will be authorized to use your account.
(2) Participating in an EVO Meeting
If only interested in audio, you can also just dial into the meeting via regular
Several notes are missing from this part of the EVO documentation.
- Starting the Koala application
When you click the 'Start' button to enter the EVO system,
it will start up a java program called Koala. Specifically, a file
called koala.jnlp (or something similar) will be downloaded
your machine and java will be
called to activate it. If your browser gives you a choice for what to
do with this file, select the java option (e.g. "run with javaws"
on Linux systems ... simply saving the file to disk will not work).
Next, for Koala to run, you must have a sufficiently up-to-date version
of java on your system.
Note: we are not keeping the version numbers above up-to-date,
they are from 2007. Suffice it to say that you need a current version of java.
- Linux users: First, you need linux kernel 2.6.x. Second you
need java version J2SE 5.0 (which includes jre 1.5), which you can
download from here
at Sun Microsystems. Beni also suggests: if you run into problems,
start application *.jnpn in the browser with javaws; in my case it is
locate in /opt/jdk1.5.0_07/bin/javaws.
- Windows users: you need java version 1.4.2_03 or higher. Go
to www.java.com to download the
latest version. Note that you may also be prompted to upgrade your
version of ActiveX, which you should do. Jim also offers this advice:
some Windows users have had to reboot their machine entirely after they
register with EVO in order to get it to work.
- Mac OSX users: haven't encountered any problems yet. :-)
- Installation of conferencing software
The first time you run Koala, you may also be prompted to install
video conferencing tools like RAT or H.323. If given a selection,
"EVO Tools" and install those (ViEVO, JRAT, WB).
- Joining the HERMES Community
Once Koala has started, join the HERMES Community. The EVO
says that an entry "Other EVO Communities" will appear in Koala's
frame, but Koala has been updated ... now you must click on a button
in the bottom-left corner: the one showing a silhouette of many people.
There you will see the group "High Energy Physics": click on the box
the + sign to expand it, and therein you will find HERMES. Click on
then click the right arrow at the top-middle of the selection window to
add HERMES to your "Subscribed Communities". If requested, give in the HERMES subscription key,
which is "monkshood2013". Finally click the OK button. A HERMES tab will now appear at the top of the bottom-right frame in
Koala, and clicking on it will put you in the HERMES chat room. (You can type messages to anyone else in the room. :-))
- Configuring your Videoconference Client
At the top of the Koala window is a menu called Configuration, and
that is an entry called "Videoconference Client". In general, your best
is to select EVO Tools (in the left-hand frame) rather than EVO H.323.
If you have problems when you join a meeting (or if EVO Tools is
not available), you can try the other options, but first read
the section about Alternate EVO Tools below.
- Joining a meeting
To join any HERMES meeting, click the HERMES tab at the top-left of the
upper frame in Koala. There, you'll see a list of reserved or active
meetings within the HERMES community.
Click on the meeting title to join. Two things will then happen:
- The upper frame in Koala will change to show a pretty
picture plus the names of current meeting participants. At the bottom
of this frame are some small colored icons which provide Audio/Visual
control. One important point: if you want your voice transmitted over
your computer's microphone, you must unmute your audio: click
the button with the microphone symbol and a slash through it (the slash
indicates muting, which is often the default when you log in).
- A second window will appear with "vievo: meeting title"
in the title bar. This Vievo window will be described next.
Important: for Mac OSX users, this window
will open under X11, so you must have X11 installed. With Tiger, it's a
standard installation option, but if you haven't installed it, you can
download it from Apple's web site or from the system disks that came with OSX.
- The Vievo meeting window
The video part of the meeting revolves around the "Vievo" window, which looks
The EVO documentation fails to describe how to use this window, so let's
take care of that problem right now:
- When you click on the "Camera", "Desktop", or "Picture"
buttons at the top, you select what video you want to show to others:
either a video feed from your camera, a live view of your desktop
(that's what someone giving a talk would use), or a default picture as
a placeholder. When you select one of these options, the button turns
red. When you click it again, you deselect it and are simply choosing
not to send any visual output to the meeting. You can still receive the
output of others.
- The horizontal panels with peoples' names in the main body
of the window show only those people sending video to the meeting. If
you wish to view what they are sending, you click on the
thumbmail to the right of their name. This will open the visual
feed in a large window on your desktop. So specifically, if someone is
presenting a talk, the image to the right of their name wiill show a
small version of their desktop, and you'd click on that too see it full
- Sharing your Desktop
By sharing your desktop in the manner described above, you can present
your talk from a remote machine entirely over EVO: everyone connected
will see what's displayed on your desktop. However, screen resolution
is an issue as EVO is only able to transmit a limited screen size: please
adjust your display to 1024x768 (XGA) size before
you share your desktop, otherwise only the top-left portion of your
screen will be transmitted. This might be enough
to display a plot in a window, but will not be sufficient if you wish
to deliver a presentation in full-screen mode.
(3) Alternate EVO Tools and other Audio/Video issues
Only once you have joined an EVO meeting can you test your audio and/or
video feeds. Here is a list of suggestions for what to do if you
- Gains and resets
At the top of the Koala meeting window are three tabs:
"Current Meeting" (the default view, which shows the participants and
"AV Controls", and "Shared Files". Click the "AV Controls" tab to access two
more screens: one for Audio and one for Video. In the audio section you can
adjust the gain of your microphone and/or speaker. In both audio and
video sections, there are reset buttons which are quite helpful if your
feeds suddenly cuts out or degrades in quality. It takes only a few seconds
for a reset to complete.
- Multiple audio devices
It is very common that people have multiple audio devices
connected to their machine, e.g. their laptop's internal microphone and
speaker plus a dedicated audio-conferencing mic/speaker device attached to
a USB port.
You should be able to switch between these different I/O devices in the "Audio"
tab of "AV Controls": below the gain sliders you'll see pulldown menus
for "Audio Transmit Device" and "Audio Receive Device". If you have multiple
devices connected, there should be more than one option in these pulldown
menus. It's a bit hard to know which microphone is connected ... when you switch
from one to another, try tapping your different microphones to see which one
responds most loudly in the coloured signal-strength bar above the gain
slider. Even better, if your external device has a physical mute button,
mute it and see if the feed goes away. It's always a good idea to hit
"Reset Audio" after you switch devices, though it shouldn't be necessary.
If you do not see more than
one choice in these pulldown menus despite having several devices connected,
go to the next point.
- Alternate EVO Tools
Several people have reported that
installing the Alternate EVO Tools solves many A/V problems, in particular
the detection of multiple
I/O devices. In order to install and enable these tools,
you must first quit any meeting you are in: just click the
"Leave this meeting" button in the middle-right of the Koala window
(the button has an open/closed door icon). Then do the following:
- Echo cancellation
EVO meetings are often plagued with disastrous echo problems: you say
something, and you hear your voice echoed back to you half a second later.
This is always caused by someone with an open microphone and an independent
speaker nearby which feeds right back into the mic. The very best way to solve
this is to use appropriate hardware. If you're alone, please use
headphones so that your audio output doesn't feed back into your
microphone! If you are not alone, you need an audio conferencing device
of some sort, usually connected to your machine via USB. These devices contain
both a microphone and speaker and they do hardware echo cancellation like
a conference phone. At HERMES, we've had good success with two rather
the Chat 50
from ClearOne, and
the Duet Executive
from Phoenix Audio.
- Background noise
Please remember that if your mic is live,
the conference participants will hear background noise from wherever you are
and it can be very distracting. The good news is that EVO's audio tools
have a background-suppression feature: as long as the crunching noises
you make eating Doritos are not too loud, EVO Tools will suppress them.
You can adjust the background-suppression level as follows:
However even this fails when you have a loud officemate. In general, it
is a good idea to mute your microphone when you are not speaking.
This courtesy provides everyone with the cleanest audio feed.
- When you're in a meeting, click the "AV Controls" tab near the
top of the Koala window, then click the "Audio" tab, and
finally click the "Advanced" button on the right.
- The Advanced Audio Settings window which pops up has a
"Transmit Silence Suppression" section. Make sure the
"Enabled" checkbox is selected. A slider is provided to
adjust the suppression threshold.
(4) Joining an EVO Meeting via Phone
EVO meetings can also be joined (audio only) via regular phone. For that dedicated
phone numbers are available which are provided at time of booking of an EVO meeting.
As the dial-in numbers rarely change they are also listed here (valid as of Dec. 2008):
You need to provide a meeting ID, as well as a PIN. These are provided in the booking
confirmation for each meeting and usually posted on our meeting schedule.
||Evo phone number
|Germany (DESY, Hamburg)
||+49 40 8998 1340
|Slovakia (UPJS, Kosice)
||+421 55 234 2420
|Switzerland (CERN, Geneva)
||+41 22 76 71400
|USA (BNL, Upton, NY)
||+1 631 344 6100
|USA (Caltech, Pasadena, CA)
|| +1 626 395 2112
(5) Setting up an EVO meeting in 1/1 (or other not supported seminar rooms) at DESY
Unfortunately, EVO is not officially supported by DESY IT in all of the DESY seminar rooms.
In particular, seminar room 1/1 is a larger one often available and used for meetings
but one without the necessary equipment.
Nevertheless, one can still use EVO for a A/V conference, e.g., by using following setup:
- computer connected to projector is also running EVO with "desktop sharing"
- external microphones are connected to either the presenter's computer and/or to additional laptops in the room running EVO
(preferentially being spread over the whole room)
- the speakers of all but one laptop should be muted (otherwise echos)
- one can use the HERMES conference phone (with its many microphones) to dial
into the EVO meeting via phone bridge and also use it as the main speaker in the conference room (thus all laptop speakers muted!)
Suggestions or tips? All are appreciated! Please send them
along to firstname.lastname@example.org.