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Heh, I love the detail on all the confcall/web sharing problems.

Every conf call I join includes at least two of the following.

- The leader who is in the conf room calls in from the table phone and from their PC and can't figure out how to stop the screaming feedback. What's funny about this one to me is that the same people do it every time.

- Tom calls from his car. He must be on the interstate, judging from the road gradient we can hear.

- Dick joins from his laptop, where the microphone is conveniently part of the same physical device as the keyboard. CLACKCLACKCLACKCLACK.

- Harry is working from home. We become intimately familiar with his three-year-old daughter's escapades with Cheerios and love of Phineas & Ferb.

- Judging from the number of sirens, Jake apparently lives in a bad part of town or is watching Blues Brothers in the background.

- Lucy has apparently joined while sitting in a conference room, attending another meeting simultaneously.

- Robert joins 15 minutes late and would like everything he missed to be recapped.

- Mark absolutely will not let the meeting progress unless someone is recording. Everyone spends 10 minutes figuring out how to do this. No one can find the file at the end of the meeting.

- James calls in via a VOIP connection from India, introducing a slight delay. "Hello?" "Hellohello" "Hi James, can-" "Hello" "Hi James, we are-" "Hello, hi yes-" "Hi James-"

- Dave joins from the airport. According to the PA, someone named Janice needs to report to the ticket desk.

- Mike has apparently set his cell phone ringer volume to "over 9000" and has placed it next to his mic.

- "Can you see my screen?" "No". "How about now?" -cue pictures of cats- "Yes but I think you have shared the wrong monitor." "How about now?" -cue spreadsheet- "Yes." -cue scrolling that the video broadcast can't keep up with- "Now if you can see here, here and here..."

Mass meetings are the funniest. During one surreal leadership presentation where hundreds of people joined via a web meeting and many more were present in person, someone forgot to lock down presenter rights, and people kept drawing on the slides.

During our first Livemeetings, I would draw pictures all over the slides. Little did I know, what I saw drawing was visible to everybody! Luckily, no one knew who was creating the drawings. Good times.

I've got bad news for you. If you hover your mouse over the drawings, it totally shows who did it.

Heh, onetime I had to get on a conference call when the blue angels were in town. "No, I don't live in a war zone, sorry about the noise."

Hah! I've been on a conference call while in a building under an airport's departure corridor. If you're trying to talk, it sounds kinda like this:

"So, about that system rrrrrrrrrrrRRRRRRRRRRRRAAAAAAAAAAAAAGH and you think so?" (excuse the bad jet noises)

That was a fun hour or so - especially since, even muting the mic when you're not talking, when planes are taking off every 60 seconds, you're bound to get some background noise...

I've been dialing into conference calls all week from China, where it's still Lunar New Year. This means fireworks and firecrackers, from 8am til midnight. Sounds just like shells and machine guns.

"No, I don't live in a war zone, it's just Chinese New Year."

I have a hard believing that you'd be able to even do a conference call in the thick of it (especially the new year eve fireworks). I can barely have a conversation with the person in front of me, let alone do anything with the phone. Truly, a war zone isn't that bad.

I really thought I'd be relatively safe at 8am on day 8 of the holiday... clearly not the case :)

Ditto for Tuesdays at noon.

LMAO. You can add: - Joe asks a question without naming someone - 10 sec. silence - then Judith says: "was the question for me?"

Or the inevitable - "Joe, you there?" 10 seconds of silence - "Sorry, I was on mute."

Yep, that one happens ALL the time with my co-workers...

I guess nobody in your entire organisation knows to mute their microphone until they're talking?

We have a weekly seminar where many people call in. Without fail, every week, people must be reminded to mute their phone if they're not currently speaking.

A coworker always forgets to un-mute his phone when asked a question. The longest time waiting for an answer has been about 2 minutes xD

He never fails to do it.

There is a feature of dail-in meeting services (like Meetingplace, webex meeting, etc) that allow the host to auto-mute everyone... sounds like your organization might want to use that feature.

Indeed, and in WebEx the host can auto-mute everyone, but then MUST tell people to unmute if they have a question, otherwise it is meeting #fail.

I've also had the opposite, where the host is UN-muting me, when I'm in the middle of eating my lunch during the meeting. I never got around to asking him WHY he wanted to hear me slurping my tea and crunching on my crisps (chips for the Americans).

I know, and I've thought about telling the people who set the call up to do that, but our seminars also have regular, legitimate questions. We could have a protocol where questions come through IMs, but that's cumbersome.

Collective problem solving over group voice communications is a universal skill. Our dev team got really good at it when we all started playing Counterstrike together. MMORPG raiding would be a good place to learn this as well.

If nothing else, they'd be guaranteed to learn proper etiquette by learning what not to do.

Spot on. My favorite moments are when the person joining an in person meeting via conference call tells everybody that they can't hear. Usually, everyone just looks around awkwardly and somehow silently agrees to ignore that person.

The narrative of the webcast/screenshare and conference call difficulties describes virtually every such event I've been involved in. The 15 minutes wasted getting everyone online, the ad-hoc troubleshooting for people who can't seem to get signed in, or cant see the screen, or cant share their screen, etc. Are there any screen sharing technologies for quick ad-hoc sessions like this that JUST WORK?

Good compilation. You have captured almost every scenario I used to go through a while back !!

Don't forget the person who takes a call on another line and forgets to mute.

sometimes during a call a music starts to play pretty loud from one side of the call, which renders the conference useless. I still wonder how that happens.

That's the old 'someone forgot to mute the call before accepting another call' trick. That's music on hold.

I was on a conference call once where that happened. It took over 20 minutes to figure out a) who the heck was doing that, and b) how to eject them from the call.

Oh dear. I've usually identified them in 5-20secs, but it takes another 60 - 90 seconds for the Host to block them :/

I never understood why people think it's acceptable to join a work call with kids screaming in the background. These are the same people who smugly ruin other people's flights and restaurant meals. You bred; congratulations. But you really, really shouldn't have.

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