my world of work and user experiences

January 31, 2013

Can you share your desktop?

Filed under: New world of work — Tags: — frederique @ 22:25

It’s funny how important some tools are for my daily work. And how I take them for granted… until they don’t work.

Sharing my or your desktop is very useful to me

I collaborate with, learn from and teach information workers. The desktops we work at may technically be those table-like things, but they are mostly our computer screens. So when I want to see what they are talking about, I ask them to share their desktop with me. I don’t have to leave my table-like desktop to see what’s on the computer desktop of people who are in a different building, different city, different country or different continent.

  • When somebody in the business calls me with a strange question about a team site, they can show me where they are in the site and what behaviour they see. This may be very different from what I had imaged when they started talking.
  • When experts gives an interesting presentation, I can follow their presentation and their demo by looking at the screen they share. A picture is worth a thousands words, and a live demo that actually shows you what’s going on is worth even more. And of course I do the same thing when I am the expert giving a presentation or training.
  • In a project team meeting where we discuss a list of issues that need to be solved, we can be in different places and still have the same overview and the same live view of changes we make on-the-spot

For this purpose we used MS Communicator and Live Meeting, and now we use MS Lync.

But it doesn’t work if my Lync and your Lync bite each other

This week I was caught flat-footed when I clicked on the Lync link (huh…) in an Online Meeting invitation and got: “An error occurred”. Help!
And even worse, I was planning an important meeting about a technical subject with that same high-tech partner. So I actually had to waste time travelling to their offices and sit at a table with them, because I could not risk not sharing my desktop with them. How old fashioned is that?!

The problem was that their Lync and our Lync are not friends (ok, I mean: they are not federated). So when I click their invitation link, it opens my Lync, but my Lync does not recognize them.

Fortunately we can keep them apart

To my relief, I found a way to keep those unfriendly Lyncs apart and still see their desktop:  copy the Lync Online Meeting link from the invitation and paste it into a non-Microsoft browser (in my case Firefox and Chrome worked). This opened a web version of Lync, where I could enter as a guest.

Note to self: pasting the link in Internet Explorer does not work, because the Microsoft browser starts to be smart and recognize the Microsoft Lync stuff and then it tries to connect the unconnectable Lyncs.

So that should be the end of this error…

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