Heading to Orlando for Voxeo customer meetings...
I'll be down at VoiceCon Orlando in March 2008...

Attempt to join a VoiceCon/Mitel presentation on UC foiled by Real Player on Mac

voiceconeventrealplayer.jpgSo today my participation in a VoiceCon webinar was foiled by "fun" with RealPlayer and my MacBook Pro. The VoiceCon team was running a webinar called 'Demystifying Unified Communications' and I was curious to check it out as it was sponsored by my prior employer, Mitel, and the speaker was Mitel's Doug Micheaelides who I know well. I was just curious more than anything else to see if Mitel's marketing had changed in the six months since I left. I'm also one to often listen to analyst presentations - it's part of what I do.

It was not to be. Now, admittedly, this is largely my fault for not checking whether the webinar system would work with my Mac in advance. But attending the webinar was low priority to me and something I would just try to "fit in" if I could do so. Since it looked like I could, I jumped over to the page, registered and clicked the link to launch the presentation...


Turns out that the web presentation system the VoiceCon folks are using needs Real's player and as shown in the image to the right, my browser wasn't very happy with that.

Naturally, I did try to install the plugin. Clicking on the images shown there to "download the plugin" took me to Real's page about Real Player 10 for the Mac OS X, but here was the first problem:

Where's any mention of the "plugin"?

Plugin? What plugin? All that is mentioned here is the "Real Player 10 for Mac OS X" and far more annoying is the fact that I have to "Get it now with SuperPass". This of course takes me to a screen where I have to register to sign up to get my "free 14-day trial"!!!



I don't want to do a 14-day trial. I don't want to do a 1-day trial. All I want to do is download a browser plugin to view a #$%@@#? webinar!

Clicking around the site I eventually did find a page that let me download the unencumbered RealPlayer 10 for Mac. So I did that. This was where I hit the second problem. On the page, it says simply:

4. Drag the RealPlayer icon into your Applications folder.
5. Double-click RealPlayer to begin using it.

But I didn't want to "use" the RealPlayer. I just wanted to use the plugin for my browser. So I didn't double-click it, knowing that many Mac applications do whatever installation they need when you simply drag them to the Applications folder. After I copied it to the Applications folder, I restarted one of my browsers and... nothing. I tried the installation again with the same result.

At this point I gave up on attending the VoiceCon webinar and went off to do other work.

Sometime later I tried just double-clicking the RealPlayer icon and... ta da... there was the installation screen! So here's a note to Real - your page should really read:

5. Double-click RealPlayer to complete the installation.

All in all a brief bit of frustration. I guess the good news is that I now do have it installed for future VoiceCon webinars, but it shouldn't be this hard! The part about the "SuperPass" was particularly annoying to me. (Could you tell?) I realize that Real wants to capture names in return for giving away the player for free and wants to get people to buy more services from them. But I would argue that should be something that users can more easily opt-in to. Real has, perhaps, found that this "in-your-face" method yields better results. But it really turns off some % of people - of which I am obviously one.

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