I think I've found the software I'm going to use for online training, seminars, and one-on-one tutoring and support. It's in Beta, but it looks really good.
- supports Windows, Linux, and Mac (not sure if Linux or Mac can be the host)
- supports sharing a presentation, or my desktop, or a collaborative whiteboard
- supports audio and video (with some webcams)
and is free for up to 20 participants. Click here to see pricing for over 20.
No download for the participants, just the host. They use Flash.
There's a "Collaboration" link on the client side that just processed for a while and didn't give me anything. I'm desperately hoping that that is a to-be-implemented feature that lets me manipulate files on client computers or vice versa. That's a huge, huge nice-to-have for me, bordering on essential. I don't know for sure that it doesn't exist, but I haven't found it yet or found info on it since I'm not sure how broadly to interpret the word "share". I'll update this post when I find out.
Recording and archiving is coming.
I am seriously impressed. I've fallen too soon for other software that turned out to not have what I needed (and plenty that had what I needed but for a robust price), so I'm taking it slow this time. But I think Dimdim Is the One.
Here's what the main window looks like for the presenter. I tried it on two client computers, Windows XP and Novell Suse (that's the gibberish in the chat window that I typed just to try it out).
Audio worked with my Creative Live! Webcam with voice, video didn't.
I want to mention again my ongoing plans to provide all sorts of services through collaboration software, hopefully DimDim. These are in the near future; rates will be announced with the services.
Support -- Got an issue you want help figuring out? Send a request to my calendar for a time, upload the file to the collaboration software or email it to me, and I'll help you with the problem document or task.
Tutoring -- Want to learn something, like mail merges or styles or pivot tables? Just make an appointment and you'll get one-on-one attention.
Remote custom training for groups -- If you just want a few hours of training at a time (which makes it less practical to fly me in) or you have employees in many locations who need training, remote training makes a lot of sense. Contact me to plan topics and dates. We can use DimDim or your own collaboration tool such as WebEx, GotoMeeting, or ReadyTalk.
Regularly scheduled seminars -- I'll ask for requests, then schedule short (half-hour to two-hour) seminars on scheduled topics. Costs for these per person would be lower than signing up for tutoring.
Regularly scheduled free seminars -- I'll schedule free half-hour or hour-long seminars periodically on popular topics like mail merge, configuration, considerations for planning a transition, etc.