Friday, March 29th, 2013 .

At UberConference we strive to create the best conferencing calling experience ever, and that extends even to the smaller details like the hold music people hear when waiting for a conference call to begin. Hold music may seem more like a necessary evil than an area for innovation, but we view it as another opportunity for us to touch our users in a positive way, and maybe even make their day a little better.

The challenge with any filler music is that everyone has different tastes, so some sort of “elevator music” is usually chosen for these types of waiting-for-a-call scenarios. While this “easy listening” music is intended to be less annoying, the fact that it is heard so often actually makes it more annoying, in some cases. Combine this with the building frustration a person feels when having to wait for others to join a call, and you are left with a pretty sub-optimal user experience.

So how do you choose a default hold music if there isn’t a great option already out there? In UberConference’s case we decided to write our own. Before we launched our co-founder and Head of Design, Alex Cornell, wrote and performed a whole new song, titled “I’m on Hold”, which you can find on SoundCloud. The song has friendly, country sound with a nice little rhythm, and the lyrics have some fun with the actual experience of being on hold and the thoughts that go through people’s heads as they are waiting. Basically it is a little joke intended to lighten up the mood of a person in the common and not-so-fun situation of waiting on others.

Not a week has gone by since we launched UberConference about a year ago  where we don’t see tweets on how much people like the custom hold music. It has turned out to be one of the most popularly tweeted features, and it makes us smile to see these. Thanks to all our users that have taken the time to give it a shout out. As power users of UberConference ourselves, we obviously have heard the song quite a bit, but as we continue to talk to new people on our calls that are experiencing UberConference for the first time, we often hear positive comments on the hold music and are able to appreciate the joke again from a new user’s perspective. It also softens the tension some in cases when we unfortunately are a little late to calls and people have to hear the hold music at all.

We do realize though that different people have different senses of humor and that jokes get old faster for some people than others. One of our first premium features we added back in September of last year was the ability to upload any custom hold music. We now have a new feature for all users to choose between a few default tracks of hold music. The new tracks are called Wonderblues, Light Touch, and Blue. Just go to your profile and select the hold music option you prefer, and you can even have them randomly shuffled if you want to mix it up a little. Check them out and let us know what you think.

Friday, October 12th, 2012 .

One of the great things about ÜberConference is that you can see who’s on the conference call and who’s talking at any given moment. For instance, the person speaking during your call shows up at the top. Being able to see both who is invited and who has already joined helps kick off the call smoothly by avoiding extra rounds of “Who’s here?” and “Who are we waiting for?” You don’t have to wonder who said what.

We’ve had this unique visual dimension since our launch. Starting today you can also get your own permanent conference URL. When you log into ÜberConference you will see your ÜberConference URL on your dashboard.  It will be a number by default, but you can customize it to be your name or whatever you like. This way it’s easier to remember and share.

 

Just click the “Customize your URL” link and add the text you’d like to have at the end of the link, like uberconference.com/u/myname

Click here to login and get your own unique URL now! 

Friday, February 14th, 2014 .

You know how every so often you get roped into dealing with something that you really don’t want to be involved with?  I’m not talking something life-threatening like the Ebola Virus or listening to your uncle from Wisconsin lecture you about religion while you’re stuck in a car with him going to a funeral.

No, I’m talking about the modest little peeves of modern life, the ones that really get under your skin.

For instance, you’re sitting in the cafeteria at work, and a nice conversation is going on about the Academy Awards or the California drought or something interesting like that and then some wisenheimer in the group says this: “Hey, did you see that Justin Bieber got arrested?”

Oh, boy, here we go.  Next thing you know all ten of you are talking about Justin Bieber.  Including you.  You’re stuck.  Everyone has their views and all of a sudden you find yourself  saying you blame his father because you were reading on TMZ.com that he was there in the nightclub that night and also was involved in setting up blocking off the street so that Justin and his friend could have their idiotic drag race and then somebody says, ‘well, that’s not what I heard’ and then you have defend your sources on this topic and bam!  Fifteen minutes have gone by and it’s time to return to your desk.  As you sit down you realize that the fifteen minutes you spent talking about Justin Bieber makes your teeth hurt.

And don’t think you’re alone.  Look what happened to esteemed broadcast journalist Andrea Mitchell during a discussion the other day on the NSA.  There was breaking Justin Bieber news.  Look at the pain on her face.  It’s heartbreaking, and it’s happened to you, too.

This is roughly where I rank teleconference PINs: right up there with a group discussion of Justin Bieber.  They’re both just hellishly painful, unnecessarily pointless, and yet, somehow completely inescapable.

You’re part of a design team that has several remote participants (including you) and it’s time for the weekly teleconference.  You dial into the teleconference system and they give you a PIN number you have to use to participate.  The computer-generated voice rattles off twelve completely random digits.  You’re writing them down:

8-9-5-8-1-3… oh, man, your pen stopped working.

Try it again.

8-9-5-8-1-3-8-9… the woman at the desk next to you just got a delivery of a dozen roses from her new boyfriend and she is squealing with happiness.

All right, let’s give this one more try.

Okay, you write: 8-9-5-8-1-3-8-9-4-9-7-5

Whew.  Got it.  That only took six hours.

Time to key it into your phone.  8-9-5-8-1-… wait, is that a 3 or a 5 I wrote down?  Call back and get the PIN all over again.  Yes, it was a 3.

And on it goes.

That’s why UberConference doesn’t use PINs.  You go to the website, log in, find your conference and click.  Voila.  Everyone’s there, you can see who’s there, and you’re ready to go.  It’s beautiful.  This is gonna go great, you think to yourself.

And then the person running the conference call says: “Hey, everybody, welcome to the call.  Before we get started, did you see that Justin Bieber was arrested?”

ARRRGGHH.

Wednesday, December 12th, 2012 .

Productivity consultant and founder of Custom Living Solutions, Joshua Zerkel, is also the SF ambassador for Evernote. Let’s just crown him the guy who really knows what he’s talking about when it comes to organizing data and being super efficient at anything to do with sharing in the cloud. Our Social Media Manager, Sarah Buhr, sat down to ask him a few of his great secrets for getting sh*% done.

Tips:

  1. Integrate UberConference with Evernote – When you integrate UberConference with Evernote, you have the option of sending any recorded call and notes to their Evernote account. Very helpful for journalists and writers or anyone who needs to save their conversations for later. Integrate with Evernote here.
  2. Utilize the Cloud – Think about how your data follows you around. Evernote allows you to keep all your files and other data in one central place so you can work from anywhere.
  3. Label your Evernote folders by topic and client to stay organized – You can collaborate with specific people easier if you separate everything out first.
  4. You can actually email notes into Evernote – Secret tip from Josh is that every Evernote user actually gets their own Evernote email. Go into your account settings to see it. Then if you use the @ in the subject line you can specify which notebook you want that info to go to. You can also use the # symbol to tag whatever you want it to follow as well.  Use this for receipts, events, really anything that goes into your email.

Links mentioned in the podcast:

Tuesday, January 29th, 2013 .

Want some tips on being more productive in your business?

You’ll want to check out the latest ebook from Evernote Productivity Ambassador, Joshua Zerkel. The ebook Evernote @ Work, The Ultimate Guide to Implementing Evernote in Your Business has a number of tips on using Evernote to be more efficient. ÜberConference is one of the Evernote integrations mentioned in the book, and is highlighted as a tip for  keeping your meetings on track. ÜberConference’s integrationstarted as a way to automatically saves call summaries in Evernote, and last week added a new feature for sharing Evernote notes in meetings.

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