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After a few days during which it was knocked offline, the online speech timer is back and business. This tool is designed to make it easier to keep track of the timing lights signals in an online meeting. 

Here's an example of using the timer's popup window to show timing signals even while sharing a PowerPoint in Zoom. See this blog post for more details.

Watching the Timing Lights in Zoom

The Timer's view of the tool includes a dropdown list of speech types, with scheduled member speeches and their timings pulled from the agenda. As soon as the Timer hits the reset button to stop the clock, the speaker's name and speech time are recorded to a log displayed underneath the timer controls.

The Timer's controls.

Facebook Group for Toastmost and WordPress for Toastmasters Users

We now have a Facebook group here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/wp4toastmasters

This is a place where users of the software and the associated web service can exchange ideas about club marketing and agenda management. I hope you'll join and help get some conversation going. I'm told easy-Speak has a very active Facebook group, so we've got some catching up to do.

This is in addition to the Facebook page where I post official announcements (but which isn't as good for conversation).

Backstory: The Online Timer "Denial of Service" Attack

The reason some functions of the Online Timer had to be disabled over the last week is because my web host said it was causing excessive traffic to the web server with each user's browser constantly querying the host for updates. In fact, they originally flagged it as a "denial of service" attack, a phenomenon where hackers use armies of automated bots to flood a web server with traffic from many directions. The WordPress for Toastmasters was shut down for several days, allegedly for my protection, because of a demo instance of the app hosted there.

Oops.

So I had to figure out a different app design that makes significantly less use of network and server resources. The tool now only posts new data to the server when the person acting as Timer starts and stops the clock.

As a speaker, you click a button to start the app monitoring for timing changes. It checks with the server every 15 seconds. When a "start timing" signal is detected, the app checks the timestamp on that message against the user's own computer clock and adjusts for the difference when starting its own JavaScript-powered timer. Green, yellow, and red are still displayed in synch with what the Timer is seeing. As long as you can keep a corner of the browser screen or the popup timer lights window in view, you don't have to worry about "pinning the video" of the Timer in Zoom.

This should always allow you to see the red light. Just keep in mind that your browser may display the red light even after the Timer has reset the clock, as a result of the 15 second delay.

I encourage you to test it and give me feedback.

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