About Me

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TsooRad is a blog for John Weber. John was a Skype for Business MVP (2015-2018) - before that, a Lync Server MVP (2010-2014). My day job is titled "Technical Lead, MS UC" - I work with an awesome group of people at CDW, LLC. I focus on collaboration and infrastructure. This means Exchange of all flavors, Skype, LCS/OCS/Lync, Windows, business process, and learning new stuff. I have a variety of interests - some of which may rear their ugly head in this forum. I have a variety of certifications dating back to Novell CNE and working up through the Microsoft MCP stack to MCITP multiple times. FWIW, I am on my third career - ex-USMC, retired US Army. I have a fancy MBA. One of these days, I intend to start teaching. The opinions expressed on this blog are mine and mine alone.

2018/07/12

Landis Contact Center

Now, this is significant.  MVP Matt Landis and his merry band of mavens is getting their contact center out to the world. This is a happy event for those of us looking for just a bit more than nested RGS.

Hot off the email press:

https://www.landistechnologies.com/office365contactcenter/


We Plan to Announce Office 365 Contact Center is Publicly Available as Preview at Microsoft Inspire 2018

We wanted to you to be the first to know what we will be announcing at Microsoft Inspire 2018:
Las Vegas, Nevada 7/16/2018 - At Microsoft Inspire 2018, Landis Technologies LLC is announcing that Office 365 Contact Center is now publicly available as a Preview. The Landis Technologies Office 365 Contact Center provides Microsoft Partners with a call center solution that can be provisioned and running in minutes. To read more: https://www.landistechnologies.com/office365contactcenter/ .... read more




Copyright © 2018 Landis Technologies, All rights reserved.
Landis Technologies Office 365 Contact Center


YMMV



2018/07/09

Sennheiser SfB headset review (July 2018)

This review is going to cover the “Sennheiser SC 75 USB MS Binaural UC Headset USB 3.5mm” (there is a serious product title) and the Sennheiser SD Pro 2 ML DECT Wireless Binaural Headset (a shorter title but still a mouthful).

The 75 is a wired (USB via an inline module adapter thingy).  The SD Pro2 is a DECT wireless.  Both have a place, and both are very nice units.  Both are Binaural.  I tend to run to binaural when at all possible due to my hearing loss.  And music sounds way better.  Two ears are better than one.  Trust me.

But, wired v wireless is a big differentiator.  For the center mass of your office workers, a wired headset will work just fine.  But some people (like me) like the flexibility of the BT or DECT modality so they can walk and talk.  I know several customers who routinely go to the server room and you would never know they are not at their desk.  DECT has a range (projected/published) of 300 feet.  Whether or not you get all of its range is problematical and depends on perfect conditions.

The SC 75:

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SC 75

Coming out of the box the SC 75 is in two pieces – the cable that plugs into the inline module, and the overall headset.   Pretty basic.  However, that basic stuff is good. Plug it in and it works.  Simple as that.  SfB picked it right up and I was operational.  Teams required that I tell Teams to use it.  After that, seamless. 

The SC 75 audio quality that is a solid 9.5 on the Tsoorad Goodness Scale.  Build quality seems very nice.  Materials are typical Sennheiser.  No ANC, but that is a personal preference.

The SD Pro 2

 

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Now this is my type of device.  Wireless.  DECT.  Comfort.  Great quality, both build and audio. ANC. A superior piece of gear.  My SfB client loved it…it did not have to do anything but tell it to be the preferred device one time, and after that, all was golden.  I suspect that the “one time” thing has to do with me having like 12 headsets currently going through testing.

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Of the two, I spend most of my testing time with the SD Pro 2.  It meets my personal needs better than the wired headset.  Having said that, I need a travel headset also, and the SC 75 does meet that need.  So, the bottom line is, you can’t go wrong with either!

You can get the SC 75 right here, and the SD Pro 2 ML right here – and both worked equally as well with Microsoft Teams as they did with SfB.

YMMV

Yamaha YVC-1000MS-NA Review

Unbeknownst to me, Yamaha, a firm who I thought made great motorcycles and my mother’s piano, is also making a very nice, Skype certified, medium/large conference room audio solution.  Comes OOBE ready to be a speakerphone for the SfB client.  The nice folks at Yamaha let me play with one for a few days. 

Here is what the Yamaha marketing mavens have to say:

“Ideal for medium and large spaces, this intuitive communications system features separate microphone and speaker units for flexibility during audio, web, and video conferencing. Designed to support 2 external speakers and 5 daisy-chained microphones, it’s the perfect scalable solution for accommodating larger meeting rooms and additional participants. Adaptive echo cancellation and human voice activity detection (HVAD) minimize background noise, facilitating natural, stress-free conversation during every call.”

If you poke around their website, Yamaha also has the obligatory case studies.

Ya…. well, OK, it’s good for them to say it, quite another for us lowly consumer types to actually realize it.  Let’s break open the box and see what is what.

The Box

Out of the box, you get a main unit, wires/cables to match, and an external microphone.  There is also a small pamphlet of instructions which I did not read until afterwards.  Does anyone read those things first?

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Build

One of the first things I noticed was the build quality.  We got good stuff here.  Solid.  Construction on par with what I expected from a musical instrument manufacture (based on mommy’s piano).  And that theme carried through acoustically also.

Controls are easy to see and use.  The connections are clear and sturdy – no cheap shortcuts here.

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Audio

Quality sonic delivery – at least according to the Tsoorad Test Lab Standard Ear Device.  Great volume as the timbre of the delivery carries the audio track farther than some rinky-dink speaker system does.  Or at least it sure seems that way to me.  At any rate, audio quality in this unit is now my measuring stick.

Skype

The YVC-1000MS is essentially treated as a speaker phone device. This is the comparison between the two versions, with the right side being the SfB certified.  I connected to it with USB and BT.  Both modalities were treated as you would expect SfB to treat them.  Seamless.

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Yamaha provides a zippy tear sheet.

You can get your very own YVC-1000MS right here.

Conclusion

A great piece of kit.  I am not sure that this is a center-mass market thing.  But, for a mid-to-high-end conference room need, and in a place that does not need/want/use video (there is a ton of that BTW), this is where I will look first.  There might be other solutions out there, but this one clearly sounds the best, is seamless with a variety of platforms, and has the build quality to outlast the competition.

YMMV

2018/06/26

Plantronics Voyager 6200 UC/B6200

A Plantronics BT device came into my hands the other day.  I have been thinking about this device style for a while – I see folks with them, and always thought my existing BT device was good enough.  But, I keep seeing them, so…what’s the story. What’s the draw?

Here is the official market speak on the Plantronics Voyager 6200 UC. 

Here is a pretty picture, just so we know what we are talking about.

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Isn’t that just the world’s best cell phone photograph?  I was going to use the PLT graphics, but that would be just sucking up, because… I am fixing on saying how great the 6200 UC is – maybe only for me, but these things are bordering on being the greatest thing since sliced bread.

As I pondered what to say, I realized that after testing with Skype, SfBO, Teams, and my cell, all to great success; (great audio, pretty good background noise suppression (ANC), and typical excellent Plantronics build quality) that I wanted to continue with Magic Slim and The Teardrops.  That in itself is telling.

Usually I test a device, make some quality comments, observe if it does what my use case scenarios dictate, and determine comfort and audio quality – and then, fair or not, compare to my existing device stable.  In the case of the 6200,  I just kept using them and knowing that I had 9+ hours of battery, I kept testing.  At some point, I stopped testing and just was “using” because this device moved into the “actively used” category.

So, let’s dive in:  According to the aforementioned market-speak:

Features

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You can get a fancy market-speak sheet to impress your budget approval process.

Fit and Function

The Tsoorad Test Labs says that this 6200 is a 9.9.  I had to adjust to the ear thingies.  Small was too small.  Medium was too medium.  Who uses the large?  The device around the neck thing pretty much was a non-issue.  I like the idea of ripping the earphones out and dropping them, and they go nowhere.  Nice if you are like me and wonder where the earbuds went to.

Laptop, SfBS, SfBO, Teams

All my laptop functions worked as you would expect from Plantronics.  Already paired to my cell phone, inserting the BT600 dongle resulted in a few binks and bonks and wala! working as expected.  I typically do not operate my headset on two at once, I find that the ever-changing volume settings bothersome, and if you are a music at work person, the constant interruptions in the music flow are bothersome as well.  I am sure there is some esoteric setting buried in Windows somewhere to stop that, but I have never found it.  SfB 2016 client picked up immediately.  Teams picked up immediately. 

Audio in/out

Audio quality for voice is very nice.  Good volume control in terms of range of adjustment.  Bass response is at least as good as any other earbuds I have tried.  Microphone pickup sensitivity seems most excellent as well. 

Musically, the 6200 suffers from lack of driver size just like any other set of earbuds – I don’t care who makes them, bass is achieved by moving air, and those little cones in an earbud simply are taxed by bass.  Having said that, the 6200 cranks along right well.

There’s even an APP for that.  Yes Matilda, in the space of just a few minutes I was controlling my 6200 with my phone.  Gosh, how exciting!  Firmware updates, turning things on and off.  I felt empowered.

What’s in the box?

A carry case (actually pretty nice), a short USB cable that connects to either the 6200 or the included charging dock/stand.  And, for you double-up-the-device types, a BT600 dongle so as to enhance the laptop media experience. Oh, and three sizes of ear cushion thingies.

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Cost

There are various views on this subject.  Personally, I think to a large extent you get what you pay for.  If you want to pay $29.99 for a set of wireless earbuds that are BT, have ANC, and that deliver some serious music reproduction chops, while allowing you to make and take calls on your cell and your laptop, then get ready to be disappointed.  But, if you want something that rocks functional, is durable, with features you can use, and then proceeds to wallop music, then this is the price point for that excellence.  You can get yours right here.

Summary

Usually, in testing I include all the stuff above. The Tsoorad Test Lab Score is limited to the 9.9 (ear bud fitment) so the 10’s I was going to give it in all the other categories got trumped.  I could have said that.  OR…

In this case, I could have just made this statement: “These things are firmly in my “keeper” category.”  Seriously excellent stuff here.

2018/06/14

audiocodes IPP firmware 3.1

A bit ago, I was the recipient of some new Audiocodes firmware for the 405, 440, 445, and 450.  There is an HRS version as well. 420 is not in this cycle.

Happy to report that based on rigorous Tsoorad Lab testing, all seems to be pretty good with this update.  Numerous new features (especially on the 445)  that bear looking at.  In my testing, I did not discover anything wrong – no devices bricked, they all came back working as expected, new features were there, everything worked as before (always a plus).

You can get yours right here. After 3.1 reaches GA, AC will  (I am somewhat convinced as they have in the past)  create and publish the necessary CAB files to enable pushing this update via SfB/Lync webserver methodology.  If you use the IPP Manager (either express or full) the IMG files work for updating – in my environment, it just works.


IPP Manager view of the new goodness:

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SfB CSCP view of the old goodness – but you get the idea, right?  Just noticed that the HRS image cab is not showing.  I have asked my AC contacts about that.  Time will tell.

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Either way, YMMV

2018/05/21

Official SfB 2015 Server Disable TLS 1.0 and 1.1 part 3 guidance

As you may be aware, we have covered the upcoming 31 October 2018 TLS 1.0/1.1 support being removed from O365.  You can find that guidance here.  As promised, Microsoft has finally published the last pieces of the series.

You can find part 3 here.

As usual, I strongly recommend that you start looking at this now – some of this might take a bit of planning and coordination on your part to accomplish in a clean fashion.

Now is the time to get your sales types contacting existing customers and offering to help.  This will not be a clean thing; rest assured that there will be “issues” and IMHO there is significant potential for unintended consequences.

YMMV

2018/05/17

Personal Development Plan Redux


I harp on goals and plans with my team. Without them, on a project basis, we are toast. Without them, on a personal basis, we might be okay, but perhaps coasting along without an objective. With them, we can suddenly frame success, determine present and desired states, and develop action plans for achieving the stated success criteria.

As a recap of previous rants on this subject, I recommend planning your future, obtaining coaching where needed, and getting a mentor (or three). As a follow-up comment to the mentoring, you don’t have to have a formal mentor relationship. Someone might be successful in what you want to be doing, and just listening to them or perhaps emulating them (no blatant weirdness please) is the mentoring you needed.

Sometimes a mentor can be a formal top-down thing; but in general, a somewhat less rigid arrangement works better. For the last six months or so, I have had a very-less-formal mentor. There has never been anything in writing or verbal that would have established a mentor relationship. But she is. She has the unique ability to synthesize information into a coherent conclusion and then present verbally off the top of her head. Or so it seems. Maybe she is practicing late at night for those random occasions.

At any rate, just getting to listen to her is a learning experience. She demonstrates skills that I have never mastered. Maybe one day. But there’s more! Sort of like the infomercial – BUT WAIT!

For my edification, for the same price of admission as before, we also get other pearls of wisdom that make you sit back and think. Sometimes that is good, sometimes it is a catalyst that you have been searching for and never realized it. Other times it points out something that maybe you should consider revisiting. The other day, here came this one.

Mindtools dot com. An interesting site to say the least. The specific item that brought me here was informative, instructive, and timely. But in poking around this resource, I found this little slice of goodness that ties in nicely to your needs to plan your future: https://www.mindtools.com/courses/lnV924x0/PersonalDevelopmentPlanning.pdf

While I am waiting for you to breeze through 27 pages that can predict your future, allow me to observe that we are getting close to the midpoint of year – a perfect time to be looking at a goals and objectives review; work and personal must be in balance and if you follow my mantra, people should have to really know you to tell the difference.

OK, hopefully you have taken a few moments to peruse that planning guide. Furthermore, I hope that you realize that you can use the same techniques with your customer’s projects. Benjamin Franklin, is credited with: “Failing to plan is planning to fail” and that is certainly true in my experience. This tool could be the one thing that creates a tipping point and helps you achieve your goals.

YMMV

Landis Contact Center

Now, this is significant.  MVP Matt Landis and his merry band of mavens is getting their contact center out to the world. This is a happy ev...