About Me

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TsooRad is a blog for John Weber. John is 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’ve been at this gig in one fashion or another since 1988 - starting with desktops (remember Z-248’s?) and now I am in Portland, Oregon. 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.

2014/05/16

NextHop Archive

 

If, like me, you have stretches of your life where you are living under a rock, you may have missed the notification that NextHop is being moved and phased out.  As noted in this article posted on NextHop 1 May 2014, NextHop content is frozen, with no new content to be added.  While there is a stated plan to migrate SOME NextHop content to its’ new home, I think it is very possible that not ALL content will migrate.  In addition, there are sub-contents (such as DrRez) (and the absolutely awesome Haiku material) that may not make the jump.

In an effort to preserve this data, I archived the entire NextHop site.  DrRez included.  You can find the archive here:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/g9wo9sg2835xd7z/NextHopArchive.zip

YMMV

2014/05/14

AudioCodes 440HD SIP Phone Review

I have been working with an AudioCodes 440HD SIP Phone for a few days now, and am finally prepared to make some comments.

Background Reading

First off, let’s look at the market-speak.  Here is the official blurb. And you may want to review my comments vis-à-vis the AudioCodes 420HD which will save me from repeating my comments on build quality, audio quality, and Lync support.

image [image%255B3%255D.png]

(for those who need to be told the 440HD is on the left)

The biggest difference between the two unit is the obvious; a built-in side-car with 12 programmable buttons which allow you to pre-set speed dials.The display is also larger; although not in color or touch. Me, and a bazillion other folks in this world like color.  Except that color and touch costs.  And the LCD functionality of the 440HD is clear, crisp, and legible.  And touch screen phones that I have had the privilege of using are sometimes finicky, picky, and near schizophrenic when it comes to the touch screen.  The 440HD is none of that.  The buttons are large, well-marked, they light up, and pushing the button elicits the response you expected.  Overall, a compromise solution that I understand and endorse.  Well done, IMHO.

A Few Gently Worded Observations

On the plus side, the built-in switch is GbE.  Sweet!  In addition, the 440HD will support the upcoming BToE firmware.  For information purposes, my 440HD updated itself to the newest beta BToE firmware with very little effort on my part.  I dropped the image into my FTP, and on the next power-cycle, the 440HD updated itself.  Painless. 

According to the official user guide, the 440HD also has a built-in busy-on-busy feature.  As a comment on the “official documentation” I will note that the screen caps in the documentation do not exactly match the displays on the phone.  But they are close enough to enable someone with more than a few operational brain cells to figure it out.  Having only two of those myself, I had to read stuff twice to make sense of it all.

Here is the doc

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And here is the actual device

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I strongly recommend reading the user guide, with 6 lines, 6 multi-function keys, 4 programmable keys, and 12 speed dial keys, the number of options on how to use this Lync phone, if my math is correct, approach the 1440 level. When you throw in the idea that you can also set sub-options, both of brain cells started to overflow. If that is not enough to cause your users to ask questions of you the expert, I don’t know what will.

Like the 420HD, the 440HD also supports location information; if your Lync environment is configured for location, you can choose a location as defined by your administrator so as to support E9-1-1.  Convenient if you want the emergency providers to show up at your door in Portland, Oregon, instead of the corporate headquarters in Chicago, Illinois.

The speed dial keys assignments can be selected out of the corporate directory!  Score!  And if you select the default call type (speed dial + BLF) (BLF = Busy Lamp Field) you can have the presence shown on the phone. Very nice.  In this finely focused picture, you can see four speed-dials configured.  The top one I have to use occasionally Disappointed smile, the second is without the BLF, the next two coincidentally show a busy and an available.  Ain’t that purty?

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As a documentation note, if you are a norteamericano user, some of the terminology in the supporting documentation may be either amusing or confusing, depending.  For instance, to edit the aforementioned speed dial, here are the instructions:

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I get it.  But, you have to know that I almost went and dug out my drafting supplies looking for my protractor set.

If you don’t want to use the keypad for login, and you are an external/remote user (like me), you have two options for login.  You can use the BToE (when it emerges from beta), or you can go into the web interface and enter your credentials.  BToE is covered here.  Let’s take a look at the web interface.

Press the menu button, then scroll down to the “Status” option. Under “Network Status” you will find the IP address that is assigned to the phone.  Using a standard browser, open http://whateveryouripis

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With no-one is signed into the phone, the username is Admin and the PW is 1234.  Then select Configuration and Quick Setup.

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Then simply fill in the data and click submit.

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Logoff the web interface, then go to the phone and select “Status” and “Sign-in” and you should sign in.  For some reason, the phone does not like having you sign out; if you do, don’t be too surprised to have to go enter your password again.  I don’t understand why the phone does not hold the password in that scenario, but I will assume that an engineering decision was made that if you sign out of the phone then you don’t want to sign back in.  Which is a royal PITA for those of us who cannot use ext+PIN for login.  Adelante!

Summary

If you are looking at SIP phones, then this unit should be on your short list. The AudioCodes 440HD (their entire phone line actually) demonstrates very high quality in terms of packaging, build, and function. Audio quality is top-notch. In terms of price, very competitive.  A winner.

YMMV

Jabra Motion UC+ MS Review

 

More toys!  First up is the Jabra Motion UC+ MS.  Here is the market speak straight from Jabra.com.  Please note that the tested unit is the “…with travel and charge kit”

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What’s in the box

First off, build quality is typical Jabra, right at the top of the pack. While the microphone boom folds and unfolds to provide the on/off function, it did not feel flimsy like the old Motorola HD devices did.  The Jabra feels substantial.

A nice half-moon, hard case that holds everything except the wall charger.  Everything includes the USB dongle, a USB cord, two extra ear-piece adapters, and the Jabra Motion itself.  The case itself is pretty nice; well made and provides a single spot to hold everything needed.  Well, except for the wall charger.  But, if you are on the road, most likely you will have your laptop and you can charge from that using the included USB cable.

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The market speak (see above) claims 8 hours of talk time and 360 hours of standby.  I have been using this device for two straight days and it is still going.  When a call arrives, putting the unit into your ear answers the phone without having to push any buttons.  Nice.

Jabra claims a 100 meter range from base to unit.  I don’t know about that.  My cell phone would disconnect at about 30 feet (I assume the difference is in the BlueTooth version on the cell) and I don’t have a 100 meter known-distance-range to test the dongle range – but it seems to be pretty good.

I could not test the NFC pairing feature because my iPhone does not have that.  Hello!  Apple!  Are you listening?

An annoying?  nice?  feature:  power off if not in use.  But it resumes immediately upon speaking – whereby you get an aural notification and the device reconnects to the phone.  This feature uses the same motion sensors used to pick up the call when you put the device up to your ear.  I will note that in testing, when the device announces power off, it also seemed to resume aurally.  However, it only did that once, so I cannot comment further – maybe my head was shaking or something.  Either way, when in auto-power-off, the device resumed immediately.

Audio Quality

On the TsooRad Goodness scale, the audio of this device ranks at a 9.5 of 10.  In other words, nothing is perfect.  But I could not find any fault either.  Solid.  Good timbre, good volume, sound reproduction is crisp and accurate.

Lync Compatible

Note that my interest in this unit is the ability of the device to pair to my cell (an iPhone in my case) and my laptop at the same time.  How does that work?  Seamlessly.  Literally.  With no further effort on my part other than being logged into my Lync client and plugging the included USB dongle into an available port, I was making and taking calls with Lync but now I had the audio in my ear; at the same time, my cell operated as expected.  So nice.  Jabra also supplies a downloadable software package to further customize the user experience; I did not go that far – if it works just fine as is, why bother?

Summary

A very nice unit.  If you are looking for a travel device that connects to both laptop and cell so as to minimize your packing list, this should be on your list of contenders.

image

You can get your very own Jabra Motion UC+ MS right here.

YMMV

O365 Exchange Voice Mail–Oracle

I have been informed, by a source that I deem to be about 75-80% reliable, that Oracle will not be participating in gymkhana that is the 3rd...