Microsoft Lync for Mac – Contact Searching, unable for auto find or users

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For this review I’m going to concentrate on another oddity with Lync for Mac, this time its around the issue of when you try and search for a colleague within the Lync for mac client you don’t actually find anyone unless you put their absolute path into the search field. i.e.: iain.smith@northernlync.co.uk why is this..??

In version 14.04 onward of the Lync for Mac client another bug was introduced this it is around the contact.db/idx files not updating. or if you’ve installed a fresh install of Lync for mac 14.04 or higher you won’t even get the contact.dc.idx files.

these are located library/caches then folder called com.microsoft.lync

so what is the bug, ?

This issue is around the fact the Lync client policy is set for do the following on the address book download – filedownloadwebsearch (do a get-csclientpolicy in powershell)

The Lync for mac does try and attempts to do the file download but errors within itself and stops trying to do anything else, and it fails to even try to use the web search option.At the time of writing there isn’t any fix from Microsoft of this bug and the only ‘workaround’ is the following.

Create a new client policy for mac users called something like – MacUsers?. to create a client policy check any policies associated with your users and mirror the settings apart from the address book download as you need change this to be Websearchonly.

eg:

New-CsClientPolicy -Identity MacUsers -AddressbookAvailability WebSearchOnly -DisableCalendarPresence $True -DisablePhonePresence $True -DisplayPhoto "PhotosFromADOnly"

Once you’ve created your new policy grant these to your Mac users and your searching will start to work successfully.

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Microsoft Lync for Mac – Client Crashing

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Due to my work computer being a Macbook Pro (my choice), i use the MS Lync client called Lync for Mac. Unfortunately this client isn’t as polished as its windows equivalent and the feature set shortcomings are abundant.

Apart from the shortcomings which i will gloss over ;), there is a few fundamental bugs still in the Lync for Mac software.

In this post i will talk around one of the major ones which i think will probably effect most mac users. Lync unexpectedly crashing without notice or even input.

So based on alot of digging around what is causing this unexpected behaviour. The error log proves useless, and provides little information on whats happening.

After speaking with MS on this issue, the top and bottom of it is the fact something at the time of the crashing is plugged into either the thunderbolt port or a USB port. Within the Lync for mac code is a bug which for one reason or another doesn’t like the fact external peripherals being present on the mentioned ports.

So what is the resolution to this.?

Simple really, upgrade/patch your Lync for Mac to version 14.07.02 firstly, then apply the hot fix from Microsoft HERE, this will put the version to 14.07.02 (140123). NOTE: This hot fix isn’t readily available yet, and its by request of MS.

Once you’ve updated and installed the hot fix your wows of the Lync for Mac client are over. (well for time being)

Lync 2010 and 2013 – Sennheiser’s ‘new kids on the block’

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So you thought your headset couldn’t get any better. Well think again… Over the past couple of months or so I’ve had the privilege of trialling Sennheisers new mobile desk headsets named respectively as MB Pro 1 (mono ear) and MB Pro2(Dual ear). 

 

So what’s new about these headsets and why haven’t I touched my other accustomed to headsets since these were placed on my desk. (Three of my current desk headsets being left behind are the Jabra Pro 9475, Logitech H820e, Sennheiser’s DW office). There are a number of reasons why I haven’t given the others a second thought, these being in no particular order.

Versatility

Both the MB Pro 1 and 2 are bluetooth headsets with a difference, both feature a full high build quality headset in both single and dual eared formats. Connectivity back to the PC/Laptop is via a USB bluetooth dongle meaning full wideband HD crystal clear audio. The beauty of this headset is that you can lift the laptop off the desk and leave the dongle in and continue your call on the move.

While at your desk, the headset comes complete with a streamlined but durable charging stand, and like other headsets from Sennheiser it features the usual off/on hook answer/hang up capabilities.

Audio Quality

As we have come to love with the Sennheiser range both for UC and commercial consumer devices, Sennheiser’s moto on never compromise on the audio quality again shines through with the MB Pro1 and 2. The sound clarity is as good as its bigger brother the Dect DW office. However the dual ear’d MB Pro 2 has a neat trick up its sleeve which I’ve detailed in point 5 below. ;).

The boom arm is a nice length even for my elongated head. The mic itself is covered in a noise cancelling formed foam endpiece while the ear piece is very confirmable and leather.

Battery Life and Bluetooth capabilities

Lets start with the battery life first. Ive been finding it lasts around 15 hours on talk time which i think for a battery operated device is quite well. I would have no issue in using this headset on a customer site knowing full well i have enough charge to last the day. One annoying aspect I’ve found though is when the device is running out of battery they beep in your ear at regular intervals, and when your on a conference call like i was when this happened it does become quite annoying and irritating. These mobile devices aren’t unique to the annoying beeping other vendors mobile devices (Jabra motion, Plantronics Legend etc etc) all follow the same characteristics of beeping when low on battery. To this point i welcome the day when a headset is able to simply tell me the minutes left instead of beeping to me.

Bluetooth Capabilities. As with all bluetooth devices a user shouldn’t expect its range to be within the dect headset metrics of 100+ metres of range. With the MB Pro’s the range you will find is a maximum of 80foot from the base unit. I personally think this would be enough for a ‘normal’ user, yet if you are looking a receptionist type headset i would suggest something which would allow for a extensive range.

 Noise cancelling reduction technology

The noise cancelling capabilities are exceptional, as mentioned earlier in this posting you simple don’t hear background noise even in loud call centre type open offices.

In Room ambiance sound (Sennheiser call this the room experience)

So what is Room ambience ?  this is a new feature which is prominent in the MB Pro 2 dual ear’d headset. On pressing the button on the right side of the ear piece for 5 seconds you will hear a beep then the people who you are in the call with become kind-of virtualised and they sound like you could be sat next to them in person. At first when i was told about this feature i  thought. ‘yeah ok’ but actually on using it i really like the experience especially when I’m in a multi person conference as it brings all the conference parties to the same sound level into your ears.

Personally i never use dual ear’d headsets as i don’t like to hear my own voice talking within my ear’s, plus i also think I’m shouting when i have a dual headset on. Now with the room experience feature, the headset simulates for talk through meaning that i actually hear my own voice at the same audible level as the rest of the people.

In truth i love this feature and I’ve used the dual ear headset a lot more than the single ear’d variant.

 Quality Stereo music play through.

Again the MB pro 2 comes with the full stereo option allowing for playing of music from your computer or from the paired mobile device. The stereo sound is great quality for a device which isn’t a consumer device. Also while playing music, it allows for instant pause when a call presents, then on hang up of the call the music starts again. again a really nice feature.

 Pro’s and Con’s

For me the pro’s without doubt out way the cons. The features i think set these headsets apart from other similar devices i.e.: Jabra 935 is the ability to be more mobile while working at a desk in the office whereas the Jabra 935 has the bluetooth element built into the charging station meaning its a fixed device. Also the room experience of the MB Pro2 is a really nice feature and i would recommended people to try. Audio quality goes without saying really, plus the battery life of 15 hours is unheard-of in a  mobile headset

As for the con’s there is only one which i think Sennheiser could have done better with.

This is the requirement to have two free USB ports for the MB Pro range, with USB ports being a premium on many laptop devices now to which these headsets are aimed at. Utilising two USB ports for me is criminal. For your awareness, One USB is required to charge the headset while on the docking stand and the other one if for the bluetooth dongle. Personally i would have liked to seen a single USB requirement with some sort of hybrid connector which could have accepted a charging cable with the bluetooth dongle built into it or tethered in someway. If you are stuck for usb ports another option i guess would be to power the charging unit via a wall socket plug instead of a computer USB

Scoring and pricing

Based on my testing of both headsets including the features they offer, i would say they both score a firm high 4 stars, missing out of the last star due to the USB considerations detailed about.

I would have as a guess on the higher end of £190 GBP rrp for the single ear MB pro1, and £200+GBP rrp for the dual ear MB pro2

 Availability? 

These headsets are available now.!

 Symposis

Overall, i think Sennheiser has made a couple of great UC headsets which differentiate themselves in an already saturated market of UC peripherals. The uniqueness of the ‘bluetooth/full headset’ mobile range at this moment is small and i can see many clients going for these headsets over the more expensive dect devices.

Link for more information on the devices can be found

http://en-de.sennheiser.com/mb-pro-1-uc-ml-and-mb-pro-2-uc-ml#product_overview

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Microsoft Lync 2010, 2013 for Windows and Lync 2011 for Mac tested and compatible 

Lync 2013 / 2010 – Public Edge Certificate missing its private key

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Recently i have seen the issue of your public cert missing its key on import. The situation is when you create the required .req for your public certificate on edge you send the details off to the certificate authority of choice. Once they create and return the .crt file and the necessary trusted root and intermediate certs you import them into the Lync edge server only to find that the ‘sip.<domainname>.com’ cert is missing its private key.?

Why would this be the case when you originally generated the request on the Lync edge server? At this moment the only reason i can see is if another certificate with the same name has previously been imported onto the server. Apart from them i cannot find any other logical reason for why sometimes the newly imported certificate misses the private key.

if you are in this position, the simple fix to the cert is as follows

– On the imported certificate without the private key, double click the cert to show the information associated with it. Click on the details tab and look for the field called ‘Serial’. Copy the serial key into notepad and remove the spaces below the unique code. ie

WAS 5a 12 6e 7e ee 11  AMENDED 5a126e7e11

now still on the edge server open command prompt and type the following

certutil –repairstore my <Amended unique serial number>

eg: certutil –repairstore my 5a12637e11

press enter to commit it.

you will then be presented to information and also confirmation that the update has been successful.

now if you go into the certificate store and refresh you will see the certificate will now have the private key within it.

At this point you can go back to your Lync deployment wizard and assign the public cert to your edge server.

Job Complete

Thanks

Iain S

Lync 2013 – Creating Custom Lync Reports within Monitoring

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Hello All

I haven’t seen much around guides on how to create custom reports for Lync 2013 so i thought it would be good to share the mechanisms on how to do this with the native Monitoring reporting tool which can be co-located with the Lync 2013 frontend.

For this guide I’m running a Lync 2013 Frontend patched upto CU version January 2014, and SQL Server 2012r2.. All servers are running windows 2012r2 and patched unto date.

Step 1.

Ensure the current reports are working as expected

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Next step is to go to the SQL Server you provisioned and open up internet explorer and navigate to the reports path/URL for this demo that would be 

http://lync2013sql/reports_LYNCARCHMON

Also if you are unsure you can find the path required by going into the SQL Reporting Services configuration Manager and selecting reporting Manager (as below)

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ok now we have navigated to our browser page lets select the report builder option.

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NOTE: Depending on your original setup up, you might have to download and install the actual report builder application. (you will be prompted for this download if you haven’t already got it installed.)

Once installed or when the new dialog appears – Now select ‘new report’ as this is what we are wanting to do.

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Once you’ve selected the table wizard, accept the default dataset ‘create a dataset’ and click next. 

Now you will be promoted for a data source, for Lync we need to browse to the data source down the tree.

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select it and click ok. then do a quick test connection for clarity. now select Next, and when prompted add the credentials of your ‘privileged’  user account

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Once you’ve added this information, you will be presented with a dialog which is called design a query. In this you can create your own report based on the information held within the Monitoring database. (everything), NOTE: it would be worth getting hold of the Lync 2013 database schema to understand all the tables available to interrogate.

for this demo, I’m going to select a stored procedure calls GetSCOMAlertData. this store procedure in the report and information which is passed to the SCOM application for reporting. 
in this scenario you don’t need SCOM, but you can get reports on what information would have been passed. I find this useful for monitoring your Lync environment. 
Also you could if you already had a reporting tool ie: Crystal Reports data mine your own information onto a crystal report and interact with other internal system databases.

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On the arrange fields page drag and drop the required fields into the rows and columns 

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on the next couple of pages select your layout and style and select next/finish

once this is complete you can select the ‘Run Report’ button to see your finished result. If your not happy you can go back and redesign the report as you wish.

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Once you’ve tweaked your report to suit, no select save and navigate to the lyncserverreports folder and give your report a name and select save

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now if you go back to your browser and select the original reporting path, you will see your newly created report within to select

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Thats it. 

As i say there is a whole raft of information available to report on, so before you start i would suggest you have the report requirements at had and also have a good understanding of where within the CDR database that information is stored.

 

thanks again