Tip for Skype For Mac update push from Microsoft

Quote

Good Morning

For the people who are running Skype for Mac, you will be aware that Microsoft pushes via the MS updater incremental updates for the Skype For Mac client, with the last one hitting on Tuesday 11th Jan into the ‘fast’ build program. This version drop was version 16.3.121 which had some fundamental updates including tweaks to functions and features. “See the bottom of the page for a full list of what is in v121”

This got me thinking as for the last year, I’ve been running SkypeForMac as part of the MS tap program before it was launched back in October 2016. Ever since the first drop which worked alongside Lync2010 although the installation was a ‘next, next, next,finish’ there has always something which didn’t work as expected. Over time and many conversation with the Microsoft product group in Redmond it became the norm that any Skype for Mac updates should always happened AFTER and full uninstall of the old build of the product. To this day i still do the same.

Here is an example of what issues im talking about…

Since day 1 of the client, we have been seeing a duplication of contacts shown in the contacts search and in the build dropped on Monday, one of the updates is the actual fix for this issue. (The issue shows for most people different presence status which is confusing multiple times) See Below…

In the image below this is build 16.2.156 with 16.3.121 installation straight over the top. As you can see v121 is still carrying the issue into the new build which should have fixed the issue.

blog1

So how do why does it happen? and what is the fix?

Sometimes we see issues being carried over due to the update not clearing out old caches of the installation, which is the case for the duplication issue.

As you can see below i have existing containers going back to October 2016 on this Mac which has the duplication issue baked into the data, therefore what we need to do is clear the slate with the cached information.

blog2

The Fix for this duplication issue.

To resolve the duplicate contacts in your search pane, please follow the steps here to clear out cached data that was improperly stored in these files.

NOTE: you will need to re-enter your logon credentials when the tasks below are completed. 

NOTE: re installing the Skype for Business client (removing and re installing) does not remove this data.

Action to Fix is…

  1. Close Skype for Business (Remember this Part first)
  2. Place the following text into your clipboard:
  3. ~/Library/Containers/com.microsoft.SkypeForBusiness
  4. Open Finder and click on Go then Go to Folder.
  5. Paste the clipboard text into the go to folder area and click Go.
  6. When this folder opens, there will be a file called container.plist and a folder called Data.
  7. Move both of these to the trashblog3
  8. Start Skype for Business

blog4

Note: You will be prompted again with the tool tip information which you can just discard.

As you can see on the search the issue is fixed.!

blog5


Now if your like me and want the ‘belt and braces’ approach. I delete the application and underlying folders and do a clean installation every update.

To do this do the following..

  1. Close Skype for Business (Remember this Part first)
  2. Close outlook for Mac
  3. Clear the cached information as per above
  4. To cleanly uninstall Skype of Business on Mac, follow these steps:
    1. Log on to your computer by using administrative credentials.
    2. Exit Skype For Business on Mac if it’s running.
    3. Drag the Skype For Business on Mac application to the Trash.
    4. Remove the existing Skype preferences if these hidden files exist. To do this, follow these steps:
      1. In the Finder menu, click Go, and click Go to Folder.
      2. Delete the following files:
        • /Users/<User>/Library/Containers/com.microsoft.SkypeForBusiness
        • /Users/<User>/Library/Logs/LwaTracing
        • /Users/<User>/Saved Application State/com.microsoft.SkypeForBusiness.savedState
        • /Users/<User>/Preferences/com.microsoft.SkypeForBusiness.plist
    5. Delete the following file:
      • /Library/Internet Plug-Ins/MeetingJoinPlugin.plugin
    6. In the Applications/Utilities folder, open Keychain Access.
    7. In your logon keychains, delete Skype for Business.
  5. Now reinstall the Application and your good to go.

 

For Awareness within 16.3.121 the following was fixed or addressed

January 10, 2017

Version: Build 16.3.121

  • Fixed duplicated contacts and contacts’ email, which were shown at the same time when users searched a contact. Now users will see only one contact.
  • Fixed “0+” indicator, which was shown after users answered a 1:1 audio/video call.
  • Fixed contact status, which did not update when users changed from “Away” to “Off Work.”
  • Fixed numerous crash issues related to Group Video Calling (GVC).
  • Fixed numerous issues related to accessibility.
  • Fixed an issue where Microsoft Auto Update channels were being overwritten by the client.
  • Implemented improvements to CPU performance when viewing shared screens over Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP).
  • Fixed an issue where contact group expanded/collapsed state would go out of sync.
  • Implemented numerous UI improvements.

Thanks

Iain Smith

 

MSUC.chat Open Mic Usergroup – Ask anything UC related – Happening 16th December 4.30pm GMT

Quote

msuclogo

Hello and welcome to a new online user group adventure / experiment… an regular Monthly “open mic” SfB  meeting where anyone around the world can drop in, chat, ask questions etc. IM luckers and video chatters equally welcome!””

Why do we think this is a good idea.?

There are many people either end user or technical or even vendors who might have a burning question or issue that they want to ask or resolve. I’m sure like most of the people reading this blog post, the first port of call would be a google search. The problem with this is google is full of ….. well 90% of rubbish and false information, and in truth you spend most of your time spinning your wheels looking for the exact solution or closest matched issue. Well this is were MSUC.chat comes in. Myself, Josh Blacock <@getcsjosh>, Ben Lee and Tom Arbuthnot <@tomtalks> have come together to provide that question/issue burning ‘one stop shop’ to get the real answer you might be looking for.

Our view is people will drop in, drop out, ask a question or two or just listen? in truth we are just happy to get an audience and a few questions to talk through.

The first inaugural MSUC.chat event will happen on Friday 16th December at 4.30pm GMT.

As Tom has put on his blog plug for the event,

‘Wouldn’t it be great if there was a group of people who all worked, lived and breathed this stuff (mostly) 24/7 on hand who could provide immediate feedback on ideas, concerns, queries or anything else to do with SfB? Well that’s what we are hoping to be able to achieve here.

If your free we would really like to see a good participation and some fluid conversations about UC, to register goto HERE its free. Once registered we will send you the Skype Conference URL to attend.

ALSO, if you cant make this one, be sure to put your name on the mailing list as we will drop you an mail about the future coming events.

See you online tomorrow

Regards

Iain Smith

UPDATE – Emergency Dialling within Skype for Mac. It is possible with some dial plan tweaks.

Quote

Good Morning All

Following the last couple of days at the future decoded event in the UK, We (Tobie Fysh of Modality Systems @tobiefysh www.tobiefysh.co.uk) had time to look at this 3 digit dialling issue *Emergency/non-Emergency number ranges* I see within the Skype for Mac client.

I can confirm with some slight tweaks to dial plans, I can now ring the necessary numbers from SFM. Please note: however ringing numeric XXX or +XXX does not resolve or connect via our SIP trunk used in Modality Systems.

My workaround dial plan rule now in place (Kudos to Tobie Fysh )… If I call the emergency number in SFM, there is a dial plan normalisation rule, which prefixes the number with the UK e164 code of +44 meaning the dialled number becomes +44999. At this point SFM is ok and the SIP trunk provider accepts the call.

It’s a slightly odd workaround but it works.

Skype for Mac GA release – Emergency dialling (US 911, UK 999, France 112) in fact any 3 numeric dialling issue

Quote

Good Morning

Following on from my previous awareness post about some of the gotchas with the new new Skype for mac client in regards to last weeks release, i saw rumours coming out of the US that 911 calling was restricted/work.

Well i can confirm that is the case and calling from the new Skype mac client fails (actually, it doesn’t try to ring). well this got me thinking of other countries including the UK emergency calling.

I can confirm that dialling the UK 999 number OR 112 France OR 911 US OR any other 3 digit number won’t normalise and ring within the Skype for Mac client.

Slight oversight from Microsoft but I’ve reported it back to product group.

Skype for Mac GA – 7 ‘Other’ Known Issues not mentioned

Quote

Good Evening All.

For the past 5 months I’ve been fortunate enough to be one of a few people/companies to test the in-flight builds of Skype for Mac. For the People who may be aware this used to be called TAP as in part of the ‘TAP’ program. These days its called the sprint program and like I say, myself and Modality Systems (the company I work for) are part of Sprint around various new and exciting elements of the Skype program. **there is lots coming down the line I promise 🙂

Anyway back to Skype for Mac. Today, Microsoft announced the release of the GA build .3638 of the Skype for Mac client. Also they also created a page of known issues with the GA build or rather issues that have been present in the builds for a long time while I’ve been testing/using. The list of public known issues is HERE

So why have I produced this blog post.? Well.. the list of public known issues isn’t the full story of issues.. yes there are more, so what I wanted to do was provide awareness and guidance around them. So in no particular order..

1, P2P desktop sharing still not available

Yes, desktop sharing today in the client isn’t available and will become a pain in the backside for you. Also to confirm this is both a two way issue as in if the other peer user tries to desktop share to you, that won’t work either.

Workaround is… bridge in a third person to your original P2P call and make it into a conference. In this scenario desktop sharing works.

2, Message from other IM users to you.? ‘Unable to send Instant Message’

For the past 5 months this issue has drove me to distraction, and has been reported many many many times to Microsoft product group but yet its still in the build including GA .3638. **note I’m running a newer build version to this .36xx and its still a bug in that as well. 

So what is the bug? Its hard to pinpoint to a actual sequence or task you are doing. A while back I thought it was linked to my Mac screensaver getting activated as I was always told from people who tried to IM me that the IM’s were getting bounced back AFTER say I’ve been for lunch or in a meeting i.e.: when the screensaver came on. However the issue is more wide spread than that and even in short periods of inactivity the same thing happens. At this moment what I do know is, if you actively using your Mac the bug won’t appear. However, if you leave your Mac for 10 mins the bug does appear. (its almost like the client looses connectivity to the server and therefore bounces IM’s back). NOTE: You still get the bounced messages as if there was never an issue, so you won’t know the person sending them is getting the undelivered message if they don’t tell you.

3, Skype for Mac is still a ring fenced entity within the office for mac suit. Other office products have no interaction with the client for things like click to dial etc

Not much to say about this apart from click to join, telephony numbers in word docs or sip names don’t automatically resolve and function within the Skype for Mac client.

4, Adding people to conferences from the Skype for Mac client, crashes the client

I think there is a slight underlaying bug again without good reason of activity or task, but what I still see from time to time is dragging a 3rd person into a P2P call or an existing conference will crash the client. **whats funny though, is the person you was dragging into the conference actually joins, but you get kicked out due to the crash of the Mac client.

5, No ability to mass delete IM conversations

Again not a big issue but certainly if your like me and have a gazillion IM’s going at once it is annoying that you can mass delete the IM history from the Mac client. It would be nice to ‘command A’ and delete all the IM’s in one fell swoop. Sadly you can’t.

ALSO, the ability to ‘command + del’ in rapid succession does not work either meaning you will have to select almost every IM thread before you can delete it from the IM window.

6, Headsets not certified yet (plantronics, Sennheiser and Jabra) randomly come off mute sporadically.

Headsets are a key part of the Skype for Business ecosystem, yet for all the ones I’ve used with the new Mac client (I would say 99% of certified endpoints) ALL suffer the same issue of when on mute in a conference call, the headset will whisper in your ear that you are no longer on mute. This can happen at random times, even when leaning back in your chair and not even touching the keyboard/Mac machine. What makes this bug even more of a challenge is that the Skype for Mac client onscreen visually has you still on mute.!! so the 64 million dollar question is. which ‘thing is right’ ?? the headset saying you OFF mute, OR the Skype for Mac client visually saying your still on mute.!! Arghh.. **to confirm the Skype for Mac client is always correct you do stay on mute even though sporadically the headset will tell you your not.

so the moral of this issue is, don’t believe everything you hear.. !

7,  Sound conflicts in calls when you get an outlook email through. **Makes the audible call appear robotic

Odd bug this one… You could be quite happy on a call of some type talking away, then you get a inbound email. What I have certainly found at this point is, my speech to the end user I’m talking to becomes robotic while I guess the sound notification from the email finishes. After this the audio in the Skype for Mac call becomes ok again, until the next email, then Robotic and so on……

The only workaround I’ve found is to turn of email notification sounds which then stops the interference with the Skype for Mac clients audio.


That’s all for now, I hope you have a great experience with the Mac client, and it is a good client, and will be even better over the next few updates.

Iain Smith

AnyNode SBC Review – TE-Systems

Quote

Good Morning All

Recently. I had the pleasure of meeting the guys from Anynode. If your not aware, Anynode are a German based company who provides a software based solution as in Session Boarder controllers which are certified to work with Skype for Business and the predecessors Lync 2010/2013. Interesting of late they have announced that they also can provide telephony capabilities into the new SkypeFB cloud Connector which I’m sure will become of interest to a lot of people.

The underlaying technical architecture is a well guarded secret, however on face value Anynode states their SBC solution can work with any Telcos SIP platform, so with the challenge laid, i set about building the Anynode SBC in my lab to work along side my PureIP SIP trunk.

Below are my findings.

From the start as you can see the interface is one that is a lot different to what we might has seen before (in relation to Sonus, Audiocodes), yet it was one of simplicity. There are a number of things you need to align within the wizard build before the wizard takes over and completes, however if you have all the necessary FQDNs & IP addresses etc at hand literally within 10 minutes you can be up and running with calls traversing between your SIP carrier and Skype for Business.

Anynode 1wizard 2
wizard 3

In my lab i wanted to ensure that the SBC can do all the things a hardware appliance is capable of, meaning smart routing, DDI transformation, cause code rerouting, message  header manipulation etc etc. so with this in mind i started to tweak my configuration.

Back at the main page, on the left hand pane you see your configuration from the wizard on the select down tabs and from there you can start to get cute with your configuration to make it work exactly how you want.

mainconfig 4

Other things of interest are..

If the Server running the Anynode software is being hammered with traffic or maybe there has been a dodgy OS patch which is causing the CPU to spike, Anynode has built in resilience to specify CPU load conditions and for the software to make a judgement on what happens next, whereas more traditional hardware appliance will try and soldier on and in turn provide poor audio quality calls due to the CPU ramping.

My Synopsis on Anynode the company and also the SBC software

The guys at Anynode could not be more forthcoming with help and assistance and are willing to provide time to suit the customer to get the Software configured to your requirement.

The SBC software is excellent in truth and for any customer looking for a SIP only solution and maybe doesn’t have the outlay of money to purchase a physical appliance, then running Anynodes SBC on a VM would be a perfect option. Like i say there has been nothing lacking i can see within the software which you would get from a Sonus/Audiocodes hardware based solution.

Its worth mentioning in terms of physical\Virtual hardware, the footprint is minimal and the software is happy running on a small subset of CPU and RAM.

All in All, i really like this solution and at the time of writing in the UK the likes of Audiocodes and Sonus don’t have a low end/user software based solution which in some respects opens the door for a company like Anynode to provide an offering.

If you are interested in reviewing, trailing or even speaking to the guys at Anynode about something you are trying accomplish within your company then they are more than happy to assist.

Details are below

http://www.anynode.de

Contact Nick DiCiaccio on Email : support@te-systems.de

 

 

Lync for Mac 2011 ver. 14.3.3 -instability and balloon Spinning hanging

Quote

Hello All

Recently i have suffered from a real pain in the ar5e issue with Lync for Mac 14.3.3

Backtracking to February when 14.3.3 arrived as GA, i noticed that my Lync for mac client became really unstable with random crashes and general instability of the client. As this only become present with the 14.3.3 update, i downgraded back to the 14.1.1 build which brought the client back to a workable/normal state. At the time of going to 14.3.3 i had also been running a few Microsoft UC TAP/beta programs and i was thinking that it could be these clients causing the issues and instability i was seeing.

So, i decided that it was time for a new OSX rebuild of my machine and to get a good clean image to build upon. Following the OSX installation, i loaded Office 2016 for mac, and set my profile correctly before installing Lync for Mac 14.3.3 **without any TAP/Beta installations!..  AGAIN i saw the same random instability issues including the spinning beach ball cursor (not responding) from the Lync for Mac client. Again i ran with this setup for a few days, but then decided that the client was physically unworkable and was left again with no choice but to downgraded back to 14.1.1 which like before worked flawlessly.

This now led me to believe (in error) that it was either el-capitan OR office 2016 for Mac. ? so i set about investigating both with more several rebuilds… On builds i did notice that applying my profile before Office 2016 meant the issue was still seen.??? arghh.

One common dominator though was on a fresh rebuild of OSX THEN the installation of Lync for Mac 14.3.3 without Profile and Office 2016 would work perfectly and that the issue would only arrive back when i installed either Office 2016 or on the configuration of my profile (dock, power setting, screen saver etc).

Anyhow after a far to long and drawn out process of elimination, i finally cracked the riddle of the problem, and this being……

There is a bug in Lync for Mac 14.3.3 which is nothing to do with El-Capitan OR Office 2016  but was in fact the use of a OSX profile picture greater in mb size of 5mb.! IF you changed your picture to > greater than 5mb you will start to see instability of the Lync for mac client 14.3.3. (this didn’t happen in 14.1.1).

Simple resolution was to downgrade the profile picture to less than <5mb and the client became workable using 14.3.3 **note: this has been raised with Microsoft.