2021 mugshot: a Victa Redphone

I’ve long been fascinated by electro-mechanical devices – a contraption that uses electricity to make things move in the real world.

This explains my love of pinball machines, and of the wonderful mechanisms inside public telephones (“PTs”), both of which I have examples of in our home today. It probably also explains the drive to build crazy effects for our annual housewarming.

Had I realised this earlier in life I might have ended up in process control or industrial engineering, but telephony drew me in.

My ‘corporate mugshot’ for 2021 is the chunky, heavy handset from an Aussie “Redphone”.
Continue reading ‘2021 mugshot: a Victa Redphone’ »

Neil’s amazing PowerShell code toggle

As a consultant I move from project to project, usually meeting a bunch of new people each time, imparting some wisdom, and moving on. One of the highlights for me is what I learn from the people that I encounter along the way.

And so it was that I met Neil East in Canberra, and he shared with me his amazing PowerShell code toggle.

The point of this is that it’s a MIND-BOGGLINGLY simple way of replacing a line (or more) of a script with an alternative. Typically this is when you’re developing and might want to run some code in a “read only” mode, or some other debugging process, and you might have a need to toggle back and forth many times.

Neil’s trick exploits that PowerShell has two different ways of commenting-out code:

The most common is just starting a line with a “#”.

# This line won't be actioned

The other is to wrap one or more lines in a “<#" and a "#>“.

<# This will be skipped too #>

Continue reading ‘Neil’s amazing PowerShell code toggle’ »

SfB 2019 Server Update – November 2020

Following hot on the heels of this week’s update to SfBS 2015, we have the equivalent version for 2019.

This is build 7.0.2048.248, and it updated only two components on my Standard Edition Front-End. (The last update was to 7.0.2046.244 released in September).

What’s Fixed?

Just the one update:

  • Kb 4576668 Support push notification for iOS 13 in Skype for Business Server 2019.

What’s New?

Nothing noted.

What’s Changed?

Nothing noted.

Continue reading ‘SfB 2019 Server Update – November 2020’ »

SfB 2015 Server Update – November 2020

It’s been four months since we saw an update for Skype for Business Server 2015, which was a rare security update that took us to 6.0.9319.591.

This is build 6.0.9319.598, and it updated only two components on my Standard Edition Front-End.

What’s Fixed?

This cumulative update includes a defense in depth fix and enables Location-Based Routing to support the Skype for Business mobile clients. It also fixes the following issues:

  • Kb 4583546 Support push notification for iOS 13 in Skype for Business Server 2015.

What’s New?

Nothing noted. No cmdlets have been added to the SfB module in this update.

What’s Changed?

Nothing noted.

Continue reading ‘SfB 2015 Server Update – November 2020’ »

Lync 2013 / SfB 2015 Client Updates – 2020

I last blogged updates to the Office 2013 / Skype for Business 2015 client in August last year. There appear to have been two releases in the intervening period.

Lync 2013 / SfB 2015 Client Update – March 2020

Kb 4484097. The version number of this update is 15.0.5223.1000.

It contained one documented fix:

  • Kb 4538707 Allow Skype for Business 2015 (Lync 2013) user to start a meeting to share screen or have a group call with a Microsoft Teams user.

Continue reading ‘Lync 2013 / SfB 2015 Client Updates – 2020’ »

Use PowerShell to clear stubborn file attributes

For several years we’ve used a basic data backup program that exploits the archive bit on files to determine if they need to be backed up or not. We run a weekly full backup with daily differentials. After the weekly backup is run, the archive bit is reset on all files, ready for the next week.

Except it isn’t.

It turns out that if the file has both the system and hidden bit set, you can’t change any of the attributes. This is apparently a known issue that goes right back to the attrib command back in the MS-DOS days.

The end result is that our differential backups end up full of seemingly empty directories that simply don’t need to be there. The usual culprit is a hidden desktop.ini or thumbs.db file.

The simple solution would of course be to run the attrib -a /s /d command on the drive after the weekly backup has completed. But as we now know, that doesn’t work:

PowerShell to the Rescue!

Continue reading ‘Use PowerShell to clear stubborn file attributes’ »

Ribbon SBC v9 Adds Emergency Notifications

Amongst the new features in Ribbon’s v9 release of firmware for its 1k, 2k and SWe-Lite family of SBCs is support for “Kari’s Law”.

Kari’s Law

Kari’s Law is named in honour of Kari Hunt, who was killed by her estranged husband in a motel room in Marshall, Texas in 2013. Ms. Hunt’s 9-year-old daughter tried to call 911 for help four times from the motel room phone, but the call never went through because she did not know that the motel’s phone system required dialing “9” for an outbound line before dialing 911.

Congress responded by enacting Kari’s Law in 2018, and in August 2019, the FCC adopted rules implementing Kari’s Law and Section 506 of RAY BAUM’S Act.

Under the statute and the Commission’s rules, multi-line telephone systems (MLTS) manufacturers and vendors must pre-configure these systems to support direct dialing of 911 — that is, to enable the user to dial 911 without having to dial any prefix or access code, such as the number 9. In addition, MLTS installers, managers, and operators must ensure that the systems support 911 direct dialing.

The Commission’s rules also implement the notification requirement of Kari’s Law, which is intended to facilitate building entry by first responders. When a 911 call is placed on a MLTS system, the system must be configured to notify a central location on-site or off-site where someone is likely to see or hear the notification. Examples of notification include conspicuous on-screen messages with audible alarms for security desk computers using a client application, text messages for smartphones, and email for administrators.

(The above text is from the FCC webpage, see References at the bottom of this post.)

Continue reading ‘Ribbon SBC v9 Adds Emergency Notifications’ »

SfB 2019 Server Update – September 2020

With the dust still settling from last week’s Ignite we can get back to our usual routine, and what better way to do this than with CU4(?) for SfBS 2019.

Our last update was July’s security update to 7.0.2046.236, and this new release (7.0.2046.244) updated nine components on my Standard Edition Front-End.

What’s Fixed?

  • Kb 4538699 Wrong end point shown for a transfer call in Skype for Business Server
  • Kb 4537395 SQL Server Agent LcsLog purge job fails with error in certain scenarios in Skype for Business Server
  • Kb 4538703 Increase characters limit for Notification URI in Skype for Business Server Control Panel and PowerShell
  • Kb 4538700 PSTN call transfer fails if agent anonymity is enabled in Skype for Business Server
  • Kb 4583494 Missed call notification occurs due to wrong handling of SIP header in Skype for Business Server 2019
  • Kb 4507230 Support LBR and branch site voice resiliency conflicting requirements in Skype for Business Server
  • Kb 4576667 Skype for Business Server 2019 fabric logging folder consumes more than 60 GB
  • Kb 4537396 IM filter doesn’t work if network path has host server name in Skype for Business Server
  • Kb 4518679 Skype meeting disconnection because of missing session refresh in Skype for Business Server
  • Kb 4537394 UCWA unhandled exception – InvalidDataException in Skype for Business Server
  • Kb 4512879 UCWA client can’t make a P2P call or join a conference when EnableExternalAccessCheck is True and EnableOutsideAccess is False in Skype for Business Server
  • Kb 4510856 User can’t create Skype meeting for a delegator via Skype for Business on Mac if they’re homed in different pools in Skype for Business Server
  • Kb 4510852 UCWA client is disconnected because w3wp.exe crashes when you use clarity connect in Skype for Business Server
  • Kb 4538701 Conference call dropped after 28 or 56 minutes joining from Cisco phone in Skype for Business Server
  • Kb 4576666 Contact card shows wrong title in a meeting on Skype for Business on Mac
  • Kb 4537398 PII data (IM contents of push notification) is shown in Skype for Business Server UCWA mobile clients
  • Kb 4537397 Wrong time zone in Skype for Business Web Scheduler in Skype for Business Server
  • Kb 4549672 Update set-cookie response header to use SameSite=none in Skype for Business Server UCWA

Continue reading ‘SfB 2019 Server Update – September 2020’ »

Server 2016 – Unable to set Certificate to Issue

I recently hit a brick wall while trying to update a certificate template in my stand-alone Server 2016 Certificate Authority.

My goal was to add the “Client Authentication” policy to the the Web Server template, but whilst I could create the new template without any problems, Windows wouldn’t let me add it to the list of “certificates to issue”.

Copying Templates

The process to copy a certificate template is fairly well documented. The short version is:

  1. Launch the Certificate Authority MMC:
  2. Right-click Certificate Templates and select Manage, which opens the “Certificate Templates Console”.
  3. Right-click on the certificate you want to copy and select Duplicate Template.
  4. Continue reading ‘Server 2016 – Unable to set Certificate to Issue’ »

A home-brew autocue (teleprompter)

My introduction to desktop video came back in the days of OCS 2007 R1.

It quickly occurred to me that this wasn’t going to take off until we had two things: 1) the upload bandwidth to support a decent outgoing video stream; and 2) the ability to look at the incoming video of the person you were speaking with, whilst at the same time staring directly down the lens of the camera.

Thankfully the NBN has delivered on the first component here in Oz, but technology has so far failed to come through on the second, and so most of us participate in video calls with the participants all looking off to the side while you’re talking to them.

I theorised that the fix would be when a screen vendor figured out how to place a camera mid-screen directly behind the glass. I remember saying I’d race out and buy two the day they hit the market (so my two monitors matched).

The hubby has more recently suggested it’ll be delivered via algorithm instead. There will be a camera in the four corners of the screen and digital magic will stitch together a coherent moving image of you with eyes pointing ‘naturally’ at the camera.

I saw on Twitter only yesterday that Microsoft has apparently delivered something similar in the Surface Pro X with a feature they’re calling "Eye Contact".

Roll forward to 2020 though, and with lots of us now working from home and participating in non-stop meetings, I thought it was time to make matters into my own hands.

Continue reading ‘A home-brew autocue (teleprompter)’ »