Hosted Lync For Mac
What I learned when I tried it out.
My gut told me to stay on this and I'm glad I did. In my last post and reply to Kevin Kieller, I mentioned the trials and confusion associated with Apple users and even Microsoft users in determining which Microsoft client to use. After providing my findings to the host, they updated their site with the Microsoft fix (update) for the Lync-for-Mac client software. Communicator for Mac dials only other users (on net) using email addresses. Lync for Mac includes the ability to dial on and off net.
Beyond this trial there was yet another event unfolding here within my offices. The one user holdout using a Dell (Windows) PC, who I moved over to a new Mac recently, voiced some discontent with some of the Mac apps--namely Pages. Our old Office for Mac 2004 software won't run on Apple Lion and I read of issues with Office for Mac 2011 that encouraged me to hold off buying the newer software.
As I explained to Kevin on No Jitter, Office for Mac 2011 (Enterprise) discusses Lync for Mac and this was one more attraction. The lone dissenter in my office is right on about the issues--or I should say shortcomings--of the Mac app. For one, the apps just don’t feel the same as the Office package, notably Outlook with its onboard Calendar, Contacts, Tasks and Notes being on the same page; and secondly, Pages (Equivalent to Word) does not make it easy to "save as" a Word document or to just set a default to always save as a Word document. The other concern is that Pages lacks "readability statistics" that Word provides. In Lion it seems that Apple went overboard in trying to think for the users with the feature Resume.
Microsoft provides a free 30-day trial of Office for Mac 2011. After installing (Not Configuring) Lync for Mac, immediately install the 14.0.1 Update and then do the configuration of the client. I downloaded the trial software Office for Mac 2011 as soon as I got my Lync for Mac client configured and working properly. Presence in Outlook on hosted Lync services requires the host to provide Exchange. I asked the host to pony up one hosted Exchange account for me to test. Yes, there is presence in Outlook, and yes it’s a very cool feature. The other goal was to discover the process of any troubleshooting.
Then, I wanted to test voice quality beyond using my built-in microphone and avoid the poor acoustics of my office with 9+ foot-high ceilings, wood furniture and floors. There's a whole lesson in conditioning office spaces for sound and anyone dealing with call centers knows this. So for folks considering using their Mac or PC with a built in microphone and not a headset, USB phone or IP phone compatible with Lync--you really need to make sure your acoustical environment lends itself to this. Then, consider what your contacts, co-workers and customers would say, and if they do ask that you remove them from "speakerphone" what will you do? The Lync answer is: move the caller to your cellphone.
I contemplated putting down a rug of some sort on my office floor. There's no way I'm in the mood for painting or having the walls painted with acoustical paint such as Acousti-Coat for drywall or Pro-Coustic for ceiling tiles. There are a few other tricks such as hanging sound-absorbing artwork, but I decided on the Plantronics Voyager Pro UC V2 B230-M (P/N 38884-01). This is a Bluetooth headset and it will pair with two devices--my Mac desktop and my iPhone. Unfortunately, the headset just won’t play right with Lync, so when you read, "Optimized for Lync," you may want to get a second opinion. I searched Microsoft’s tech forums and discovered other users with the same frustrations, and one user notably tried several "Optimized for Lync" headsets with varying results ending in failure. I haven't had time to run down the headset issues other than the "crash report" that is found in Utilities/Console/Crash Report, and the first line will show: Plantronics Voyager PRO UC V2 (P/N 38884-01) Mfg Date: 10/2011
Next page: What I Learned