Category Archives: Experiements

Windows 8 Quick Look

I’ve spent some time with Windows 8 over the past week and have my brief thoughts to share below.

What I Like:

  • Windows 8 natively looks to connect to my total digital world including Twitter, Gmail, LinkedIn, Exchange and Facebook.  This is very similar to what Palm OS did several years back which I *loved*.  Palm seemed to pull off the execution better, perhaps because they didn’t have a horse in the race (i.e. MSN).  I would also like to connect to XMPP servers (i.e. Jabber), but Microsoft doesn’t seem to be too willing to share their playground at the moment (more on that in my summary).
  • Dynamic Tiles – this feels like Unified Inbox from Cisco on the Cius which I’m a big fan of.  The Cius version is a bit unpredictable, hopefully that improves and Windows 8 takes cues on algorithms to make it feel very active and predictable.
  • Connectivity to cell phones – LOVED this concept.  If I lock my home computer and can’t remember the password, I can use my cell phone to help reset my home PC’s password.  I expect this is leveraging my MSN account and SMS out capabilities in MSN.  EXCELLENT example of blending of PC’s and mobile devices in real life ways.  Kudos Microsoft. Below is a screen shot.

Dislike:

Disclaimer on the dislikes.  I don’t really mind the technical issues.  This is a preview, and I commend Microsoft on hanging their laundry out on the clothesline before it is completely dry.  I mention them simply to caution – Windows 8 is clearly not yet ready for prime time.

Technical issues.  Clean install wouldn’t work for me with Fusion 4 using 32 bit.  Neither would the 64 bit version which I just attempted.

For those keeping track, here are the two errors I saw on the 32 bit.

And the error seen on 64 bit.

 

Also while adding my Google account the wizard initially failed and required a server address.  Are you kidding – I have NO idea of any google server address!?  After canceling process and trying later it finally worked.

 

UI Issues:

  • No clear search from home “tile screen”? – There should be clear icon (spotlight in Mac anyone) that is visible at all times for search.  My data is far too unwieldy at this point to not use search as a primary and most efficient function.  As it stands, if you hold the mouse (and I assume your finger on a touch screen) in the bottom right – you are rewarded with a search icon.
  • ESC should be a universal “back up one level” button.  I’m actually unclear on what it does, it seems to be sometimes back up one level, and other times akin to Alt-Tab.
  • Likewise, the Windows key seems to be a toggle button which is confusing – I prefer it doing one thing only regardless of where I am.
  • In the mail app – Pressing Delete on a message icon doesn’t delete it.  I have to use the Trash icon.
  • Also in the mail app – there is no “All Mail Accounts” view.  /cough – Microsoft – we are in 2012, not 2007!
  • Also in the mail app (which appears to need lots of work) – there is no “move message to folder” option.

Summary Observations:

  • Windows 8 feels very “consumption” focused.  The tiles update with information about what is happening, there doesn’t seem to be a focus on tiles to create content.  When I sit down in front of a Windows or Mac desktop, I’m doing so to create content.  When I sit down in front of a tablet or mobile phone, I’m doing so to consume content.
  • My final word – As I mentioned above, Microsoft seems to want to force consumers into using their products.  This was cute back in 1997, now it is just stupid and annoying.  The result of the lawsuits Microsoft has suffered have trained consumers that equal choice is expected – trying to now not show common messaging platforms (Google, other XMPP, etc.) and force users into MSN is just begging for another anti-trust lawsuit.

Bonus Tips: (they are tips because they are not obvious in the UI)

  • Right-click on main tiles page brings up “All Apps” at the bottom.  This seems to be essentially the equivalent of the Start Button – without a command line or search still.
  • Hitting the “Desktop” tile – brings you back to “Windows 7” mode

Get the Windows 8 preview for yourself at http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows/home

 

Enterprise Video on the iPad #2 (2 of 2)

A few weeks back I posted that I was able to get video working on the iPad2 and that video integrated with our Cisco/Tandberg environment.

I’m pleased to provide an update based on version 1.03 of the Polycom iPad2 app that fixes three issues I had with the previous version.

Fix #1 – DTMF now working – Thanks @paland for the heads up on that issue

Fix #2 – Correct resolution when calling a Telepresence Content Server (TCS).  On the previous Polycom version I could only connect @ 192×144 vs. the 480×352 that I was expecting.  I could connect at the higher resolution to any other endpoint, it was only the TCS that would result in a lower resolution connection.

Fix #3 – Unpredictable SIP registration on TCP vs. UDP – I would sometimes need to toggle between TCP and UDP due to failed registration.  On the new version I haven’t seen any failures regardless of protocol.

At first when downloading the new version, I thought Polycom was going to lock me out of the app unless I had their infrastructure.  This screenshot was why I thought this…

Fortunately it turns out that login is their attempt at autodiscovery of their CMA server.

You can put in bogus information, tap Sign In, and still get to the main screen.

Notice the Alert icon on the bottom of the screen.  Tapping on it shows you that your login to the automatically detected CMA server (that doesn’t exist in my case) failed.

 

From here the settings are nearly identical to the last version.

Tap the Gear (Settings) icon in the bottom right corner of the screen and be presented with the main settings page:

First, toggle the Polycom CMA service to OFF.

That adds the familiar H323 and SIP options.

Then toggle the 3G/4G Call Rate to 512Kbps.  This is a new setting, in the past it only knew about 3G.

Your screen should look like:

Tap to go into the H.323 Settings.  I have H.323 calling disabled on mine to more closely match how the Movi client operates (SIP only).

Once into SIP settings enter the settings as shown below.

Enjoy!!

First Video call from iPad2 to Cisco environment! (1 of 2)

I’ve been wanting to get my hands on an iPad2 long enough for a while to try out a perhaps unexpected way to use it for video calls with our internal Cisco VCS/VCS-X/TMS/Tandberg Endpoints, Cisco Video Phones, Cisco Immersive TP endpoints environment.

The unexpected way?  Use the Polycom mobile app announced and released a few weeks ago.

I picked up a few iPad2’s tonight, and got some time while the wife and kids were away to hack at it for a while.

So far I’ve tested successful 2-way video calls between the iPad2 and:

  1. Cisco Movi 4.2 running on iMac 27″
  2. Cisco Movi 4.2 running on MacBook Pro
  3. Cisco Cius running firmware sipcius.9-2-1SR2-21SEC through call to MCU 4501
  4. Cisco Cius running firmware sipcius.9-2-1SR2-21SEC through call to Cisco TPS

Directly dialing between the Cius and the iPad2 results in only audio coming from the Cius to the iPad2.

I’ve also tested and expect it is working (but can’t verify the other side of the call) calls to:

  1. Cisco C40 registered to VCS-Control (whereas I’m registered to the Expressway)
  2. Cisco EX60 registered to VCS-Control

Lastly (cuz I need sleep) I tested presentation from the Movi client and it worked successfully.

A few screen shots showing what settings I used:

This is the main settings screen.  I ignored the Polycom specific settings:

Now for the SIP settings – I haven’t gotten H323 calls working just yet:

I blurred out the specific settings, however you will want to set them as the following:

  • SIP Proxy Server – set this to your external VCS Expressway address (I’m using DNS, haven’t tried IP) – exactly how you would have it setup in your Movi client
  • SIP Registrar Server – Same as above
  • Domain – your domain – for me it was simply inxi.com.  Exactly what you would use for your Movi client.
  • SIP User Name – This is the SIP address you will register with.  I’ve played with this a bit and found that as long as you can authenticate, you can tweak your SIP URI.  As such you can call me @ josh.miller.ipad@inxi.com if my client is running.  It also works to register as the same URL you use for Movi (most practical) and the Expressway will ring all of your logged in Movi endpoints.
  • Authorized Name – This is the login name, no @domain or DOMAIN was needed for me.
  • SIP Password – Password you would use to login to Movi
  • Transport Protocol – UDP – didn’t work on TCP

From what I understand there has been a Tandberg Movi app for several years that simply hasn’t seen the light of day.  Here’s to hoping I can get my hands on a real Cisco video client for the iPad and Android soon!

 

 

UPDATE:  I also tried out the ClearSea service and am rather displeased at the full-court bait and switch they employ.  They offer a service, and then e-mail you a few days later to let you know you are on a trial and you are going to be limited to a nearly useless account if you don’t cough up $40/month.  Screen shot below shows pricing.