Friday, March 29, 2013

Day Three to STAR: Coon Dog Inn and Mammoth Caves

Day three - forcing a longer day to pick up some points, eat breakfast at a place called 'Coon Dog Inn' and at least get a stamp from Mammoth Cave!  Points include:

  • Kuttawa, KY 
  • Fredonia, KY - home of the Coon Dog Inn
  • Salvisa, KY
Added one more stop in Hopkinsville, KY to pick up a Tour of Honor stop at the Peacekeeper Monument in Fort Campbell Memorial Park.

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Day Two to STAR: MO to KY

Updating the route again with stops from the Z to A Grand Tour; can only catch four points on this leg.  We could get five, but it'd route us near and through Paducah, KY.  BTDT, never again.  So - we're hitting a few more in the Bootheel of MO and one in Kentucky:
  • Winona, MO
  • Zalma, MO
  • Delta, MO
  • Sedalia, KY
Assuming we make all our stops we're up to 9 points and over half way to Lexington for STAR 2013!

Added one more stop in East Prarie, MO at the Veterans Memorial so Nikki can get her Tour of Honor point.

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Day One to STAR 2013

Updated the first day ride - added about 70 miles and 5 (count em, FIVE) points toward the Z-A Grand Tour!  Still going to West Plains, MO via:

  • Osceola, MO
  • Urbana, MO
  • Niangua, MO
  • Ava, MO
  • Pomona, MO

Nice - check out the map embed below; zoom out for the whole route:

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Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Voyager Legend and Microsoft Lync

I use Microsoft Lync extensively in my day job; 6 to 10 hours of calls every day over Lync.  Nearly everything we do is on Lync.

So far I've been tied to a dodgy wired USB headset; it's what was provided with the UC rollout years ago.  Sturdy but a real pain to haul back and forth to the office and back.  Today I picked up a Plantronics Voyager Legend bluetooth headset.  It's the basic $99 version, not the full boat $199 UC version.  So far it works for basic functions with Lync - I get audio in the ear from Lync, and the called party can hear me without difficulty.

On the PC with Lync:

  • It does not answer from the headset.
  • It does not update the Mute status when you mute on the headset.
  • It does not update your presence when you put the headset on or take it off.

That experience is using the built in Bluetooth stack on my HP 8440 laptop under Windows 7.  Very basic functionality, and fair sound quality.  Some static, breakup and digital hash.

It does pair both phone and A2DP audio to my older Motorola Photon.  No caller ID announce though; apparently the Photon doesn't support Address Book profile on Bluetooth.  Need to get a newer phone.  Next month . . .

So, I'd like some more integration - I've got the $50 BT-300-M bluetooth dongle on order to see if that will pair up with Lync and the Voyager Legend headset to tie it all together.  Should be in within a week, so I'll update the post when it arrives.


Oddly enough, the best price anywhere for accessories is the Plantronic Shopping site.  Everyone else has markup over their prices.

13 March:

Received the BT-300M Bluetooth Dongle today.  Followed the instructions to pair.  Launched Lync and found that it had autodetected that I had the adapter in and was working perfectly.

Massive improvement in PC phone call quality.  Landline class clarity, no bluetooth breakup or digital hash.  It also fully controls Lync with presence, mute, mute on the PC controls mute on the headset and more.  Fantastic.  Worth every penny if you use Lync.   I only wish I'd bought the bundled setup for $139 to $199 or so.  Indoor range is about 45 feet through multiple walls.  Basically can cover the whole house.

Also, after a few connections the contact data did finally port in from my Motorola Photon, giving you the caller ID announcement   "Call From Will England, Answer or Ignore" -- then you speak Answer, and it answers.  Very nice.

Battery life is as advertised; after a full charge, I set it to play music from the Photon.  Each hour I'd check the stated battery level; started out saying '7 Hours', then 6, 5, 4 etc.  At a bit after 7 hours it beeped and shut down for low battery life.  So, 7 hours streaming audio.  Very nice.

Comfort and weight is fine still.  Easy on, easy off.  The large physical tactile buttons are still fantastic.

15 March:

Plugged the BT-300M into my Apple MacBook Pro running Mac OS 10.6.8.  Immediately recognized it as a USB Sound Device.  Since it was already paired from connecting it to the Windows laptop, the headset clicked in immediately.  Fired up Microsoft Lync for Mac version 14.0.4 and found that the default audio device was the BT-300M.  Worked exactly like the Windows version with presence, mute, volume and call control completely working as designed.  The Plantronics Legend headset with BT-300M is fully compatible with Microsoft Lync for Mac!  Great news - and exactly what I was hoping to find!  Now I just move the BT-300M dongle from computer to computer and enjoy full Lync wireless VOIP service on both Mac and Windows!

TL;DR:  Great headset.  Highly recommended. If you use VOIP, get the BT-300 adapter.  300-M for Microsoft Lync integration.

Postscript: If you paired your base headset to the PC before getting the BT-300, remove the pairing before using the 300M.  The headset can get confused and connect to the PC Bluetooth adapter instead of the preferred higher quality 300M.