Skype 4 Business

The April 2017 release brings Peer-to-peer file transfer capabilities to the MacOS Client of Skype for Business. That was one of the most missed and requested features on the MacOS platform.

Skype4B Peer-to-peer file transfer

Skype4B Peer-to-peer file transfer

But before starting to party hard, because you missed that feature to… There is one (big) drawback: It is a Skype Online Feature! No on Premises, at least for now.

Here is the announcement:

Peer-to-peer file transfer is enabled for Skype for Business Online. Users can now send and receive files while in a chat session by clicking the paper clip in the chat message input box. They can also drag files directly from the Finder to the chat message input box.

See the “Peer-to-peer file transfer is enabled for Skype for Business Online“?

And here is a picture from the same Mac, only with my on Premises User is used:

No Peer-to-peer file transfer on Premises

No Peer-to-peer file transfer on Premises

The April release also contains a few interesting improvements. The complete list can be found on the what’s new in Skype for Business 2016 page of Microsoft.

Skype 4 Business

After installing the latest Skype for Business Client on MacOS Sierra, the Status message is pre filled with the word Note.

Skype 4 Business Status field

Skype 4 Business Status field

All contacts see me, without any Status message. If I click on the field, the status message is, then set to “Note“, even if I then click somewhere (not OK).

Skype 4 Business Edit field

Skype 4 Business Edit field

The contacts now see me with the personal status message “Note“.

Skype 4 Business now note is set

Skype 4 Business now note is set

The Skype for Business on Premises Server is Version 2015 with CU4. The Client is the latest Release and seems to be the same on the latest Insider Fast Ring (Version 16.7.196).

I just found that because several of my contacts had the Status message “Note“, all of these have a Mac. All Windows Clients (Where the default is “What’s happening today?“) act normal. If I click on a Windows Client in the field, nothing is set.

Tested the same with Skype for Business Online (Part of Office 365 E3), with the same result.
I tested that with several MAC’s and different Skype Client Versions (See above). Anyone an idea what happened here?

I want to transfer more and more logic away from Group Policies towards Windows PowerShell Desired State Configuration (DSC). There are several reasons why i think that DSC is much better than my old (and complex) group policy constructs, but the main reason (at least for me): I can manage DSC clients that are domain joined, not domain joined, or even Azure Active Directory domain joined the same way.

This is also something I use for Edge servers (like Skype or Exchange); they are not domain joined. And if you have more than one that should do exactly the same, this is where DSC could become a life saver and make your life very easy.

I play around with several DSC Push and Pull server instances, but I wanted to have the same set of DSC resources available on all of them. At least until I know which to keep to reduce my own logic.

I use the DSC Script Resource a lot. I do a lot of checks and implemented a lot of logic and flexibility within a lot of Script Resources.
However, this is the wrong way to use DSC! At least, in my opinion!

There are some very cool ready to use DSC resources available, and this reduces the script resource usage (or what I did: abuse). Why should I keep my own logic when someone else created nearly the same as a central and maintained DSC resource?
I know: I’m lazy!

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Simple Tool that bulk imports or removes user pictures, based on AD Group Membership.
If a user is in both groups, the picture will be removed!
Idea based on my old tool to import Active Directory pictures.
They are a bit to tiny, so I use Exchange now to make them look better in Exchange and Skype.

The tool will not check the pictures. As long as a picture exists, it will try to import it. Then the Exchange Server might reject the import, and you will get a warning. Same for users with non existing Mailboxes: The Tool will not check anything for the User before it tries to import the picture.

The Pictures should be in the JPG format and not larger than 648x648px. With a depth of 24 bits, each picture has around 200-250 kilobytes. Keep that in mind if you load a big bunch of pictures.

The following formats are used:

  • 48x48px – Active Directory thumbnailPhoto
  • 96x96px – Outlook, Outlook Web Access, Lync/Skype and SharePoint
  • 648x648px – Lync/Skype Clients and Lync/Skype Web App

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Today I had a chat with a customer about the Windows PowerShell Web Access. I told him, that the Web-based access could be very useful, at least sometimes, and not just a gimmick.

I told him to read this TechNet article: Install and Use Windows PowerShell Web Access.

The article is great, but instead of applying so many rules (most examples use single users and single computer) my approach is group based. I’m a big fan of groups, and that gives me the flexibility to manage everything via the existing Active Directory. And as a benefit, it could reduce the rules.

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