Wednesday, October 24, 2012

What horrible software have you used today?

I would like to nominate Microsoft Lync, for a recent webinar/remote presentation I was invited to.
Allow me to describe my experience.
  1. About 5 minutes before the start time, I navigate to the meeting invite URL on my Mac, in my default browser: Firefox.
  2. Dead on arrival - looks like I need to download and install Silverlight (50MB).  Sure, whatever.
  3. Install Silverlight, restart Firefox.  It's still telling me to install Silverlight.  Weird.  
  4. Might as well try Safari, probably closer to a "supported configuration" right?  It's recognizing Silverlight, hurray!  (but why didn't it configure Firefox?) Who cares, at least we're good to go now.
  5. Not so fast! I get this bright red error message:  "You cannot join the meeting because of a server configuration issue. Please contact the meeting organizer."
  6. I email the organizer. A minute or two later comes the response:  "the meeting has now started, you should be able to join."  I guess not starting the meeting is a configuration issue...
  7. At this point, I switch over to a PC laptop, figuring I might as well conform to the expected Microsoft ecosystem.
  8. The meeting starts, and I'm about to "enter the lobby."  I have a choice:  Would I like to "join using my browser"' or "download and use LyncAttendee?"
  9. I choose browser.  As it turns out, Audio isn't supported (wth is the silverlight plugin for?)
  10. I guess I have to see about getting Lync Attendee after all.  Dammit, the URL for LyncAttendee isn't handy, because I've joined the meeting already using the browser...
  11. I go back to my original meeting invite URL... There's the link! I spend some time downloading (another 50MB) and installing.
  12. I rejoin the meeting using Lync Attendee instead of the browser. How weird - there is still no audio!
  13. Ah, but wait, I see an error message! "Your audio device is not configured properly." That's not very helpful.
  14. I verify that my speakers are working by clicking on the volume control... There's the familiar "Ding!" sound.  I check control panel just to see if there's any other weird devices available.  Nope.  Seems fine to me.
  15. I notice the error message was click-able... Maybe there are some troubleshooting tips there.. "Your audio device is not set up properly, check your settings in 'Audio Device Options'"  Alrighty then, let's just find that menu option....
  16. Geez, I can't seem to find it anywhere... let's try google: "lync attendee audio device not configured"  Lots of hits.
  17. Good grief!!  The first hit reveals that "Audio Device Options" DOESNT EVEN EXIST in Lync Attendee.  That is apparently a Lync 2010 feature.  Another wtf, and another dead end.
  18. Back to google.  I navigate to the next search hit.. and miraculously, find a solution.  Some internet guy responding to a forum post writes: "you must not have a microphone plugged in. If you don't have a mic, Lync Attendee reports audio configuration problems..."  Wow.  Really?
  19. I dig out a crappy old mic, plug it in, and presto - I can hear the presenter!
This is what he said: "Thanks everyone, for attending.  Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions."