Problems with websites

I’m putting this up in order to have one place to reference this problem online.

There are several websites that do not render properly on my Windows computer (IE, FF, or Chrome) when behind my corporate Zscaler proxy service. My own IT department is looking into it, but as I’m confident this is related to Zscaler, I plan on reaching out to them to see if they can assist.

As an example, let’s look at Twitter. To be clear, I have similar problems on other sites (ex. wordpress.com ironically as I’m on it right now). Let’s look at this URL: https://twitter.com/avaya.

When I’m on my personal laptop, in Chrome, I see it this way:

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Note that you can see the reply, retweet, Pocket, like, and more information buttons under the tweet.

Now, when I go to the same URL in IE on my Windows 10 machine at work, I see:

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See how the “buttons” are missing under the tweet? If I hover my mouse where they should be, I can click on them and use the functionality, but they’re not displayed. It would seem they are getting stripped out somehow.

Now, if I do the same test but in Firefox or Chrome from my work Windows 10 computer, I see this:

avayatwitter_zscaler_chrome.png

Yeah, it’s totally rendering improperly.

I’ve confirmed with many colleagues that they have the same experience, making me confident it is not an issue with my work laptop, but an issue on the enterprise side of things.


Rec Depart Soccer Rotations

I’m lucky to live in a great city where we have a wonderful Recreation Department that runs a soccer league for pre-K through 2nd grade. They do a great job of encouraging fun with minimal seriousness.  I’ve been coaching my own kids teams now for three years and as a coach, I’m encouraged to make having fun my number one priority. Soccer skills are second and we try not to even keep score. There are no goalies in this league and as the coach it is important to me that each player have an equal opportunity to play offense, defense, and take a break.

I looked online for mobile apps or documents to help me manage this on the field, but none do what I needed: equal playtime between offense, defense, and sitting out. No goalie and no assigned positions.

Instead, I created an Excel document that includes a variety of possible scenarios depending on the size of the team and the number of players the league is recommending playing at a time. I use it by:

  1. Having a “blank” copy of each relevant scenario on my clipboard before each game.
  2. Before the game starts, I count players and find the right sheet.
  3. Fill in the players’ names in the proper column using a pen
  4. Tell each player where they are for the first shift.
  5. We play ~ 5 mins between rotations
  6. I call out each player’s name and what their next role is in the new shift
  7. Use my pen to cross out the shift we just did so I don’t lose track of which shift we’re on.

I’m sharing the document here in case others would like to use this as well. All I ask is that if you find an error or have a suggestion for an improvement, please contact me using the contact information on this site so that I can update the document accordingly and re-publish here for everyone.

Please bookmark this post, not the actual file, as the filename of the file may change over time, but this page’s URL will remain the same.

The Excel document can be downloaded here.


Installing a BT45-HON3 in a 2006 Honda Odyssey

I finally decided to add bluetooth to our 2006 Honda Odyssey minivan this weekend and I thought I’d document it here.

I purchased the BT45-HON3 from Amazon and it arrived the next day. I’ll admit that after I opened the box and realized that the instructions were, understandably, just about the device and nothing specific to my vehicle, I was a bit nervous. For example, I knew how to hook it up to the car’s radio, but not where or how. But I have YouTube, so no worries.

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Above is how it started, so first I needed to take off the panel around the climate control section. Using a basic screwdriver inserted under the panel, I was able to pop it out. Here is a shot of it popped out off. Note, I had to put the emergency brake on and then use the key to pop it out of park to drive in order to get it around the shifter.

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Next you need to unscrew the radio. The first two screws are obvious on the left and right of the bottom of the radio. But the third one is harder to see. It’s under the radio in the center. You’ll need a decently long screwdriver to get to it.

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Once that is removed, you can simply remove the radio.

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Once I pulled the radio out I pulled out the main radio jack, plugged in the new one from the BT device, and plugged the BT device cable back in its slot in the back of the radio.

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I then ran the BT device’s audio cable down and out to where the brake pedal is for the time. At this point, I turned the radio back on, and following the guidance, I was able to pair my Android phone to the device and listened to music for a bit. Very rewarding.

So, then I clipped the microphone near the rear view mirror and started to run the connecting wire toward the driver’s side door, tucking it under the liner.

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I then tucked the cable and hooked it up to the BT device, which I was able to easily just tuck up in the area above the brake pedal.

All in all, if you don’t count the time where I stopped working to admire the ability to listen to music, I’d say it took ~30 mins.


PCC EMEA Agenda

I’m excited to be traveling to Amsterdam this coming weekend to deliver two presentations on The Value of Avaya Support’s tools at our annual Partner Conference for EMEA partners. This is also what I’ll be blogging a lot about this month at http://www.avaya.com/blogs/archives/author/carl-knerr.

I’m a pretty well organized guy, so I like to have the conference’s full agenda in my calendar so I only need my phone’s calendar app to know where I’m headed to next during the week. I couldn’t find any existing calendar invites available, so I built my own. Given that this takes some time, I wanted to save other attendees the hassle, so below is a zip file full of .iCalendar formatted meeting invites for everything on the agenda.

Calendar Appointments

Please try to make one of the following two presentations I’m delivering:

  1. The Business Justification behind Automated Alarming and Fault Resolution
  2. The Value of using SAL, SLA MonTM, and EXPERT SystemsSM; a Deep Dive

I hope to see many of you there.


Dubai

I had the great pleasure of traveling to Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Muscat a month ago for business. I was invited by some really enthusiastic Avayans to come and speak to Avayans, Business Partners, and Avaya customers about how to unlock the value in their Avaya support coverage. This is a topic I’ve been talking a lot about and my first of a 4-part blog series can be found here: http://bit.ly/1MU22tc.

I had a really good time, despite the heat. Yeah, let’s talk about the heat for a moment: 50° C (120° F) is pretty darn hot. So hot that your own breath feels like a cold breeze. Yeah, that was a surprise. And while I’m told that Dubai tends to be a dry heat, while I was there it was quite humid. But there is so much A/C everywhere (even in the subway system) that it wasn’t all that bad. The people and the architecture more than made up for it.

I was able to catch a direct flight out of Boston to Dubai on Emirates, but I’m getting a bit ahead of myself. Just days before the trip, my beautiful wife convinced me that we, and our four kids (6yrs old and younger) should go camping at the cape with our neighbors. We had a great time.

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This gave me an excuse to take the Ferry from P-town to Boston which was a great ride.

So, yes, an amazingly comfortable flight to Dubai on Emirates

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that left me rested and ready to see the city, both its old architecture

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and new.

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Their mall is famous as it has an aquarium, ice skating rink, and snow ski hill.

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But the best sight-seeing was going up the tallest man made structure in the world, the #BurjKhalifa. On the 124th floor, you’re actually outside looking down at the city. When you go to the 125th floor, you’re at 456M (500 yards or a quarter mile) high.

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I was impressed with the elevator. It takes only one minute to go from the 124th floor to ground. Check out this video I took on the way down.

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Next was a quick dip in the Persian Gulf just down the beach from the Burj Al Arab.

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I worked with a lot of great people during this week, who pretty much lived and breathed Avaya alongside me for a week. Check out the views from the Avaya office in Dubai.

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We did manage to get some food and laughs in along the way.

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The other cool thing about this trip was that two friends of mine happened to be in town on business as well. I met up with Peter, a Duke friend I hadn’t seen since 2002 for drinks, and then later that evening, I had dinner with this wonderful woman, Jenne, who I hadn’t seen since 1997.

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A great trip and I think we were successful in convincing some customers and partners to take another look at our toolset, which felt great. I look forward to an excuse to head back out there again.


Look Who’s Tweeting

Avaya_who_tweetingSo, I was interviewed for the internal Avaya newsletter about my activity on Twitter. If it was good enough for them, I figured I’d share that text here as well.

Director of Support Strategy Carl Knerr (@CarlKnerr) is one of the more prolific tweeters at Avaya. A quick skim of his page and you start to get a picture of who he is both personally and professionally. Knerr follows fellow Avayan Jeremiah Glodoveza (@baskintheglow) in our new series Look Who’s Tweeting, giving us insight into what’s hot on his Twitter right now.

How would you describe your account?

Speaks to my professional life: Avaya, business, technology, etc. Periodic posts about family and fun, but those are mostly reserved for Facebook.

What’s hot right now on your Twitter page?

The impressive value our customers can get when/if they leverage connectivity, alarming and diagnostics. So few internal/external people are up to speed on it that customers aren’t getting the value they paid for.

Your top five favorite or most interesting follows. 

  • @DaveMichels: Industry analyst; helps me keep my finger on how @Avaya is perceived.
  • @NoJitter: Great industry publication on what’s going on and where we’re all headed
  • @SteveAvaya: Avaya Sales leader: amusing and informative
  • @HonestToddler: Hilarious tweets, especially if you have small kids
  • @BoingBoing: Great source of all sorts of information.

What can employees expect if they visit your page?

Focused on topics related to support, social media and technology; rarely a repeat of the standard @Avaya content.

What’s your best Twitter tip?

Use pictures. They make your posts much more engaging for your followers. Width should be twice the height (ex. 440×220).

Connect with Carl

Twitter @CarlKnerr

LinkedIn


How Avaya Augments the Work of its Support Engineers

The following was originally posted at http://www.avaya.com/blogs/archives/2015/02/how-avaya-augments-the-work-of-its-support-engineers.html.

In late January, Microsoft announced a virtual reality project called HoloLens. The reviews of the prototypes have been positive, and I can see why: Virtual reality has been something geeks have been reading about, seeing in movies and TV shows, and dreaming about for years.

While virtual reality systems are not entirely new, what is different this time is that Microsoft is behind it.

While Microsoft may not be known for cutting edge “cool” technologies, they bring something new that may just drive adoption of VR like we’ve never seen before: The enterprise.

The demo of this technology even includes a Skype conversation that appears within the VR goggles and can be “pinned” in virtual space, allowing the wearer to look away as need be. The demo takes this use case even further, by using that video call to help someone do some home repairs. When I saw this, it quickly reminded me of this older video from BMW:


In this video, we watch a mechanic use similar VR goggles for diagnostic assistance in working on a BMW engine. These glasses give the mechanic information on exactly how to do each new step, including the tools and motions for successful completion. Not only does this allow for fast, uniform, and high-quality repairs, but it does so with reduced training of the mechanic, enabling the vendor to provider excellent customer service.

I’ve always found this vision inspiring in my daily work of improving how Avaya Support Engineers do their daily work. How can we build diagnostic tools that augment our engineers (and the engineers working for our certified business partners) by providing them the real-time information they need to quickly identify the root cause of a problem and implement a solution?

Given that most of our work is software, and not hardware, we don’t exactly need Microsoft’s HoloLens goggles, but the mental framework is the same.

Like Microsoft’s home repair example, we know that sometimes you need more than a written or video-based knowledge article; sometimes a fellow human is what you need.

As such, Avaya enabled audio- and video calling between our customers and our engineers as well as enabling our engineers to quickly video call each other to “swarm” around a customer issue. We’ve also built scripts that know what to check on our products and create a red/yellow/green dashboard report for the user so they can quickly scan for known configuration issues.

We’ve found that this not only speeds up the checks our engineers would have done anyway, but also gets them to look at things they might not have thought to.

What’s even faster than speeding up the work an engineer does? Automating the work entirely. We’ve invested years of effort in automating how we handle the alarms our products send, allowing us to handle 85 percent of alarms without any human interaction, drastically improving resolution times and CSAT.

What diagnostics tools do you use in your work? Any you would recommend others use for troubleshooting Avaya products? Or just for doing plumbing or other things we all get involved with from time to time? What do you wish was available to make troubleshooting faster and better?