Thursday, July 17, 2008

This blog is also moving

Just figured it was about time to change this blog. It turns out it is VERY easy to create a blog at and then import from the Google blogs. So, unless I change my mind, this will be the last post here. The AMCC blog will now be found at Update your shortcuts or reader accordingly if you want.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Response Point Truck Event

AMCC had our first Microsoft Across American Truck Event featuring the Response Point telephone system. Thanks to the Truck Event people and the Event in a box people for their help. Also, thank you to NGT (SIP Trunking partner for the Response Point system) and Dean Rainone for their help and support, also thank you to Mark Creamer who assisted me in this event.

We were able to demonstrate both the Syspine Response Point system that is installed on the Truck as well as my Aastra Response Point system that was supplied by Aastra. When I entered the truck the first time to try out the Syspine system I found that there was no communication between the network pc and the Response Point system. Seems they were on different networks. Since Mike, the MS Truck technician, doesn't normally work on this particular truck, he had to contact someone else to find out how to reconfigure the network devices. They got it working by halfway through the morning event. Once they got it working I noted that they were running v1, not SP1. We had my Aastra system working from the get-go.

You can see a few snapshots here.

We set our Aastra system up outside the truck. Earlier in the week we had tried, with NGT's support, to configure an Edgemarc router to work with our Linksys Router/Sprint Aircard. I finally called the exercise off because I was running out of time. NGT has succeeded in using an Aircard with the Edgemarc and said that what we were running into was that we were 'double nat'ing' and that wasn't really suppported. I figured we could just talk about the SIP service and not worry about actually doing it. Since we did have internet access for our laptop, via the aircard/router - I was able to get dial-tone with our MAJICJACK - a pretty cool little device.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Response Point SP1 available (really)

Response Point Service Pack 1 is really available for download. The Microsoft Downloads web site has it on line. Also, it appears that there are OEM specific firmwares that you may need and have to get from the manufacturers' web sites.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Response Point Truck Event - FREE

We (AMCC) are going to be doing the FIRST PUBLIC Response Point demonstration in Cincinnati on Tuesday, July 15 from 8 am to 12 noon at 4555 Lake Forest Drive in Blue Ash with the Microsoft Across America Truck.

If you are in the area please consider attending and feel free to pass this invitation along to your friends. You can register at Event Code 129354.

A representative from NGT, a SIP Trunking provider that is partnering with Microsoft on the Response Point product, will also be on site and available to answer your VOIP service questions. NGT has generously donated a $400 Edgemarc device which will be offered as a promotion for some lucky new customer.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Old Hard Drive

Here is how we decommission non-sensitive hard drives at AMCC. And it sure feels good after a couple whacks!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Response Point SP1 RTM'ed today

from Response Point Team Blog

When we started RP, our vision was simple: to provide a telephony solution so easy to use that every small business customer can set it up like connecting
When we started RP, our vision was simple: to provide a telephony solution so easy to use that every small business customer can set it up like connecting a printer to the PC. Today, we are moving one step closer to realize our vision by releasing to manufacturing Response Point Service Pack 1. Our OEM partners will bring SP1 to market next month.

SP1 not only improved RP 1.0's performance/quality but also added some very cool features such as VOIP gateway, Click to Call, and Call Presence etc. Never before was PBX this easy to manage.

I'd love to get your feedback as you upgrade to SP1 in the coming weeks. We'd love to incorporate your feedback into RP 2.0, which we have started working on.

Published Friday, June 20, 2008 8:50 PM by Xuedong David Huang

Friday, June 13, 2008

Aastra Response Point - 3rd Party Headset

Since I am now using the Aastra Response Point system I figured I would connect my Jabra T5330 cordless headset - that I hadn't been using since switching to the Aastra system. This headset base can connect to the phone two different ways - depending on what the phone supports. The most universal (are there different degress of universal? I don't think so) way is putting the headset in series in between the telephone base and the telephone handset. This is the way I used the headset with Syspine phone.

The Aastra phone has a headset jack on the underside of the phone. This makes it possible to just connect the headset to the telephone base unit independent of the telephone handset cord. When I tried the headset connected this way I was not able to get any dialtone. After hunting around I finally noticed that the Speaker button on the telephone base really said Speaker/Headset! Gee, this looks relevant. Anyway, I am on a conference call now, using the headset, and do not have to have the telephone handset 'offhook' to be able to have the call. The red light by the Speaker/Headset button that is on solid when I use the speakerphone is blinking red to indicate I am on the headset. FWIW.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

NGT SIP Service w/ Response Point

NGT provided an EdgeMarc router to install in my SBS network to facilitate use of their NGT SIP service with Microsoft Response Point for beta testing. NGT's technical support people had a telephone meeting with me during which time we replaced my router with the EdgeMarc and they tweaked some of the configuration and - ta da - we were up and running. If you want to call into the system using the SIP service you can call my new office SIP number at 513-729-6502 (corrected). You can access extension 200 or just ask for RESPONSE POINT INFORMATION using the voice prompt. You will hear a brief message and won't have to talk to any human beings here - you won't even ring the phones. By the way - if you do notice anything particulary good or not so good regarding the sound quality - please let me know. You can email me at info at millermanor dot net.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Response Point - SP1 - Nashville Road Trip - We made it home

We (most of us) just got back from a FANTASTIC trip to Nashville. The premise for the trip was the Response Point SP1 Class roadshow. We had a large representation from Cincinnati/Dayton. Our group consisted of Marc Ross, Brad Green, Guy Guckenberger, Eric Kornau, Paul Arthur and myself. We had to take out special liability insurance having had so many IT professionals absent from the area at one time. The only mitigating factor in the insurance underwriting and pricing was that D.U. stayed behind and kept the city safe . With the exception of Paul, who came with his wife so they could extend their visit to a mini-vacation - the rest of us timed our travel so we could arrive at the Bluebird Cafe Wednesday evening to help celebrate its 26th anniversary. If you have never been to this place - it is a must see. Dean Rainone and Scott Keyser, of NGT, joined us for the evening too. I've got some photos and video that you can see which will mean more to people that were there than to the rest of you - because these videos from my little $100 point-and-shoot camera just can't do the music justice.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Talking via Sip w/ Bob D.

Tonight I was talking on the telephone with Bob D. (Cincinnati to Columbus) using my Junction Networks SIP service with my Aastra (beta) Response Point system. Bob said that the call was crystal clear and we wondered what would happen if there were a little more of a load on the line. So, I brought up and downloaded Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 2 - about 375 meg. I've got Time Warner's Telecommuter ISP service. My download started out at about 900 KB and trended down to about 600 KB. During the download both Bob and I continued to have a crystal clear, solid sounding conversation.

Aastra - Response Point Beta System

I set up my beta version of the Aastra Response Point telephone system. Pretty cool. Since this is beta - some of it will be changing. The plastic on the gateway unit is not in the final finish. This doesn't matter much to me - just lets me know it is going to look even better later. The current form of the gateway is a flat box the same footprint as the base unit, so it sits and fits rather nicely right under the base unit. The base unit has no display panel like the Syspine, and just a single on/off button. My system contains THREE versions of telephones. The models that I have are called 6757i CT RP, 6753i RP and 6751i RP. I'm including a picture of the 6757i CT RP - this is the phone with the most features out of the three. I haven't had these long enough to be expert with them but you may be able to see there is a large LCD screen (which can be illuminated) with a lot of soft buttons. There are also 3 dedicated Line buttons and one that I love - the GOODBYE Button. You may have noticed that the model name for this phone includes the letters CT. My guess is that CT stands for CORDLESS TELEPHONE because this is the model phone that 'pairs' with the Aastra cordless telephone. This cordless phone has a nice feel to it and substantial range from my initial observations. I've got my analog lines and my SIP service easily configured and working already for a LOT of calls today.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

CiNPA Tech Fair 2008 - Success

Yesterday was the First CiNPA Tech Fair and it was a great success. We had 15 WONDERFUL vendors that contributed and helped to sponser this event. I gave a Response Point presentation, and some of our other CiNPA members gave presentations as did all of our vendors. The Cincinnati State College Evendale Campus people were terrific and the venue worked well for our Tech Fair. You can see a few photos that I snapped. For all of you that participated in our Tech Fair - a GREAT BIG THANK YOU. For those of you that didn't - we hope that you will next year.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Response Point - SP1 - Nashville Road Trip

Ok - we're in. This is the June '08 Cincinnati -> Nashville Road Trip - 6/4 - 6/5. We've got about 6 guys from our Cincinnati SBS Users Group going to Nashville TN for the one day Microsoft Response Point Training. I'll be putting the third seat back in the Land Yacht and we will be southward bound. We are going to spend Wednesday evening enjoying some Nashville music and celebrating the 26th anniversary of the BlueBird Cafe. Then on to Franklin, TN for our class on Thursday.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Sonic Wall Event - Indianapolis

Mark Creamer and I spent a fun day as guests of SonicWall at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway yesterday. We spend the morning at the Brickyard Crossing Resort hearing a pretty impressive presentation by Joe Levy, CTO of SonicWall. Afterward, we were treated to a private suite at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway where we were provided lunch and then passes that got us in to the Garage Area and the Pit Row. Mark even got to shake hands and talk to Micheal Andretti. I've got some pictures and video that you can see - just click here.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Response Point - SIP Trunking config

I configured my Response Point for SIP Trunking with Junction Networks service. Here is a screen shot of my current settings.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Lets Talk Computers - Radio Interview - Richard Sprague on Response Point

May 17, 2008 LET'S TALK COMPUTERS - Radio Talk Show - Interviews Richard Sprague on Microsoft Response Point. Click to Listen.

Friday, May 16, 2008

More Click to Dial in Response Point

So, the Response Point Assistant, now shows inside extensions plus entries in your Contact List and supports Click to Dial. This is fairly obvious. I'm not crazy about the the presentation of these contacts. Presently they are sorted alpha - so your inside contacts are intermingled with your outside contacts! You can click on the Number Column and this will put all your inside contacts together at the top of the list BUT your outside contacts will be sorted first by Work/Mobile/Home and then by name - BOOOOOO! NTG.

I just happened to find something else in the Click to Dial Realm. You can click Phone Settings from the Assistant menu and be taken to a browser version of the Call History. From here, you could, if you wanted, go through your list of MISSED CALLS and click on any one of them to call back - kind of a *69 (or whatever it is) on steroids. You can even pick which service you want to call out on - PSTN or SIP.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Response Point - SP1 & SIP!

Now on to SIP Trunking. Richard Sprague gave me a tip and I ran (or stumbled) with it. As has been announced - Microsoft is partnering with 2 SIP providers - NGT and CBeyond and support will be included in SP1 for these two guys by way of drop down menu choices. I don't think all the guts of this has been implemented quite yet as it was not evident in the CTP build that we received. ANYWAY, what Richard reminded me was that if we got a SIP account and got the right values manually entered into the RP Administrator SIP configuration (which is presently available) then we can add the SIP support NOW. I went online and created an account with JunctionNetworks - did a little of fiddling and voila (or wallah as I once read in a newsgroup) we have SIP! I'll include a screen shot of the settings here for future reference.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Response Point - SP1 CTP

Got the notice today that I could download the Response Point Service Pack 1 Community Technology Preview.

I immediately got to the download site and started on my update. The entire update process went very well in my opinion. Now it's just on to tinkering and using the new stuff - and it looks like there is LOTS of new stuff here.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

IT Pro 2008 - New Orleans

I received a comment asking me to blog about the content of the conference. I think I will take the easy approach here refer you to Susan Bradley's blog because she is here and who could blog more or better than Susan? I actually got a picture of Susan not blogging - a somewhat unusual happening.

And, you can see this picture and more plus some parade videos - Jeff arranged our own New Orleans parade - at here.

Friday, May 9, 2008

IT Pro 2008 - New Orleans

Some really great IT stuff going on here in NOLA. Jeff Middletons, SBS Migration - IT Pro 2008 Conference. We had a great reception and gathering last night and now in the midst of the first day activities. More pictures and video at HERE.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Response Point - Cordless Headsets

in a recent email -

We are still watching and waiting for the cordless phones. Do you have any further information regarding the release date?

As another option, is there a cordless headset solution that we could use that would work with this phone systems and you could also use for listening to audio on your computer (music, etc) that would switch to the phone when receiving a call? In our office employees listening to music etc use headphones and I thought it would be nice if we had something that would work for this as well as receiving calls as well as solve the wireless dilemma. Might be a long shot but I thought I would ask.

To which I replied -

Ask and ye shall receive. When you asked about the combination telephone/computer headset I thought you were nuts. Then I figured, like you said, you may as well ask – which told me I should check it out.

I found 2 choices from HelloDirect. They have a model 9350 which connects to both the phone and the computer, has a remote lifter/answerer and automatically switches from computer to phone. Price for this is $297. What this does not have is STEREO capability – it is just one earpiece. If you want stereo, you get 2 items – part # 13389 which is the 2 earpiece headset with remote lifter/answerer plus something called the media package for $100. With this combination you have to manually switch between computer and telephone. These sound pretty cool, if you ask me.

Still no cordless phone option built in to a Response Point System. Aastra is supposed to have one when they bring their product out – no firm date yet – but I believe I have heard ‘the summer’. Syspine is supposed to be working on a cordless option and I wouldn’t be surprised if Dlink is too.


Thursday, April 24, 2008

Dayton SBS User Group Meeting

Kevin invited me to attend the Dayton SBS User Group meeting with him tonight. He was going to talk about Cougar and suggested I talk about Response Point having just returned from SMB Summit. It was such a beautiful day and I figured that I couldn't pass up a nice ride up to Dayton with the top down. So I got my other ride out of the garage and headed out of town. Unfortunately, when only about a mile from MAX Training where the user group meeting was - my car began to loose power and pooped out. I'm guessing it may be the fuel pump. Anyway, Ronnie was my flatbed driver that picked me and my car up and then dropped me off at the user group meeting and then took my car back to the repair shop in Cincinnati. I got to talk to the user group about Response Point and then Kevin was nice enough to bring me all the way back home before driving on to his home in KY.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Another Cool Gadget for Telephones

Okay, this one wasn't my idea. I got it from Jerry at CMP. The MagicJack device connects to your computer's USB port and gives you telephone usage from a softphone on your computer or a telephone connected to its RJ11 port. The cost is $40 for the first year and $20/year after that. It gives you a telephone number in your choice of area code (Cincinnati not available yet), voice mail and unlimited long distance. With it you are calling to MagicJack users AND to any regular telephone user! Jerry told me he uses it at Trade Show exhibitions. He has his laptop connected to the internet and with this device he can give dial tone to his demonstration Response Point system. Bravo!

Cool Gadget for Response Point Presentation

I used this gadget in my Response Point presentation last weekend at SMB Summit in Dallas. It's made/sold by Radio Shack and only costs $25. It's sold as something that would let you record your cell phone conversations to a voice recorder. The only little thing extra you need to know or have is a gender changer (the audio connector kind ) for F-F 1/8" adapter. Instead of connecting it to a voice recorder I connected it to the input of the hall's PA system. I was then able to use my cell phone to call in live to a Response Point system - in this case one back in my office in Cincinnati. This enabled me to let the audience 'listen in' on the caller's experiece with Response Point. This worked great and I think it helped those in attendance see how the voice recognition works. I almost wound up in the dog house later when I took a live phone call from my wife during the presentation - using this gadget.

Monday, April 21, 2008

SMB Summit 2008

I just returned home from SMB Summit 2008 in Dallas. It was a great event with a loads of information for our IT practices - especially on the new SBS and EBS 2008 products. In addition to getting to meet some the Microsoft Response Point product team and the CMP and Syspine sales managers, I had the privelege of doing the Response Point presentation.

Lots of new stuff going on with Response Point. Many people have heard about Service Pack 1 being around the corner. Microsoft recently announced two VOIP partners for Response Point - NGT and CBeyond. These companies are developing their partner programs for Response Point dealers right now. Another REALLY hot item was the announcement Friday that Syspine has a limited time FANTASTIC demo kit pricing for Microsoft Partners. This really kept the Syspine/CMP vendor booth hopping at the Exhibitors Hall. It may not be too late to get yours - contact CMP if you are interested.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

SMB Summit 4/19

The end of the second day of presentations at SMB Summit in Dallas, TX. We've had two full days of SBS 2008, EBS 2008 and WHS. In addition to that there has been a lot of 'networking' (the people kind). The lunch today consisted of a room full of tables where each table was themed. I was at a Response Point table where we had a full boat of people that were interested in talking about the new Microsoft telephone system.

Tomorrow afternoon will have the vendor exhibits going on and in the afternoon I will be giving my Response Point presentations.

Oh yes, Zenith Infotech apparently supplied 4,000 bottles of Backup & Disaster Recovery water. That's a lot of water for a group of 400 people drinking mostly coffee, soda and chai tea. I know, picture is rotated. Just can't figure why? and don't feel like fooling with it.

Friday, April 18, 2008

SMB Summit 4/18

Got in to Dallas Thursday before the big weather event. At least they don't have quite the weather idiots here as back home in Cincinnati. But, I think there were about 5 weather channels on the hotel cable tv. Not sure if there was an actual tornado or not but there were 70 mph winds and hail the size of baseballs (per report). I spoke to several attendees at breakfast this morning that were 3 or 4 hours late getting to the airport here on arrival.

You probably can't make out the speaker in this picture but it's Chris Almida, Program Manager with the Small Business Server team. There are about 450 attendees here and lots of great programming.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Nice Internet Speed Test

I just found this nice Internet Speed Test. I've used others - this one just looks to be very well presented. It's at Here's my results.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

My TPAM Helped Me Out

My TPAM (Microsoft's Telephone Partner Account Manager) was a big help on something recently and I appreciate it.

In going through my accounting records while preparing for my accountant to do his job for my Income Taxes I noticed a repeating charge from Microsoft Live Office for $40 per month for about the last 12 to 14 months! These charges have been paid when presented but this was the first time I had actually reviewed the detail and noticed this one. When I called MS Live Office customer service I was told that this was for my premium Live Office Account. I do sign up for free offers, especially when I think I can learn about a service that might be helpful for my clients in my consulting practice. But when I see that the free trial period will change to a paid service I mark my calendar so that I don't forget to cancel the service if I don't want to keep it. Customer Service said they were sorry but all they could do was cancel my service and refund the one month that I was paid ahead. When I asked who else with a higher authority in service I could appeal to the answer I was give was - no one. When I expressed incredulity to this and asked if I could write a letter or email to someone I was advised to address my letter to:

1 Microsoft Way
Redmond, WA xxxxx

I asked if this was the complete address and was told it was. I asked if there was a person's name or department to direct it to and was answered - no, there wasn't.

Now I don't know about you but with the rest of the way I have seen MS operate I was skeptical as to whether addressing a letter to no one could get more results than actually talking to someone on the phone. I was picturing the mail room guy having to read my letter and then react appropriately. Seemed kind of iffy.

A few days later when I had a few minutes to spare and was in the mood to get frustrated I called Live Office customer service again. The guy I spoke with told me that he knew that I was sent an email letting me know that the Live Office service had changed from beta to production and I would start being charged. I asked if you could demonstrate that I had seen this email (even though I don't believe seeing it constitutes agreement). He said he could not. He went on to tell me that I had replied to the email and accepted the terms. THIS really got me. I knew that I had not seen the email and there is NO WAY that I had agreed. I asked him to produce a copy of my acceptance email and he said these were only accessible for 60 days - and at about 1 year we were way past that. I asked him who could retrieve this email and he suggested I call 1-800-microsoft and get to the billing department and they would help me. He added that he could credit my account for 2 months worth of charges. I am a little confused why he did this based on the rest of his story?

THEN, a week or so ago, while driving to Nashville to see one of my daughters, I got a call from Sheila, my TPAM. After we talked she asked if there was anything she could do for me. I thought for a minute and told her it would be great if she could get me in contact with someone in the Live Office customer service area that was a little more enlightened than the front line telephone people that I had been dealing with. I explained what the issue was and she said she couldn't promise anything but that she would try.

TODAY, I got a call from Josh at Live Office and he said he was instructed to get in touch with me and take care of refunding my money. WOW, I got what I was looking for and I didn't even have to knock myself out.

Thanks, Sheila.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Windows HOME? Server

I heard that Windows Home Server was targeted at the home computer user network. I've been running WHS since the first beta version. When the product went production and the beta expired I actually bought the software since it is not part of my Action Pack. Yesterday I had my first occasion to want to restore a previous version of a file. I accessed the WHS console, went through the GUI and found the date I wanted to select for my restore and initiated what I guess was a catalog read. During this process I received the message you see in my first screen shot. Nice of Microsoft to instruct you not to follow some instructions! Did an actual, educated, adult put this message in here? And who was responsible for reviewing this person's work? One thing I've learned is that with 65,000 employees there is a person for every job.

After a while I arrived at the error message in my second screen shot here. This is the product intended for the HOME user. Does this tell you enough about how to proceed? And what's with the OK? I think it's not OK but there is no other choice.

Because I work a lot with this vendor's software I know I can search their database and look for solutions. I did find KB 939218 and it is not pretty, particularly if you try to imagine the home user (mother, father, child) trying to follow it. The problem was that this KB (which was the only one which related to my symptoms) did not fix my problem.

I did find a message forum that discussed similar issues where the KB didn't help but some other steps did. I am reposting from it here -

Basically, it is reloading the WHS restore service driver. The tricky part about it is that it only exists while the restore is in progress.
So, you have to have Device Manager opened up with the System Devices section opened up and then do the restore. Early on, at about 3%, you will see the Home Server Restore driver pop up in the DM list. Right click it and uninstall it. Then cancel the ongoing restore process in the connector software. Get out of everything that needs to be closed and restart the system. When it boots again, retry the restore process and it should work - at least mine did and still is...
This forces a reload of the restore driver and is tricky becasue the restore driver is added and deleted as part of the restore process and you cannot find or see it at any other time.


This did work. Again - probably not for a happy home user.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Allen will be at SMB Summit in Dallas 4/18-21

I'll be at the SMB Summit - an IT Conference in Dallas, TX next month 4/18 - 4/21. I am going to be doing the Vendor Presentation with Microsoft of the Response Point system. If you are going to be there drop me a line and let me know.
Microsoft Response Point is advanced phone system software designed especially for small businesses that have 1 to 50 employees. The user-friendly management center empowers an average PC user to setup a phone or make system changes in minutes. The unique voice-enabled user interface instantly connects employees and customers with the people or information they need. With everything you need in one affordable package and support for both traditional phone service and VoIP, Response Point phone systems are easy to manage, even easier to use, and the easiest choice for any small business. The Response Point team will co-present with Allen Miller of Allen Miller Computer Consulting on how Microsoft Partners can build a practice around Response Point. This presentation will give partners everything they need to know to be successful selling Response Point.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Richard Sprague @ Small Business Summit on Response Point

Here's the video for Richard Sprague's presentation of Response Point at the Small Business Summit. I wouldn't suggest trying to play this on-line - try right-clicking and downloading and then playing after you download.

Kevin Royalty @ Small Business Summit

Here's the video of Kevin's great live presentation on Working from Anywhere - at the Small Business Summit today. I wouldn't recommend trying to view this online - but you might want to download it and then watch. Try right-clicking on THIS link.

Great People

My IT Practice is built around consulting services for small businesses - after all, I'm a Microsoft Small Business Specialist. In addition to all my business clients, I do have one or two home users, mostly because they are so admirable I just like being around them. That's the case with Ed, one of my home user clients. Ed is 97 (shown here resting and very much alive) and today he told me that he doesn't know if he'll make it to 98. I'm always glad when Ed calls me with a computer problem a couple times a year because then I know he is still 'on this side of the dirt' as he says it. Ed goes to his office downtown, travels to Europe, and relies heavily on his computer for email correspondence with colleagues all around the world and to order books on Amazon. The doorbell at Ed's house sounds like the buzzer that is sounded just before the industrial conveyor belt is started - it is LOUD! Ed's hearing is a little weak but he is sharp as a tack. When he called me today the problem was connecting to the internet. I think Ed is the only person I know that uses dial-up access. Since I have known him his ISP has been aquired by another ISP two or three times. The problem today we found was that his dial-up access telephone number was for a line 'no longer in service'. Even Ed commented it would have been nice if they notified their customers before making a change like that. I was wondering if this should have been stated in the singular instead of plural. About two years ago (at age 95) Ed told me he had been giving it a lot of thought and decided he wasn't going to keep saving his money and that I should get him a new computer to replace his Windows 95 pc! A year or two ago when I was at his house one time he showed me his Outlook Express inbox and said: LOOK AT THAT - CAN YOU BELIEVE IT - THEY WANT TO MAKE MY PENIS LARGER - AS IF IT MATTERS! When I was saying goodbye to Ed today he asked 'what do I owe you'. I told him he owed me nothing and to put his wallet away. Then I tried a tactic that I used to use on my mother-in-law whose memory wasn't what it used to be. I told Ed that I would just include this service time in my bill the next time. He looked at me and said 'that's what you told me last time'. Life is Good - and part of it is the privelege of knowing people like Ed.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Microsoft Small Business Specialist Nascar Racer

Okay folks, check this out. There is now a Microsoft Small Business Specialist Community sponsored NASCAR racer.

You can read more about it at Eric Ligman's Microsoft Small Business Community Blog

Response Point SP1 Announced 3/24/08

Today Microsoft announced features of the SP1 (aka Service Pack 1) of Response Point. Some of the highlights are:
  • SIP Trunking/VOIP added - system will now work with analog and VOIP lines

  • Simple (Free) Upgrade

  • Direct Inbound Dialing (DID) Capability

  • Enhanced Call Logging and Reporting

  • On-Hook status of telephones visibile within your organization

  • Click-to-Call - inside and out

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

AMCC Hosts Small Business Summit 2008 - 3/24 - 27

Catch the Small Business Summit 2008 during the days of March 24 through March 27. To get there - just click the link on the right of this blog that says Small Business Summit 2008.

Kevin Royalty (of CiNPA and the Small Business Server User Group) is one of the famous presenters. He will be presenting the segment titled "Run Your Business from Anywhere".

ALSO, if you register at the Summit web page, you will have a chance to win a Response Point telephone system!

another Syspine Response Point Award

Way to go Syspine (and Microsoft). Syspine just received another award - the 2008 Von Magazine Innovator Award which "recognizes the Internet communications industry's best and brightest companies" for its Response Point product. You can read the press release here.

Previously, Syspine had received the 2007 Internet Telephony Product of the year (previous blog post).

Monday, March 17, 2008

Some Response Point Motivations

A few customers have told me that what they love about Response Point is that it lends credibility of their business to their customers. Their callers experience is now like it is for people calling the 'big corporation'. What they are talking about is the automated attendantAND the voice recognition built into the system - callers can just speak the name of the person they are calling and they will be transferred to the proper extension.

One new customer, a money manager, said to me - "Allen, I hate my rolodex - and now with the voice activated dialing I will not have to use the rolodex any more!". This was his main decision point for choosing Response Point.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Is Response Point system down?

This afternoon I was at a customer's site doing some IT consulting. During our conversation I mentioned the new Microsoft Response Point telephone system. In trying to describe its voice recognition I figured I would just demonstrate it using his desk speakerphone. I dialed in to my office and told him 'just listen to this'. Well all we heard was ringing and ringing and ringing! Not wanting to loose my rhythm I said 'what do you think of it so far?' Then - just kidding - I'm not sure what is wrong - I'll have to check into it when I get back to my office. To myself I was thinking - great - 3 months old and has this system already failed?

After leaving this customer I ran a few errands and then headed back to my office. I never gave it a second thought when I had to wait for a police'person' who was directing traffic at an intersection two blocks from the office. When I unlocked the office door I was greeted by NO POWER! Duh - no wonder Response Point was answering. Nothing electrical was working. We rarely have power outages in this area - an hour later power was restored and Response Point was back on-line.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Response Point - Software Usability Engineering

This evening I had a new (for me) experience. George, from Microsoft, and a colleague of his who I feel bad because I didn't get her name, did a LiveMeeting session with me where I got to try out the new firmware upgrade function for the Response Point Administrator program. I can't believe it, after all these years I finally got to put in my 2 cents. No really, I am really up on the Response Point Telephone system and if I can do something to contribute to the value of the product, I am happy to do so.
Now I just wish I could have been involved in the software usability studies that were done on the Microsoft Office Word/Exel menu ribbons or whatever they call them. I hope there are some out there that have really benefitted from the 2007 redesign but I can tell you - I am not one of them.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Response Point - Customer Demonstration

Thanks to Darren Sargent, another Response Point dealer, who invented this handy setup for doing on-site customer demonstrations of the Response Point telephone system. Darren was kind enough to publicize his creation and being no dummy, I immediately plagiarized it. The mounting board holds the Response Point system unit, a power strip, router and 3 Response Point telephones. This setup makes it easy to show a customer just about any feature of the system. The laptop lets the customer see the Administrator and the Assitant user interfaces and if there is a telephone jack nearby (like for the office fax machine) you can even demonstrate the outside callers' experience.

For more information - click here.
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Monday, February 11, 2008

Better Business Bureau

You know, several years ago I joined the Cincinnati Better Business Bureau. I haven't thought too much about it along the way - other than the once each year that I pay the bill to renew my membership. Today, for some unknown reason, I happened to log into the BBB website members' area. In browsing around I found that people actually do reference this information. I have a BBB logo link on my home page and the BBB collects statistics on how many people click on MY WEB SITE LINK! It looks like someone is using this (I presume it's not the BBB employees or some bot of theirs trying to run up the stats)

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Response Point Deep Dive Webinar 1/31/08 Audio

HP and SMB Nation's Harry Brelsford put on a Response Point Deep Dive webinar today. It was attended by over a million* people. I was one of the partner panelists and served a minor but fun role. We had a bit of technical difficulties with the audio link but Cyndi perserveered and got us up and running.

I made a very amateur audio recording of this session and edited out the first 15 minutes before we got the presenters and the attendees linked together . For the attendees that want to relive this very memorable session - and for any interested parties that missed the event completely - you can download the audo files at this link.

* it may have been more like 150

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Response Point Webinar 1/31/08

Response Point DEEP DIVE Webinar 1/31/08 11:00 EST. Register

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Response Point Customer Feedback

We've sold a couple Response Point systems already and the reception has been FANTASTIC!

One customer said that there was "only one problem" (oh boy, now I'm going to hear it). He told me he had shown his Response Point system off to several of his business partners, non-IT people, that had been visiting his offices. Every one of them was pissed that their IT staff had not gotten this system for their companies! They were angry that they had paid so much more for their systems that were so much more difficult to manage and use! (I know, I'm going overboard with the exclamation points but golly!).

This customer told me that after he set up the system unit and a couple phones he got his administrative assistant to add a phone and user to get her trained. The only question she asked was "should I create the phone first or the user". Customer suggested creating the phone first and that was the only question she needed to ask. The rest was obvious and was also a snap.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Response Point Telephone System Dealer

AMCC is now a Microsoft Response Point telephone system dealer.

Response Point received the Internet Telephony Product of the Year award for 2007.

If you want a demonstration of what this system sounds like to the caller (you) then give us a call at 513-321-5120. When asked to say the name of the person or group you would like to speak to say "Response Point Information". You will be able to leave a voice message and then call back and retrieve your message from the system.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

SBSC Advisory Group

Oh Paige, you must have known there was a chocoholic in the house. Thanks and happy new year.