Monthly Archives: June 2006

Starting the new year with a clean Outlook

It’s the end of our financial year today, we’re starting FY07 tomorrow, and I’m tidying out my mailbox.  I do this every year, to keep myself in some sort of structure, although my Inbox gets a bit chaotic for the first couple of weeks in July.

At the end of the FY each year, I move all of my folders into a .pst for the last FY, and I delete, Yes, I said DELETE the .pst for the year before (FY05).  Not once, since I’ve joined Microsoft have I needed to actually return to one of these older mails.  Moving all of these mails into the .PST breaks all of my rules too.  So I delete all of my rules too.  Yup.  All of them.  So I never get to that message telling me I’ve run out of space for rules

So for the next few days, my Inbox is inundated with mails, some of which are to Distribution Lists that I never read any more.  So instead of actually archiving irrelevant information, I go and unsubscribe from the DL.  I don’t need to create a rule, and my mailbox fills up more slowly.

So I start the year in a little bit of chaos, but in a couple of weeks I’ll be all sorted out, with a clean set of Inbox rules, less subscriptions to the DL’s, and fewer mails to get through every day.  It’s a bit like spring cleaning (only in summer).  I’m almost as brave as Allister really, only I do this every year, not every time I change my job.  And doing this also gives me the chance to create a completely new folder list, and stop those annoying (customised) messages telling me I’m over my limit.  At least I’m free of them for another 8 months.

Go on be brave.  Do you REALLY need all those mails in your Outlook folders?  Honestly?  Go on – do some spring cleaning and have a fresh start…

 

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Machine cinema – will it catch on?

I’ve been really remiss.  Steve, who works in my team, has been really creative with Machinima (Machine Cinema) and released a little clip onto Youtube last week and I didn’t notice.  I have loads of excuses though – things like the roadshow and End of year reviews.  But it’s really no excuse. My other Steve blogged about it yesterday and it still passed me by.  Oops…

Anyway, he’s done a little clip about the horrors of not keeping your systems up to date – so from the smallest business to the largest empire, look at the consequesnes if you dont patch your equipment.   Rod, your chaps over in windows Management had better take note!

Anyway – the link to the video is here, and you can read more about Machinima on Kevin’s blog, and Steve will answer any of your comments on his blog too.  Nice one Steve.  What’s the next Machinima clip going to be about?  Any suggestions for a story for him to do next?…  

2007 Office system: Take it for a test drive and send us a smile…

Well you can’t wait for the beta.  You’ve heard all about the ribbon and how it changes the way you work.  you’ve heard about the XML file formats and how your Developers will thank you as they develop applications for Office.  You’ve registered for the beta and are waiting,  And waiting.  And waiting.

Well, how about taking Office for a test drive without installing it.  If the system is busy when you click the link, just go through the checks, loading the plug ins if you need to, then register with Windows Live, and you’re away with the feature set. 

I’ve also installed the “Send us a smile” application – to send feedback (Good and Grumbling) to the Office team.  This puts fierce looking smileys onto your taskbar which allow you to smile or frown directly to the product team – with a screenshot of what’s happening at the time of your feedback.

Now that’s neat – Move over Dr Watson – the smileys are out to get you.  I hope they make it into the final product too.  Beats clippy anyday!

Moving towards truly Unified Communications

***edited with working link***

I had to miss the live streaming show from San Francisco last night as I had to sit  on an online Chat between the IT Evangelists and the UK MVPs.  My participation in the chat kept me too busy to truly multi task so I had to watch the recorded stream today instead.  We’ve been getting hints internally about the announcements for some time now, and as I’ve got a foot in both camps technically so to speak, the news made a lot of sense.  We’ve been working towards this announcement for some time now.  Remember earlier on this year when the Exchange team merged with the Real Time Collaboration Team? well, the convergence (can I use that word without offending the purists?) of the 2 teams led to us speculating internally about an announcement like this. And it’s good news – as most of the posts I’ve read today seem to confirm..

As Dave and Deepak and several others put it:

It doesn’t matter whether you are the chairman of the world’s largest software company, a salesperson at a medium-sized manufacturer or the receptionist at a small startup, there’s one workplace scenario we are all familiar with. It starts when you need to reach a colleague quickly. First you look up their phone extension and give them a call, only to be directed to their voicemail. After you leave a message, you find their mobile phone number and leave a second message. Next, you send an email. If you happen to be in a meeting when your colleague gets your messages and tries to reach you, the process repeats itself, but from the other direction.

 I don’t agree with Alec‘s comment about renaming of Microsoft Exchange to “Communications Server” however.  We’ve just gone through the process and hassle of renaming Exchange 12 to Exchange 2007 and wouldn’t want to go through that again.  We’d have just stayed with Exchange 12 wouldn’t we? (see the press release for all of the official titles)…

And blending phones with computers?  We’ve been doing that for some time now 🙂 You need to see the UM demo again.  If you want to watch the stream from yesterday – here’s the link to the event…

You know, I always knew I had a really interesting technology to look after – now my job is going to get even more interesting.  And I’m really looking forward to it…

Customising Quota messages in Exchange 2003

There have been loads of questions about customising that message that gets sent out automatically when you reach your quota in Exchange, so we’ve released a tool that allows you to do just that.  You need to download and install the tool onto your Exchange server.  If you’re running Exchange 2000, you’ll need to apply the hotfix first though.  You then need to edit the registry and add these keys:

1.Locate and then click the following registry subkey: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\MSExchangeIs\<servername>\<mdb guid>.
2.Create a REG_DWORD value named Local System Ignores Quota and set the value to 1. This value must be set on each <mdb guid> entry. Without this, the quota service will not be able to save messages to users who are over  their shutoff (prohibit send and receive) quotas. If the Exchange server does not use shutoff quotas, this value can be set to 0, or omitted.
3.Click OK.
4.Locate and then click the following registry subkey: HKLM\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\MSExchangeIs\servername>\<mdb guid>.
5.Create a REG_DWORD value named Disable Quota Messages and set the value to 1. This value must be set on each <mdb guid> entry. This value prevents the MSExchangeIS process from generating internal quota messages.
6.Click OK.

Then you need to stop and restart the Information store.  You can then start to modify the Quota messages which are in the QuotaMessages folder in the root of the mailbox.  The parent messages for quota template messages have the subjects: Warning, NoSend, and NoSendReceive.  The embedded message in each of these contains the quota template message which will be used to populate properties of the generate quota messages.  This is the part you can modify to suit your organisation.  But don’t change this bit…
The body of the quota message template can contain references to insertion strings (below) that will be replaced with information about a mailbox.
%1 – current mailbox size
%2 – size at which mailbox will receive warning messages
%3 – size at which the mailbox will no longer be able to send
%4 – size at which the mailbox can no longer send or receive
%5 – difference if any between warning threshold and current mailbox size
%6 – difference if any between send prohibited threshold and current mailbox size
%7 – difference if any between send and receive prohibited threshold and current mailbox size
If a limit is not set, do not reference it in the quota message template. No limit is displayed as -1.

You also need to have an account for the Quota Message Service with an associated mailbox on each server. This mailbox should be monitored so that responses to quota messages can be viewed, or the quota message template should clearly instruct the user not to respond or reply. Limitations must be set on this mailbox so that no messages can be sent to it.

Oh, how I wish that this tool had been around for Exchange 5.5 when I was the Exchange admin – I would have been able to keep my users under some sort of control with varying fierce and doom laden messages warning of dire things that would happen to them! 

Maybe I’m safer now I’m not in support any more…

My best Microsoft things – in a list…

Following on from Steve’s blog entry the other day, after listening to James’ musings at the roadshow on Wednesday, because it’s Friday, I’m winding down to a wonderful sunny weekend, and completed my urgent tasks – I thought I’d add my thoughts to the list of great things (features etc.) that we’ve done.  So here goes…

  • The Microsoft mouse.  Who would EVER want to navigate their way around using the Alt Ctl and Tab keys again?
  • The hibernate feature – cos I’m always in a hurry
  • Ink – doodle and make notes, and IM with one stylus
  • The wireless searching thingy.  It just finds the wireless and connects.  Perfect for the “less than gifted” user in your life
  • DHCP in Windows – so I don’t need to fiddle around with hosts files and BIND any more
  • Autosave in Word.  For everyone who has “inadvertently” closed the wrong window – yup that means me too!
  • Ctrl Z, Ctrl C, Ctrl V – I’ve used these for years and years and would be devastated if we dropped it… Even works here as I’m typing this – pure genius
  • Exchange Unified Messaging.  Totally brilliant for people like me who are always on the move.  This is going to be a classic for future top 10’s
  • The Smartphone.  I have to agree with Steve here – I can’t do my job without it…
  • USB plug and play.  Can you manage without your memory stick?

When typing this, I noticed that I was focusing on bits of the completed product – the technologies and services which go into making a product really great.  It’s often the little things and the peripherals that make my life so easy.  There’s my list.  Did I miss anything out? 

SharePoint User Group – talking about Office…

Nick from the SharePoint User group has let me know about their next event in July – with a couple of interesting speakers…

This is being organised with Combined Knowledge (the chaps who presented at the first user group meeting) on Thursday 20th July.
Bill English and Todd Bleaker (they wrote the
SharePoint Resource Kit) are flying over from the US and will be presenting along with a few others. All together we’ve got 3 rooms and 7 or 8 different speakers to cover Office 2007 stuff. We’ve space for between 200-250 people and we reckon we can fill it up!

I need to get up to speed a little bit faster with SharePoint 2007 – especially with the events that we’re planning for the latter part of the year around the 2007 Office system launch and things like that.  Or maybe I’ll just get Nick to deliver the sessions for me as he already knows the product really well… It’ll save me a job anyway!   The link to the registration site is here…it would be nice to see you there too 🙂