The Electric Wand

Thoughts of a technology enthusiast.

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  • Blog Post: Tip o’ the Week #36 – Using bookmarks in long emails

    “The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do.”  ~ Thomas Jefferson Brevity . That’s one, important, word. Better to write a short, thorough email, than to overwhelm with info no-one will ever read (something a few folks in Redmond have yet to appreciate, perhaps...
  • Blog Post: Outlook 2007 caches other people's calendars

    In the default modus operandi , Outlook 2007 likes to be in cached mode when running against Exchange, which is generally a *good thing*. Cached mode means there are (by and large) fewer occasions to go back & forth to the server, as it operates by synchronizing a local copy of the mailbox down to...
  • Blog Post: Drowning in a deluge of spam

    I'm sure everyone knows that email spam is a growing problem and that there's not a great deal we can do to stop it entirely - initiatives like SenderID can help reduce the volume an organisation receives, and by using smart sender and recipient filtering * and connection filtering to drop inbound connections...
  • Blog Post: Tip o' the Week #110 - Tracking Outlook responses

    Most of us regular Outlook users are well-versed in the Request/Response model of doing things other than email. Take an appointment in your own calendar: add an invited attendee or two, and you've created a meeting . What's different? The meeting invitations were sent out and the list of attendees is...
  • Blog Post: Exchange mailbox quotas and a 'paradox of thrift'

    The study of economics throws up some fantastic names for concepts or economic models, some of which have become part of the standard lexicon, such as the Law of Diminishing Returns , or the concept of opportunity cost , which I've written about before . Though it sounds like it might be something...
  • Blog Post: The Return of Exchange Unplugged

    In late 2005, to prepare for Exchange 5.5 going out of support (and to help customers understand what was involved in moving up to Exchange 2003), we did a really well received tour of the country arranged around the theme of " Exchange Unplugged ". We all wore "tour T-shirts" (in fact, every attendee...
  • Blog Post: The business case for Exchange 2007 - part III

    This is a continuation of an occasional series of articles about how specific capabilities of Exchange 2007 can be mapped to business challenges. The other parts, and other related topics, can be found here . GOAL: Lower the risk of being non-compliant Now here's a can of worms. What is "compliance"...
  • Blog Post: Voicemail sizes on Exchange 2007

    A question we get asked a lot is regarding the sizing of voice mail messages in Exchange 2007. If you're not familiar with the built-in voicemail capabilities, Exchange can function as a voice mail system (or Unified Messaging system, really - it's a way of unifying voice and inbound fax messages with...
  • Blog Post: Tip o’ the Week #30 – Sending emails from the past

    Following on from ToW #9 , regarding delaying sending email, this week’s episode was asked for by another reader, since he eagle-eyed-ly spotted that the email was send on one date but didn’t arrive in his inbox until a week later. Aha! Now, it’s possible in Outlook to set that a...
  • Blog Post: The biggest file I've ever seen - 3Tb PUB.EDB

    Well I haven't seen this for myself, but I was sent a screenshot of it. Actually, it was 3 different Exchange public folder servers, each of which had ~3Tb of public folder data... That's scary and impressive in equal measure. Reminds me of some of the stories people posted in response to my How does...
  • Blog Post: The business case for Exchange 2007

    (this is a follow on to the previous post on measuring business impact , and are my own thoughts on the case for moving to Exchange 2007) There are plenty of resources already published which talk about the top reasons to deploy, upgrade or migrate to Exchange 2007 - the top 10 reasons page would be...
  • Blog Post: Hosting of applications - the inevitable future?

    I've been musing over some medium term IT trends lately and one idea that keeps coming back into frame is the seemingly inevitable trend towards hosting of applications. Take Exchange, as just one example... Hosted Exchange * has been available for years, from lots of different providers all around the...
  • Blog Post: Exchange updates Transporter suite for Domino & IMAP

    I posted a while back about the release of the Transporter Suite for interoperability with (and maybe migration from) Lotus Domino, to Exchange 2007. The development group recently released an update to the whole suite, which now includes support for migration of generic mailboxes hosted on POP3 or IMAP4...
  • Blog Post: Shortcut to quickly set your voicemail greeting in Exchange 2007 UM

    I love the Exchange UM system my voicemail is supplied by, though it can take a while to navigate using voice commands if all you want to do is set your voicemail greeting. I (like a lot of people in Microsoft UK) set the greeting every day to set expectations of what I'm doing, and when I'm likely to...
  • Blog Post: Tip o’ the Week #91 – So you're OOF? Meh.

    Now that Outlook, Exchange and Lync all provide a way of showing that someone is Out of the Office (aka OOF, not OOO ), it should be no surprise when you send email to someone internally, that you get an Out of Office message. Outlook’s tool tip tells you they’re out, Lync’s status icon shows the small...
  • Blog Post: Plain text, RTF or HTML mail?

    Here's an interesting question that I was asked earlier today; I can't offer a definitive answer, but these are my thoughts. If you have any contradictory or complimentary comments, please comment or let me know. "Can RTF/HTML Mail be as safe as plain text with regard to viruses/malware etc?" Theoretically...
  • Blog Post: Tip o’ the Week #44 – Making Outlook show only email from external senders

    This tip came about after one reader asked if there was any way to highlight email, in Outlook, that came from a set of external addresses [in short, it kind-of is, but it’s not so straightforward] . There’s a more universally useful tip lurking beneath, though – how can I hide all...
  • Blog Post: Tip o' the Week #102 - When did someone really put something in their calendar?

    I've been thinking about writing this tip since the ToW started almost exactly two years ago (yay!) but for various reasons, competitive advantage amongst them, I've held off. I figure it's now time to relent and share. genesis The tip concerns the differences in Outlook between appointments, meetings...
  • Blog Post: Tip o’ the Week #119 – Using Outlook in multiple windows

    This week’s tip comes courtesy of Jon Morris , who is agog at the way lots of people switch between their Inbox and their Calendar, in Outlook. Hands up if you routinely use the Navigation Pane on the lower left of the main window, to switch between these two most commonly used folders? OK, put your...
  • Blog Post: Exchange in the cloud or on the ground?

    Following the price cut on the desperately-in-need-of-renaming BPOS services recently, I’ve been talking with a few people about the where the tipping point might be for running Exchange in house vs using some form of hosted provision. There are plenty of reasons why a hosted offering makes sense...
  • Blog Post: Holy smoke, it's an explosive demo

    I've spent the last couple of days in London helping out with the first Exch ange Unplugged 2007 events , which have gone really well. One attendee to the first session, held with BT at the Tate Modern, said in 15 years of working in IT, it was the best Microsoft event he'd ever been to. Let's hope the...
  • Blog Post: Microsoft launches "Online" hosted services

    In an attempt to clarify the whole online software branding, with "Live" being consumer oriented and "Online" being aimed at businesses, Microsoft launched a new service recently, but that may have gone unnoticed (what with other launch events such as PerformancePoint Server for business intelligence...
  • Blog Post: When interaction design goes bad

    For various reasons, I've been testing & driving several different cars lately, a process I quite enjoy - getting to know the foibles of the car's cockpit, playing with the various toys and gadgets, as well as actually learning how to drive each one according to its size, performance etc. It's really...
  • Blog Post: Exchange 2003/2007 clustering & high availability

    The Exchange development team have done a nice job of expanding the high availability options with the 2007 release. With Exchange 2003, the only real HA design was to use what is now known as a Single Copy Cluster (SCC) - ie. there's one copy of the databases and log files, held on a Storage Area Network...
  • Blog Post: Tip o’ the Week #29 – Filtering email to reduce the noise

    Anyone who gets lots of email will appreciate the importance of Outlook rules. Most rules run on the Exchange server, but some (like rules which move messages to a PST folder on your PC) will run client-side. In Outlook 2010, the Rules settings are available from the File menu (or Backstage ). Over the...