The Electric Wand

Weekly tips from the "Tip o' the Week" email distribution inside of Microsoft.

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  • Blog Post: Custom presence states in Office Communicator

    I just discovered how to modify presence states in Office Communicator 2007: it's documented in the Office Communicator Deployment Guide (page 21, if you're interested), and allows for either the managed deployment of Communicator with additional corporate-set presence states, or if a user is savvy enough...
  • Blog Post: Custom presence states in Communicator, reprise

    A quick follow on to my post the other day about having custom presence states in Office Communicator 2007 - the Communicator Deployment Guide has a couple of minor errors which could frustrate you, as one commenter pointed out, and I've had comments from a couple of people who've had trouble getting...
  • 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: Communicator phones sneaking out

    When Microsoft first announced the Unified Communications strategy & partnerships last year, one of the pictures that was shown off was of a prototype "Communicator phone" - a networked device which could be used to make phone calls through the Office Communications Server, and would show the presence...
  • Blog Post: Microsoft Roundtable transitions to Polycom

    Microsoft & Polycom announced yesterday that the Microsoft Roundtable conferencing device (used with Live Meeting or OCS 2007 to present a 360° view of the room to participants joining from elsewhere), will be replaced. Polycom are taking over the manufacturing and distribution of Roundtable and...
  • Blog Post: Tip o’ the Week #113 – Add context to your Lync status

    One of the biggest cultural impacts of using Instant Messaging and UC technology in a business context is the way that people tend to check the status of someone before contacting them. It’s a relatively rare occurrence to get an internal phone call out of the blue if both parties are online: usually...
  • Blog Post: Gibson Guitars "Riffs on OCS" (boom, boom)

    Information Week reported that Gibson, makers of the iconic Les Paul guitar (as used by just about everyone, maybe most famously Jimmy Page of Led Zep or Slash from Guns N Roses), are doing great stuff with Office Communication Server, and singing its praises. They found the level of integration with...
  • Blog Post: Tip o' the Week #51 - Five Golden Rules for OCS & Lync

    A tip this week concerning best practices for using Enterprise Voice in OCS or Lync for making and receiving voice calls… Participating in OCS/Lync Calls: Use a wired* connection when you are on OCS/Lync calls. (Performance over WIFI will not be as good) Ensure you use an approved...
  • Blog Post: Identity & presence: the key to anyone's Unified Communications strategy

    I spend a lot of time talking with customers about what Microsoft is doing with various new technologies, mostly involving or revolving around the Unified Communications stuff with OCS and Exchange. It's really interesting to see how many people just "get" the point of UC technology, whereas others are...
  • Blog Post: OCS 2007 RTMs

    The title says it all really - Office Communications Server 2007 released to manufacturing on Friday. Mark posted about it then, so I guess it's official (though there's not much hoo-haa yet on Microsoft.com). It's getting pretty exciting with the use of desktop video (even though it's nothing new: we...
  • 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: The Campaign for Real Pedantry, erm, I mean numbers

    Hats off to James O'Neill for a display of true, world-class pedantry to which I could only aspire. It drives me nuts to get emails with badly formatted phone numbers which can't be dialled on Smartphones without first editing them, and now that I've started using Office Communications Server 2007 (more...
  • Blog Post: Living the dream with Office Communicator 2007

    I've been a long-time fan of instant messaging and pervasive "presence", especially the cultural changes it allows organisations to make in order to communicate and collaborate better. As a result, I've been really interested to see what's been happening with Office Communications Server (the soon-to...
  • Blog Post: Bulk update Outlook Contacts' phone numbers to be E.164 compliant

    Here's a quick & dirty tool I put together for Outlook to be able to update all the phone numbers of contacts to make them E.164 compliant. It relates back to a post a while back around the challenges of formatting numbers 'correctly', particularly important once you get into using click-to-dial...
  • Blog Post: When the weather outside is frightful…

    … the UC technology is soooo delightful. OK, it’s cheesy as you can get, but very true. The weather forecast on Sunday night was for heavy snow, and sure enough we awoke on Monday to about 4-6 inches of fresh snow – something that many countries would take in their stride, but in southern England, we...
  • Blog Post: OCS2007 trial edition now available

    If you want to get your hands on trial software for the recently-released Office Communications Server 2007 and its client, Office Communicator 2007 , then you're in luck... OCS trial download (both Standard & Enterprise editions) Communicator trial Bear in mind that these trials are for tyre-kicking...
  • Blog Post: Outlook 2010 beta and E.164 number format updater

    Well hello again; it’s been a while. Normal service should now infrequently resume. I thought I’d update the instructions of a previous post, after I was showing someone how to use my old “ Contacts updater ” application to make all their Outlook contact phone numbers be E.164 compliant. (see blogs passim...
  • Blog Post: Playing with Roundtable prototype

    I've been looking forward to Roundtable coming out... it's a very interesting type of hybrid between a standard conference speakerphone and a series of web-cams, all tied together by plugging it into a PC and running the new LiveMeeting 2007 client software. The concept of Roundtable is quite simple...
  • Blog Post: Business continuity – it’s a people thing, not just a premises one

    I had a really interesting discussion with a customer last week, when we were musing over the effects that the snow had on UK businesses. It was another example – like the floods which have hit parts of the country over the last few years – of a threat to business continuity which it’s easy to overlook...
  • Blog Post: OCS Custom Status updates – another update

    Some time ago, I wrote on OCS custom status fields and how to implement them… Custom presence states in Office Communicator Custom presence states in Communicator, reprise Custom presence states in OCS – revisited again Well, security changes in the way Office Communicator...
  • Blog Post: Custom presence states in OCS – revisited again

    I posted a while back about custom presence states ( here and here ). Well it turns out that a change made to an updated version of Communicator, requires (by default) that the custom state XML file is downloaded from a “secure” URL (so ruling out the file:// URL type). I’ve posted my XML file to...
  • Blog Post: Updated LifeCam software

    It's not exactly "news", since the Microsoft LifeCam web-camera driver & software package was updated a few months ago, but I only picked up the latest version the other day and it brought a few smiles when playing with it today, during a call with James Akrigg . The LifeCam software does real...