The lost art of the OOF

Some time ago, I posted about how the ".sig" has faded from grandeur. I’d like to add the somewhat terminal dryness of the OOF message to that list, and propose a solution. OOF is a Microsoft term for Out of Office. It should really be OOO, but is stuck in the days of the predecessor…


The downside of online shopping

I bought myself an early Christmas present a few weeks ago. One Saturday morning, sitting at the home PC whilst noodling about on the web, I decided it was time to replace the old warhorse and get something a bit more modern. So I surfed off to my favourite PC web emporium and specced up…


Unified Communications licensing made easy

Well, hopefully. I get asked a lot about what licenses customer need when they want to deploy Exchange & Office Communications Server, in order to keep themselves legal & compliant. It’s sometimes a bit confusing that there are several versions of the core products, and often add-on licenses such as external connectors and the likes….


Tips for using Virtual PC and Virtual Server

Like many people who demo software technologies or who need to perform testing on multi-machine environments, I’ve been using Virtual PC and Virtual Server for years (and VMWare before that). If you’re unfamiliar with these two Microsoft products, both are free and can be used to conduct lab tests, play with new technologies or even…

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 technologies such as Office…


Exchange 2007 SP1 signed off

The Exchange team gave the green light to build 240.06 of SP1 yesterday! The download will be available here as soon as they can get the packages deployed to the web. More information on what’s in SP1 is on Technet already.


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 from known spammers…


Fun and games with identity (and keeping it safe)

I was going to title this post, “the Wizard of Id” but decided against it. It hasn’t been a great week for the UK government’s HMRC (Revenue & Customs) department, who admitted losing a couple of CDs which had an unencrypted export of the name, address, national insurance number and in some case, bank account…


NASA’s new server – with 4Tb of RAM and 2048 CPU cores

Wow. George Ou from ZDNet wrote yesterday about NASA’s new supercomputer, the most powerful single node computer in the world. It comprises 1024 dual-core Itanium2 CPUs with 4Tb of memory. The article doesn’t say what OS the beast is running, but one of the comments says that they have used a custom kernel based on…


When bean counters start counting things they don’t understand the value of.

I’ve been having a discussion with an old friend, who’s telling me of a large financial institution that have suddenly started getting very picky about spending on IT. Maybe it’s the financial environment right now – the tabloids are desperate to paint a doomsday scenario where all the banks are on the verge of collapse,…