Monthly Archives: July 2014

pushbullet is just ace.

i left my phone at home this morning. luckily, i’ve installed pushbullet on it, and i have the required chrome extension on my desktop. Every time someone rings my phone, their number pops up on my desktop and i can ring them back. this is ace.



Intersting things I have seen on the internet, July 14th

First off – interesting things from the word of TMG – TMG 2010 SP2 RU5 is now available. Gosh. I’d also like to shout about this exciting development; Clint Huffman, the excellent engineer who is responsible for the PAL has written a book. It’s a touching tale of an orphan boy who is befriended by hedgehogs in Edwardian-era Leeds  about  windows performance analysis, unsurprisingly, it’s published in October, and it’s available for pre-order right now. If it’s half the book it could be, it will replace “Moby dick” on the nightstand, for me. Daddy loves perfmon.


Exchange Design:

An interesting summary of the current “why the hell doesn’t Exchange support NFS?” debate from Michel de Rooij. He makes the point toward the end that just because something works, doesn’t mean it’s supportable. An example is Exchange on AWS – you’re welcome to try it but your exchange support comes from Amazon, not Microsoft. Tony Redmond’s post on it is likewise interesting – notice Devin Ganger’s comments at the bottom – read them in conjunction with his blog post last week about virtualization technologies not being ready for exchange yet and it’s no wonder so many exchange implementations get into trouble.


Exchange Troubleshooting:

In 2013, if you update the notes field of a contact via a mobile device, it winds up blank. Known issue. Not yet fixed.

Using logparser to see what is using EWS…

A quick powershell one-liner for deleting IIS logs… why do you want to delete iis logs? Because there’s farsands of ‘em.

Farsands of ’em.

If you’ve just migrated a user from exchange 2003, you might not be able to open outlook if they have invalid characters in their legacyExchangeDN attribute.

“the Microsoft exchange administrator has made a change…” prompt cont’d – incorrectly decommissioning public folders can trigger it.


Exchange General:

Message recall. It’s garbage, basically, isn’t it? here are some suggestions for ways to make it less smelly.

A picture is worth a thousand words so here’s a cracking little script to display mailbox growth graphically. I prefer a pie chart personally. A pie would be even better.

Always handy to know; how to install the latest applicable updates for Microsoft outlook. It now covers how to use OffCAT to help you, as well. That’s right, no more hunting through binary versions – OffCAT will tell you which updates you need.

Damian Scoles, Exchange MVP and Unified  Comms guru is building a new lab. I now have lab envy. I’m running a 64GB ESXi 5.5 hypervisor on a fujitsu rx200 s6 with 6TB of iSCSI SAN and it’s clearly too damn small. Sigh.

Tony Redmond discusses the parlous state of Exchange Search, here. And that’s in office 365. It’s worse when you have to try and keep the services running yourself… 😀


Core General:

If Kerberos authentication is required, then a forest trust is necessary. I don’t care what it says on technet.

Elden Christensen has some interesting thoughts on sizing windows 2012 clusters. He also has an idiosyncratic way of spelling “chassis”.

Troubleshooting certificate errors with message analyzer – this is way cool even if they’re using a beta version…

Discussion of a useful tool for configuring ACLs

Gary Siepser explains why | fl  and | fl * return different result sets in powershell.


Office 365:

What’s new for June 2014, according to the office blog. Mostly Lync it seems.

Tony Redmond’s thoughts on Wave 16… probably a must-read for everybody…

A handy video summary of the new features of office 365 enterprise. “Enjoy your office instantly – wherever you go”. Sounds more like a threat to me.

The current top issues for outlook with office 365 – good idea to look here before wondering why things don’t work…

IDFix and the new fast-track onboarding process explained on channel 9.



If you’re new to lync, or contemplating the exams, as I am (in the same way as I’m contemplating my own mortality, with a sense of hopeful procrastination), then you may find the legendary techy’s new lync lab series of interest. If that all looks too manual for you and  you have access to a meaty windows 2012 box with hyper-V installed then you may prefer the lynclabonline script.

There have been some changes recently to the Lync Validator – it’s now hosted on Azure, for a start… What’s Lync Validator? Rob Brynteson’s online Lync 2013 design validation tool. Why not go and have a look at it over at


And finally…


It’s cleaner than water, it’s cheaper than porter, it’s GIN.


intersting things i see on the internet, 1st July.

I know, it’s been longer than I intended. I’ve been a little busy, dontcherknow? Speaking of which, a massive shoutout to my colleague Phil Christie who has been doing awesome work (and an awful lot of it) for the last couple of weeks for one of our big retail customers. Cheers Phil.

I’m also going to call out the summer meeting of the Microsoft Unified Communications User Group London, on Thursday July 31st near Liverpool street… I’m hoping to get along, so maybe see you there.


There are some really interesting links below, especially if you are interested in certification, so please have a good look…


Exchange Design:

 Public folder limits look set to increase in Exchange 2013 CU6 from 10,000 to 100,000.

Boris Lokhvitsky has written a good article digging into the theory of availability, and how site resiliency impacts it. it’s the companion to the “DAG, beyond the “A”” piece that appeared on the EHLO blog a few years ago. warning: may contain traces of algebra.

What’s the chances of Exchange 2013 ever being supported on Azure? Slim, according to Tony Redmond. Good. He also expands on Microsoft’s virtualisation advice for exchange, here.

My MCM buddy Justin Harris has written a good article thoroughly exploring the impact of CU5 on the offline address book.

Last email I suggested you read a paper on WAP and ARR, the new anti-piracy features of exchange, the recommended way of doing preauth now TMG is deprecated. If reading sounds like quite a lot of work, actually, then Georg Hinterhofer has done a wizzbang video for you, here. It’s about an hour. Me hearties.


Exchange Troubleshooting:


Experfwiz has been updated, and now includes Exchange 2013 support… so now you need to play the video above. Dance, also. The only downside is it contains final confirmation that exmon don’t work with exchange 2013, despite this kb article implying that it can. Hohum.

Don’t use /setup /PAD with exchange 2013 cu5, apparently it causes problems – use setup /prepareAD instead. Seriously.

Ron He suggests an unusual reason why mails may not be flowing. Sooo much easier than using netmon or wireshark. For those who can’t be bothered to read the article, it’s because they’d set an external DNS server address, which had stopped responding. Even when it does respond, this is generally a bad idea, as external DNS lookups take an awful lot longer than internal ones… carefully check the powershell cmdlet there… the default 2010 settings are:


See? The externaladapter is $true, but the ExternalDNSServers value is $null… (also the cmdlet is get-TransportServer in 2010, and get-TransportServICE in 2013…)

Calcheck integration in the OffCAT tool has been overhauled and improved. If you don’t know what CalCheck or OffCAT are, you’ve probably not been reading these mails. CalCheck is the outlook calendar checking tool, OffCAT is the Office Configuration Analyzer Tool – the client equivalent of the ExBPA.

Tony Redmond points out there is a new parameter in the set-mailboxdatabase cmdlet for exchange 2013 – AutoDAGExcludeFromMoitoring, whih allows you to exclude a database in a DAG from triggering 4113 events if there is only one copy – good for test databases, migration databases and whatever, where you KNOW there is only one copy, and don’t want to be repeatedly nudged, except… it doesn’t work. It’ll be fixed in CU6, Scott Schnoll says…

This doesn’t affect me (cos we don’t use IBM storage, ever), but there is no reason to suppose that other storage manufacturers don’t do something equally stoopid. IBM improve their drive sector size capability and break block mode replication in a DAG.

Blank pages after you sign into the Exchange 2013 EAC? Here’s the workaround for this known issue.

Unexpected error occurred when a user run New-MailboxSearch in Exchange Server 2013



Exchange General:

Joe Davies has published a very exciting new test lab guide that covers Exchange 2013 on isolated subnets, public cloud and Azure. Can’t wait to have a go at this. there’s also one on setting up directory sync in a hybrid environment.

If you’re at all interested in writing apps for Exchange 2013 and OWA then you’ll probably enjoy the videos and links in  this article on the office blog. It certainly seems that programming for exchange has come a long way since the days of CDO. With years of study and hard work, I might be able to do a “hello world”, now.

If doing similar for Office365 floats your boat, then there’s a good post from Zapier on the exchange dev blog. I’m an enthusiastic  zapier user, so this gets me coming and going.

Tony Redmond has an interesting update on MAPI over HTTP and it’s takeup, here.

There are some updated guided walkthroughs available, here.

A few months ago I published a link to Richard Schwendiman’s Ex2013 mailflow schema diagram. Well Sam Drey (SammyKrosoft) has published an addendum breaking out the receive connectors and their properties and default configs here.

Rhoderick Milne has a great post about the Exchange Scripting Agent here. There’s also a lot of other good stuff on his blog this month, well worth a read.


Core General:

Ed Wilson has written a blog article on the powershell blog about the future of powershell – this is a really interesting article with a lot of good links in it and well worth a read. I’d like to call out one link in particular though: the books on There are some crackers in there, and the DSC one is of particular interest. Unfortunately it’s on a onedrive share, so you’ll probably have to get it at home and bring it in. sigh.

Windows FLAV recommendations have been updated. (File level antivirus. Really?)

Microsoft press have 40% off selected books and ebooks at the American Microsoft bookshop – watch out for those shipping fees.

There’s some trouble brewing with MSL recertification – a post from Larry Kaye on the Microsoft Learning blog suggests that if you let one of your certifications lapse, you will NEVER be able to recertify…  this is going to have interesting ramifications for partners who rely on their staff having certain certs. I predict this will run and run… make sure you read the comments also.

SilverseekKB may be of interest to you all – how to find the latest available version of a set of binaries.

Ashley McGlone has some good general powershell links here. May be something of interest to you. Also a picture of a huge troll under a bridge.

Packt are offering all ebooks and videos for $10 until the end of the week. that’s a good price, right there.



Office 365:

Paul Robichaux has a problem with mailbox level backup in office 365it’s not there.

The latest version of the dirsync tool has a feature to help us prevent the accidental deletion of accounts, by requiring confirmation to delete accounts over a certain threshold. We’ve been here before I think. While it may prevent accidental accidental deletion, it won’t prevent deliberate accidental deletion (do you want to delete these objects? Yes. Are you sure you want to delete these objects? Yes. Last chance now…? just delete them already! … … … … … I didn’t want to do that, did i?). as an example, I never ever delete. I always shift delete, like an idiot. I bet that makes the team who came up with the recycle bin feel just great.

Microsoft are clearly worried about hordes of angry sysadmins storming down 156th avenue, as they’ve started a series entitled “office 365 for IT Professionals”. A direct quote: “Ultimately, Office 365 allows you to focus on your users, and that’s what we want to help you do. We want you to stop worrying—worrying about all that deployment stuff and maintenance and patch management, worrying about whether you have enough capacity or load-bearing structural capacity, and worrying about building to support another server or whether there’s too much humidity in your data center.” Well I, for one, am thoroughly reassured. “focus on my users”. ugh. Would you like fries with that?

A good post on the office 365 blog explaining how they’re making service updates more visible.

A very short video from perry and vivek on the topic of data access. If it wasn’t who it was, I probably wouldn’t have included it. who has access to your data in office 365?

What’s new and news roundup for may. I may have got those confused, there. it may be the what’s roundup and new news.

OWA for Android is available, but only for Office365. The on-premise customers will have to wait.

They’ve started a series of developer podcasts for office 365, which may be of interest, here.

Henrik Walther has collected a lot of good EOP links, here.



The legendary techy at the legendary techy blog has attended a Lync Depth Support Engineer course at Wokingham, which he appears to have enjoyed very much. It looks a bit like a mini MCM – given that MCM is not available anymore, it may be about the best thing out there at the moment, and it’s also significantly cheaper. There’s also information his blog about the inaugural UC Birmingham User Group meeting on the 13th of August. Steve Goodman and Michael van Hybrid are speaking. Should be good.

How long does a meeting last if I log out? Richard Brynteson does a conferencing activation and deactivation deepdive here.


And finally, microsoft’s smart home of the future, from the past. Dig that cassiopeia.





Packt are at it again!


10 years in IT publishing, $10 for ebooks and videos. i’ll give you the link first and you can read the press release afterward, should you care. there’s some great tiles on there, like Michael Van Hybrid’s “Microsoft Exchange 2013 Cookbook”…

Packt’s celebrates 10 years with a special $10 offer

This month marks 10 years since Packt Publishing embarked on its mission to deliver effective learning and information services to IT professionals. In that time it’s published over 2000 titles and helped projects become household names, awarding over $400,000 through its Open Source Project Royalty Scheme.

To celebrate this huge milestone, from June 26th Packt is offering all of its eBooks and Videos at just $10 each for 10 days – this promotion covers every title and customers can stock up on as many copies as they like until July 5th.

Dave Maclean, Managing Director explains ‘From our very first book published back in 2004, we’ve always focused on giving IT professionals the actionable knowledge they need to get the job done. As we look forward to the next 10 years, everything we do here at Packt will focus on helping those IT professionals, and the wider world, put software to work in innovative new ways.

We’re very excited to take our customers on this new journey with us, and we would like to thank them for coming this far with this special 10-day celebration, when we’ll be opening up our comprehensive range of titles for $10 each.

If you’ve already tried a Packt title in the past, you’ll know this is a great opportunity to explore what’s new and maintain your personal and professional development. If you’re new to Packt, then now is the time to try our extensive range – we’re confident that in our 2000+ titles you’ll find the knowledge you really need , whether that’s specific learning on an emerging technology or the key skills to keep you ahead of the competition in more established tech.’