Tag Archives: learning

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 powershell.org. 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.





So what will I learn in 2014?

most of the last 18 months was spent studying for, failing and then passing my Microsoft Certified Master in Exchange 2010; i then had to spend four months in a darkened room recovering from the qual lab. there are those, like Richard Timmering, who can just breeze through this stuff, with their brains the size of planets, but it damn near saw me off.

finally, now though, i feel sufficiently recovered that i can contemplate learning something else, so i’ve been having a think about what i want and need to do. first off, there’s the stuff i need to learn for work:

  • Powershell; my skills are appalling. i need to get to the point where i’m happy writing mid-length scripts in powershell 2.0, and comfortable using 3.0.
  • Exchange 2013 – my mad skillz are kept sharp through troubleshooting, and as most of my customers are on 2010, that’s the product i’m comfortable with.
  • office 365 – as above. however, i know this year i’m going to be exposed to hybrid environments, so sticking my fingers in my ears and singing “lalalaaaa” is no longer a useful coping strategy.
  • lync. sigh.

and then there’s the things i’d like to get good at for work:

  • multi-tenant hosting with 2010/2013. we don’t do it, but people keep talking about it.
  • zimbra – always useful to have a different perspective
  • automated scripting of labs – something a bit like the lync online lab script, but for exchange 2010. i’m going to have to completely reconfigure my lab anyway this year, root out the 2003 and start building a decent 2013 environment, rather than the gimcrack thing i’m currently mucking about with.

it’ll be awfully dull if all i do is vendor stuff for the day job though, so i’ve been thinking about what i should be planning toward. i did a MSc 8 years ago, which i found to be a thoroughly rewarding experience, even if i’ve not done a lot with it, so i’d quite like to do something similar to that again. with that in mind, i’ve been browsing the University of Hertfordshire post grad site, specifically the list of PhD topics. However, it’s pretty clear that my 20 year old vintage undergrad maths isn’t going to stand scrutiny for the more interesting subjects, so first of all i need to get back up to speed with calculus and the rest of it. My programming is likewise ropey, so i shall be hitting the MOOCs in the first half of this year. the maths particularly will be handy – with a fifteen year old maths wiz daughter i need to be on my toes, and i’m fed up of being considered stone-age because i don’t recall the quick way to do quadratics.

so in short, this year i’ll also be:

i’ll be using this blog to keep track of what i’m doing, so please feel free to suggest anything that might be useful.