February 11, 2011

Voting is open!

Manchester City have announced that the voting is now open for the “Coming Home” competition.


Voting will decide the winner.  You can vote for me here
Posted by Simon Barratt at 02:27:22 PM | Add/View Comments (943) | PermaLink
Location: Office

July 23, 2009

Hey IT!

A colleague of mine (the anonymous business man) forwarded me this link today.  For all of those people out there still using IE6, then this provides a little propaganda to help move things along.  According to Digg, 70% of IE6 users are forced to do so by their IT departments at work.

I hate to admit it, but that includes us.  And even worse, I control what browser we do use in my office!

But in my defence, I am trying to move use forward to IE8.  However big corporations (us) use software to run our business from big software vendors (SAP) who refuse to support IE8 for all the modules we use!  And until they do my hands are somewhat tied.

It is a vicious circle.  We use IE6 and I was planning on upgrading to IE7 this year (which SAP does support).  Then MS suddenly get active and release IE8 earlier than expected.  I would rather skip IE7 altogether now and go straight to IE8, but SAP does not support IE8.  We are pushing SAP to give us a date when they will support it... still waiting for an answer on that one...

Either way, an upgrade is coming... sometime.  Whether it is IE7 or IE8 remains to be seen, it really depends on what sort of answer I get from SAP!
idiots.jpg bill.jpg browser.jpg wakeup.jpg
Posted by Simon Barratt at 01:22:06 PM | Add/View Comments (497) | PermaLink
Location: Office

June 18, 2009

iPhone OS 3.0 still lacking in offline Exchange email support

It looks like my hopes were ill founded re the 3.0 update to the iPhone.

The same glaring issue that was introduced with the 2.0 version and Exchange email access remains in 3.0.  It still does not support offline email processing.  So, when you happen to hit a deadzone (on the train mainly) and are attempting to delete emails from your Exchange email account, you still get the annoying pop up error about being unable to delete the message (for every message you attempted to delete - so there could be many of these) and then all the emails magically re-appear in your inbox, and you have to do it all over again once you get  a data connection!  I was really hoping this would of been fixed in 3.0.

I also hoped this update would improve the auto discovery support for Exchange 2007, but it still does not support SRV record lookups (as far as I am aware no mobile phones support this, not even Windows Mobile!)

On the upside though the Spotlight search feature is excellent.  The ability to quickly find anything on the phone is such a time saver.
Posted by SIMON BARRATT at 05:16:00 PM | Add/View Comments (740) | PermaLink
Location: Office

May 6, 2009

Time to ditch the land line?

I got a letter from AT&T the other week, saying that they will be discontinuing the phone service they currently sell me.  I have been using their CallVantage VoIP service for a few years, and it has worked well for me.

AT&T offer no explanation why they are discontinuing this service, and only offer me the option of regular land line or U-verse, but as U-verse is not available where I live, that limits my options!

So do I move to another VoIP service, if so which?  Vonage promotes itself a lot, but it surely is just a matter of time before they go bankrupt, so I don't think I'll bother with them.

Google Voice looks interesting.  I would love to dump the land line concept completely and just use our mobile phones.  I need a good international plan too though.  I wonder when Google Voice will be taking new customers and if I could port my existing number to them.  Maybe I could Skype enable my cordless house phones somehow?

Ho hum!! Decisions, decisions.
Posted by Simon Barratt at 10:19:11 AM | Add/View Comments (224) | PermaLink
Location: Office

April 5, 2009


It's not often that I find myself working at 30,000 feet in the air, especially at 1am!  But now that I am, I am really appreciating the ThinkLight on the Lenovo laptop!  The little light at the top of the screen, coupled with the dimmest screen setting, really does provide the optimal lighting for typing in the dark cabin.

For all those Lenovo laptop users out there who have never even noticed there is a small light at the top of the display just press Fn (bottom left of keyboard) and PgUp (top right of keyboard) to turn it off and on.
Posted by Simon Barratt at 12:59:04 AM | Add/View Comments (454) | PermaLink
Location: Somewhere over the Atlantic

April 3, 2009


I came across OpenDNS this week and gave it a go - you should too!

Use OpenDNS

Certainly in the USA, the speed is a lot better than the DNS service offered by my ISP, Verizon.

But the best part is the extra layer of security it adds to your home network.  With the recent conficker panic, just by using openDNS, you would of been aware of the fact that there was an infected system on your home network and it would of been prevented from calling home.

It can try to correct common misspelt (typo) domains for you, and help avoid you accidently hitting a wierd web site full of adds or popups or worse!

And for those of you with kids, there are also several layers of content filtering it will apply to keep the shades of nastiness out of your house!

Lastly, if you want, you can activate the stats feature, and this will show you various pieces of information about the top domains and lookups etc.

I highly recommend it.  If you don't like it you can easily change it back - no software needed.
Posted by Simon Barratt at 03:18:15 PM | Add/View Comments (571) | PermaLink
Location: Office

March 6, 2009

Night and Day

Night = Outlook 2007 SP1
Day = Outlook 2007 SP2

What a difference.  Finally Outlook performs like you would expect an email client to perform.  Navigating through Outlook 2007 SP1 in cached mode was generally like wading through treacle - down right hard work and interjected with unexpected pauses and delays.

SP2 is a huge improvement.  Flipping from Inbox to Calendar, to Contacts is now fast.  When you delete an email it just disappears, no hour glass, no disc spinning, nothing - it is joyful!

It makes you realise how bad Outlook 2007 SP1 was!  On to wider testing, then looking to get this deployed asap!
Posted by Simon Barratt at 10:52:42 AM | Add/View Comments (450) | PermaLink
Location: Office

February 10, 2009

Installing Update Rollup 6 for Exchange Server 2007 SP1

I would love to know what the hell these updates are looking for when they install!  Install time is many times longer if you try to perform the install on a server that cannot connect to the Internet.  All our FE CAS servers are configured with a default gateway pointing to the ISA server, which means they are unable to connect to the Internet, which means these installs take for ever.  The install is just over 69MB, what else does it need to get from the Internet?  And if it was that important, why does the install complete successfully even though it can't connect?

Posted by Simon Barratt at 07:50:47 PM | Add/View Comments (368) | PermaLink
Location: Office

February 6, 2009

Mailbox on Exchange 2007 Server stills shows as being a legacy mailbox!

If, after moving mailboxes from Exchange 2003 to Exchange 2007, some of them still show up in the Exchange Management Console as being Legacy mailboxes here is the quick fix:

Set-Mailbox UserAlias –ApplyMandatoryProperties

Once corrected you can now apply any newer Exchange 2007 properties to the mailbox.  Why some end up looking like this I don't know, but this fixes it!
Posted by Simon Barratt at 04:32:21 PM | Add/View Comments (366) | PermaLink
Location: Office

February 6, 2009

Office Communicator 2007 prompts for credentials

We are just about done with our migration from Exchange 2003 to Exchange 2007 - this is no upgrade believe me!

All our Front End servers are now CAS servers and half of our Back End server are now Mailbox servers.

However, what we noticed after moving mailboxes onto the 2007 servers was that Office Communicator 2007, started prompting for credentials, but only when not on the corporate network.  We utilise an OCS Edge server to allow Communicator to connect with requiring a VPN.

Now that the users mailbox is on an Exchange 2007 server, Office Communicator inherits the same autodiscover behaviour (uses the same dll's) and now looks for the Exchange Web Services to extract free/busy information.

The initial login to Office Communicator worked just fine, but you got the password prompt about 5 seconds or so later.  Using WireShark we could see the various DNS requests and the final successful request for autodiscover (we are using the SRV record method) which then prompted for the password.

After a lot of searching and testing Scott send me a link to this site which explains what is going on.

I executed the recommended script and restarted IIS
C:\Inetpub\AdminScripts>cscript adsutil.vbs set w3svc/1/root/NTAuthenticationProviders "NTLM,Negotiate"

After that, no more password prompts in Office Communicator, and even more importantly, no impact on the existing client configurations of OWA,  RPC over HTTPS and ActiveSync - which is always a relief!

I also noted that if you are using Office Communicator 2007 R2 you do not get the authentication prompt at all - so Microsoft must of corrected the negotiation methodology in that release.
Posted by Simon Barratt at 03:32:35 PM | Add/View Comments (809) | PermaLink
Location: Office

August 6, 2008

Live Meeting plugin for Outlook problem

I have been experimenting with this plugin to simplify the use of Live Meeting within out company.  On the surface it sounds great, you just create a meeting as usual, then from the attendee list you can specify who will be a presenter and send it.  The plugin then sends two types of invites out: one to the presenters and one to the attendees, the main difference being the URL required to join the meeting.

However, we have had to uninstall this plugin and prevent its use within FMC due to a pretty significant bug (feature??).  The problem is, if you should add or remove an attendee from the meeting, then it automatically sends the meeting update out to all attendees regardless.  You loose the option to send the update to only the added or deleted attendees.  This is not acceptable in our environment - it generates far too much confusion and noise.

The official word from Microsoft is that this is working as designed and that if we want to invite an additional person to a meeting, then you need to forward the invite to them.  I really hate it when software companies refuse to accept something as a bug and claim it is working as designed!

Oh, I forgot to mention, once this plugin is installed, it doesn't just screw with Live Meeting enabled meetings, but any meetings on your calendar! Oh Joy!
Posted by Simon Barratt at 09:29:09 AM | Add/View Comments (699) | PermaLink
Location: Office

July 22, 2008

Honour, but not offer

I just got off the phone with Verizon - disputing my FIOS Internet bill.

Apparently, my price has gone up (from $39.99 to $47.99) due to my previous contract expiring.  It would of been nice, of course, if they told me my contract was expiring and that there is a price hike for new contracts!

Any how, whilst waiting and waiting and waiting, I pulled up the verizon FIOS price page.  I see the $47.99 price, but also notice that the download speed offered is 10Mbps now - I am currently at 5Mbps.  So when the lady finally returns from the parallel universe she just visited, I ask her about the additional bandwidth.  "Oh, would you like me to activate that?" she says!  "Yes please" say I, and off she goes again.  After a few more minutes she returns, saying it is taking too long to activate and that she has placed the order which will take effect later today, and she didn't want to keep me on hold any longer.  I then enquire about why I had to ask about the bandwidth - that as they had pushed up the price, so shouldn't they also push the bandwidth improvements too?

Her response: "We Honour, not offer".  I beg your pardon??!!  So it seems that Verzion are more than willing to put up the price, but only give you the extra speed if you ask for it!

What a joke!

Posted by SIMON BARRATT at 11:49:00 AM | Add/View Comments (377) | PermaLink
Location: Office