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Review: TechHit TwInbox – Full Twitter Integration in Outlook

October 28, 2011 Leave a comment

With social networking being so popular these days, it can be difficult to keep track of all of the various messaging streams having different clients installed, etc. So I was real happy when I stumbled across an add-in for Outlook that brings full Twitter capabilities right to my Inbox. And, it’s free. FREE!

TechHit’s TwInbox product does just that. It adds a set of options to the Outlook ribbon that allow you to tweet, retweet, DM, and more.

Outlook toolbar with TwInbox options (click for larger version)

Outlook toolbar with TwInbox options (click for larger version)

It will retrieve new tweets every few minutes, and deposit them into a folder of your choice. Tweets show up as a post in Outlook, as shown below:

Sample tweet as seen in Outlook (click for larger version)

Sample tweet as seen in Outlook (click for larger version)

Hotkeys can be assigned to make the various options even more convenient. For example, CTRL+ALT+P brings up my New Tweet dialog:

New tweet dialog box (click for larger version)

New tweet dialog box (click for larger version)

TwInbox has full support for attaching photos, bit.ly URL shortening, and more. It even builds a list of all Twitter names and hashtags in tweets you receive as sort of a Twitter address book.

This is a great app. I’ve been using it since the beginning, and have had very few issues with it. It makes sending tweets much more convenient, and gives me a full view into what’s going when I use the Unread Mail view in Outlook (my default view). I can forward tweets via email, and added benefit.

My only issue with the app is that if you install it on multiple machines, and have each configured to automatically download tweets, you can end up with duplicates in your mailbox. This is a minor issue for me. I leave one machine running with Outlook open anyways, so that’s the one that gets my tweets. And I just point them to a folder with a retention policy assigned. So tweets only stay in my mailbox for 7 days before being deleted.

Check out TwInbox and I’m sure you’ll agree it’s a great app.

Categories: Exchange Server Tags: , ,

Update Rollup 6 (UR6) for Exchange Server 2010 SP1 Released

October 28, 2011 Leave a comment

Microsoft has released the following update rollup for Exchange Server 2010:

  • Update Rollup 6 for Exchange Server 2010 SP1 (2608646)

If you’re running Exchange Server 2010 SP1, you need to apply Update Rollup 6 for Exchange 2010 to address the issues listed below.

Remember, you only need to download the latest update for the version of Exchange that you’re running.

Here is a list of the fixes included in update rollup 6:

  1. 2431609 An update is available that updates the message of a retention policy in OWA for Exchange Server 2010
  2. 2449266 EWS drops the TCP connection to the EWS client application without any error message in a Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 environment
  3. 2480474 A Users do not receive quota warning messages after applying SP1 for Exchange 2010
  4. 2514820 An incoming fax message is not delivered to the recipient in an Exchange Server 2010 SP1 environment
  5. 2521927 Disabling the Exchange ActiveSync Integration feature for OWA does not take effect in OWA Premium clients in an Exchange Server 2010 environment
  6. 2528854 The Microsoft Exchange Mailbox Replication service crashes on a computer that has Exchange Server 2010 SP1 installed
  7. 2535289 The Microsoft Exchange Information Store service crashes occasionally when you run an antivirus application on an Exchange Server 2010 Mailbox server
  8. 2536313 Slow message delivery and mailbox access for journaling mailboxes on an Exchange Server 2010 server
  9. 2544246 You receive a NRN of a meeting request 120 days later after the recipient accepted the request in an Exchange Server 2010 SP1 environment
  10. 2548246 The Microsoft Exchange Information Store service crashes occasionally when a folder view is corrupted on an Exchange Server 2010 mailbox server
  11. 2549183 “There are no objects to select” message when you try to use the EMC to specify a server to connect to in an Exchange Server 2010 SP1 environment
  12. 2549289 A RBAC role assignee can unexpectedly run the Add-MailboxPermission command or the Remove-MailboxPermission command on an Exchange Server 2010 server that is outside the role assignment scope
  13. 2555851 A mailbox does not appear in certain address lists after you run commands on the mailbox in an Exchange Server 2010 SP1 environment
  14. 2559814 A user cannot add or remove delegates from a mailbox by using Outlook in an Exchange Server 2010 environment
  15. 2561514 Exchange Server 2003 user cannot view the free/busy information of a user in a different federated organization
  16. 2563860 You cannot create a new mailbox database if you already have 1000 mailbox databases in an Exchange Server 2010 environment
  17. 2567409 Certain free/busy messages are not replicated from an Exchange Server 2010 server to an Exchange Server 2003 server
  18. 2571791 Retention policies are applied to Contact items unexpectedly in an Exchange Server 2010 environment
  19. 2572052 Certain properties of a recurring meeting request from external email accounts are missing in an Exchange Server 2010 SP1 environment
  20. 2575005 You cannot start the EMC or the EMS in an Exchange Server 2010 Service Pack 1 environment
  21. 2578631 Certain users cannot send email messages to a mail-enabled public folder in an Exchange Server 2010 environment
  22. 2579172 Items that are deleted or moved still appear in the original folder when you use Office Outlook in online mode to access an Exchange Server 2010 mailbox
  23. 2579671 No results returned when you use the ExpandGroup method in EWS to retrieve a list of members of a Dynamic Distribution Group in an Exchange Server 2010 environment
  24. 2582095 The SmtpMaxMessagesPerConnection property of a send connector is not replicated to the subscribed Edge Transport server in an Exchange Server 2010 environment
  25. 2600835 The RPC Client Access service crashes when you delete an attachment of an item by using Outlook in online mode in an Exchange Server 2010 SP1 environment
  26. 2601701 The memory usage of the MSExchangeRepl.exe process keeps increasing when you perform a VSS backup on Exchange Server 2010 databases
  27. 2616127 “0×80041606″ error code when you use Outlook in online mode to search for a keyword against a mailbox in an Exchange Server 2010 environment
  28. 2617126 The Store.exe process crashes when you send an email message that has attachments in an Exchange Server 2010 SP1 environment
  29. 2627769 Some time zones in OWA are not synchronized with Windows in an Exchange Server 2010 environment

Download the rollup here.

Installation Notes:

If you haven’t installed Exchange Server yet, you can use the info at Quicker Exchange installs complete with service packs and rollups to save you some time.

Microsoft Update can’t detect rollups for Exchange 2010 servers that are members of a Database Availability Group (DAG). See the post Installing Exchange 2010 Rollups on DAG Servers for info, and a script, for installing update rollups.

Update Rollups should be applied to Internet facing Client Access Servers before being installed on non-Internet facing Client Access Servers.

If you’re installing the update rollup on Exchange servers that don’t have Internet access, see “Installing Exchange 2007 & 2010 rollups on servers that don’t have Internet access” for some additional steps.

Also, the installer and Add/Remove Programs text is only in English – even when being installed on non-English systems.

Note to Forefront users:

If you don’t disable Forefront before installing a rollup or service pack, and enable afterwards, you run the risk of Exchange related services not starting. You can disable Forefront by going to a command prompt and navigating to the Forefront directory and running FSCUtility /disable. To enable Forefront after installation of a UR or SP, run FSCUtility /enable.

Customizing the Lync Server 2010 Meeting Page

October 25, 2011 13 comments

If you’d like to customize the appearance of the Meet web page (the page a user is taken to when they click the link in a meeting request), you can quickly swap out the Lync logo image with your own logo. By default, the Meet page shows the Lync logo:

Standard Meet page

The Lync logo image file is called CommunicatorLogoType.png. Backup the original and replace it with your logo saved as the same name in the following four folders of your Front End server(s):

  1. C:\Program Files\Microsoft Lync Server 2010\Web Components\Join Launcher\Ext\Resources
  2. C:\Program Files\Microsoft Lync Server 2010\Web Components\Join Launcher\Int\Resources
  3. C:\Program Files\Microsoft Lync Server 2010\Web Components\Reach\Ext\Client\Resources
  4. C:\Program Files\Microsoft Lync Server 2010\Web Components\Reach\Int\Client\Resources

The HTML code for the Meet pages doesn’t specify an image size. So you can use any size image you’d like. However, I don’t suggest you go over ~400 pixels in width or you risk breaking the layout. Here’s how ours looks after replacing the logo:

Customized Meet page

While it’s possible, I doubt the image will get overwritten with rollups or service packs.

Some Lync Users Can’t Communicate to Federated Contacts and ‘Federation is disabled’ Appears in Snooper logs

October 20, 2011 Leave a comment

In this scenario, IM & Presence would work for some users to federated contacts, but wouldn’t work for others.

Federated User Access was enabled in the Global External Access Policy and in the Global Access Edge Configuration policy. The target domain was in the Federated Domains list as an allowed domain. There was no discernable pattern as to what users could communicate with federated contacts, and what users could not. They were spread across various Front End servers, OUs, etc. Various clients on the workstation made no difference.

When looking at logs in Snooper on the front end that the user connects to, “Federation is disabled” would appear when the user attempted to send a message out: 

09/16/2011|13:09:13.108 FB8:109C INFO :: SIP/2.0 504 Server time-out
Proxy-Authentication-Info: Kerberos qop=”auth”, opaque=”59715D13″, srand=”DF93B1E9″, snum=”16″, rspauth=”040401ffffffffff0000000000000000450a1d9cc165348ae016ee91″, targetname=”sip/USSFA1L14POOL2.global.mydomain.net”, realm=”SIP Communications Service”, version=4
From: “user, test”<sip:test.user@mydomain.com>;tag=94a0d94c10;epid=67fd7944cb
To: <sip:prichard@federateddomain.com>;tag=6E14486DE28A93804279A401E6E7A4CF
Call-ID: db3c59b759ef4065adb458d54d03a687
CSeq: 1 SUBSCRIBE
Via: SIP/2.0/TLS 10.1.1.98:58376;ms-received-port=58376;ms-received-cid=63500
ms-diagnostics: 1065;reason=”Federation is disabled“;domain=”federateddomain.com”;source=”sip.mydomain.com”
Server: RTC/4.0
Content-Length: 0

And traffic for this user would never get to the Access Edge servers. This was the case for ANY federated contacts the “broken” users would attempt to communicate with. Yet, other workers wouldn’t have ANY problem communicating to these same federated contacts. In fact, a “good” user could log onto a test workstation, launch Communicator, and it would work – but then close Communicator and launch Communicator as a “broken” user and not be able to communicate – even from the same Windows session. There was no pattern other than “broken” users would always be broken, and working users would always work.

Many things were inspected, and I tried doing things such as disabling the users in Lync and then re-enabling them. I drain stopped the Front End server that was the user’s preferred server to force them onto another server – no luck.

PSS spent several weeks on this one. Everything was configured correctly. What we decided to try was to set the Minimum session security for NTLM SSP based clients & servers. By default, a Windows 2008 R2 server has both settings set to 128-bit minimum. But Windows XP and earlier clients default to only 40-bit. It didn’t make much sense that this would work since we could duplicate both working and broken users on the same machine. But it was worth a shot. Here’s what we did.

Open the Local Security Policy and navigate to Local Policies>Security Options. Find the Network security: Minimum session security for NTLM SSP based (including secre RPC) clients & servers settings, as shown below:

Minimum session security for NTLM SSP based (including secure RPC) clients

Minimum session security for NTLM SSP based (including secure RPC) clients

Double click on each and clear the Require 128-bit encrytion checkbox as shown below:

Disabling Require 128-bit encryption

Minimum session security for NTLM SSP based (including secure RPC) clients

The settings should now show “No minimum” in the Local Security Policy as shown below:

Minimum session security for NTLM SSP based (including secure RPC) clients

Minimum session security for NTLM SSP based (including secure RPC) clients

The settings don’t take effect until the server is rebooted. We performed this process on all of the Lync servers in the environment. Incidentally, the settings just change some registry keys. So we can instead change the values using the following PowerShell lines, which will make their way into my server build scripts:

Set-ItemProperty "HKLM:\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Lsa\MSV1_0" -Name "NtlmMinClientSec" -Value 0 Set-ItemProperty "HKLM:\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Lsa\MSV1_0" -Name "NtlmMinServerSec" -Value 0

After the servers were rebooted, and user connections reestablished (which took some time), the problem disappeared. All users were able to communicate with federated contacts.

Lync Users Can’t Download Address Book if Certificate Uses CNG

October 18, 2011 7 comments

During the building of a greenfield Lync infrastructure, I ran into a problem where no users could download the address book. But everything related to the certs appeared to be correct. CN and SANs were correct, entire cert chain was valid, private keys were there, certs were in the correct stores and assigned in Lync, services started, etc. I also used Jeff Guillet’s Script to Force Download of the Lync Address Book to help speed up the troubleshooting. A considerable amount of troubleshooting went into the issue, and ultimately required a PSS ticket. After a couple of days of back and forth checking and testing, we narrowed it down.

It turns out that a bug with the CA was causing the certs it was generating to include Cryptography Next Generation (CNG). Web components in Lync, including Address Book & Group Expansion, use .Net 3.5. And .Net 3.5 does not support CNG.

Here’s how to check a certificate for CNG:

Open the Certificates snapin in MMC, and locate the certificate you’d like to inspect. Click on the Details tab and note the serial number:

Certificate serial number

Certificate serial number

Open a command prompt and type the following, using the serial number from above without the spaces:

Certutil -v -store my “<certificate serial number>” >Lync_Cert.txt

Next, open Lync_Cert.txt in notepad and look for “CERT_KEY_PROV_INFO_PROP_ID(2):”
A certificate with CNG will have the following:

CERT_KEY_PROV_INFO_PROP_ID(2):
Key Container = le-WebServer2yearv1.0-88442436-55a3-4627-ae3c-3aff914e6153
Unique container name: bdab748e31b2984e0ebe29e7b6839a7f_6418452a-074c-4888-af0e-b969abbc3435
Provider = Microsoft Software Key Storage Provider
ProviderType = 0
Flags = 20
KeySpec = 0

But it should look like this:

CERT_KEY_PROV_INFO_PROP_ID(2):
Key Container = le-WebServer2yearv1.0-88442436-55a3-4627-ae3c-3aff914e6153
Unique container name: bdab748e31b2984e0ebe29e7b6839a7f_6418452a-074c-4888-af0e-b969abbc3435
Provider = Microsoft RSA SChannel Crytographic Provider
ProviderType = C
Flags = 20
KeySpec = 1 — AT_KEYEXCHANGE

If the cert has CNG, you must request a new certificate without it.

PSS ultimately confirmed that this was a bug in the CA. We created a new template based on the WebServer template in the CA infrastructure, and generated new certs from that. Once I had correct certs installed, the problem instantly went away.

Hopefully, this might aid someone else having this issue.

Video: Microsoft Lync – What’s Amazing?

October 17, 2011 Leave a comment

See what’s amazing about Microsoft Lync including audio and video, instant messaging, and voice.

Categories: Lync Server Tags:

Lync Server 2010 Training Materials

October 14, 2011 Leave a comment

Microsoft Lync 2010 Attendant Training

Lync Attendant is an intuitive call management application that helps you manage large numbers of simultaneous calls. This training course covers the following Microsoft Lync 2010 Attendant features:

  • Using the Contacts List
  • Understanding Call Controls
  • Making and Receiving Calls
  • Managing Multiple Conversations
  • Setting up Team-Call Groups
  • How to Park and Retrieve Calls

Lync Attendant is an intuitive call management application that helps you manage large numbers of simultaneous calls. Lync 2010 Attendant runs in a full screen window to provide a streamlined desktop experience.

http://www.microsoft.com/download/en/details.aspx?id=11472

Microsoft Lync 2010 Delegate Training

This course covers features of Microsoft Lync 2010 that enable you to schedule meetings on behalf of other people. This training course covers the following Microsoft Lync 2010 Delegate features:

  • Delegate Access using Outlook
  • Delegate Access in Lync
  • Schedule an Online Meeting on Behalf of Your Manager
  • Initiate a Meet Now on Behalf of Your Manager
  • Start a Conference Call on Behalf of Your Manager

http://www.microsoft.com/download/en/details.aspx?id=1755

Microsoft Lync 2010 Conferencing and Collaboration Training

Learn how to schedule, join, and manage online meetings with Microsoft Lync 2010. This training course covers the following Microsoft Lync 2010 Conferencing  and Collaboration features:

  • Get Set up for Online Meetings
  • Schedule an Online Meeting
  • Deliver a Professional Presentation
  • Work with Anyone Anywhere
  • Use Microsoft Lync Attendee

http://www.microsoft.com/download/en/details.aspx?id=7606

Microsoft Lync 2010 IM and Presence Training

Learn how to optimize your IM and Presence experience with Microsoft Lync 2010. This training course covers the following Microsoft Lync 2010 features:

  • Find the right person
  • Connect with people you care about
  • Let people know where you are and what you are doing
  • Stay on top of your daily communication

http://www.microsoft.com/download/en/details.aspx?id=12715

Microsoft Lync 2010 Web App Training

Learn how to use the Microsoft Lync 2010 Web App to join meetings. This training course covers the following Microsoft Lync 2010 features:

  • Lync Web App Overview
  • Join Online Meeting Experience
  • Invite Additional Participants
  • Start Application Sharing
  • Obtain Client Side Logs

http://www.microsoft.com/download/en/details.aspx?id=1480

Microsoft Lync 2010 RGS Training

Learn how to use Microsoft Lync 2010 RGS features and functionality. This training course covers the following Microsoft Lync 2010 RGS
features:

  • Understanding Response Groups
  • Getting to Know Types of Agent Groups
  • Using the Anonymization Feature
  • Signing in and Accepting a Call
  • Navigating the Conversation Window During a Call
  • Learn how Lync 2010 Users interact with Response Groups

http://www.microsoft.com/download/en/details.aspx?id=19770

Microsoft Lync 2010 Voice and Video Training

Learn about voice and video with Microsoft Lync 2010. This training course covers the following Microsoft Lync 2010 features:

  • Make and Answer a Call
  • Manage and Forward Calls
  • Follow up on Missed Calls and Voice Mail
  • Join a Conference Call
  • Join or Accept a Video Call

http://www.microsoft.com/download/en/details.aspx?id=3006

Lync Posters, Templates, and Cheat Sheets

October 13, 2011 Leave a comment

Posters

Microsoft Lync Server 2010 Protocol Workloads Poster

This poster shows each workload in Microsoft Lync Server 2010 communications software, describing relationships, dependencies, flow of information, and certificate requirements.

http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=204599

Visio templates

Lync Server 2010

This stencil provides over 125 shapes to help you create a visual presentation of your Lync Server architecture.

http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/en/details.aspx?FamilyID=65b5a396-2c87-445d-be23-d324727d19cb

Office Communications Server 2007 and 2007 R2

The Office Communications Server 2007 and 2007 R2 Visio stencils contain icons for Office Communications Server 2007 and 2007 R2 server roles and components.

http://www.microsoft.com/download/en/details.aspx?displaylang=en&id=9194

Cheat Sheets

Lync Server 2010 PowerShell Cheat Sheet

A quick reference card for PowerShell use with Lync Server 2010.

http://www.powergui.org/entry.jspa?externalID=3091

Microsoft Lync 2010 Quick Reference Cards

This zipped file contains the quick reference cards for Microsoft Lync 2010. They are all in Microsoft Word, and can be edited as needed. The download contains the following Quick Reference Cards, which are also available separately:

http://www.microsoft.com/download/en/details.aspx?id=2324

Review: Microsoft Touch Mouse

October 12, 2011 1 comment
Microsoft Touch Mouse

Microsoft Touch Mouse

My favorite mouse is the Microsoft Presenter 8000 mouse. It’s comfortable, gets great battery life, and has the presentation buttons and laser pointer built into the bottom. Unfortunately, after many many trips through airports, my mouse finally died.

I decided to see what else was available. I’d tried the Microsoft Arc mouse, but didn’t find it that comfortable, and the “back” button on the side wasn’t in an ideal location, and was quite stiff. A colleague had reported that the newer Arc Touch mouse was kinda cool, but he didn’t like it after trying it.

Microsoft recently released the Touch Mouse. This is a uber cool mouse that has no real buttons on the top or sides. It uses finger gestures and the entire top is a giant button. The unit supports one, two, and three finger gestures in a variety of directions, as well as thumb gestures in two directions. The unit includes a micro dongle that stores in the bottom of the unit. It is powered by two AA batteries, and has an on/off switch on its belly.

Setup was a breeze. The mouse is designed specifically for Windows 7. I inserted the dongle, and within seconds, a tutorial popped onto the screen demonstrating the various features and gestures. It walks you through each gesture, shows you what it controls, and then has you do the same thing to get the hang of it. I found the tutorial to be the perfect combination of information and length. There are certainly a lot of gestures you can use. Single finger gestures include the normal scrolling up, down, and sideways. Two finger gestures include docking apps to the left and right side of the screen, restoring and maximizing apps, etc. Three finger gestures include minimizing and maximizing all apps. And the thumb gestures work great for forward/back movements, such as those in your Internet browser. Button clicking is based on which finger is touching the unit when you press the forward part of the unit down.

This is a nice mouse. It works great, although it did take some getting used to when I needed to right-click on things. I’m not sure how often I’ll use some of the gestures, but it’s nice to see the availability of them. Scrolling up and down really gets going if you swipe quickly, and lift your finger off the unit – something else I had to get used to since I typically used a wheel that would only turn so far when I’d let go of it.

The $50 mouse was a great addition to my travel tech gear. It would have been nice if it came in a plastic shell, like the Presenter Mouse does. I just use the cloth pouch from the Arc mouse and it works great. I’d recommend the mouse if you’re looking for something slick. I think I’ll get another one for my desktop at home.

Categories: Personal Tags:

Review: Toshiba 14 Inch USB Monitor – Perfect for Travelling

October 11, 2011 Leave a comment
Toshiba 14" USB monitor

Toshiba 14″ USB monitor

These days, I spend more time at client sites than I do in my home office. My home office has four monitors for my desktop. When at a client site, I’ve been stuck with just a single screen for my laptop. This can be tough getting used to, and be quite limiting.

Toshiba came out with the perfect solution. Their $200 14″ USB monitor that folds completely flat, and takes up less room than my laptop in my backpack.

The monitor comes with a dual plug USB cable to ensure that it gets enough power to operate. From my Dell Precision M4500, I find that it gets enough from just one port. I keep the original cable in my backpack, and use just the Griffin mini USB to the monitor. This is essentially a 2″ cable that works perfectly. Toshiba does sell an optional power supply, but I’ve yet to find a need for it.

The screen gives me 1366 x 768 resolution, and provides perfect screen real estate to keep my Outlook and other apps open while I use the laptop’s main screen for my current focus, such as documents, etc.

Setup of the monitor each day is trivial. Open the unit like a book, close the flap, and stand it up. Connect the USB cable, and you’re done. Initial setup merely required the CD-ROM for the drivers, and took only seconds. From unboxing to operational took me less than five minutes. Front panel controls include power and brightness controls. There is a little velcro flap in the middle of the case to store the cable.

I absolutely love this monitor. It provides extra working room for me to be more efficient. It takes up very little space and adds very little weight (3.7 pounds) to my overall carry load. Setup is a breeze, and the unit just works.

The only thing I could complain about is that the bezel along the bottom, which includes the control buttons, is a bit large. It would be nice if it were smaller, and provided more screen space instead. But that’s trivial.

I would recommend this unit to anyone who would like to have more working room, but need to travel with it. It’s available from Amazon.

Categories: Personal Tags: