Exchange tears, good acting, future direction, site bug fixes

It’s pretty sad when you title a blog post just so you can jog your memory about what you’re going to say, just in case you go onto a long-winded schpeal (sp).

Exchange Tears

Okie, if you’re an Exchange admin – particularly an Exchange admin – even more particular an Exchange admin of a large enterprise – if you’ve not been paying attention to the disaster that Satan doth bring upon you known as Daylight Saving Time 2007, you should be fired from your job.  You should be setting expectations of your users right now.  Their calendars are toast, friends.  Toast.  Those three weeks during the delta period, they are toast.

The past few weeks, we’ve seen Microsoft absolutely scrambling to fix code that has been implemented in two or three different ways, depending on the product or platform, in order to fix DST 2007. If you’ve been paying attention at all, you’d realize the following:

  • Single-instance meetings are not saved with UTC timestamps
  • Recurring meetings are saved with UTC timestamps

WHY?

  • The operating system and CDO are two completely different things when it comes to patching DST.
  • Microsoft released code that updates your calendar for DST 2007 in Outlook 2007, but has already advised you to use something else
  • Microsoft has released a utility to rebase your calendar – for Outlook 2003 and Outlook 2007.
  • Microsoft has released a server-side utility to update all mailbox calendars for you, but it’s NOT EASY to use (see this video). Pay particular attention to the bug in the installer – the one where you cannot accept the path it wants to install the utility. If you accept the default, it won’t work. Now that’s quality assurance, folks. They were well-prepared for this!
  • Microsoft has already heard numerous complaints from the hastily-cobbled-together server-side utility and released an update, (V2), but it’s not much better
  • WAKE UP TO THIS FOLKS: The server-side utility isn’t that at all. It’s a .NET wrapper that creates text files and batch files to allow a client to automate the logon of every mailbox in your enterprise, open Outlook, run the rebasing tool they released for Outlook, then close it and do it again.
  • There’s a limit of 10,000 mailboxes that can be processed per run due to a “MAPI limitation.” WTF?
  • V1 of the utility will send meeting update notices to all attendees when it updates the meeting. They have to reaccept it. Can you say… mailstorm?
  • Microsoft once quoted proudly that the utility processes about 3 mailboxes per minute. Do the math. Plan accordingly.

By now, I’ve pointed out enough to give you my take:

There’s a fundamental problem with email users today and this issue is making all the more evident. Your users… yes… your users… think that you are responsible for their data. Yes, you. If they make a calendar entry and it screws up for some reason, they will blame the server – and consequently, the Exchange admin. It’s not their fault that Congress enacted DST and they mucked around with it to result in an hour difference. It’s your fault.

It’s time that your users wake up and take responsibility for their own data. If your users are spoiled brats to the point where they cannot pay enough attention to decide when a meeting is off by an hour for three weeks, you have a serious customer management problem. Your job is to install the patches to make sure the server is ready. Your job is NOT to run a half-ass, quickly cobbled wrapper for a utility that was released practically seconds before the nuke goes off to move meetings back an hour. We all know what will happen – your users will bitch and moan, file tickets with your helpdesk about the meeting shifting… oh, and hey, wasn’t that meeting at that time last week? What happened to it this week? Call the Exchange admins!

All too often I’ve seen admins in various jobs fail Customer Service 101. If you cannot manage a customer… smile… give them a warm fuzzy… and calmly convince them of your point of view to make both of your lives better… go back to Customer Service 101. Quite being the proverbial smelly geek who doesn’t like to help people. Help people – converse with them – make them like you. It will work in your favor. Trust me.

My recommendation: use the subject line of the event to note the real time of the event and call it a day. It’s going to be three weeks of hell. Get over it. If you don’t like it, take note of the morons that voted this into law and get rid of them the next time you’re at the polls. I should also say, take note of the morons that coded this disaster – and the disaster to fix the disaster. Talk to your users. Get the word out that they should absolutely distrust their calendars during the delta period of DST 2007 and be aware that the calendar could be off.

If they absolutely must run some kind of utility – deploy the client side utility to your desktops and let your users run it. Run away from the server-side wrapper. Run… away.

Lastly… if they’re not paying attention and the calendar is screwed up – it’s their fault, not yours. Period.

Good Acting

It would be really neat if the girl that plays Christina on Grey’s Anatomy could hear this, but she won’t. Too bad.

You are hands-down the best actress on that show. You hold it together for me. Meredith Grey – too bad you lived to self-pity your way through another episode. I was really hoping we were finished with your whiny, no shape ass. Oh, wait. The show is named for your character. Suck.

Future Direction

I’ve got a few ideas about how I plan to re-engage myself on the creativity front. Some of them involve this very website. You will see more things coming out of here in the near future. I’ve already started talking to some people to gauge their interest in participation. So far, it seems that interest is good.

That does mean that when iLife ’07 comes out, this site may stop being WordPress if iWeb draws my fancy. I’ll try to archive this. We’ll see. But, there will be some kind of change in about a month or two. Probably two. It involves spending money. Yeah, two.

Site Bug Fixes

When I switched the server to Linux/Wordpress, I had lost the ability to serve it up under the galaxycow.com (minus the www). This is because I was stupid. I was unaware of a ServerAlias directive in apache2’s config file that would allow me to alias the site appropriately. I bet the search engines are now having a ball with finding stuff all over again. There were 404’s all over the place. Next up: fixing up a custom 404 page that will redirect to /blogs.

Told you this would be a lost post. Good thing I titled it appropriately.

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