Fifth Annual UC Roundtable at TechEd 2012 in Orlando

Friday, March 23, 2012

I'm pleased to announce the Fifth Annual UC Roundtable at Microsoft TechEd North America 2012 in Orlando, FL!

The purpose of the UC Roundtable is to gather Exchange and Lync MCMs, MVPs, Exchange product group members, admins, architects, and experts for a free-flowing discussion about issues, questions, and experiences related to Exchange and Lync Server.  If you work with Exchange or Lync you need to be here!

This will be an after hours event near the Orange County Conference Center.  Location details and dates are in the works.

Please RSVP to for event details and location.  Spread the word and I hope you can make it!

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Great New Free Utilities from Microsoft

Tuesday, March 13, 2012
Microsoft has released a number of great new utilities designed to make administration easier, especially in the Exchange space.  Most of these have been released in just the past three weeks.

  • Exchange Client Network Bandwidth Calculator BETA2 (link)
Helps reduce the risks involved in Exchange Server network bandwidth planning.  The Exchange Client Network Bandwidth Calculator has been designed to help anyone planning an Exchange Server deployment to predict the network bandwidth requirements for a specific set of clients.  The prediction algorithms used within this calculator are entirely new and have been derived after significant testing and observation.

  • Log Parser Studio (link)
Log Parser Studio is a utility that allows you to search through and create reports from your IIS, Event, EXADB and others types of logs. It builds on top of Log Parser 2.2 and has a full user interface for easy creation and management of related SQL queries.

Anyone who regularly uses Log Parser 2.2 knows just how useful and powerful it can be for obtaining valuable information from IIS (Internet Information Server) and other logs. In addition, adding the power of SQL allows explicit searching of gigabytes of logs returning only the data that is needed while filtering out the noise. The only thing missing is a great graphical user interface (GUI) to function as a front-end to Log Parser and a ‘Query Library’ in order to manage all those great queries and scripts that one builds up over time.

Log Parser Studio was created to fulfill this need; by allowing those who use Log Parser 2.2 (and even those who don’t due to lack of an interface) to work faster and more efficiently to get to the data they need with less “fiddling” with scripts and folders full of queries.
  • Outlook Configuration Analyzer Tool (OCAT) (link)
The Outlook Configuration Analyzer Tool provides a detailed report of your current Outlook profile. This report includes many parameters about your profile, and it highlights any known problems that are found in your profile. For any problems that are listed in the report, you are provided a link to a Microsoft Knowledge Base (KB) article that describes a possible fix for the problem. If you are a Help Desk professional, you can also export the report to a file. Then, the report can be viewed in the Outlook Configuration Analyzer Tool on another client computer where the tool is installed.

  • CalCheck - The Outlook Calendar Checking Tool (link)
 The Calendar Checking Tool for Outlook is a command-line program that checks Outlook Calendars for problems. To use this tool, the Outlook calendar must reside on a Microsoft Exchange Server. The tool does not work with IMAP, with POP3, or with other non-Exchange mail servers.

The tool opens an Outlook profile, opens the Outlook Calendar, and then checks several things such as permissions, free/busy publishing, and auto booking. Then, the tool checks each item in the calendar folder for problems that can cause items to seem to be missing or that might otherwise cause problems in the Calendar.

And last, but not least...

  • Microsoft Script Explorer for Windows PowerShell Beta 1 (link)
Helps scripters find Windows PowerShell scripts, snippets, modules, and how-to guidance in online repositories such as the TechNet Script Center Repository, PoshCode, local or network file systems and Bing Search Repository.
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UPDATE: TechEd 2013 *MAY* be in San Francisco

Wednesday, March 7, 2012
Earlier I reported that TechEd 2013 will be in San Francisco.  It seems that may not be accurate.

Microsoft TechEd's official statement is:
Microsoft evaluates multiple cities and locations when planning its events. Currently, no contracts have been signed for TechEd North America 2013, and the destination has not been finalized. We are looking forward to seeing customers in Orlando at TechEd 2012 this June.
Microsoft TechEd 2013 MAY be in San Francisco, CA. The dates are May 6 - May 9, 2013.

Shamelessly copied word-for-word from Scott Ladewig's blog:

TechEd 2013Usually one of the most anticipated pieces of news each year at Microsoft TechEd is where the location will be for the following year. Usually we have to wait to get the conference guide and see the pitch for the next year to find out. Not this year.

Someone on Twitter, @PeterConrad4, passed along a link from the Moscone Center web site that shows TechEd 2013 will be in San Francisco! Dates for the conference will be May 6-9, 2013, in Moscone North, South, and West. This will be the first time the conference has been held in the City by the Bay.

Right in my own backyard!  Awesome, except for the fact that I'll probably have to drive to it every day.  :(

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MVP Global Summit 2012 and MEC is Back!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

I returned from last week's MVP Global Summit 2012 and had a blast.  Microsoft really knows how to treat its MVPs, and had a lot of content lined up for us - unfortunately, none it can be shared with you due to NDA constraints.  :(

I can say that the Exchange team has been quite busy and was happy to share lots of new information with us.  I was pleased to attend breakout sessions with fellow MVPs and even a couple of fellow MCMs.  Tony Redmond, Paul Robichaux, Pat Richard, Jason Sherry, Mike Pfieffer, Tim Harrington and about 30 other MVPs were in attendance.  I'm happy to say that we all provided useful(?) feedback to the Exchange Team, who was also in attendance.

We also learned about a great surprise - MEC is Back!  Today we're able to let everyone know.  The Microsoft Exchange Conference had its beginnings in the late 1990's and ended in 2002.  It was THE Exchange conference and has deep roots in the community.   Michael Atalla, Director of Exchange Product Management, posted about the return of MEC over on the Exchange Team Blog.  Tony Redmond also wrote about missing MEC last year.  You can read his article on his blog, Thoughtsofanidlemind.

Be sure to visit MECisBack to register for more information!

Oh, and the coordinates on the MECisBack website?  They point to here.

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