Outlook 2016 Appointments

I got Office 2016 at work, so I am struggling through moved cheese. The big change for me is the To-Do appointments. In 2010, it showed several days worth of items. Which is ideal for me. I do not have a ton of meetings, but I like to see a list of what is upcoming so I know to prepare for upcoming ones. It is not in my workflow to look switch over to the calendar and look ahead unless I am looking for something I think I have that is not represented in the To-Do appointments.

Office 2013 shortened the list appointments list to the current day. WTF? Apparently Microsoft recognized the problem and added back a few days ahead. I prefer getting to see at least a week ahead.

So, I looked for some information about the problem, but there were no configuration change to address it for me. Instead, there was an Add-In called “Outlook 2013 Add-In” on CodePlex which looked promising. I installed it and am very pleased. It was to show 14 days. I might even need to switch over to the calendar even less than I did prior.

On the way to discovering the add-in, I found recommendations to use the Outlook Today feature. Unfortunately, it displays the same content as the To-Do. So not very helpful.

Integrate PeopleMap With Office

I work to integrate systems. So, when I learn about things, I guess my mind drifts into how would we use it. And then into how would tie together this with other things we have to make them better.

Used with permission from atmasphere

Last week news dropped about Microsoft (MSFT) buying LinkedIn (LNKD). The big deal people seem to be making of it is the Customer Relationship Manager (CRM) potential for Microsoft. Imagine in Outlook having a guide about whomever you are emailing. LinkedIn potentially could supply the data.

So Friday I also took a PeopleMap System communication training. (Leader-Task) The idea is that people have innate preferences for how they process information. Understanding their preferences and tailoring your communication to key off them will make one more effective working with them.

I guess the MSFT-LNKD deal was still on my brain because it seemed like what we really needed was a PeopleMap plug-in to Outlook which would remind us the type of the individuals we are emailing. My vision was since everyone was providing management with our types, that information would be populated into the directory service. Then a plug-in would use the email address of the recipient(s) to display that person’s type and perhaps advice on how to communicate with that type. No more wracking one’s brain for what is their type and how to deal with them.

Of course, I used Google to look to see if this already existed. It pointed me to PeopleMaps which is a service for exploring one’s social network to find connections to sales targets and get an introduction and avoid cold calls. Microsoft’s Social Connector would pull photos from Facebook for contacts.

Stop Processing More Rules

By default Outlook adds “stop processing more rules” to message filters. Eventually I run into the error:

The rule has a condition the server cannot process. The action ‘stop processing more rules’ will prevent all remaining server rules from being carried out. Are you sure this is what you want to do?

Well… That is what the condition is to do, right?

So, it turns out the message does not describe the problem very well. What it REALLY means is that the rule is a client-side rule and will stop processing server-side rules, but the server has no way to evaluate the client-side condition. So everything could get confused. So either stop using client-side rules or stop using “stop processing more rules”. The latter is a default, so it is applied to almost all the rules. The former is a small fraction, so easier to expunge.

Feel like I learned this when I was using Outlook at my old job and forgot it because I switched to Mozilla. So I am having to relearn it.

Windows Module Installer

A pain in my side over the past year finally forced me into addressing it. Windows Module Installer runs as TrustedInstaller.exe and for most cases just does its job which is to keep in touch with the Windows Update service and apply the updates sent to it.

Occasionally they develop a memory leak and consume RAM until someone intervenes. We have about 140 servers. About 22 over the past two months about 20 showed this behavior. Only when it uses about 2GB of the 10GB we allocated to these servers do I usually have to intervene. That has been about 3 times over the past 2 months and ten over the past year.

Using Yaketystats to see the trend was far worse than I had noticed, I decided we needed to do one of two things.

  1. Shut it down. Start them when we need them. Shut them down again when we do not. Benefit is we do not have to worry about them getting out of control consuming resources. Unfortunately those wanting to push out updates will have to add a step to start them before pushing them.
  2. Recycle. Routinely shut them down and start back. Relatively easy to automate, so set it and forget it. Recycle

Well, it gets much worse. First, running the commands work inconsistently. For example, I ran

Set-Service TrustedInstaller -startuptype “Automatic”

against every host in a development system. As is my habit, I ran a check to make sure it worked. It did on two of the five. So I ran it again. The other three were fixed. So I did that same process on another development system with five hosts. Three of the five worked the first time and the other two the second. The pattern held true for another three systems all with five servers each. Setting the startuptype to Manual worked the same inconsistent way.

My check:

Get-WmiObject -ComputerName $computer win32_service -Filter “name = ‘trustedinstaller'”

Second, stopping and starting them does not appear to stick. Several minutes after I have stopped all of the services they appear to back in the prior state. Those who were not running stay not. Those who were running are again. And if I start all of them, then at some point those who were not running stop again.

Guess I have a lot of research ahead of me. 🙁

Re-Imagining Work

Guess Drive made me think about happiness at work more.

How can we get people more engaged, more productive, and happier at work? Is technology part of the problem — and could it also be part of the solution?

Dave Coplin, Chief Envisioning Officer at Microsoft, imagines what might be possible if more organisations embraced the full, empowering potential of technology and encouraged a truly open, collaborative and flexible working culture.

If the embedded video below does not work, then try RSA Animate – Re-Imagining Work.

Review: Where’d You Go, Bernadette

Where'd You Go, Bernadette
Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The format is a form I enjoy: A collection of emails, letters, and notes. They form the clues as to why Bernadette disappeared.

Microsoft corporate culture and its effect on Seattle prominently features in the story. Work recently gave us little glass awards for a project. The cubes for patents would be so much cooler.

Overall, I enjoyed the story. A few people looked at me weird for laughing out loud at a few parts. (I tend to read out in public.)

View all my reviews

Just Get Rid of Java

Apparently there are security flaws in the current version of Java allowing the installation of malicious software through web browsers unknown to the user. The known attacks using this flaw work on Windows, OSX, and Linux. According to Reuters:

Java was responsible for 50 percent of all cyber attacks last year in which hackers broke into computers by exploiting software bugs, according to Kaspersky. That was followed by Adobe Reader, which was involved in 28 percent of all incidents. Microsoft Windows and Internet Explorer were involved in about 3 percent of incidents, according to the survey.

The Department of Homeland Security recently said computer users should disable Java. At first this seems odd. The vulnerability in question is only in Java 7. So why not go back to Java 6? Well, Java 6 has vulnerabilities too, which is why DHS and others have recommended getting to 7. Also, starting in 7, the automatic upgrades are more aggressive. So going backwards is probably not a great idea. (If just happens I had to go backwards to get a tool I needed to work and forgot to go back forward.)

Also, for a similar situation back in August the recommendation was to make the browser prompt before allowing Java to run. The strategy is just stop Java entirely. Apple has removed Java browser plugins. That could work too. Except for bad, bad software like ours (sorry, sarcasm if you could not tell) which makes use of a few applets. In the last week I have gotten a request to add another applet.

A fix to Java 7’s vulnerabilties should be available in a couple days.

Should CS Be Required?

Each of the nearly 2,000 freshmen entering Georgia Institute of Technology each year must take a computer science course regardless of their major, says Charles Isbell, associate dean for academic affairs at the school’s College of Computing… Similar to traditional general education requirements such as philosophy or world history, the purpose of each courses is to turn out well-rounded graduates, Isbell says.

“Why you need to take a CS1 … is the same reason why you need to take humanities, why you need to take a science, why you need to take a math,” he says. “It’s not because you’re going to be programming …. it’s because each of those represents a different way of thinking.”

Computer science was not a requirement at my alma mater (not GT). Introduction to Computers was an easy core class lots of students took. The class offered by Mathematics and Computer Science was about the components of a desktop, using Microsoft Office, and making a web page. The College of Education and the College of Business offered their own versions tailored to their disciplines.

At first, I did not want to go through a class on “This is a mouse. This is a keyboard.” At the time I was looking at upgrading from an AT form factor to ATX. Microsoft Word 95 was my fifth word processor. Plus I had made the web site for African American Studies for the university. In the end I took the class because it would improve my GPA. Like, I thought, it was an easy A, but the instructor did challenge me by making me available to help the others in the class.

This was not a real CS class though. I had already taken one, FORTRAN, which apparently did not count towards my core to graduate, oddly enough. I took another, Introduction to Programming, where I picked up some Java. Both programming classes gave me novel practice at the time for how I solve problems, plan, and researched. They were good for me.

Despite not graduating with a computer degree, I did have a strong computer background and ended up in a computer profession. So my perspective pretty much is skewed in a positive direction for all college students taking computer science classes.

Paste Formatting

Ideally every email I send would be plain text. Many of the people I email send to me HTML-based email

For a decade an annoyance I had with Outlook was when pasting text from the clipboard, it would include source formatting. So, if I copied the title of a blog post to make it “Paste Formatting”, instead it would look like:

Paste Formatting

The workaround was to choose Paste Special from a menu or button and Plain Text.

Outlook 2010 has options for how pasting works for several places: same email, other email, between emails with conflicting styles, and other programs. Not only do I get to pick keep the text only, but I get to pick where it happens. Perhaps others had the same concerns and made Microsoft address it. Finally.

Apple Trying To Poach IE6 Users

Attempted to watch the Transformer’s 3 trailer, but apparently Chrome on Linux was a no-go for the JavaScript which hides the web site and displays the trailer. Fancy but broken. So I thought I would look at the HTML and get the .mov file. I found this snippet of code in the HTML quite interesting.

<!–[if lt IE 7]>
<div id=”ie6-message”>
<h2>You are currently using an outdated browser.</h2>
<p>Please upgrade to a <a href=”http://www.apple.com/safari/”>modern browser</a> to fully experience this site.<p>
</div>

Where most places would have someone upgrade to a newer version of the software they are currently using, Apple is trying to poach Microsoft users. Bravo! Bravo!