SP1 for Office 2011 was released on the 12th April(12/04/2011), today was my first moment to give it a look over.
The main thing I was after was the addition of Exchange server side rule manipulation. I’ve had a few questions about this from fellow members of staff, they adopted Outlook for Mac to replace Entourage or Mail.App etc and have had to keep a Windows Outlook session on hand to manipulate rules.
I went straight to the rules section, and got this:
Looks like I’ll jhave to press on with that Exchange 2010 upgrade! 1 step forward, 2 back.
Another addition is the ability to resend a mail, so far it was a faff, having to either forward/reply your mail and edit the content and subject line accordingly to make it look like a fresh mail. The ‘Resend’ option is now available on the Message menu and the right-click context menu.
I’ve not paid too much attention to what is updated in Word, Powerpoint and Excel, I’m a pretty basic user of them all, so long as spell check and SUM work, I’m pretty covered .
I had an interesting trip to see our friends at Cisco HQ (UK) today. It was a multi-purposed session to discuss a multitude of UC subjects.
We’re busy embarking on a Cisco Unity Connection install, to replace our old Unity 4.X installation. We’ve made a few test builds, but that’s largely been to get comfortable with the install process. We wanted to see some of the technology in action, hear some of the marketing and also get an informed demonstration.
Unity Connection: Features like Visual Voicemail and its ability to store voicemail ‘offbox’ in Exchange are what have attracted us. It’s an interesting way to achieve Unified Messaging without incurring the expensive Microsoft licencing costs. I like that unlike Unity, Unity Connection is now a linux appliance, it’s AD integration isn’t some masked Exchange 2003 installation. The only aspect I am currently not impressed by is the personal contacts feature, it’s a manual upload of contacts, with limited fields. It’s not dynamic at all, not linked to Exchange, it’s a one time import via a web portal.
Jabber: Cisco have started to combine open standards based XMPP technology obtained through the Jabber acquisition. This is being integrated into the WebEx and CUPS and CUPC products. There are ‘Cisco Jabber’ applications available for the Android and Apple platforms, and lots of work in progress to bring in more features towards the end of the year. Blackberry solutions require MVS which is essentially some glue to get it to work under the RIM framework. It creates a SIP trunk into CM, to enable you to use your mobile to make calls via CM trunks.
Cisco Quad: A very interesting product, I’m sure there are many ways to describe it and frame what it is, but it’s essentially a fully fledged ‘corporate-facebook-intranet-in-a-box’ That somewhat undersells it, a recent piece of work has seen our company develop its own intranet with social collaboration in mind, this has met with mediocre success. The Quad product would have pretty much full-filled all the technical needs for us in a turn-key solution. I’m not saying it’s all things to all men, but I was suitable impressed. As a social collaboration suite, it tops my interested list. There are Android, iPad and iPhone applications available for Quad.
Cisco CUPS: I’ve known about CUPS for ages, but it’s always been this monstrously huge product, that was a sledge hammer to crack a nut. It always felt expensive and cumbersome. I’ve no doubt it’s still quite a challenging install, but it’s mediation/federation offering to lash together CUCM and OCS/Lync that mean I will definitely be looking it over again now. The CUPC client is also much improved and is very polished. It has become a very polished and attractive product. The product was re-written with the Jabber technology and is now open standards based. Federation will be achieved using XMPP. Version 8.5.
Show and Share: I’d describe it as corporate YouTube. It enables users to share and collaborate with video/media rich content, tagging and making video content searchable. You can record a piece via a video enabled device and with 1 click publish it as online content. Also known as Cisco Digital Media Manager.
Video Conferencing (Telepresence): Cisco has done a lot of work integrating the Tandberg end points into their product range. I was impressed with the speed that this integration seems to have happened.
I take a lot of ribbing in the office about my over cautious attitude towards Microsoft service packs/roll ups etc. I think they are valuable enhancements to operating systems etc, they fix problems and enhance features, BUT they can also be dangerous.
There was once an LCS 2005 client patch, which then wouldn’t allow connections to the server, imagine the red face explaining that one to the boss, and the fix took a while to come out!
Very recently there was this:
The bad: http://blogs.technet.com/b/exchange/archive/2011/03/29/potential-for-database-corruption-as-a-result-of-installing-exchange-2007-sp3-ru3.aspx
The sorry: http://blogs.technet.com/b/exchange/archive/2011/03/30/exchange-2007-2010-rollup-3-status-update.aspx
The fix: http://blogs.technet.com/b/exchange/archive/2011/03/31/announcing-the-re-release-of-exchange-2007-service-pack-3-update-rollup-3-v2.aspx
I’m NOT having a pop at the Exchange Dev boys and girls, far from it, they deserve kudos for holding up their hands and sorting out the problem. All credit to them for their approach and honesty.
So….. why do I stay behind the service pack bleeding edge….
I’ve been using Outlook 2011 for a few months now, and I have to say I like it. No, it’s not as fully featured as Outlook 2010 for Windows, it always seems to be that the mac versions are watered down somehow. However for the most part all those extra features aren’t used, sure there are some people who do try and use them all, but in day to day busy corporate environments you pretty much need to send/read and file mail, contacts and appointments.
There is 1 niggling aspect of Outlook 2011 I don’t love. Handling of .pst files.
In short, it doesn’t handle them, it doesn’t open pst and it doesn’t export to pst. What Outlook 2011 does offer is an import option for pst files to display them in the ‘On My Computer’ section. You can display this if you go to the Outlook menu, Preferences->General and untick the ‘Hide On My Computer folder’ box. (I also untick the ‘Group similar…’ as for me it looks cleaner, but that’s down to personal preference.)
To import a pst is pretty simple, there is a built in wizard to do so, I won’t spell it out, as Microsoft has done it for us here: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2413370
There are a few things to note though while you’re doing this.
- Depending on the size of the pst, you need to give it time to do the process. This sounds obvious, and it is, but you would be amazed by how many times it goes wrong just because of impatience.
- Put the pst you’re importing from on the local disk of the mac, I’ve had issues with doing it from a networked drive.
- The mail does NOT go via Exchange, if you monitor your server based mailbox it shouldn’t show any difference before and after (assuming no new mails have been sent to you)
- Although the import procedure will import your calendar entries, it seems Outlook 2011 won’t let you drag and drop entries back into your live exchange server based calendar, which is probably more likely for most users rather than mail items. All imported entries are displayed in a separate calendar. At present the only way I can think of to overcome this (should you WANT to do it) is to import only the calendar entries via Windows outlook onto the server directly from the original pst file.
Once imported, the information isn’t held in just 1 linked file like it would be for Outlook 2010, it’s effectively imported into the local database on your mac. Under ‘…\Documents\Microsoft User Data\Office 2011 Identities\Main Identity\Data records’
If you look in this folder using Finder, you will see a Database file, typically around 200Mb (completely dependant on the size of the pst import of course) described as Microsoft Outlook database. Also in that folder, you will see folders for Message Attachments, Images etc. These are all Outlook storing not only your cached mailbox from exchange, but the various parts of your pst distributed amongst them. Personally I feel this is a backward step, with the linked pst, it was a simple matter to disconnect the pst and walk away with it. Outlook 2011 for mac makes this impossible, you will need to export your mail, which has a few gotcha’s also.
When it comes to getting your mail back out of Outlook 2011, you will need to export it. Outlook 2011 only supports exports to a .olm file. At present I don’t know of any way to migrate from .olm to .pst directly. The only way I could think of doing that would be to push the ‘On My Computer’ mail back into Exchange (say into a separate folder) and then connect to Exchange with Windows Outlook and export to .pst. If you have a quota’d mailbox, you may well have sizing issues doing this.
I’m hopeful that these procedures will get better and give us more options in either the service pack or later versions, it’s not bad as such, just not very feature rich around pst archive handling.
It’s not often I’ll just post a link to someone elses article, well, not for the sake of it. However this is one worth reading, it’s clear and concise and if you have a cluster on your hands it makes it all worthwhile.
Take a read, it’s a great site.