Professional Geek
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  • Wish i’d kept the beta!

    I posted a little while back about the very cool Outlook Connector that lets you access a hotmail account within Outlook

    All in all i’ve been pretty pleased with it. I read somewhere recently it was no longer a beta so planned to upgrade to the “proper” version

    A couple of days ago i opened Outlook and was prompted to upgrade the outlook connector. So i allowed the installer to do it’s thing but since then the connector hasn’t worked at all and from the comments on the Outlook team blog i’m not alone

    The error i initally had told me it was unable to sign in and in the log it simply said “Network operation failed”

    I thought it wouldn’t hurt to remove the account from Outlook and re-add it. Still doesn’t work but now i’m getting an extra message

    A pop-up told me that the feature was only available to subscribers (and even asked me if i’d like to subscribe now) and the log pretty much says the same thing

    Outlook Connector Version 12.0.4518.1063

    Account: ******YEAH RIGHT!!**************

    Signed in successfully at 28/09/2007 14:15:18                                                                          

    Mail: Error at 14:16.                                                                                                  
    Calendar: Error at 14:15.                                                                                              
    Contacts: Last successfully refreshed at 14:16.                                                                        

    Errors :

    Time: 28/09/2007 14:15:21
    Error in Mail
    Network operation failed

    Time: 28/09/2007 14:15:23
    Error in Mail
    Outlook Connector is available only to subscribers.

    Time: 28/09/2007 14:15:24
    Error in Calendar
    Outlook Connector is available only to subscribers.

    Time: 28/09/2007 14:15:45
    Error in Mail
    Outlook Connector is available only to subscribers.

    Time: 28/09/2007 14:15:49
    Error in Mail
    Outlook Connector is available only to subscribers.

    Time: 28/09/2007 14:16:03
    Error in Mail
    Outlook Connector is available only to subscribers

    I hate bitching about software that has been given to me for free but it is a little frustrating when the beta worked without issue

    I’ll keep playing with it but i think i’ll be waiting for a fix from the Outlook connector guys

  • My Bad Customer Service Experience

    I still haven’t played Halo 3 🙁

    Reason being i don’t have a tv to play it on.

    The whole experience of getting it repaired has been terrible. After Susanne’s recent customer experience post i thought i share as well

    I was told that an enginner would visit the house, if he couldn’t repair it they’d take it away and i’d get it back within a week. The engineer came and took the TV away on the 18th September. I had no comunication from them so when the following monday came i thought i’d give them a call

    The answer i got back was “we had to wait for the cost of the repair to be authorised, now it’s been authorised we’re waiting for parts. They are being ordered today and we’ll call you to let you know what’s going on”

    I was annoyed i hadn’t been kept in the loop but the story sounded plausible. By Wednesday i hadn’t heard anything so i rang back

    “We’re waiting for parts”

    I told her this was the same thing i’d been told on Monday. She fobbed me off and said they would ring with an update

    It’s now Friday so i called again this morning.

    “We’re still waiting for parts”    WHAT???

    “The parts arrived but they were faulty, so we have ordered some more. The last set took about three days to arrive so that’ll be Tuesday or Wednesday”

    So IF they turned up on Wednesday by the time they have fitted it, tested and got it back to me it will have been three weeks

    I told her i wasn’t impressed, especially since i didn’t have another tv

    “We can loan you one”

    I asked how much this would cost…. “No cost, thats free of charge”

    Why wasn’t i offered this previously?

    “We didn’t know that you dont have another tv”

    Shocking! (I do have another tv but it’s about 20 times smaller than the main on in our living room)

    So the loan set is supposedly being dropped off on Tuesday

    I was so angry when i put the phone down. However, there is one simple thing that could have stopped all this from the very start

    COMMUNICATION

    It would have taken a couple of minutes for someone to call me (as they promised to do!) during each stage to keep me informed. If they had communicated better and asked if i needed a loan tv they could have taken months to repair it and it wouldn’t have cared!

    The same applies with your customers. If your doing something for them make sure they know what’s happening. It’s incredibly frustrating being kept in the dark

    Even if something hasn’t quite gone to plan make sure the customer knows the situation. Most people understand that sometimes things out of your control can throw a spanner in the works but if they don’t know about it you get unhappy customers

    If your working on something for a customer at the moment and you haven’t given them an update drop them a quick email or phone call….go on, do it now

  • The grand unboxing

    Humour me please 

    I don’t normally worry about the packaging on stuff i buy. Usually it’s just in the way of something i want!

    But Halo 3 legendary edition is different (especially since it’s a lot of wedge for a game!) so i took my time and took pics as i opened it all up (here)

    My lack of a TV at the moment means all i’ve done is look at it 🙁

    Thanks…normal service is now resumed

  • Halo 3 Torture

    As i’m sure your aware a certain first person shooter is in the shops now

    My shiny copy of the legendary edition should be waiting for me when i get home.

    I have a problem though….my tv is away for repair

    They have had it far longer than i was expecting and even after ringing them everyday i have no idea when it’s coming back.

    My other half suggested i plug the XBOX into the portable tv in the bedroom but after being so used to my flat screen to move to the portable would be like playing it on a mobile phone

    🙁

  • Outlook 2003, faulting module outllib.dll in Windows XP

    I got a call today where one of our clients was unable to open Outlook (2003)

    She would open it and get the standard “we’re sorry but Outlook needs to close” error. She would restart and unless she went into safe mode it would just keep doing the same thing

    The event log entry basically said “faulting module outllib.dll” (not very helpful!)

    The first thing i thought was that there was an add-in or something preventing it from loading so i disabled all of them via safe mode….no good

    So i used some of the Outlook 2003 switches such as /cleanviews /cleanprofile (full list here)….still nothing

    I created a new profile and it still crashed, before it asked for the profile. I then used the “create item switches” (e.g /c ipm.note) which worked fine which got me thinking it must be something to do with the “user interface” as it crashed before it really got anywhere during the load (my hunch would prove to be correct)

    I then logged in as a different user and this worked fine so it must be something user specific

    I opened the “C:\Documents and Settings\– YOUR USER-\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook” folder and basically moved all the files out.

    Outlook opened fine!!

    After a bit of trial and error i found out it was the Outcmd.dat file causing the problem. This file stores all your toolbar customisation settings. If you delete (or rename) this file a new one gets created and your problem is sorted

    Just as a note, the switch /nocustomize would have spotted this for me…..

  • The good part of the job

    We finished a new SBS install a little while back. We gave them a few weeks to “bed in” after the transition to SBS 2003 with the intention of going back a few weeks later and going over some of their new features and capabilities. Since then the client has had a very busy schedule so the meeting didn’t happen until today

    I mentioned at the time (here at the bottom of the post) how i was looking forward to showing them some of the new stuff

    Today just reminded me how great it is when your showing people how the technoglogy can help.

    Their previous system was a Windows 2000 server that was just serving files. They used Outlook to individually collect their own email from hosted POP3 mailboxes

    I spent about an hour just running through a few things that are probably really simple to me and you but if you don’t know the functionality is there you can’t use it. Just some the stuff I went through included, calendars (sharing, meeting requests, meeting scheduling), sharing contacts, tasks (assigning to other people, reminders). This was after i’d done RWW and OWA. They just sat there with their jaws on the table for about an hour and half. When i introduced SharePoint it blew them away!

    It’s a nice feeling when they realise how some of this stuff will help them in a big way and it’s because you have helped them. Just watching them bounce ideas off each other is fantastic

    Job satisfaction at it’s best!

  • Access 2003 & blank drop down list after installing SP3

    I was at a customers site today when i had an Access database presented to me

    “Where has all the data gone?!” 

    When attempting to select a value in a drop down (combo) the list appeared empty. If you selected an item the field value was updated correctly.

    I found this a little wierd and it appeared to be affecting everyone and it appeared to only be occuring with instances with a particular field.

    I went to the underlying table and it turns out this particular field had some custom formatting applied. All the other fields did not

    I removed the formatting and everything returned to normal

    It was sorted but i was still scratching my head as to WHY when someone said

    “It was fine until yesterday, then it all went funny this morning”

    So what changed? Turns out “someone” had installed Office 2003 SP3

    A bit of searching after the event turns out i’m not the only one who has run into this!

  • Technet Event -Manchester -September 20th 2007

    Yesterday was a very gruelling day, i left the house at 06:00 and arrived back home at 23:45 after driving a few hundred miles just so i could attend the Windows 2008 & Virtualisation technet event! The day was well worth the trip though. (Richard has already blogged about this so go check that out as it’s a great review!)

    On the whole the event was very good. I picked up lots of knowledge about where Microsoft are going with their virtulisation offering and the management tools look pretty slick. As i’m sure your aware the single biggest reason for virtualisation is reducing the amount of physical servers you have to manage (so less electricity, less cooling, less space, etc)

    On the drive home i had plenty of time to think about where all this fits into the SMB area as we rarely have a need for server consolidation. You can’t go from one server to no servers!

    My thinking at the moment is that some of our more tech savvy clients may be looking to utilise more technology but are held back on price. By using virtual servers you can make a large saving by purchasing less hardware

    I’m a little “apprehensive” about running virtual servers on a box that is already running SBS but would be interested to hear if anyone is currently doing this?

    I was looking forward to the evening event as i was interested in the seeing some of the sideshow stuff. It’s something that hopefully we gather pace over the next year or so as people start to get creative with the technology (who doesn’t want a fridge magnet that can have your calendar on it?!) 

    The home server kit they had on display was pretty cool as well

    They certainly looked after us as well and i was gutted i couldn’t sample any of the free beer as i had to drive home!

    Richard seemed to think i was a bit excited about the new Halo 3 trailer they showed us. That’s probably the understatement of the year!  My fab wife as pre-ordered this for me so that’ll tell you how much of a Halo geek i am!

  • Listen to the wife

    Further to my previous post…..i was wrong

    It’s not a calculator at all, just a card reader!

    Doh!

  • Little ideas


    We use internet banking heavily at home. I can understand how people can get nervous about it though as you just have a user name and password protecting all your money (or lack of it)!

    The picture that i’ve attached is something we got from Natwest a couple of weeks ago. Basically it’s a calculator that doubles up as a card reader.

    When performing certain actions you are prompted by the website you insert your bank card, enter your PIN and your given a one time code to enter (two factor authentication anyone?!)

    Neat little idea. It’s pretty cool how it has another use as well. Kudos to the bank for taking security seriously