Blog Archives

Phone number normalization in OCS 2007

I ran into this issue with OCS 2007 and thought it might come in handy for someone in the future.  Lets say you deploy OCS 2007 in your environment, and in AD you use the phone number field for the office ext, and you want to keep that format.  Lets also assume you are noticing that if you use this configuration you end up with warnings in communicator saying it cannot synchronize the addressbook.  When you check the event log on your OCS server you see errors and warnings about the addressbook server.  You won’t find a service for this component (at least I couldn’t find it), it appears to be built-in to the OCS server software.  You also find a list of invalid AD phone numbers in your C:Program FilesMicrosoft Office Communications Server 2007Web ComponentsAddress Book FilesFiles directory. 

So how can you keep your internal extensions in their current format and still communicator without having to see the annoying addressbook warning.  Its not simple, but the fix is not too complex to impliment.  Here is what to do.  This assumes that you use a format such as “x 5555” for your extensions in AD for the users in the phone number field. 

First, in the OCS 2007 console, right click on the forest, and go to properties, then select voice properties.  Next, click the “Add” button to setup a new default location profile.  Give it a name and a description.  Next, under “Normalization Rules” click the “Add” button.  Give this a name also and a description.  Under translation, enter “^(x|X|x |X )“ without the quotes in the “Phone pattern regular expression” box.  In the next box, enter “$`”  Thats a dollar sign, immediately followed by the key to the left of the number one key on the top number row of your keyboard.  To test this, enter an extension in the same format as you use in AD in the “sample dialed number:“ box.  If it works you should see the resulting number in the format you want in the bottom text box. 

Save you changes by clicking “ok” until you are back at the console screen.  Then you just need to issue some commands on the server to update the address list, which are listed below: (NOTE: CD To the directory of your abserver.exe location)

Click Start, click Run, type cmd, and then click OK. 

Type net start abserver, and then press ENTER.

Type abserver.exe –regenUR, and then press ENTER.

Type abserver.exe –syncNow, and then press ENTER.

Exit and re-start communciator on your PC/laptop and it should now load with no errors or warnings and you will now see your extensions listed.

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Vista image resizer

I used to use the Windows XP powertoy “image resizer” which added a quick context menu resize ability to any image file. This was handy if I needed to quickly adjust or resize my images. Now in Vista, that ability is missing, and the powertoy from XP won’t work in Vista. So I found this Vista Image Resizer which is a free alternative. It also adds a context menu option to resize photos. And while it does work ok, I found it has a bug when resizing multiple images, if you leave the option set to resize the originals, it fails to do anything, but if you set it to make copies, then the copied images actually get resized.  This is only an issue if you have multiple photos selected and attempt to resize the originals.  Overall it’s a good replacement, and I recommend it as a replacement for the old XP powertoy.

Free Active Directory Reporting Tool

This should come in handy for lots of people.  Need to get some reports out of your Active Directory system?  Then this tool can help, its a called SmartR from Imanami, and its free.  There are additional report packs you could buy, but I’ve found it comes with just about everything I would need. It has a good wizard interface and can generate nicely formatted reports in a flash.  Output options are HTMl, XLS and XML. 

I needed to generate a report of all my AD users and find which groups they belonged to.  To be more specific, I was trying to get a list of all our Distribution lists and find out who was in each one.  I was able to accomplish both reports quickly and easily with this tool.

Microsoft SharedView

I recently stumbled across this awesome free beta of Microsoft Shared View.  This reminds me a lot of the Windows Live Meeting client, it has the same basic look to it, same type of toolbar at the top of the screen, but its a more cut down version that seems easier to use.  It does NOT have as many advanced features, but would be very handy for a variety of uses.  Right now its in a free beta stage, and hopefully it will remain a free service. 

My wife does digitial photograpgy, so this could be extremely useful for her when doing photo demo’s for clients.  With this application she could share a folder of pictures or her graphics programs and let customers see real time what she is doing.  This opens up a whole range of options for her for allowing clients to see what she is working on for them, and to interact more with them in deciding in exactly what they might want without having a need for a physical presence.

Copernic Desktop Search

I really love Copernic Desktop Search, and wanted to post a personal recommendation for this software. I’ve tried several other desktop search applications, including Windows Desktop Search, Yahoo desktop search, Google desktop, X1 and more. Out of all of these, I found that Copernic had the most attractive user interface that made for a better end user experience, ease of search and I like the way it displays the search results.

The best thing about this software, is not only that its fantastic in appearance, functionality and ease of use, but its also totally FREE for personal use. Its been around for a while, and I can’t wait to see what improvements are made to it over time, but I can’t immagine it getting much better than it already is.

I use this software for searching my personal Exchange mailbox, PST files, internet favorites, and local documents. You can also index files on a network drive. You can save your searches for handy future use. This is top notch software, that has a very attractive interface, great features comperable to the other big names in search and costs nothing! There are no pop-ups or annoying advertising, its just great free software. Click the link at the top of this post and download Copernic Desktop Search today and try it for yourself.

Issue with Public LAN in Windows – Exchange Clustering

Yesterday I began a demo of a Windows Server 2003 Cluster running an Exchange 2003 virtual server. This is a 2 node active/passive cluster. Everything was fine until I got to the part where I was showing hardware failure and the resulting failover performance. I unplugged the public LAN ethernet cable from the active cluster node. To my dismay and embarrasment the cluster administrator locked up and failover never happened. I was sure I had tested this particular scenario before during the initial setup. After thinking about this a little more I probably tested this with the default cluster during setup, and not after Exchange was up and running. Why would you want to disconnect the public LAN cable right? Well, when tested I discovered that Exchange in a cluster is very sensitive (as it usually is) to losing its public LAN interface. Anytime Exchange (clustered or not) loses connection to AD and DNS, it can hang. Well my problem was cuased by the Exchange 2003 services hanging once public LAN connectivity was lost. I found that the cluster was trying to stop the Exchange services but they were hanging. The cluster can’t failover to the second node until the core Exchange services are stopped and Exchange cluster resources are marked as offline. So because the services were hanging, my cluster would not fail over to the second node.

Read the rest of this entry

WordPress installation generator with plugins

I recently came across this link and find it very handy. You can generate a custom wordpress installation file (in zip format) for later installation. It includes a list of plugins you can select and will generate the complete install with all your selected plugins. Go Here for more information.

A few handy applications

Recently I’ve come across the need for a file attribute modification program. I did a basic google search and found this one –

SCL Scores in Outlook

I also just found this handy article showing how to reveal the SCL score in Outlook if you use the Intelligent Message Filter in Exchange 2003.?

http://msexchangeteam.com/archive/2004/05/26/142607.aspx

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My amazing handyman abilities!

When we bought our house the existing dishwasher was tested and found to work. Upon moving in, we found out that the test that was run on the dishwasher was the last time it would run. So we were in need of a new dishwasher. Unfortunately, none of the nearby home improvement places had any reasonable prices for a new dishwasher. So Liz got on the computer and checked craigslist and freecycle. She found an ad on freecycle for a like new dishwasher and sent an e-mail asking about it. We ended up getting it and as soon as I got home last night I went to pick it up. I single handedly lifted the monstros beast into the back of the van and proceeded on my way home to install it.

I’d like to say that when I got home I unloaded it and immediately began to install it. I disconnected the old one and easily connected the new dishwasher and found no problems. I did it all by myself and with no external assistance. Thats what I’d like to say. The truth is that I had to call Ray (my handly master plummer father-in-law), on several (ok – many) issues I encountered. First, I didn’t see how the water line on the old dishwasher would connect to the new one. Then I didn’t see how the drain hose would work with the new one. Then I realized I had to hand wire the electrical leads to power the thing. Ray calmly opened my eyes to the simplistic answers to all my questions and with a good understanding of how it all works, I got to work. I was able to get the old one out with relatively no problems. Although my kitchen floor got quite a bath as there were several inches of water that was stuck inside the old dishwasher. Then the power cord got wraped around one of the legs and Liz had to help me get it off while I lifted the unit off the floor. Out to the front porch it went and is where it still sits. We’ll probably list it on freecycle or dispose of it through the county.

Ok now the fun part. I started to connect the new dishwasher to the electric, water and drain. First, I decided to attach the copper adapter needed to connect the water line to the new dishwasher. I was doing good until the last 1/2 turn of the adapter when I heard a loud “Snap”. Turns out I broke the electric valve that controlls the water intake to the dishwasher. I tried to be McGuyver and used duct tape to seal it back together, but this didn’t do much to hold back the flood waters that came out of the water line when I opened the valve under the sink. Liz and I ordered a new intake valve online lat night. Actually she found it online and found the best price for it while I was watching Heroes on TV.

So we have a dishwasher now that didn’t cost us anything, its in good shape, and the only cost so far is the price of the new intake valve that we have to get because I don’t know my own strength. Ok, because I was foolishly holding onto the wrong area of the valve while turning on the copper line adapter with my wrench. 🙂

This all reminds me of another story. This has to do with a GFCI electrical outlet. Our home inspection also said there was a faulty GFCI outlet in the garage that probably controlled both bathrooms. Which we found was correct (you’ll see why in a minute). I went to Lowes and bought a new GFCI outlet and attempted to install a new one. A word to the wise, make sure you check out the wiring pattern before you disconnect the old outlet. If you have ever done electrical, you know what I’m talking about. So I put the new one in and wire it up, which is a major pain by the way, since the wires are very high grade and solid copper. I got it all put back in the wall and turned the power to the outlet back on at the breaker box and went to test. I had power to the outlet itself, but both bathrooms were dead. I didn’t find out my bathroom outlets were dead until later that night when I went to plug something into my bathroom outlet. So just before bed I run back out in the garage and take it all apart again. I tried several wiring patterns and just could not get that new outlet to work for the bathrooms. I ended up having to put the old one back in, but not until I had wired and re-wired about 6 times. Once I put the old outlet back in, all the outlets worked just fine. The GFCI protection may not work, but at least I have power to the three outlets.

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