Category Archives: HOWTO

HOWTO make an Xbox 360 get a DHCP address from OS X Internet Sharing

This had me puzzled for a bit: I set up a TV and Xbox in our hotel room and tried to get on Xbox Live through the wireless connection on my MacBook Pro. The Xbox stubbornly refused to pull an IP address from the Mac. After a little Bing-fu I found this article, which explains how to fix it. It works like a champ!

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Exchange UM broadcast / distribution voice mail

Microsoft’s Dave Howe posted a great tip to his blog: how to allow users to send voicemail messages to multiple users. This is often called “broadcast” or “distribution” voicemail, because the sender specifies a single address that expands into multiple recipients– just like a conventional distribution group in Exchange. The process is pretty straightforward: you create a new AD distribution group for the target recipients, update the UM grammar files that Exchange UM uses for speech recognition, and start sending messages.

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HOWTO buy additional Microsoft CRM licenses

Suppose you want to buy an additional license for your existing Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online subscription. This sounds like it should be easy, and it is– once you know the trick.

Don’t make the mistake of thinking you can just do a web search for “buy dynamics CRM license“. That way lies madness, not to mention a big steaming pile of fail.

In related news, don’t think that because the Microsoft Online Services page says you can buy a Dynamics CRM Online subscription there that you can buy licenses for an existing subscription. You can’t.

You might think that the sales chat window that opens on several of the Dynamics CRM pages would help. The sales chat person suggested calling 877-276-2464, option 2. I did, and the phone rang and rang and rang without answering for about 90 seconds. Tom then answered and gave me the magic solution, which I include here so you won’t have to go through this same process:

  1. Log in to your existing CRM page.
  2. Click “Settings” in the lower-left corner of the page.
  3. Click “Organization Notifications and Status”.
  4. In the right-hand section of that page, click “Buy Licenses”.

Now for a brief editorial: this is a great case of an application that makes it needlessly hard to do something simple. Why not have a “buy licenses” link on the page where you add new users? Does “Organization Notifications and Status” sound like the solution to “I want to add a license”? Not to me it doesn’t. This is an area where the Business Productivity Online team at MS has far outdone the Dynamics crew. I sure hope that as these two services are unified that the BPO approach and design win out.

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HOWTO block those pesky iPhones from Exchange ActiveSync

Great article on the Exchange team blog from mobility guy Adam Glick: it’s all about how to block classes of devices that you don’t want connecting to your Exchange server. You can already turn Exchange ActiveSync on and off for individual users, and you can allow or deny individual devices for those users. However, those solutions are best if you want to block a known-bad user or a known-bad device. If you want to block, say, all iPhones (or all BlackBerry devices, or all Nokias, or whatever), Adam outlines an easy solution for doing so.

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HOWTO disable “Play on Phone”

I was recently asked a really good question: how can you disable the “Play on Phone” functionality in Exchange 2007 Unified Messaging? PoP is a handy feature because it lets you use a simple UI in Outlook or OWA to get your voice mail on any phone that your UM server can dial out to. For security reasons, though, some organizations want to prevent people from placing outbound calls to potentially untrusted numbers (like, oh, I don’t know, this).There’s no direct way to do this from the UI, but you can accomplish it with a bit of trickery: set the OutCallsAllowed attribute on the IP gateway used by the UM server (set-UMIPGateway MyUMGateway -OutCallsAllowed $false will do the trick.)

Why does this work? This flag tells the UM server to never send SIP INVITE messages to the gateway for the new call. If there are no gateway objects with the property set to true, then UM will not attempt to place any outbound calls. PoP is the only Exchange UM feature that will result in new outbound SIP INVITE messages; call transfers use the SIP REFER message, so the automated attendant and call answering features will still work. However, this doesn’t disable the PoP user interface, so users will still see the buttons; they just won’t work when clicked.

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HOWTO integrate OCS 2007 and OCS 2007 Speech Server

One of the questions I frequently get in the UC Metro classes is how to install and use OCS 2007 Speech Server. First, you have to download it. After that, installing it is easy, but there are two other things people usually want to be able to do. First, they want to be able to use Communicator to call Speech Server. Second, they want to be able to transfer calls from Speech Server to Communicator. Michael Dunn has answers to both questions.

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HOWTO generate a fake Exchange UM message

When you get a voice mail message from an Exchange 2007 unified messaging server, it gets a unique message type that allows Outlook 2007 and OWA 2007 to represent it as a voice mail. In the UC Metro class I’m teaching in Toronto, someone asked me whether it was possible to create a “fake” voice mail message– in other words, is there some way to create a message from an external application that appears to be a voice message in Exchange UM-aware clients? His question made sense given that his company makes applications that already do voice integration for various things, so I did some digging (by which I mean “I asked some folks on the UM team”). Here’s the deal.

Outlook and OWA use the PidTagMessageClass property to help them decide whether a message is a voice mail. I never would have known this except for the Voice Mail and Fax Objects Protocol Specification, part of the massive spec dump Microsoft unleashed last month. Section 2.1.2.1 explains the possible values for PidTagMessageClass; subsequent sections describe how you must prepare and attach the actual audio content to the message. However, the spec doesn’t explain exactly how to set the message class in the first place; to do that you’ll need to either have mad MAPI skillz (translation: pay Dimitri and use Redemption) or set it yourself using Exchange Web Services and the attribute documentation that tells you which properties have which tags. (Update: For real voicemails, the properties are set by the store’s content conversion engine when the message is accepted at the recipient mailbox. I haven’t tested to see what happens if you submit a message that meets the spec by using SMTP; it would be interesting to know if the properties are correctly applied in that case.)

In a related note, if you’ve ever wondered where the Outlook audio notes field data is stored, check out the PidNameAudioNotes attribute.

Update: each UM user has to have an Exchange Enterprise CAL. That means that anyone to whom you send synthetic VMs to has to have the Enteprise CAL as well, even if they’re not otherwise using UM.

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