Office 365 Exposed Podcast #3


As the gentle readers of my blog might remember, the esteemed Paul Robichaux and I often tape a podcast when we’re together. Unlike other podcasts about Exchange and/or Office 365, we try to take a strategic look rather than diving down into the weeds. Although we’re not always successful, we have a good time chatting about what’s going on. Paul has posted the latest episode on his site – you can get it there or download the podcast from iTunes.

  • The topics include the horrible mess that Microsoft Learning is making of recertification for messaging MCSEs and why “YouTube certification” isn’t worth much (also discussed here)
  • How technologists can stay ahead of the curve in a world when things change at an increasing rate.
  • What’s likely to happen at the Microsoft Ignite conference in Atlanta next September and why the “Anti Kool-Aid” conference (aka IT/DEV Connections) offers value of a different type. I’m looking forward to IT/DEV Connections, which takes place in the ARIA Hotel in Las Vegas in October, because it attracts a great crowd, including many MVPs and even some of the more famous individuals from the world of Exchange.
  • The need for ISVs to react as the on-premises market shrinks and Microsoft takes more of the available space in the cloud.

In any case, enjoy! And if you don’t, well…

Most of my time in the last few weeks has been spent preparing for the publication of the upcoming “Office 365 for IT Pros” book. We’re making excellent progress and the book is now listed for pre-order on Amazon. Expect an announcement soon about the availability of the PDF and EPUB versions from ExchangeServerPro.com.

O365ITProsKindle

Office 365 for IT Pros – now available for pre-order for Kindle

In any case, because we’re writing about Office 365, I have been pretty hard-nosed about using Office 365 to support the writing effort. Naturally, all of the text is created using Word 2016 and 2013 before it is converted to PDF, EPUB, and MOBI (for Kindle) and we store the files in an Office 365 group document library (SharePoint Online).

The writing team is distributed across Ireland, Australia, and Belgium and our technical editors are in the U.S. and Bulgaria, so we have a pretty good spread. This shouldn’t be an issue because Microsoft has installed a network of local network access points for clients to connect to Office 365. Once connected, traffic is routed across Microsoft’s dark-fiber datacenter backbone, so it doesn’t really matter where in the world someone happens to be.

The network is great but the tools have flaws. Two in particular have been causing me some grief. First, the change that Microsoft made in Excel 2016 as to how worksheets that are stored in SharePoint Online document libraries are opened. The worksheets are now opened in read-only mode and the theory is that you can click the button to open the worksheet in write mode. If this is what happened all would be well and I wouldn’t complain, but it doesn’t. At least not about 40% of the time. When this happens I close the worksheet and open it again and invariably, but not always, it can be opened for writes. Office 2016 has been out for nine months and I’m using the up-to-date click-to-run version. There’s no excuse for this kind of problem to persist so long.

Until of course you find another even worse problem, which is the bastard child from IT hell called the OneDrive for Business sync client (the old and horrible version). OneDrive for Business has two sync clients. The old one is built on the now-ancient foundations of Groove, a product I attempted to deploy at Compaq in 2001. It was a network pig then and we dropped it after trying to make Groove work for a year or so. Even Ray Ozzie’s words of reassurance failed us.

A decade-and-a-half later, Groove.exe is no better. On the other hand, the new sync client, which is used for both the consumer and business versions of OneDrive, is pretty good and appears to be reliable. At least, I do not have to fix, repair, swear at, moan about, or otherwise castigate the old-and-horrible sync client after it fails once again. I am patient (normally), but the baffling array of faults that this software has exhibited for years makes me wonder why Microsoft hasn’t a) put Groove.exe out of its misery and b) fixed the new sync client so that it can handle SharePoint Online document libraries. Apparently that functionality is coming “before the end of 2016”. It can’t come soon enough.

Finally, I see that Paul Cunningham has written an in-depth review of QUADROtech PST FlightDeck, a tool to help find, process, and migrate those annoying PSTs and get the data across to Office 365 where the data is safe, compliant, and secure. Full disclosure: I am an external board member for QUADROtech – even so, I think this review contains a number of points that anyone looking to take on a PST migration should build into their project.

Speaking of which, I must run an catch the flight to Zurich to go and attend a board meeting…

Follow Tony @12Knocksinna

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About Tony Redmond ("Thoughts of an Idle Mind")

Exchange MVP, author, and rugby referee
This entry was posted in Cloud, Email, Office 365, Technology and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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