Category Archives: Reviews

Moving from Google Apps to Office 365

I have been using Google Apps premier since 2007. Almost 4 years. Before that I used hotmail and tried to use the Microsoft ecosystem as I had a Windows Mobile phone, many of them actually. Before Windows Mobile was “cool”. The thing with Google Apps is that it only offered the “core” apps for a loooong time. (Mail, Calendar, Docs, Chat). Recently they allowed you to “transition” to more Google services (apps), such as Reader, Voice, etc, etc.

Now, this sounds great right? Yeah, except in the last 4 years I had to create a regular gmail account to use most of the Google services (YouTube, voice, Reader), and now I have 4 years of content and what not built up with that account. Google wants me to “start fresh” with my Google Apps account? Doesn’t sound like much fun. Also Google+ just came out, and it doesn’t work with Google Apps accounts, another great way for Google to alienate paying customers, and rewarding free ones. You can’t be signed into both a Google Apps and Google Account at the same time (at least without problems) So I end up having to run one browser with Google account and one with Google Apps? No thanks again.

What I decided to do is try something new. There aren’t many options.

1. Hotmail
2. Yahoo
3. Hosted Exchange (Rackspace, etc)
4. Office 365
5. Other

With Hotmail.. It works, I actually changed it over in a hour or so.. but, there is no 1st class citizen mail client on Mac. Mail, other 3rd party, even Outlook, only connect with POP, not with IMAP. iOS at least uses Activesync. This is somewhat of a deal breaker for me, as I like to use a client on the desktop, or at least try them out.

Yahoo is just out, well, because it is Yahoo. Hosted Exchange looks promising, but too much $$ for not the same features I currently get. Office 365 seems like the logical choice.

I was in the beta for Office 365 and dorked around with it a little bit. I decided to take the plunge.

It is a little more expensive than Google Apps a year, but really no other choices. My first concern was with my Google Talk with my Google Apps. Probably not going to work. Why? Well, with Office 365, if you are on the small business plan, you have to delegate your DNS to Office 365. You can create CNAME and A records, but not TXT or SRV records, etc. Google Apps GTalk needs SRV records in your DNS.

Also, when you sign up for Office 365, you get a weird account, not a Windows Live ID, but Online Services ID, like blah@domain.onmicrosoft.com .. and then you have to set up your custom domain inside the Office 365 web app.

Currently, this is where I am at, and I hope to have a follow up to this..

I made all the DNS changes for Office 365. I created another account in my system, and assigned it a license. I made the account admin, so I had 2 admin accounts. Everything was working.

I decided to cleanup the onmicrosoft.com account, by removing the mailbox and account. It had the same “Full Name” as my regular account, Steve Novoselac. I went to delete and it said “Do you want to remove Steve Novoselac”, I was weary but figured it was keyed on email address of the account record, not name.

Boom, it deleted both the records on my account. Currently I can’t even login to my account. Even better with the small business account you don’t get 24/7 support. Just “service tickets” and the community forum. I did put in a service request and a forum post, and I am working through the issue, but it seems ridiculous. Why?

First off, you shouldn’t be able to remove the “last admin” from an account. Second, it should delete by email address and not full name. We will see how and when I get this resolved, but currently I just switched my DNS back to Google Apps so I can continue to receive email.

Another unknown is the Lync online. It is federated with WLM, but I am curious to see how that is all going to work. Giving support a few days and hopefully will have it all sorted out. More to come..

Thoughts on Google+

A couple of days ago, one of my developers got me on Google+ (or do you write it Google Plus?) Anyways, it is pretty cool. New social network, yay. Kind of like Facebook, but not. More granularity on sharing to “groups” or circles out of the gate. Integrates nicely with some Google offerings.

Do I see it taking off? Well, if history repeats itself, I could say .. it depends.

First off, Google has bombed on social in recent years. Buzz? Wave? yeah, not too good. But they are adding all the pieces that other social networks have and now trying to integrate them (location, micro blogging, sharing, photos, etc, etc).

Second, Myspace is dead. Friendster is long gone. No one though Myspace would topple, but Facebook dethroned them. Can Google do the same thing to Facebook?

Hard to say, but at the current moment they have the best chance.

Microsoft Live Labs Pivot Viewer – Rich Internet Application

So, I previously blogged about using PivotViewer in your Web Applications, but you can also just consume Pivot collections using the “Pivot” tool from Microsoft Live Labs

You can download it here

What does this tool offer? Well first it has a library/homepage of collections you can browse

You can do some slicing and dicing on a collection of Presidents, or athletes, or Sports Illustrated covers. This tool and technology really fasinates me. It is “Business Intelligence” but in a different way – it is based on “objects” (images) instead of “metrics”. I like it.

What are some cool things I think this could be used for? Company Directory? Online Catalog? Beer selection at Eddie’s? the list goes on and on..

Additionally there is now an add in for SQL Server Reporting Services and SharePoint 2010 you can download here

Once I have an environment in which I can test that set up, I will blog about it.

iPhone, AT&T, MMS Messaging Not Working?

So…the iPhone and AT&T. Match made in .. who knows..

Back in 2007 I bought an iPhone 2G (a 4GB). I was on T-Mobile at the time, in PDX. I unlocked it and ran on T-Mobile for a while worked fine, moved to Madison, WI where T-Mob is non existent, so I switched to AT&T, at the same time I got an iPhone 3G. When the 3GS came out, I upgraded to that. Emily got the 2G phone when I got the 3G, and she used that until it died (wouldn’t charge anymore), and once I had the 3GS, she got the 3G.

Along comes MMS.. only works on 3G and higher.

Now, me on my 3GS, it worked right away, no issues. Emily on the 3G though? No dice. Wouldn’t work at all, so what did I do?

1) Made sure the phone had the carrier update – yes
2) Made sure MMS was turned on? – yes
3) Reloaded software, and restored from backup – yes
4) Reloaded software – fresh start – yes
5) Emily went to AT&T to check, they said she was on wrong data plan, changed her, MMS still not working
6) I went to AT&T and told them it has to be something with that specific # on my family plan account, they said no, its the phone or software, I said “bull$h!t” and left.
7) Put my own SIM card in the 3G phone. MMS worked! Awesome. This rules out the phone hardware and software – so the CSR from step #6 was completely wrong.
8) Called AT&T, told them the last 7 steps, but told them I think it is something to do with the phone #/account being on a 2G phone and not upgrading properly to a 3G in their system. She didn’t believe me and said it was the SIM card.. like #6 I called BS but went along with their advice, they sent me a free SIM card replacement.
9) Waited 3 days for SIM, put in phone. Need to activate – called AT&T again, took CSR 30 minutes to activate. She didn’t believe me when I told her she would need the SIM card info to activate it – doh.
10) Told CSR from step #9 the history of step 1-8 and she insisted it wasn’t the account. She had me test steps, etc, etc, etc for about an hour before basically giving up. I kept telling her “It isn’t the phone. It isn’t the software. It isn’t the SIM. It isn’t the network. It IS SOMETHING ON THE ACCOUNT!!!!.
11) CSR from Step 10 wouldn’t believe but before giving up sent me to tech support. Tech support dude FINALLY was like .. yeah, I see it here, that 3G phone is registered in one of our messaging systems as a iPhone 2G, restricting it from sending MMS.. should be able to fix.. he tried, but said sometimes it takes up to 5 days to go through, so now I wait until next week..

Really AT&T? The two CSR’s at the stores (different stores, etc) and then 2 on the phone, and no one would believe the actual problem. I needed to get on the phone with a FizzBuzz CSR (a CSR who you say the code word FizzBuzz to and they automatically know what you are talking about and won’t waste your time telling you to reboot and try settings you already tried about 100 times)

Figured I would blog this as searching Google (which I did about 20 times) on this issue didn’t warrant anything. Hopefully some pour soul that is encountering the same MMS issue on a iPhone that was upgraded through the different versions will stumble on this. One thing that blew my mind was that the AT&T Tech Support guy was like “this is the 4th one like this today I have had to fix” – which to me says “why don’t the first level CSR reps have this info somewhere they can find when troubleshooting MMS issues”..

In any event, we will see come next Wednesday if it works. I told the Tech Support dude to make notes in my account because no way in hell am I waiting and going through over an hour of troubleshooting to get this to work again. I told the CSR from step 10 that I would just cancel the number and add a brand new one to fix it since they couldn’t – and I bet a dollar that it would have worked.

People say “I can’t wait for AT&T to be on Verizon”, but I don’t think it would be much better. The huge multinational or crazy big corporations just can’t deal with customer service issues in a good way, I think they are just *way* to big.