iCloud killed my Office 365

Sometime you will find the stranges things, where you would have never expected them.

My trusty Outlook client, that connect as much as all my email accounts, calendars, contacts and to-do lists, has this neat little feature called “Social Connector”. This enables me to connect to my LinkedIn, Xing or even Facebook contacts by the click of a button within Outlook.

This work quite well. Contacts, I’ve imported through my social connector where updated automatically, when something had changed.

Then came alot the iOS 5 release with it’s nifty little iCloud service. Which sounded great at first. All my email, contacts, calendars, notes could now be synced between Apple devices.

Only that, appart from 2 iPhones and an iPad I didn’t own any Apple devices, and my PIM was Outlook.

Fortunately Apple also provides a downloadable iCloud Manager for Windows.

After installing it, I regret it imediatly. All my contacts from outlook had been erazed and replaced by the ones already on my iOS devices. The same for my notes and my tasks. Only, I had not synced any notes and tasks with Outlook before.

So they were all gone.

The second thing I noticed was, that my social connectors didn’t seem to work any more. The importet contact list of my social network providers didn’t update and new would contacts never show up in the list.

At the end of the last year I moved some of my mail accounts to Microsoft’s Office 365, since I was really fed up with the service at GoDaddy, that was unable to get my mailboxes to work at all. To make this deal fit all our requirements I also included parts of my family in this account and gave them each a mailbox.

For some reason, I was the only one, that could not connect the Outlook client with the Exchange servers. No matter what I tried, it would not authenticate to the server, constantly asking me for credentials.

The solution partly came from a newsgrop response, to clear all files from

C:\Users\UserName\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Outlook\

What this does is delete all user config files for Outlook. It will not delete any mail account settings.

Open Control Panel > Email

Delete the Exchange Account, if present

Add a new Exchange Account

Start Outlook

which didn’t work the first time I’ve tried.

After some thinking I uninstalled the iCloud Manager and tried again. Bingo!

Just to verify this, I reinstalled iCloud and everything was broken again.

For now, I’m removing iCloud Manager from all my devices and hope, that Apple will learn to write proper and working software in the future, that will not cripple everything else on my computer.

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Virtually Physical

Did I mention, how much I like solving math problems? No? Maybe because I don’t, actually.

This weeks puzzle to be solved: How big can our hosted virtual machines get without blocking too many resources and what can we do in case they still need to grow?

Historically VMs where created to consolidate all these tiny little server loads lurking in our data centers. each one on its own hardware that was essentially never utilized at all. Today these VMs get bigger and bigger every year as hypervisors can allocate more and more resources to each virtual machine. But there is a limit after all.

The Host server can only handly so much load. At a certain point of growth it simply doesn’t make sense to host a super large VM, since there will be only enough resources for 2 or three of them. We could now revert to a physical installation, but this would also rob us of some ofthe benefits we had with the virtual machines. Like: moving the server from host to host for maintenance, business continuity in case a host server fails, easy backups through storage snapshots of the image file, etc.

And after all… we would still have the same SLA with out clients, so we all would likely have to install a physical failover cluster to keep up out agreements. No, I don’t want to go there anymore!

Why don’t we just boot the hardware directly from the virtual disk? Windows 7 and Server 2008 have this feature build in, for most of the other OS’ there are tools that help you.

Only one catch: Native support in Windows seems only to support the VHD format while VMWare provides me with a VMDK. There are some tools that enable you to boot any kind of image, but I really need to figure out how to do this in an highly automated production environment.

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The Zombie Network: Beware 'Free Public WiFi'

It’s in your airports, your coffee shops and your libraries: “Free Public WiFi.”

Despite its enticing name, the network, available in thousands of locations across the United States, does not actually provide access to the Internet. But like a virus, it has spread — and may even be lurking on your computer right now.