Cookies Galore

July 31, 2007

strange things are afoot

if you’re  a frequent visitor here and you’re security conscious you’ll notice all of a sudden there are some statcounter cookies being deposited on your PC – please accept them I’m doing a little traffic analysis and although I can’t get the full blown package ( says no to JavaScript) it’s of interest to me.

if you feel like you don’t want to participate just deny the cookie.

I’ll share a few nuggets over the coming weeks – interesting already is that 5% of the visitors are using Windows Mobile

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July 31, 2007

Microsoft’s office Communications Server takes the next step forward

I know I’m a bit late, I’ve been well beaten by Arthur,  Johann, James and Eileen but I’ve had the cricket to think about and recover from and despair about  but anyway….  

It’s out – well sort of, both Office Communications Server 2007 and it’s Uber client office communicator 2007 have been released to manufacturing ( RTM). expect full MSDN versions over the next few weeks and full availability by the autumn.

the release includes :

  • Office Communicator 2007 : the soon to be ubiquitous client
  • Office Communications Server 2007 : the core server product  
  • Office Live Meeting Console 2007 :  The web collaboration and presentation tool
  • Communicator Web Access 2007 : think of this as OWA is to outlook CWA is to Office communicator 2007
  • Microsoft RoundTable 2007 : Microsoft’s innovative 360° video and audio conferencing tool
  • Office Communications Server 2007 Speech Server : Microsoft’s IVR server suite

there have also been some disclosures about likely pricing  as well over on the Microsoft Presspass site Gurdeep Singh Pall VP of the UC groups is quoted :

As with Live Communications Server, the predecessor to Office Communications Server, customers need both server and client access licenses (CALs). There are two types of Office Communications Server CALs: Standard and Enterprise. The Standard CAL has the IM and presence capabilities including new group IM and rich presence features and costs roughly $21 for the average enterprise. The new Enterprise CAL provides all of the new conferencing and VoIP call management features and costs roughly $97 for the average enterprise. The Office Communications Server Standard and Enterprise CALs will also be included as part of the Microsoft Enterprise CAL Suite, a bundle of several Microsoft server CALs available at a discount.

the approach is very much one of evolution rather than revolution and that the average enterprise needn’t replace that aging TDM PBX to realise the advantages that  Unified Communications can bring. I’ve still to digest the interop white paper so I can’t really comment in too much detail on the practicalities of this.

This is the phoney war before the battle that will rage between traditional telecoms providers, the IP vendors (notably Cisco) and Microsoft. things are going to get really interesting over the next few months.

This is the biggy… Communication is so much more emotional and important than the choice of browser you make. There’s a whole lot more money to be made and lost ($45 Bn by 2010)  and it’s Microsoft Pitching into a Market that it’s relatively new to with a lot of established vendors who have their share of the billions to protect. 

I’m hoping that the customer is in a win-win situation however I am a bit wary that this period of upheaval is going to lead to a bit of blood letting and I hope  the collateral damage is kept to a minimum.

Local weather on the HTC Touch

July 26, 2007

how to get a forecast a little closer to homexda developers hack hacked


I’ve been long term testing the  HTC touch ready for an imminent review and one of the interesting applications is a weather forecasting plugin that sits on your home screen and displays a localish weather forecast.

The weather plugin is great but for the UK the default list is pretty sparse,  I can only find Manchester, London or Edinburgh and living in Nottingham that’s useless.

XDA developers to the rescue, it’s through a registry hack (so usual caveats apply)  the suggestion is

just navigate to


And change the Location key to the name you want displaying  and LocationCode to the new city’s accuweather location code .

You’ll  find the codes here and all the Nottinghams here  

Nottingham in Nottinghamshire is EUR|UK|UK189|NOTTINGHAM however when i altered the code to this … it doesn’t work, you get an unable to download data error

there’s a long and complicated fix here with clever use of a generous soul’s server to interpret the data.

However with a little reg rummaging I discovered that in the registry both London and Manchester have nearly identical codes EUR|UK|UK001|cityname despite the fact that the accuweather codes are  EUR|UK|UK124|LONDON and EUR|UK|UK189|NOTTINGHAM.

So I changed my Touch code to EUR|UK|UK001|NOTTINGHAM and it seems to work I certainly get different weather from London Village and God’s own City. anyone else tried it?

Toshiba Portege G900 review

July 24, 2007

My latest guest review published

I’ve been testing Toshiba’s latest Windows Mobile 6 Professional courtesy of Tracy and matt and the review has just been posted over on their site.

For the 10 second summary the G900 is not a bad bit of kit, a bit on the big size but the benefit is you get a great screen again you’ll get a great deal more out of it as a Toshiba Notebook companion.

Biggest Plus: the Screen.

Biggest Minus : now the screen’s fixed it’s size, it’s big damn big.

Not Sure….: SIPserver and TIPtalk – a nice idea  but flawed by lack of flexibility

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E650 update

July 17, 2007

the continuing saga of Living with the Orange SPV E650

OK I’ve had the E650 for a few months now and I’m way way past the honeymoon period so I thought I’d give you a quick catch up on my current feelings on the device.

do I still love it ? well yes …… mostly

will I part with it ? not if I can help it

are there any problems with it ?   yes a couple

go on what are they then ?

well the biggest problem I’ve come across is the fact that any screen grabbing notifications such as low battery warnings disconnect your Bluetooth sessions, a royal pain when you are driving and involved in a conversation on your headset.  I have no idea why this happens it’s just a really bugging bug.

the second problem is purely aesthetic, remember the flappy flaps, they’re made of pretty soft plastic and  with use they deform and refuse to sit cleanly in their aperture. this is a real problem for the flap that hides the extUSB connector  which annoyingly is on the bottom of the phone and is in use a lot for charging, it now refuses to sit cleanly and really spoils the lines of the device. it’s going to come off when I get round to it.

Neither of these are major problems but they are worthy of mention as they are particularly annoying in a device that is otherwise so well designed.

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Orange Unique and Blackberry

July 11, 2007

Orange to launch the BlackBerry 8820 – UMA and email in a single device


Orange have announced that they will be launching the  BlackBerry 8820 will be at the end of July which   will replace the BlackBerry 8800 in Orange’s portfolio.

The 8820 is a revamped 8800 that offers all the  functionality of the 8800  and combines it with UMA  (The ability to use WiFi VoIP and Cellular in the same device). The 8820 therefor supports Orange’s  Unique offering where home workers can roam onto Orange’s Unique VoIP service via the Internet through their Orange Broadband connection when in their home location.

email on the go and UMA is a great feature, HP have combined the options in the iPAQ 514 Voice Communicator (still waiting HP!!) on the Windows Mobile 6 Platform so it’s good to see RIM following suite for those Blackberry users out there

Interestingly Orange Caveat the Unique service as follows  

Please note that the Unique/Homeworker proposition offers users the ability to continue to make voice calls when in the home, irrespective of GSM coverage, using WiFi/Orange Broadband. It may however be subject to busy periods as with all broadband connections. Customers are therefore advised to trial the solution before committing to large rollouts.

Which hints that they might be having capacity problems, I don’t use the service myself but would be interested in any Orange customer experiences of problems in this service.

I think the jury is still out on the whether UMA or Pico Cells will be the best technology to provide local roaming so any user experiences are of great interest to me.

remember Rabbit anyone ?

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open Source VoIP and Microsoft Unified Messaging

July 10, 2007

How to get Asterisk working with Exchange 2007

I’d alluded before about my dabbling with Asterisk as an open source SIP PBX and how I hadn’t mustered the energy to try and get Exchange 2007 which uses SIP over TCP to talk to Asterisk which uses SIP over UDP. at the time I was considering a patch,  well with one thing and another I still haven’t got round to it but I do get a emails  asking about it and I recently was directed to a very useful post by Ryan an antipodean IT pro who’s reluctantly dipping his data toe in the voice water. I came across Ryan’s post through Dennis over at MSGoodies.

The key is to use sipX which happily eventually acts as an intermediary with SIP over both UDP and TCP in it’s lexicon.  Ryan gives an excellent account of setting the whole infrastructure up within VMware so you can familiarise yourself with some of those novel VoIP protocols

maybe, just maybe, I’ll get round to trying it soon