Nick MacKechnie
#8 wire kinda guy.....

10 Years Service at Microsoft

Thursday, 2 February 2012 06:38 by Nick MacKechnie

Hi All,

My 10 year award arrived today on the courier! On the 4th of February 2012 I celebrate 10 years of working for Microsoft New Zealand. So many things have changed, yet many things remain the same. Microsoft has been a large part of my professional and personal life and I’m very happy and proud to have achieved this milestone.

DSCF1566DSCF1567

(Blue – 5 Year award, Green – 10 Year award)

There should always be checkpoints in your career where you should sit back and consider where to from here. It’s become a yearly pilgrimage for me where I look back on the year that was, consider the year ahead, the great people I work with, our customers and partners and decide on my direction. I consider myself very fortunate to work at Microsoft – I feel privileged to work with a large group of people who genuinely care about customer & partner outcomes, who are passionate about technology and our ability to make a difference. For me it’s a large draw card and the main reason I enjoy working here.

The constant in our industry is change. Change, mixed with competition, innovation, acquisitions, growth, market share, people, process, changing needs/wants/desires and  consumerization makes for not only a very challenging environment but equally a very rewarding one.  You don’t always get things right, but the opportunity to learn from the good and not so good is always there.

There have been many highlights on this journey so far – I’ve been lucky and fortunate to travel to the US, Singapore and Australia many times for training, I have a heap of local and international personal friends. The support from the organisation through the Christchurch Earthquakes to me personally has been excellent. I work with many smart, intelligent, driven and focused people and I work for a company that can, has, will and will continue to make an impact on each and everyone’s lives on this planet, whether that be directly or indirectly by the products and services we sell or deliver.

So good shit, great achievement, and good to be here! Smile

Nick.

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8 Years down…and still loving it

Tuesday, 2 February 2010 04:25 by Nick MacKechnie

Hi All,

2010, Welcome! This Thursday marks my 8th year at Microsoft New Zealand (so I’ll be enjoying my day off!). I started back in 2002 in our old Auckland office on Fanshawe Street and remember my first day very well.

I turned up to work in a suit and tie and Warrick Smith (my manager at the time) politely suggested I take the jacket off, and offered me a few Microsoft branded polo’s to wear. For a young chap, walking into this new environment from the traditional corporate world was both an exciting and intimidating experience. I had dealt with many Microsoft people over the years, their knowledge was wide and deep on their technologies as well as their integration with other platforms. The silence of people beavering away was deafening and being surrounded by people who were enthusiastic, passionate and smart has become something I’m extremely thankful for and thrive on - I was handed my laptop and asked to set it up, which in a corporate environment seemed weird, but something I appreciate upon reflection. We operate in what I call an organised chaos desktop environment (OCDE – I think I’ll add that to Wikipedia.org J) – there’s the corporate computer image you can deploy (we didn’t really have one back in those days), or you can build your own machine as long as it has a few core applications deployed and it’s service packed/patched appropriately. This was a far cry from my previous roles at Fletchers, where we (IT) mandated the SOE and controlled the technology stack from top to bottom.

I remember Warrick handing me my login ID and temporary password, and seeing my email address... Wow, now that’s cool, a microsoft.com email address. As I look back over the years, I count myself as very fortunate and lucky to be working here. I’ve learnt so much, and continue to do so on a daily basis through my internal and external interactions and engagements.

Things have changed a lot in terms of our image, reputation, the way we interact with partners and customers, listen and take on feedback, our technologies and services we offer. We learn from our mistakes (sometimes not as quickly as we would like) and genuinely want to make a difference in our domestic and international markets.

I still enjoy coming to work every day with the hope and desire to make a difference, to learn new things and help people – We all have an opinion, view, and experience to guide us – we should challenge the decisions of yesterday and today to validate that we are doing things for the right reasons and working for the best possible outcome. Because we’ve been doing things this way for the last year/s, doesn’t ensure we will meet the needs of tomorrow and that we are aligned to business goals and strategy.

So thanks for the last 8 years, and I’m sure I’ll be here for another!

Nick.

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Pictionaire, a new Multitouch Table from Microsoft Research

Tuesday, 2 February 2010 01:14 by Nick MacKechnie

 

A joint project from Microsoft Research and the University of California brings us another touchscreen, mutitouch table-top computing experience. Like a larger version of Surface, the Pictionaire, as it’s called, is also operated via human touch using gestures made on the table’s surface. However, unlike Surface, the camera used features a higher resolution - and it’s positioned above the computer’s screen, via a mount on the ceiling. With this setup, the camera can “see” the items placed on the table and when the item is removed, it can be replaced with a digital version. For example, if you place a keyboard on the table, the Pictionaire will pull up a text-entry box. If you place a sketchbook on the table, a digital version of the page soon appears. You can even do this process in reverse – the Pictionaire can project a digitized image onto the real life object, like the digital sketchpad image projected onto a piece of paper so you can trace it back onto the physical page.

To see the Pictionaire in action, check out the videos posted over on Slashgear. The Pictionaire will be demonstrated at the Computer Supported Cooperative Work conference in Savannah, Georgia, this month.

(via New Scientist)

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Exchange 2010 Active Sync Issue

Saturday, 21 November 2009 08:04 by Nick MacKechnie

Hi All,

I’ve spent the last few days migrating to Hyper-V, SQL 2008, Windows Server 2008 R2 and Exchange 2010 from 3 machines - Windows Server 2003, SQL 2005 and Exchange 2003. The last thing I had to turn on/get going was Active-Sync for syncing mail with home via a mobile device. This failed miserably, as per the below event log on my Exchange 2010 Server.

Log Name:      Application

Source:        MSExchange ActiveSync

Date:          11/20/2009 12:23:07 PM

Event ID:      1053

Task Category: Configuration

Level:         Error

Keywords:      Classic

User:          N/A

Computer:      <server>.thenet.gen.nz

Description:

Exchange ActiveSync doesn't have sufficient permissions to create the "CN=<name>,OU=<OU Name>,DC=thenet,DC=gen,DC=nz" container under Active Directory user "Active Directory operation failed on <server>.thenet.gen.nz. This error is not retriable. Additional information: Access is denied.

Active directory response: 00000005: SecErr: DSID-031521D0, problem 4003 (INSUFF_ACCESS_RIGHTS), data 0

".

Make sure the user has inherited permission granted to domain\Exchange Servers to allow List, Create child, Delete child of object type "msExchangeActiveSyncDevices" and doesn't have any deny permissions that block such operations.

Details:%3

Event Xml:

<Event xmlns="http://schemas.microsoft.com/win/2004/08/events/event">

  <System>

    <Provider Name="MSExchange ActiveSync" />

    <EventID Qualifiers="49156">1053</EventID>

    <Level>2</Level>

    <Task>2</Task>

    <Keywords>0x80000000000000</Keywords>

    <TimeCreated SystemTime="2009-11-19T23:23:07.000000000Z" />

    <EventRecordID>9577</EventRecordID>

    <Channel>Application</Channel>

    <Computer><server>.thenet.gen.nz</Computer>

    <Security />

  </System>

  <EventData>

    <Data>CN=<name>,OU=<OU Name>,DC=thenet,DC=gen,DC=nz</Data>

    <Data>Active Directory operation failed on <server>.thenet.gen.nz. This error is not retriable. Additional information: Access is denied.

Active directory response: 00000005: SecErr: DSID-031521D0, problem 4003 (INSUFF_ACCESS_RIGHTS), data 0

</Data>

  </EventData>

</Event>

The work around was pretty simple, however took me some time trolling through external and internal Knowledge Base Articles. I came across this article, however it didn’t seem to address the issue.

Here’s how I managed to get it sorted -

On a Domain Controller, Click on Start/All Programs/Administrative Tools/Active Directory Users and Computers

Capture1

Click on View and Select Advanced Features

Select a mailbox that isn’t working with Active Sync, double click on the account, Select the Security Tab and then the Advanced Button.

Capture2

Select Exchange Servers, and tick the Include inheritable permissions toggle then Apply and OK.

Capture

This issue is currently bugged and is likely to be fixed with an update in the future – It seems to be a symptom of ‘upgrading’.

Nick.

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What is SkyDrive Explorer

Friday, 6 November 2009 23:23 by Nick MacKechnie

SkyDrive Explorer is a free, easy-to-use, but very powerful extension for Windows Explorer. With SkyDrive Explorer you can make any every-day operations with your documents from Microsoft Live SkyDrive™ service (read more...) using Windows Explorer, as if they were on your computer.

Moreover you don't need to install and configure any additional programs or ActiveX components. SkyDrive Explorer will organize the interaction with the online storage itself.

Features

Multifunctional
Multifunctional

With the current beta version you can enjoy the following functionality:

  • View the structure and contents of folders in SkyDrive™;
  • View files information (type, size, creation date in GMT format);
  • Create new root folders and subfolders;
  • Copy files into the storage;
  • Delete files and folders;
  • Copy files from the storage to the computer;
  • Copy folders and subfolders from the storage to the computer keeping their structure;
  • Use Drag & Drop for files operations;
  • Rename files and folders;
  • Create links to SkyDrive™ folders on your computer;
  • Copy URL of the selected object(s) to the Clipboard; New
  • Automatic check for the latest version;New
  • Bidirectional languages support.New
Fast
Perfomance

SkyDrive Explorer allows applying some operations for group of objects that is not possible in web browser. This increases performance of work with SkyDrive™.

Examples of multi-operations are:

  • Renaming objects;
  • Deleting group of objects;
  • Copying folders with subfolders and files from SkyDrive™.
Easy
Easy

You don't need to know how to work with the SkyDrive™ service in web browser. To work efficiently with your data in SkyDrive Explorer you just use base operations with files and folders in Windows Explorer.

Secure
Secure

SkyDrive Explorer uses the standard Microsoft library for work with Windows Live Id services. Your personal information does not leave this library and even is not passed to SkyDrive Explorer engine. Also, the traffic with online storage goes through HTTPS protocol that protects data from snoopers.

Cross-platform
32/64 bit OS support

SkyDrive Explorer works both in 32- and 64-bit Microsoft® Windows OS. Minimal required OS is Windows XP, and SkyDrive Explorer will successfully work in Windows Vista, Windows Server 2003 and 2008, and Windows 7.

SkyDrive Explorer 1.2 Beta has been released, download here.

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Windows XP Mode for Windows 7 Goes RTM

Monday, 5 October 2009 09:57 by Nick MacKechnie

Hi All,

Windows XP Mode just hit RTM status this week and will be made available for download later this month in its final version. Once installed, this optional Windows 7 feature will let anyone run their XP-only applications which wouldn’t otherwise work on the new operating system. Designed primarily for small businesses who sometimes run mission-critical apps that are not updated to work with new versions of Windows, XP Mode adds a virtualization layer comprised of the Windows Virtual PC engine a licensed copy of Windows XP Service Pack 3 running as a virtual machine, both of which will be made available for download. Larger businesses will likely use MED-V which will offer XP Mode in its new version due to be released in beta 90 days after the Windows 7 public release.

Programs running in XP Mode will can be launched right from the Windows 7 desktop and even integrate with Windows 7 features like the Taskbar’s “jump lists” which show recently used files and common tasks.  In order for XP Mode to run, PCs are required to have at least 2 GB of memory and a system that has chip-level virtualization from either Intel or AMD.

Nick

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Office Communication Server – Federation makes sense!

Thursday, 3 September 2009 00:42 by Nick MacKechnie

Hi All,

Now that Office Communication Server R2 is out, there are a heap of customers piloting and indeed deploying OCS. I thought I’d share a few thoughts around why you should consider federating with your business partners and other IM service providers. I work in the support part of our organisation, and for me, encouraging my customers to federate with Microsoft makes perfect sense both from a business partner (being able to engage directly with your account team) perspective as well enabling us to support our customers better.

Here are a few reasons why you should consider federation:

· The ability to see if business partners are online, their presence, availability

· Share information easily via Instant Messaging – share documents, URLS, quick questions/responses/escalations

· Ability for 3rd parties to see application/environmental issues via shared desktops which should drive down response/incident resolution times

· Reduce phone costs by calling peer to peer instead of traditional POTS

· Ability to quickly and easily setup a conference call/Live meeting session for collaboration

· Ability to manage IM, audit, monitor and manage IM traffic

· Ability to build virtual teams across organisations or with 3rd parties with a common goal – e.g.: Universities or companies working on joint projects or teams that are geographically separated.

Federation is an important goal for the Office Communications Server team and they are excited to announce several changes to public IM federation between Office Communications Server and public IM networks, effective July 1, 2009:

· The Live Communications Sever Public IM Connectivity (LCS PIC) license will be renamed Office Communications Server Public IM Connectivity (OCS PIC) license.

· Customers with Office Communications Server 2007 R2 Standard CAL or Office Communications Server 2007/Live Communications Server 2005 SP1 Standard CAL with Software Assurance will no longer require an additional license to federate with Windows Live.  (A license will still be required for federation with AOL & Yahoo!.)

· With Windows Live federation, customers will be able to add Windows Live contacts to their Office Communicator contact list, view presence and send and receive instant messages.

Microsoft will continue to work with our partners to enable more options that allow you to communicate seamlessly with customers, partners, friends and family on different networks. For more information on public IM connectivity with Office Communications Server, please go to http://www.microsoft.com/communicationsserver/en/us/public-im-connectivity.aspx.

Our Unified Communications Product team are also on Twitter http://twitter.com/ucteam.

Federation provides your organization with the ability to communicate with other organizations Access Edge Server to share IM and presence. You can also federate with an audio conferencing provider using either of the two following methods. The process of configuring federation with an organization or an audio conferencing provider is identical. For a list of supported ACPs, see http://r.office.microsoft.com/r/rlidOCS?clid=1033&p1=ACP.

If you have enabled federation on the Access Edge Server, access by federated partners, including audio conferencing providers (ACPs), is controlled using one of the following methods:

  • Allow automatic discovery of federated partners. This is the default option during initial configuration of an Access Edge Server because it balances security with ease of configuration and management. For example, when you enable automatic discovery of federated partners on your Access Edge Server, Office Communications Server 2007 allows any federated domain to send communications with you and automatically evaluates incoming traffic from federation partners and limits or blocks that traffic based on trust level, amount of traffic, and administrator settings.
  • Allow discovery of federated partners, but grant a higher level of trust to specific domains or Access Edge Servers that you specify on the Allow list. For example, if you want to grant a higher level of trust to partners using the SIP domain contoso.com and fabrikam.com, you would add these two domains on the Allow tab. Restricting discovery in this way establishes a higher level of trust for connections with the domains or Access Edge Servers that you add to your Allow list, but still provides the ease of management that is possible by discovering other federation partners that are not listed on the Allow tab.
  • Do not allow discovery of federation partners and limit access of federated partners to only the domains or Access Edge Servers for which you want to enable connections. Connections with federated partners are then allowed only with the specific domains or Access Edge Servers you add to the Allow tab. This method offers the highest level of security, but does not offer ease of management. For example, if an FQDN of an Access Edge Server changes, you must manually change the FQDN of the server in the Allow list.

How Federated Traffic Is Evaluated When Using Automatic Discovery

If you choose to use automatic discovery of federated partners, the Access Edge Server automatically evaluates incoming federated traffic in the following way:

If a federated party has sent requests to more than 1000 URIs (valid or invalid) in the local domain, the connection first placed on the Watch list. Any additional requests are then blocked by the Access Edge Server. If the Access Edge Server detects suspicious traffic on a connection, it will limit the federation partner to a low message rate of 1 message per second. The Access Edge Server detects suspicious traffic by calculating the ratio of successful to failed responses. The Access Edge server also limits legitimate federated partner connections (unless added to the allow list) to 20 messages/sec.

If you know that you will have more than 1000 requests sent by a legitimate federated partner or a volume of over 20 messages per second sent to your organization, to allow these volumes, you must add the federated partner to the Allow tab.

After configuring federation, you can use Office Communications Server 2007 administrative tools to monitor and manage federated partner access on an ongoing basis. For more information, see the

Introduction to Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 Administration Guide.
Enabling discovery of federated partners

If you did not enable discovery of federated partners when you configured your Access Edge Server, you can use the Computer Management snap-in to do so. If you already selected this option during setup, you do not need to perform this step.

To enable discovery of federated partners

1. Log on to the Access Edge Server as a member of the RCT Local Administrators group or a group with equivalent user rights.

2. Open Computer Management. Click Start, click All Programs, click Administrative Tools, and then click Computer Management.

3. In the console tree, expand Services and Applications, right-click Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007, and then click Properties.

4. On the Access Methods tab, select the Allow discovery of federated partners check box.

Add a Trusted Federated Partner

Use the following procedure to add a trusted federated partner domain and optionally the FQDN of its Access Edge Server, use the following procedure.

To add a trusted federated partners

1. Log on to the Access Edge Server as a member of the RTC Local Administrators group or a group with equivalent user rights.

2. Open Computer Management. Click Start, click All Programs, click Administrative Tools, and then click Computer Management.

3. On the Allow tab, click Add.

4. In the Add Federated Partner dialog box, do the following:

    • In the Federated partner domain name box, type the domain of each federated partner domain.
    • In the Federated partner Access Edge Server box, optionally type the FQDN of each Access Edge Server that you want to add to your Allow list. Remember if you configure the FQDN of a partner's Access Edge Server and the FQDN changes, you must manually update your configuration for this partner.
    • Click OK.

5. Repeat this procedure for each federated partner you want to add to your Allow list, and then click OK.

For more information, please check out this link - http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb663635.aspx

Office Communications Server 2007 R2 gives organisations the features and tools they need to streamline communications while increasing operational control, all without expensive infrastructure and network upgrades.

Find more information about Office Communications Server 2007 R2 by accessing our catalog of technical resources, documents, and experts.

Review product information on everything from new features to migration and deployment.

Take advantage of our learning offerings including webcasts, training courses and virtual labs.

Need technical support? Microsoft can answer your questions. Find information about troubleshooting issues or ask an expert.

Try It

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Try a fully functional version of Office Communications Server 2007 R2 in your own environment.

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clip_image002[1]Unified Communications Hosted Trial

Experience the end-user features of Microsoft’s unified communications technologies without installing any hardware or software. Microsoft’s UC Hosted Trial allows you to sign up for a free five day trial of Office Communications Server 2007 R2 and Exchange Server 2007.

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Experience Office Communications Server and discover how you can streamline communications for your users, experience the flexibility and control you need to manage your communications infrastructure, and provide an extensible platform for communications-enabled business processes.

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Nick.

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7Stacks for Windows 7

Wednesday, 2 September 2009 20:35 by Nick MacKechnie

1f5b48e0-1aa6-4bae-93a8-58fb2d644dbb

There’s a new program called 7Stacks that lets you add stacks of icons to the Windows taskbar (aka the “Superbar” in Windows 7). Instead of launching a program when you click the icon with your mouse, you’ll see a list of programs appear in an Aero-style menu.

The software offers handy way to clear up clutter of icons off your desktop while also not using up too much toolbar space. Those who want an easy shortcut to their frequently accessed folders and files will like 7Stacks too since you can use it to pin exact folder locations to the taskbar. This is different than how Windows 7’s built-in “Libraries” folder icon works. When clicking that icon, which appears next to the Start Menu in Windows 7, Explorer opens. However, your frequently accessed folder locations are available only on right-click. With 7Stacks, you can create a list of folder locations which pop-up upon a left-click instead.

7Stacks also allows you to configure the stacks in three different formats: normal, grid, and menu. Normal displays a vertical stack, grid shows a square-shared grid of icons only, and menu is a cascading menu of items with very small icons labeled with text. Perhaps the nicest thing about 7Stacks, though, is the way it uses the Aero technology for displaying the stacks. This makes it look more like a feature included in Windows 7 itself and not some extra add-on program.

7Stacks is a free download available here.

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Changing of the guard..

Thursday, 13 August 2009 04:14 by Nick MacKechnie

Today marks both a sad and exciting opportunity for me and the team. We are in the process of interviewing for a new manager, and it’s clear to me the impact an individual can make on the team (personally and professionally), the business and our customers.

For those that know me well, know I’m persistent, tenacious and focused on delivering strong results for our customers and our business. The attitude and success of our team has been a reflection of the leadership, guidance and persistence of our now former manager. We all deal with change in a variety of ways - a change in leadership is an opportunity for us to grow more as individuals (look inward) as well as a team and to re-evaluate the way we’ve worked in the past, and consider how we should/could work in the present and future. I’m always extremely excited for those MSFTers that move off shore, and somewhat envious of the opportunity ahead for them. Kiwis always punch well above their weight and this is largely driven by our passion and enthusiasm for the company and our customers as well as our diverse skill sets in terms of being jack of all trades, master of none. The challenge is always the threat of becoming disconnected from reality (the field); however there are plenty of people around to keep you grounded with the continuous cycle of feedback.

As we work through this current economic climate, we need to be focused more than ever on doing the right thing by our customers by delivering high value solutions, services, products and making sure we listen to what is really important. So the page has turned for the team, onto the next chapter. :-)

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Windows 7 RC and HP 2140 Notebook

Thursday, 18 June 2009 02:11 by Nick MacKechnie

Hi All,

For those of you who have installed Windows 7 RC on one these netbooks and couldn’t figure out what the two unknown devices are in device manager, then I have the solution for you.

Visit the HP website here and install the following downloads:

Capture2

Capture

Nick.

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