Author Archives: Devin Ganger

Husband and father; technology consultant, speaker, author, and blogger; Microsoft Exchange architect and MVP; writer, reader, Xbox player, karate student, and music lover. Seeker of balance, reveler in life, learning how to look for the uplifting.

The iPhone wars, concluded

This happened not too long after I posted my last iPhone update, but I forgot to blog it until now. I made the decision to get rid of the iPhone. There were a few things I liked about it, but overall, I found the user experience for core behavior and integration was just nowhere near […]

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Let go of Windows XP, Office 2003, and Exchange 2003

The day has come. s the end of an era, one that many people do not want to let go. I can understand that. I drove my last car, a Ford Focus 2000, until it died in the summer of 2010. I loved that car, and we seriously considered replacing the engine (which would have […]

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The enemy’s gate is down: lessons in #Lync

Sometimes what you need is a change in perspective. I started my IT career as a technician: desktops and peripherals, printers, and the parts of networks not involving the actual building and deployment of servers. I quickly moved into the systems and network administration role. After 9/11 and a 16-month gap in my employment status, […]

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Windows 2012 R2 and #MSExchange: not so fast

In the past couple of months since Windows Server 2012 R2 has dropped, a few of my customers have asked about rolling out new domain controllers on this version – in part because they’re using it for other services and they want to standardize their new build outs as much as they can. My answer […]

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The iPhone Wars, Day 121

120 days later and I figured it was time for an update on the war. First: I still hate this thing. Somewhere along the way with one of the iOS updates, the battery life started going to crap, even when I’m barely using the device. When I use it as a personal hotspot, I can […]

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The iPhone Wars, Day 1

Part of the fun of settling into a new job is the new tools. In this trade, that’s the laptop and the cell phone. Now, I already have a perfectly good laptop and cell phone, so I probably could have just gone on using those, but where so much of what I do is from […]

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Meet the New Corporate Overlords @CohesiveLogic

Just a brief announcement (you’ll be hearing more about it later) to let everyone know that I’ve found new employment with Cohesive Logic as a Principal Consultant. Jeremy and the rest are good people and I’m happy to be hanging my hat under their shingle. We’ve got some exciting stuff coming down the pipe, and […]

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A Keenly Stupid Way To Lock Yourself Out of Windows 8

Ready for this amazing, life-changing technique? Lets go! Take a domain-joined Windows 8 computer. Logon as domain user 1. Notice that the computer name is a generic name and decide to rename it. Don’t reboot yet, because you have other tasks you want to do first. Switch users to domain user 2. Perform more tasks. […]

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Defending a Bad Decision

t’s already started. A bit over 12 hours after MSL’s cowardly decision to announce the end of the MCM program (see my previous blog post), we’re already starting to see a reaction from Microsoft on the Labor Day holiday weekend. SQL Server MVP Jen Stirrup created an impassioned “Save MCM” plea on the Microsoft Connect site […]

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Ain’t Nobody [at Microsoft Learning] Got Time For That

If you track other people in the Microsoft Certified Master blogosphere you’ve probably already heard about the shot to the face the MCM/MCSM/MCA/MCSA program (which I will henceforth refer to just as MCM for simplicity) took last night: a late Friday night email announcing the cancellation of these programs. I was helping a friend move at the time, […]

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The Case for TechNet

By now, those of you who are my IT readers almost certainly know about Microsoft’s July 1st decision to retire the TechNet subscription offerings for IT professionals. In turn, Cody Skidmore put together a popular site to petition Microsoft to save TechNet subscriptions. Cody and many others have blogged about their reasons why they think […]

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Newsflash: Sexuality Is Already in Scouting

I ran across this article from May1, from yet another conservative Christian Scouter who seems to be convinced that by accepting gay Scouts into the BSA, the end is near for all morality in the Scouting program. As comments are closed, my responses are here. I hope the author’s blog registers the trackback and he sees […]

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Finding Differences in Exchange objects (#DoExTip)

Many times, when I’m troubleshooting Exchange issues I need to compare objects (such as user accounts in Active Directory, or mailboxes) to figure out why there is a difference in behavior. Many times, the difference is tiny and hard-to-spot. It may not even be visible through the GUI. To do this, I first dump the […]

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Using Out-GridView (#DoExTip)

My second tip in this series is going to violate the ground rules I laid out for it, because they’re my rules and I want to. This tip isn’t a tool or script. It’s a pointer to an insanely awesome feature of Windows PowerShell that just happens to nicely solve many problems an Exchange administrator […]

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Exchange Environment Report script (#DoExTip)

My inaugural DoExTip is a script I have been rocking out to and enthusiastically recommending to customers for over a year: the fantastic Exchange Environment Report script by UK Exchange MVP Steve Goodman. Apparently Microsoft agrees, because they highlight it in the TechNet Gallery. It’s a simple script: run it and you get a single-page HTML […]

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Introducing DoExTips

At my house, we try to live our life by a well-known saying attributed to French philosopher Voltaire: “The perfect is the enemy of the good.” This is a translation from the second line of his French poem La Bégueule, which itself is quoting a more ancient Italian proverb. It’s a common idea that perfection is […]

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Let’s Test It!

I’ve been studying karate for nearly five years now, and I don’t think I’ve shared this story before. When we’re sparring, students are required to wear the appropriate protective gear. No head shots, for example, if you’re not wearing head protection. For males, a sports cup is mandatory, for reasons that probably don’t require elaboration. When I was […]

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#MSExchange 2010 and .NET 4.0

Oh, Microsoft. By now, one might think that you’d learn not to push updates to systems without testing them thoroughly. One would be wrong. At least this one classifies as a minor annoyance and not outright breakage… Windows Update offers up .NET 4.0 to Windows 2008 R2 systems as an Important update (and has been […]

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Blues Brother

Right at the end of December, I decided that January 2013 would be my year of just saying “Do it.” The first thing I said “do it” to was getting my hair dyed blue, like I’ve been wanting to for over a decade. That Saturday, I walked into my hairstylist for my normal haircut, and […]

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A Few Bullet Points on American Gun Culture

I’m a gun owner. I hold a concealed pistol license in the state of Washington and I own a pistol and a rifle, which I have taken reasonable and prudent steps to keep locked up and safe when they are not in use. Although I have not taken a formal gun safety class, I have […]

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Attached To You: Exchange 2010 Storage Essays, part 3

[2100 PST 11/5/2012: Edited to fix some typos and missing words/sentences.] So, um…I knew it was going to take me a while to write this third part of the Exchange 2010 storage saga…but over two years? Damn, guys. I don’t even know what to say, other than to get to it. So, we’ve this lovely […]

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Alaric’s Fundraising Progress

Just wanted to drop a quick note to you all to keep you updated on Alaric’s progress in raising funds for his 2013 Summer of Awesome. I’ve created a static page that you can go to and will keep it updated until our goal of $5,000 is met. That’s not to say that I won’t […]

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Can You Fix This PF Problem?

Today I got to chat with a colleague who was trying to troubleshoot a weird Exchange public folder replication problem. The environment, which is the middle of an Exchange 2007 to Exchange 2010 migration, uses public folders heavily – many hundreds of top-level public folders with a lot of sub-folders. Many of these public folders […]

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Alaric’s Summer of Awesome

Some of you might get some cognitive whiplash from the following post, given my recent vocal stance on Intel’s corporate fundraising for Boy Scouts of America. If your own views on Scouting are such that you are not able to entertain helping out or sponsoring a Scout, we understand — this post isn’t for you. […]

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Forced Obsolescence

ZDNet’s David Meyer noted earlier today that Google is about to shut down support for exporting the legacy Microsoft Office file formats (.doc, .xls, and .ppt) from Google Apps as of October 1, 2012. The Google blog notes that Google Apps users will still be able to import data from those formats. However, if they […]

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MEC Day 3

Unfortunately, this is the day that Murphy caught up with me, in the form of a migraine. When these hit, the only thing I can do is try to sleep it off. I ended up not hitting the conference center until a bit after noon, just in time to brave lunch. What would a Microsoft […]

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And @marypcbuk Nails IT

Amid all the bustle of MEC, I’ve not taken a bunch of time to read my normal email, blogs, etc. However, this article from ZDNet caught my eye: Windows 8: Why IT admins don’t know best by Mary Branscombe The gist of it is that IT departments spend a lot of time and effort trying […]

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MEC Day 2

Today was another fun-filled and informative day at MEC: The day started off with a keynote by Microsoft Distinguished Engineer Perry Clarke, head of Exchange Software Development. Perry does a blog called Ask Perry which regularly includes a video feature, Geek Out With Perry. The keynote was done in this format. The latter half was […]

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MEC Day 1

After 10 years of absence, the Microsoft Exchange Conference is back. Yes, that’s right, the last time MEC happened was in 2002. How do I know this? I’ve seen a couple of people today who still had their MEC 2002 badges. HOLY CRAP, DUDES. I’m a serious packrat and not even *I* keep my old […]

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The BSA Funding Hornet’s Nest

Earlier today I posted a Scouting-related tweet that provoked drew a strong reaction from several people. Here’s the tweet: Intel Corporation: Pull your financial support until the Boy Scouts pull their anti-gay policy http://www.change.org/petitions/intel-corporation-pull-your-financial-support-until-the-boy-scouts-pull-their-anti-gay-policy … via @change I was asked if I thought that it was better for Scouting to lose funds. I was asked how […]

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TMG? Yeah, you knew me!

Microsoft today officially announced a piece of news that came as very little surprise to anyone who has been paying attention for the last year. On May 25th of 2011, Gartner broke an unsubstantiated claim that they had been told by Microsoft that there would be no future release of Forefront Threat Management Gateway (TMG). […]

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Duke of URL

Just a quick note to let you know about a change or two I’ve made around the site. Changed the primary URL of the site from www.thecabal.org to www.devinonearth.com. This is actually something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time, to reflect the site’s really awesome branding. Devin on Earth has long been […]

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My Five Favorite Features of Exchange Server 2013 Preview

Exchange Server 2013 Preview was released a few weeks ago to give us a first look at what the future holds in store for Exchange. I got a couple of weeks to dig into it in depth and so here’s my quick impression of the five changes I like the most about Exchange 2013. Client […]

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Can’t make a bootable USB stick for Windows 8? Join the club!

I was trying to make a bootable USB stick for Windows 8 this morning, using the Windows 7 USB/DVD Download Tool from Microsoft and the process outlined in this Redmond Pie article (the same basic steps can be found in a number of places). Even though the tool originated for Windows 7 and the steps […]

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Back on the market

I sent out a brief tweet about this Friday and have received a number of queries, so I figured I should expand on this publicly. No, I am no longer with Trace3. No, this was not my decision — I was happy with my position and work and was excited about what was happening there. […]

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Beating Verisign certificate woes in Exchange

I’ve seen this problem in several customers over the last two years, and now I’m seeing signs of it in other places. I want to document what I found so that you can avoid the pain we had to go through. The Problem: Verisign certificates cause Exchange publishing problems So here’s the scenario: you’re deploying […]

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Autism Is Not The New Cool

Pardon, y’all. It’s been a while since I’ve been here <peers at the dust>. I’ve had the best of intentions, but sadly, my bogging client of choice (Windows Live Writer) doesn’t auto-translate those into actual written blog posts yet. Maybe in the next version. <sigh> I can hear some of you (both of you still […]

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Stop SOPA/PIPA now

If you don’t know what SOPA and PIPA are by now…where have you been? Here…watch this: Now, go do something about it.

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Exchange 2010 virtualization storage gotchas

There’s a lot of momentum for Exchange virtualization. At Trace3, we do a lot of work with VMware, so the majority of the customers I work with already have VMware deployed strategically into their production operation model. As a result, we see a lot of Exchange 2010 under VMware. With Exchange 2010 SP1 and lots […]

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Getaway

We’ve lived in Monroe for over 13 years. In that time, we’ve not taken advantage of many of the opportunities available in this area to get out and see the amazing beauty of the Puget Sound region. Late last summer, we finally started correcting that with hikes and drives to various attractions. Stephanie and I […]

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Solving The Problems You See

Somewhere along the way, I picked up an unusual philosophy: problems are meant to be solved by those who see them. Time after time, I have watched various friends and acquaintances become aware of a cause or injustice, get involved, and find that they had the right combination of talents and drive to becoming actively […]

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Devin’s Load Balancer for Exchange 2010

Overview One of the biggest differences I’m seeing when deploying Exchange 2010 compared to previous versions is that for just about all of my customers, load balancing is becoming a critical part of the process. In Exchange 2003 FE/BE, load balancing was a luxury unheard of for all but the largest organizations with the deepest […]

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Review: Cooking for Geeks (O’Reilly)

Edit 1/1/2013: (Belatedly) updated the author’s website per his request. Writing books is a ton of work. Making them appealing is even more so, especially when your audience is geeks. You have to know your stuff, you have to present it well, and it doesn’t hurt if you can make it entertaining. In the technical […]

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Offered without comment or context

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Moving to Exchange Server 2010 Service Pack 1

Microsoft recently announced that Service Pack 1 (SP1) for Exchange Server 2010 had been released to web, prompting an immediate upgrade rush for all of us Exchange professionals. Most of us maintain at least one home/personal lab environment, the better to pre-break things before setting foot on a customer site. Before you go charging out […]

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Manually creating a DAG FSW for Exchange 2010

I just had a comment from Chris on my Busting the Exchange Trusted Subsystem Myth post that boiled down to asking what you do when you have to create the FSW for an Exchange 2010 DAG manually? In order for this to be true, you have to have the following conditions: You have no other […]

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On Patriotism

Patriotism is being committed to making things better for those around me no matter how good I personally have it. No government, political system, or economic theory is perfect; there will always be people who fall through the cracks. As a patriot, I have a responsibility to identify those cracks and work to mitigate them. […]

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How To Develop Patience

“Lord, give me patience, and give it to me now!” I’m willing to bet most of of us have heard that joke (or some variant) at some point in our lives, but it underscores a serious question: how does one go about learning to exercise patience? I’m no guru or saint, so I can’t answer […]

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The Disk’s The Thing! Exchange 2010 Storage Essays, part 2

Greetings, readers! When I first posted From Whence Redundancy? (part 1 of this series of essays on Exchange 2010 storage) I’d intended to follow up with other posts a bit faster than I have been. So much for intentions; let us carry on. In part 1, I began the process of talking about how I […]

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A Psalm for Karatekas

Last night I went to my first karate class in several weeks. On the way, my brain reinterpreted Psalm 23 from the viewpoint of a karateka. Enjoy. 1 The LORD is my sensei; I shall not fear. 2 He makes me work out with white belts; he leads me through katas. 3 He perfects my […]

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