Michael Francis

Michael Francis is the Simple Talk Exchange Editor. Michael has 15 years’ experience in editing, writing, and marketing covering a broad spectrum of topics and publications. He has edited technical patents and chemistry journals, written for publications ranging from New Scientist to Pest Control News, and marketed scientific modeling software, machine-to-machine connectivity, and SQL Server and Exchange Server tools. In his spare time Michael enjoys cricket, natural history, camping, and getting beaten at football by his children.

05 July 2010
05 July 2010

2010 Pseudo-Archiving

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You’ve probably gathered that Exchange Server 2010 has introduced the “personal archive”. It sounds exciting, but it is essentially just a second user-accessible mailbox, designed to take the storage pressure off primary mailboxes. This certainly addresses some of the email storage and archiving issues we’re facing, but it’s still just a first-draft solution, and a … Read more
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03 June 2010
03 June 2010

Overload Avoidance

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A little under a year ago, Matt Simmons wrote a rather reflective article about his terrifying brush with stress-induced ill health. SysAdmins and DBAs have always been prime victims of work-related stress, but I wonder if that predilection is perhaps getting worse, despite the best efforts of Matt and his trusty side-kick, HR. The constant … Read more
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07 May 2010
07 May 2010

F1 Pit Pragmatics

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“I hate computers. No, really, I hate them. I love the communications they facilitate, I love the conveniences they provide to my life. but I actually hate the computers themselves.” – Scott Merrill, ‘I hate computers: confessions of a Sysadmin’ If Scott’s goal was to polarize opinion and trigger raging arguments over the ‘real reasons … Read more
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07 April 2010
07 April 2010

Some Problems Can’t Be Outsourced

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More and more companies are becoming attracted to the idea of Infrastructure as a Service (or IaaS). It would seem that you can outsource the provisioning and management of your services, encompassing everything from Email, through to your servers, workstations and software, all the way down to your LAN and internet services. This type of … Read more
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11 March 2010
11 March 2010

The Politics of Junk Filtering

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If the national postal service, such as the Royal Mail in the UK, were to go through your letters and throw away all the stuff it considered to be junk instead of delivering it to you, you might be rather pleased until you discovered that it took a too liberal decision about what was junk. … Read more
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12 February 2010
12 February 2010

SMTP POP3 & PST. Acronyms from Hades.

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A busy SysAdmin will occasionally have reason to curse SMTP. It is, certainly, one of the strangest events in the history of IT that such a deeply flawed system, designed originally purely for campus use, should have reached its current dominant position. The explanation was that it was the first open-standard email system, so SMTP/POP3 … Read more
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14 January 2010
14 January 2010

Six years older in a day

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After the much-hyped millennium bug failed to do much damage, nobody was really expecting a ‘Decennium’ ‘Y2K16’ or ‘Decade-change’ bug. At the beginning of January, there were some embarrassing failures. The most publicized failure occurred in Germany where 25 million German bank cards were rejected. Not to be outdone, the card-reading system provided by the … Read more
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19 November 2009
19 November 2009

We’re not Reflex-Upgraders.

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The reality of life in the server room isn’t always as it is imagined at Microsoft. We’re not reflex-upgraders. Many administrators harbour the guilty secret of a server contentedly puttering away in the corner, with an aging application running SQL Server 6.5 on Windows NT. In many such cases any thought of upgrade is unrealistic; … Read more
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30 July 2009
30 July 2009

Why Archive Email?

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It is easy for IT People to forget the long time-span that some businesses have to work to. It is not uncommon now to find Companies that are keeping, and referring to, emails that are at least fifteen years old. In fact, the IT Industry seems to be on the extreme low end when it … Read more
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19 May 2009
19 May 2009

We finally did it!

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We’ve finally done it! We’ve released our Exchange archiving tool after 18 months of research, development, usability studies and testing. 219,115 Lines of code 19,485  Subscribers to Simple Talk Exchange 15,144  Words of documentation 2713    Builds 1709    Issues closed 1289    Bugs fixed 300     Sales leads 290     Members of the SysAdmin Network 248 … Read more
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07 April 2009
07 April 2009

@Kilroy_was_here

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Right, own up! Who’s been writing graffiti on the bathroom wall? Was it you Fry? Peter Gabriel wrote a song called Games without Frontiers in which he cast countries as kids punching the daylights out of each other and nicking each others’ sweets in the playground. It’s a good metaphor. No one ever grows up. … Read more
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02 March 2009
02 March 2009

Exchange 14: Times are Changing

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Times are definitely changing for the users of Email clients such as Outlook. Exchange 14 (E14), the internal name of the next version of Exchange, brings with it a greatly enhanced premium version of OWA (Outlook Web Access), now renamed Outlook Live. The significance of all the effort into providing a better, browser-based email client … Read more
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