Keeping up to date with the latest and greatest information about Exchange, Lync, and other associated products can be a challenge at times. It used to be the case that products evolved at a predictable and measured pace that gave everyone sufficient time to become acquainted with the technology without breaking sweat. That just doesn’t happen in a world where new features “light up” without warning in cloud services and their on-premises equivalents move faster to keep up.
You could spend every available hour glued to the Internet (a fate worse than death) to monitor announcements, tweets, and other news, but a better approach to keep abreast of important developments is to learn from others. You could do this by reading vast quantities of blogs, press releases, and email. However, that kind of thing leads to being slowly drawn into being antisocial nerds and should be avoided. I therefore welcome two recent developments that provide a filtered view on important information, at least in the world of Exchange.
The first is a new Windows Phone app published by the UC Architects. This fine bunch of talented technologists (I know I shall regret using that term in the future) gather regularly to discuss the state of technology and provide their opinion about important (and not-so-important) developments. Discussions cover all aspects of Exchange and Unified Communications, including the increasingly popular world of Lync. You can subscribe to their podcast feed to receive new episodes via iTunes, the Zune marketplace, or whatever other mechanism you prefer, but the 5% or so of us who use Windows Phone can now delight in their app, which is available from the Windows Phone Marketplace. Some of the episodes are a little long, but they do pass the time on long car journeys better than the drivel pumped out by many radio stations.
The second item of note is the upgrading of Microsoft’s RSS feed to support Exchange 2013. You can subscribe to a feed that delivers all knowledge base articles relating to Exchange, and specific feeds are available if you only want information about Exchange 2013, Exchange 2010, or Exchange 2007. I find that it’s useful to download knowledge base articles via Outlook, which makes it easy to browse them on an occasional basis. Most of the articles are not interesting but gems do emerge that might otherwise be overlooked.
Finally, I wanted to mention the fact that Microsoft provided another part of the foundation necessary for many Exchange 2013 deployments when they released the much-anticipated Management Pack for Exchange 2013 on May 14. The interesting thing here is that the advent of the Managed Availability framework within Exchange 2013 forces a change in approach to the way that SCOM interacts with Exchange. The post on the topic written by Åke Patterson of Microsoft is worth reading in conjunction with the EHLO blog announcing the availability of the Management Pack.
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