You Must Be Crazy: News from the Messaging World

In polite society, calling someone crazy is a rather strong insult: You're implying that they are literally mentally ill, which isn't likely to engender feelings of warmth and friendship in most circumstances. Sometimes, however, "You must be crazy!" seems to be the only possible reaction when a person-or a company-makes an inexplicable decision. I've recently been reminded of this in a couple of different ways related to the Microsoft Exchange Server world.

First is Research In Motion's (RIM's) move to ditch co-CEOs and co-founders Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis in favor of the company's chief operating officer, Thorsten Heins. RIM's troubles in the mobile device market are long-standing and tied directly to the behavior of Apple, Google, and now Microsoft-all three of these companies are making better, more flexible products than RIM. If you wonder where the "you must be crazy" part comes in, just watch this YouTube video from RIM with Heins trying to explain what he sees in RIM's future, and why he thinks the forthcoming release 10 of BlackBerry's device OS is going to save the company. The best part: where Heins says that "no drastic changes" are needed to save RIM.

My second crazy moment came from a recent article by Ross Smith on the Microsoft Exchange team blog that contained this chilling sentence: "the number one reason why our Premier customers open Exchange 2010 critical situations is because mailbox databases dismount due to running out of disk space on the transaction log LUN." That's a whole shovelful of crazy.

If you don't know when you're about to run out of disk space on the log LUN, you're totally doing it wrong. It leaves me slack-jawed with astonishment that in 2012 we still have administrators who suffer unplanned downtime due to log volumes filling up because of poor design or problems with backups. Stop the madness! Check your backups regularly and use monitoring, be it however primitive, to ensure that you don't have this problem.

Next crazy, but this time in the sense of "crazy like a fox": At Lotusphere 2012, IBM introduced what appears to be some pretty powerful tools for email triage and filtering, in the guise of its new IBM Connections Mail toolset. I haven't had time to dig deeply into this, but if IBM is successfully able to ship tools that help users do a better job of identifying the most important or relevant messages they have to work with at any point in time, that would represent a real step forward in how we interact with messaging systems. Microsoft Outlook 2010 and Exchange 2010 introduced some valuable features in this vein, such as the Ignore Conversation button, but I still want a smarter client that can help me by identifying and prioritizing the most critical items for me. We'll see if IBM is able to deliver.

Bonus crazy, as in "that's the craziest thing I've ever heard": Apple's fourth quarter 2011 profits were larger than Microsoft's or Google's quarterly revenue for the same quarter. Who would have predicted that five years ago?

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