E-Day: not as bad as expected

September 12th, 2008 | Tags: , ,

So today became the day, I had to “migrate” to Exchange. I used scare quotes largely because I didn’t migrate, I mitigated. Until today I used:

Email:

– GMail is my primary email tool, because of: remote accessibility, no fat client, tags, easy filtering, UI, and much more.
– Google Notifier: a Mac tool that lets me know the number of unread messages in my inbox and give me a message (similar to growl) when I have a new message, this means that I don’t have to check my email and can instantly determine if a new message needs to be addressed immediately or ignored.
– EDM (the UW Email Delivery Manager) for vacation messages (best vacation tool there is) and directing mail to deskmail and GMail
– Deskmail (UW Unix/IMAP for staff) & Webpine (horrible webUI) backup location for my email if I can’t access GMail.
– Imperium IMAP & SquirrelMail — tertiary backup, useful reference when at home and no internet connectivity.

Calendar:

– OracleCalendar: The calendaring server we have been using for years.
– Google Calendar: My personal calendars and subscribed to the OracleCalendar ICS feed of my work calendar. This has worked reasonably well (though Google fails to incorporate some events from my calendar).
– Google Notifier: Tells me when calendar items come up.
– iCal: subscribed to all my (and one of Alyssa’s) calendars, partially for sync to my iPhone and also for additional notification.

Largely because of the biases of the Exchange support team, I had feared that I would have to use one of the ugly, fat Exchange clients (Outlook, Entourage) at least some of the time. But fortunately because of the ingenuity of others that are trying to work around Exchange, I will be able to leave my interactions largely unaffected — and be able to add some functionality. Changes:

Email:

– Exchange: I created a rule to redirect mail to GMail (except invites/updates because that would cause an issue). Additionally, I have another rule to move the mail out of my inbox to my “realbox”, unless it was sent to a specific address (see iPhone).
– EDM: I created a rule to forward mail to a specific address to Exchange (see iPhone).
– iPhone: I configured my iPhone’s “Mail” app to connect to Exchange so any email in my inbox (only messages to a specific address) is pushed to my phone and I get notified. I’ll use this as minimal pager functionality.

Calendar:

– Exchange: this will be the canonical source for my work calendar (instead of OracleCalendar), but I’ll be able to ignore it to a large degree.
– Export Exchange Calendar to ICS: One of the groups that I work with and was migrated to Exchange before me, has come up with a server tool to provide an ICS export of our calendars. This means that Google Calendar and iCal will have full access to subscribe to my calendar with out me having to resort to running Outlook in a VM and regularly exporting my calendar to a WebDav file store.
– iPhone: I locked the iPhone “Calendar” app to Exchange, so I can create/edit/accept/etc meetings from my phone. The only thing I don’t think I can do is create a meeting and invite others (which I do a couple times a year so not a big deal).

So, E-Day was a big waste of time — but shouldn’t impact my ability to work. I’m still not looking forward to the next email I send to “outages” when I’ll get 20+ “Out of office” emails that I won’t give a damn about.

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