Mail Call

The thrill ain’t gone, but the stakes are higher when it comes to the power of electronic communication.

In the corporate workplace, email and messaging are more than simply a thrill, they’re mission-critical functions. And, more significantly, they’re a part of the business infrastructure. Companies strategically plan based on the assumption that electronic mail and messaging are operable, robust, and reliable. Our customers expect to be able to book meetings with their email clients; use instant messaging; and send and receive email from cell phones and PDAs. They expect a corporate desktop to have enough bandwidth to handle real-time videoconferencing. This is all part of the business process now.

“And so,” you say, “What does this all mean to my life? Please share your wisdom, and I’ll continue to worship you like the Microsoft Certified goddess you are.”

Well, the stakes in the game are higher, the rewards are greater, and the 8-ball you’re standing behind is the size of an NFL offensive linesman. All clear?

As you may know, Auntie’s not a fan of free plugs. For one thing, writing anonymously means I can’t reap the benefits of an occasional product mention. That being said, Auntie suggests you take a good look at Exchange 2000. It’s come a long way since version 4.0, which tended to chew up resources. Time has also played a role in the stability of Exchange.

One goodie: You can use Exchange conferencing as a separate product. Microsoft is also developing a mobile messaging server—along with an “Outlook-lite”—for your cell phone, PDA, and portable vegetable steamer. And did I mention that Outlook Web Access doesn’t suck anymore? Finally, those of you in big enterprises should check out how E2K runs on one of those OEM Datacenter Server offerings (wait for SP1). It ain’t cheap—but neither is a 3 a.m. call from your CTO.

The “gotcha” is that E2K requires Windows 2000. And E2K’s goodies are integrated into Microsoft’s .NET strategy, which can be viewed either as Redmond’s next logical step toward incorporating server products into a holistic Internet-centric experience or a drive for world domination (Auntie suspects both).

All that can be done with Exchange and the related .NET products revolves around you being able to deliver mail, messaging, and collaboration services to your customers and employers. If you’re a systems engineer, make an investment in time and brain cells on E2K. If you’re a developer, revisit Exchange as an application platform and take note of the Web store and how it can integrate with the next version of Office.

Auntie can’t roll back the clock to her childhood days, but take my word for it: How you integrate and maximize mail, messaging, and collaboration in your workplace is as essential as a solid backup strategy or a 24/7 support contract.

Reader Mail

What do you use to drink your morning coffee? These folks have earned themselves a "Call Me Certifiable" mug:

Weighing In On Antitrust
As a consumer, I have gotten great products that I can use on a daily basis from Microsoft and feel I have been helped immensely and not harmed at all by the company. As a consumer, I resent the Justice Department trying to destroy Microsoft with this bogus case. I'll never forget watching the representative of RealPlayer testify before Congress that Microsoft purposely coded Windows to break Realplayer. This, of course, was nothing but a lie. Microsoft, if I recall, fixed the poor coding of RealPlayer. I could go on with other examples.
As a consumer, this politically motivated case is wrong. As an MCP, I have no issues with it.
—Jerry W. Easley, MCP
1dancnman@ev1.net

I've been in the computer industry for 35 years, so I remember the days of non-conforming standards way before a company like Microsoft made its OS a de facto standard. I have paid thousands for word processor software and language compilers. Microsoft may not be perfect, but the computer industry wouldn't have flourished without them.
Anti-trust? Without Microsoft in the picture, it's possible consumers would be paying $15,000 for a system rather than $1,500.
— J.M. Johnson, MCSE
jmjohnson70@hotmail.com

Make Me Laugh
Auntie, you are absolutely hilarious. You never cease to make me laugh my butt off. I couldn't find your page in the last issue, so I looked you up in the table of contents. I was afraid you got busted for questioning the powers that be, etc., but there you were. Now that I've read your page and chuckled again, I can throw the magazine away.
(Just kidding about throwing the magazine away. Why couldn't I find the page? Probably those triple-decaf soy lattes.)
— Harold R. Boyer, MCSE+I
hboyer@minn.net

About the Author

Em C. Pea, MCP, is a technology consultant, writer and now budding nanotechnologist who you can expect to turn up somewhere writing about technology once again.

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