Swimming in Exchange Calendar Duplicates

I don’t know what is doing it. Entourage, the many synchronizer, but I’ve got 1100 duplicate calendar entries which is depressing since I deleted 500 last week. Time to buy a deduplicator. There don’t seem to be any for Entourage that don’t take weeks to run, so I’m having to do this with Outlook under Parallels. The google:”outlook duplicates” search revelas Mapilab and “Sperry”:http://sperrysoftware.com both make these. I’ve use Mapilab and it costs a ridiculous $24 to get something that shouldn’t happen. Sigh.

Kerio vs. Exchange for Entourage, Mac OS X, iPhone and Blackberry

Well we’ve narrowed down choices to two choices, two hosters against one of three desktop and two mobile clients. Here are the parameters:

Support for either of, in order:

* Mac OS X application. That is Mail, iCal and Address Book that are native to OS X and which is fast.
* Entourage 2004 or 2008 from Microsoft and typically free with any hoster. 2004 is slow as it is a non-native application while 2008 is new and definitely has sync issues.
* Outlook 2007 from Windows or via Parallels on the Mac. But Parallels on the Mac is very slow.

And to support both of:

* iPhone. We really mean the version 2 that will have ActiveSync
* Blackberry. Because folks have these but like the iPhone

So our choices technically are:

* Kerio. This is a Mac messaging, contact and calendaring backend
* Exchange

Here is how the matrix looks right now:

| | Kerio | Exchange | Comment |
| Mac Mail | Runs in Imap | Runs as imap | Both of these work fine |
| Address Book | Needs Kerio Sync to change contacts | Requires Entourage | |
| iCal | Use “Caldev”:http://www.kerio.com/manual/kmsug/en/ch11s05.html#sect-icalcaldavset on Leopard to allow delegation | Requires Entourage | |
| Entourage 2004 | Via OWA Emulation | Works | Not a native Intel app |
| Entourage 2008 | Need to Test | Need to test | Allows OOF setting |
| Outlook | Need to Test | Unacceptably Slow | |
| Windows | Need to Test | Works great | Assumes Outlook 2008 |
| Blackberry | Need to test | Works great | |
| iPhone | “v2”:http://forums.kerio.com/index.php?t=msg&th=13051&start=0&S=271491edc283c6f0ec2b666277b0b83e should work | wait for v2 | Kerio looks like Exchange so should work with iPhone v2! |

Kerio Hosting

Chris mentioned to me and Rennie that Kerio was an old time Mac solution that does just about everything. They support Outlook directly with their own MAPI provider, they support Entourage as well directly. They also do Blackberry sync and iPhone as well without needing anything else in the middle. He said that “Big Mountain”:http://www.bigmountaindesign.com/ does this kind of hosting. The cost is reasonable. It is $6.50/1GB of email/month/user with each additional GB, $3.50.

Apptix Exchange hosting

My buddy “Pascal”:http://center.spoke.com/info/pI2Q8X/PascalMartin told me that there are lots of Exchange hosters. Said I might try Apptix as one company. So off to “asp-one.com”:http://asp-one.com for a trial. Some quick notes:

* They don’t support Mac users in the admin console. They actually require Internet Explorer to run their administrative UI.
* The actual site is a little confusing. The company is apptix, but the signup site is “asp-one.com”:http://asp-one.com while the administrative logon site is “bizatlarge.net”:http://bizatlarge.net while your user address is @atlarge.net. Confused yet.
* They don’t public the URLs anywhere and there isn’t a home page where they live. Why do folks always do this? “Zipcar.com”:http://zipcar.com has the same issue, they email you kinds of URLs and they should just put the links somewhere. In any case, I don’t see it indexed anywhere, but if you are using this page, then the links are all over the place.
* The configuration is stuffed into somesort of downloadable script which of course immediately failed. They have a really clunky knowledgebase application that is super slow and has only 50 entries in it. Someone should tell them about wikis or just posting static pages. The searches are equally painful.
* Configuration information for clients exits, but they are all in PDFs and not indexed, so it is really painful to figure out how to configure Entourage, Outlook, etc. It is all there, just hard to find.
* They have Blackberry integration, but again it is hard to figure out. First issue is that the default Entourage installation thinks all the Blackberry messages that get sent on activation are junk mail, so wireless enterprise activation doesn’t work. So you have to make sure that these are marked as not junk.
* If you want to resend the Blackberry wireless password, there isn’t a command to do this. Instead, you have to ask their helpdesk and then learn that what you do is to unsubscribe a user and while it does say resubscribe costs money, in fact it doesn’t, so that is the workaround to send another password.
* They have a strange system of naming. When you create the account, you have to define what is in essence a subdomain of 3-6 characters. Then you user name become .. So if you select say ABCorp and your user name is Rich, then when you login, you login as rich.abcorp. Looks wierd to say the least and hard to train folks as this is unlike any name I’ve seen.
* They do allow you to have your mail sourced here, but the instructions are really obscure because it varies by registrar. Better to document what to do with the common registrars. In Godaddy’s case for instance, you have to go to Manage Domains/Domain and then click on name server. You actually then need to click on “Change MX records too” and set them to the two magic domain names. This gets your mail redirectd properly.

Here are the magic URLs that you need:

* your true email address is actually _username_._groupname_@atlarge.net and your userid is _username_.groupname_@atlarge.net
* “http://bizatlarge.net”:http://bizatlarge.net is the main administrative interface. If you have anything but IE, it rejects you.
* “https://owa.atlarge.net”:https://owa.atlarge.net is the Outlook Web Access also known as the web interface for your mail. The domain name required is strange too, the domain is _bizatlarge_ and the user name is that strange “.” construction, so login as _bizatlarge\username.funnyid_. As another strangeness, don’t allow any special characters in the password. it does require SSL.
* “https://owa.atlarge.net/public”:https://owa.atlarge.net/public is where the public folders live as needed by Entourage
* mac.atlarge.net is the name of the LDAP server and this does require logon but not SSL. It is called mac.atlarge.net because this is what Entourage for the Mac needs for address lookup.
* smtp.atlarge.net is the name of the outgoing SMTP server you’ll need for an IMAP client like mail.app. You have to authenticate with the username built as _username_._companyid_@atlarge.net
* imap.atlarge.net is the name of the imap server for inbound mail and pop.atlarge.net is for POP3 access
* “http://oma.atlarge.net”:http://oma.atlarge.net is the simplified Outlook Mobile Access for smart phone browsers. This is also the site that ActiveSync on an Iphone needs when it asks for an Exchange server address, it really wants oma.atlarge.net.
* smtp-01.atlarge.net is where you point MX records and smtp-02.atlarge.net is the backup
* mail11-ps.atlarge.net is the Exchange mailbox address

Finally the information on how to move from an existing Exchange installation isn’t really there. here is the process:

* If you have Entourage 2004, create an archive that will have mail, contacts and calendars
* Do a File/Switch Identity to create a new identity. Create a new Exchange account and fill in using the URLs noted above.
* Choose File/Import and find the archive and load it up.