Metamorphosis Complete

Acompli is now Outlook

Acompli-Promotion

Apparently when I wrote my blog article a few days ago about Acompli showing up as MS Outlook, I may have stumbled onto the new Outlook app that was released to iOS and Android today. More information on that available here – Office everywhere: More great news for Office on iOS and Android.

There seems to be quite a bit of excitement about the app and no doubt, it’s a great enhancement on what was originally available in the OWA App, but for those of us that have been using Acompli for a while we’ve come to appreciate the capabilities that it provided for. Great acquisition on Microsoft to truly provide an experience that end users will be able to use with ease.

Take a peek at the iOS functionality…

Acompli is no more in the iOS app store…

If you poke around and are wondering where Acompli went, you’re going to find that it’s now named Outlook. And while version 1.7.6 was what was available in the iOS store up until this morning, we’re back to a reset in the version number to 1.0.0. If you’re me, you’ve got both apps operating on your device, at least for the time being until I consolidate Acompli back into Outlook. Of course if you’d already downloaded Acompli you can go to your “Purchased” apps page within iOS and pull it back down… but one would argue as to why one would do that since Outlook is going to be the app that gets updated going forward (I’m guessing…)

If you head over to the Acompli web site you’ll notice that they have received a “promotion” to Outlook 🙂

The functionality of Acompli exceeds that of OWA in that it can handle Exchange, Outlook.com, and a slew of other mail providers – better than the way that the out of the box Mail.app works some might say. The caveat being that if you’re going to interact with anything through your mobile web browser, unless you jailbreak your device or like cutting and pasting back into mail messages, you’re going to still need the OOTB mail configuration in place for sharing links… that is until Acompli / Outlook has an iOS extension of course to allow for direct sharing like a host of other apps making use of the iOS 8 framework.

From a few friends that are on Android devices, they’ve pulled it down and feel the same way that it’s working quite nicely. Excited to see what’s next.

Well done Microsoft! Your acquisitions are working together quite nicely. 🙂

Acompli starting to morph?

Back on 1 December 2014, it was announced that Microsoft had acquired mobile email and calendaring app Acompli.
https://www.acompli.com/fwd-microsoft-acquires-acompli/
To those of us in the tech industry, we noticed Microsoft was picking up an app maker that had been hard at work developing and email and calendaring client on Android and iOS that just “worked”. Several of us have used the native mail apps that come with the mobile devices we have but never seem to be completely satisfied because the service provider is trying to use clever tricks to get to their email store and perform performance enhancements for users that native apps probably won’t get.
The caveat of course being that if you have multiple mail accounts you end up with multiple mail clients. I suppose that’s fine for some films but seems like a lot of work.
That’s where Acompli comes in with its slick interface that for the most part just works.
Acompli has integration with DropBox and OneDrive among others. Oddly though, when you connect to DropBox it sees Acompli as Microsoft Outlook. This begs to ask the question if some code accidentally got left behind.
IMG_0224.PNG

I’m not sure if this is just a mistake and DropBox is picking up OWA for some reason or if the Acompli app got compiled for some project and the label got left in there. It’s uncertain but “interesting” none the less

Outlook 2007 Search Disabled by Google Sync App for Outlook Plugin

So it would seem that when installing the “Google Apps Sync for Microsoft Outlook” plugin there’s a minor issue with the Outlook 2007 client’s Instant Search Capability.  After installing the plugin the drop down for Instant Search within the Outlook client is disabled.  I suppose this is to be expected since the Google Search engine has a better grasp of the mail stored in the depths of my Google Apps mail account and its 25 GB of space.  However, when changing profiles back to my Exchange profile, I find that the Instant Search is still disabled.

Epic Fail.

While I understand Google’s intent is to be able to assist users in replacing their Exchange profile with their Google Apps e-mail profile with the sync plugin, there are those of us that will continue to use an Exchange profile and the Google Apps capability is a nice to have to be able to use the Outlook client interface.

At first, I thought perhaps this was an Outlook client issue that had been affected by SP2 or some other cumulative update that was applied, however after doing a little Googling, it seemed that no one else had reported a similar experience.  I also realized that this behaviour only became apparent after installing the Google – Outlook plugin.  So I uninstalled the plugin and wondered, “Will Instant Search work once more?”  Negative, Instant Search was still disabled.

Looking within the Search Interface, Windows Desktop Search was telling me that Indexing Outlook had been disabled by the System Administrator.  Doing a bit of digging around, it became apparent that I hadn’t disabled WDS, and the mail admins hadn’t done so either, so it was back to square one of looking through the registry to see what had been tweaked.  Where else to begin but Microsoft’s documentation pertaining to Group Policy settings and Windows Desktop Search which can be found at:

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc732491(WS.10).aspx

A registry key had been created at:

ComputerHKLMSoftwarePoliciesMicrosoftWindowsWindows Search

with a registry key named “PreventIndexingOutlook” set to a value of “1”, telling WDS not to search Outlook under any means.  Simply changing this value to “0” and restarting the Outlook client and WDS and Instant Search were back up and running properly across all profiles.

Uninstalling and reinstalling the Google Sync plugin quickly reverted the registry key back to “1”, preventing WDS from indexing Outlook.  Even upon uninstalling the plugin, the registry key remained.  This seems like a bit of configuration management that should be corrected so as to ensure that users are not limited by Google’s plugin should they decide not to use it without hindering their search capabilities.

Bottom line, this is a registry change that is unexpected that is caused by the Google Sync Plugin.  Am I happy to see Google integration with the Outlook client, sure, but not at the cost of Search.

TechNet iCalendar Reminders…

The other evening, I discovered that my esteemed colleague, Spencer Harbar, will be presenting a MSDN webcast on the topic of “SharePoint Products and Technologies for Internet Site Development: Content Deployment”.  Upon registering, I realized that I didn’t have Outlook setup to connect to my work e-mail (rather it’s set up for my test servers on the home network) so there wasn’t an easy way to add the iCalendar reminder to my Outlook calendar that I use for work that alerts me on my BlackBerry.

Perhaps it would work on my Google Apps domain that I have setup for personal e-mail, right?  Unfortunately the iCalendar file (ics format) was not readable by the Google Calendar on my first attempt.  Doing a little Googling, I came across several articles that stated compatibility issues between Microsoft iCalendar reminders and other non-Microsoft iCalendar systems.

So that led me to download the iCalendar object, open it in Outlook and then save it to yet another iCalendar object, slightly reformatted which then apparently could be imported into my Google Calendar.  “Huh?”

Reading through the IETF RFC 2445, I pondered whether or not Microsoft is following the proper format to provide a well formed iCalendar object.  From the looks of it they are, however I’m perplexed as to why the Google Calendar is incapable of importing the object without having it reformatted through Outlook first.  Is it due to the fact that it’s looking for the PRODID field which looks to be missing?

The initial iCalendar reminder form Microsoft:

BEGIN:vCalendar
VERSION:2.0
METHOD:PUBLISH
BEGIN:vEvent
DTSTART:20090127T173000Z
DTEND:20090127T183000Z
UID:1032396521
DTSTAMP:20090104T205527Z
DESCRIPTION:Thank you for your interest in Microsoft Events. We w
ould like to remind you of the following event: TechNet Webcast:
How Microsoft Does IT: Designing, Developing, and Deploying Share
Point Server 2007 Publishing Portals (Level 300). nnPlease revi
ew the information below.nnEvent Code: 1032396521nEvent Name:
TechNet Webcast: How Microsoft Does IT: Designing, Developing, an
d Deploying SharePoint Server 2007 Publishing Portals (Level 300)
nStart Date: 1/27/2009nStart Time: 9:30 AM (GMT-08:00) Pacific
Time (US & Canada)nEnd Date: 1/27/2009nEnd Time: 10:30 AM (GMT-
08:00) Pacific Time (US & Canada)nnPlease click on the followin
g link for more information regarding this Event https://msevents
.microsoft.com/cui/r.aspx?r=1300308275&c=en-US&t=4. We look forwa
rd to seeing you at the Event!
SUMMARY:Live Webcast - TechNet Webcast: How Microsoft Does IT: De
signing, Developing, and Deploying SharePoint Server 2007 Publish
ing Portals (Level 300)
PRIORITY:3
BEGIN:vAlarm
TRIGGER:P0DT0H15M
ACTION:DISPLAY
DESCRIPTION:Reminder
END:vAlarm
END:vEvent
END:vCalendar

What I received upon exporting from Microsoft Outlook 2007:

BEGIN:VCALENDAR
PRODID:-//Microsoft Corporation//Outlook 12.0 MIMEDIR//EN
VERSION:2.0
METHOD:PUBLISH
X-MS-OLK-FORCEINSPECTOROPEN:TRUE
BEGIN:VEVENT
CLASS:PUBLIC
CREATED:20090104T205909Z
DESCRIPTION:Thank you for your interest in Microsoft Events. We would like
    to remind you of the following event: TechNet Webcast: How Microsoft Does
    IT: Designing, Developing, and Deploying SharePoint Server 2007 Publishi
    ng Portals (Level 300). nnPlease review the information below.nnEvent
    Code: 1032396521nEvent Name: TechNet Webcast: How Microsoft Does IT: Desi
    gning, Developing, and Deploying SharePoint Server 2007 Publishing Porta
    ls (Level 300)nStart Date: 1/27/2009nStart Time: 9:30 AM (GMT-08:00) Pac
    ific Time (US & Canada)nEnd Date: 1/27/2009nEnd Time: 10:30 AM (GMT-08:0
    0) Pacific Time (US & Canada)nnPlease click on the following link for mo
    re information regarding this Event https://msevents.microsoft.com/cui/r.a
    spx?r=1300308275&c=en-US&t=4. We look forward to seeing you at the Event!
DTEND:20090127T183000Z
DTSTAMP:20090104T205527Z
DTSTART:20090127T173000Z
LAST-MODIFIED:20090104T205909Z
PRIORITY:1
SEQUENCE:0
SUMMARY:Live Webcast - TechNet Webcast: How Microsoft Does IT: Designing,
    Developing, and Deploying SharePoint Server 2007 Publishing Portals (Leve
    l 300)
TRANSP:OPAQUE
UID:1032396521
X-ALT-DESC;FMTTYPE=text/html:<!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 3.2//E
    N">n<HTML>n<HEAD>n<META NAME="Generator" CONTENT="MS Exchange Server ve
    rsion 08.00.0681.000">n<TITLE></TITLE>n</HEAD>n<BODY>n<!-- Converted f
    rom text/plain format -->nn<P><FONT SIZE=2>Thank you for your interest i
    n Microsoft Events. We would like to remind you of the following event: Te
    chNet Webcast: How Microsoft Does IT: Designing, Developing, and Deployi
    ng SharePoint Server 2007 Publishing Portals (Level 300). </FONT></P>nn<
    P><FONT SIZE=2>Please review the information below.</FONT>n</P>nn<P><FO
    NT SIZE=2>Event Code: 1032396521</FONT>nn<BR><FONT SIZE=2>Event Name: Te
    chNet Webcast: How Microsoft Does IT: Designing, Developing, and Deployi
    ng SharePoint Server 2007 Publishing Portals (Level 300)</FONT></P>nn<P>
    <FONT SIZE=2>Start Date: 1/27/2009</FONT>nn<BR><FONT SIZE=2>Start Time:
    9:30 AM (GMT-08:00) Pacific Time (US &amp; Canada)</FONT>nn<BR><FONT SI
    ZE=2>End Date: 1/27/2009</FONT>nn<BR><FONT SIZE=2>End Time: 10:30 AM (GM
    T-08:00) Pacific Time (US &amp; Canada)</FONT>n</P>nn<P><FONT SIZE=2>P
    lease click on the following link for more information regarding this Even
    t <A HREF="https://msevents.microsoft.com/cui/r.aspx?r=1300308275&c=en-US&
    t=4">https://msevents.microsoft.com/cui/r.aspx?r=1300308275&c=en-US&t=4</A
    >. We look forward to seeing you at the Event!</FONT></P>nn</BODY>n</HT
    ML>
X-MICROSOFT-CDO-BUSYSTATUS:BUSY
X-MICROSOFT-CDO-IMPORTANCE:2
BEGIN:VALARM
TRIGGER:-PT15M
ACTION:DISPLAY
DESCRIPTION:Reminder
END:VALARM
END:VEVENT
END:VCALENDAR

Is it just me or is there some variance between the two iCalendar objects?  The Google iCalendar specification for formatting of an iCalendar object merely requires:

BEGIN: VCALENDAR
VERSION:2.0
PRODID:< [enter ID information here] >
(other header information goes here)
BEGIN:VEVENT
(event details for individual event)
END:VEVENT
BEGIN:VEVENT
(event details for individual event)
END:VEVENT
END: VCALENDAR

Any thoughts on why the variance of the objects would cause an issue for the first ICS to not be importable, but the second could be after being processed by Outlook 2007?

At a minimum, remember to signup for the event to hear Spence on SharePoint 🙂

MSDN Webcast ICS
Outlook 2007 MSDN Webcast iCalendar ICS file

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