I was recently introduced to a fun party game. Participants each state three things about themselves; one of the statements must be false. The other players try to guess which one is false. For example, if I say, "I am a superhero; I work with Exchange Server; my cholesterol is 145," the other players will probably catch on that I'm not really a superhero. The key to success is to be plausible in your falsehoods. With that in mind, here's my year-end news roundup for the Exchange & Outlook UPDATE. One of the news items below is false: Can you guess which one? To help you along, I've included links with each item; none of them point to Rick Astley.

Let's start with an easy one; I'll tell you now that it's 100 percent true. On December 17, Microsoft released an emergency security update for Internet Explorer after a zero-day exploit surfaced in the wild. See http://www.microsoft.com/technet/security/Bulletin/MS08-dec.mspx for details.

Second, the Microsoft Certified Master (MCM) team has cut the cost of the next two Masters rotations by 30 percent. The cut is programwide, so it applies to the next two MCM: Exchange classes (in January and March 2009), as well as to the upcoming classes for Microsoft Office Communications Server (OCS) 2007, Microsoft SQL Server 2008 (both also in January and March 2009), and SharePoint (February and March 2009). (http://msexchangeteam.com/archive/2008/12/16/450297.aspx)

Third, IBM has delivered all of the features and products the company promised in its January 2008 Lotusphere presentations. (http://vowe.net/archives/010157.html) Meanwhile, Microsoft and IBM have jointly fulfilled their agreement to make OCS 2007 and Sametime fully interoperable through their federation mechanism. (http://www.thesametimeblog.com/sametimeblog/sametimeblog.nsf/dx/sametime-ocs-2007-interop2.htm)

Fourth, Microsoft's Jason Nelson wrote what is quite possibly the funniest post ever to hit the Exchange team blog. It features a nuclear toaster, cats, and an Exchange server whose SMTP conversations have a distinctly upper-crust British accent. Not only that, but it actually explains a new feature introduced in the most recent Exchange 2007 rollup. (http://msexchangeteam.com/archive/2008/12/11/450257.aspx)

Finally, a men's chorus from the Russian army has been publicly singing Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Sweet Home Alabama." (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0lNFRLrP014)

So, did you guess which news item is false? It turns out that it's the first part of the third item. For those of you who guessed it was the last item, all I can say is that you should check out the video. I lived in Alabama for 11 years, during which time I heard "Sweet Home Alabama" approximately 11 million times—and I've never heard it performed quite like the Red Army Choir rendition.

Have a great Christmas and New Year's, and I'll see you in 2009!