The holiday season is in full swing: We've got 6 inches of snow in my part of Ohio, with more possible before Christmas; I'm attending holiday concerts for all three of my sons; and my wife has been busy creating and exchanging high-calorie (and delicious) treats with friends and family. In the midst of all the holiday uproar, you might have missed some important Microsoft Exchange-related news items. Because it's my job to keep you up to date, here's a quick refresher on some topics from throughout the past year:

  • Led Zeppelin played a reunion concert in London this month. Unfortunately, they're not going back on tour. However, they're still on the playlists of many UPDATE readers, as evidenced by the number of Zeppelin-related email messages I got after my "No Quarter" column a few years back.
  • Despite persistent rumors, Apple still hasn't released an Exchange ActiveSync client for the iPhone ("The iPhone and Exchange, Part 2" ). However, the 1.1 software release did fix a number of IMAP bugs; with these fixes, the iPhone is a tolerably good IMAP client for Exchange, although you'll wish for over-the-air calendar and contact updates. Fear not, however: Apple is looking for "a motivated, highly-technical Exchange test/sync engineer" to work on iPhone software. Stay tuned!
  • The Exchange team is now in the comics business. Squeaky Lobster is a new online comic strip recounting the adventures of several fictional characters on the Exchange development team. (Some of them bear suspicious resemblance to real Exchange folks, but I'm not saying which ones.)
  • IBM Workplace is still dead. More properly, IBM is no longer selling Workplace Collaboration Services, focusing (quite rightly) on its Lotus brand instead.
  • The four columns I wrote last February and March on the daylight saving time (DST) changeover represent a record number of columns on a single topic. Why? Microsoft's presentation of information about necessary system updates was needlessly confusing people. However, the good news is that (at least in theory) no one should be facing this problem for next year's DST changeover.
  • Judging by the many questions I got at the recent series of Exchange roadshow events, Exchange licensing is still confusing people ("Exchange 2007 Licensing"). Perhaps along with the Exchange Server Best Practices Analyzer (ExBPA), we need an Exchange Licensing Analyzer that recommends which licenses you need, and how many of them, to help customers who don't have volume-licensing agreements with Microsoft.

Entries have been slowly trickling in for our contest for the worst Exchange design or administrative mistake. Because so many people are taking end-of-year vacations, we've decided to extend the deadline until January 7, 2008. So if you haven't entered yet, it's not too late! Submit your entries via email to update@robichaux.net. For more information about the contest, see "Inexpensive Unified Communications Deployment, Part 2," November 15, 2007.

Finally, on a personal note: I want to thank all the editors and staffers who help make Exchange & Outlook UPDATE successful. I also want to thank you for reading! My family and I wish you a beautiful holiday season and a safe and prosperous 2008.