Testdrive the new Skype for Business features

In case you missed it: it is possible to sign up for the preview of the new Skype for Business features that were recently announced.

To do this, simplye go to https://www.skypepreview.com/ and sign-up.

There are three feature to try out: The new Skype meeting broadcast feature, PSTN conferencing and the ‘cloud PBX with PSTN calling’ feature, that turns your Skype for Business environment into a full blown PBX. The meeting broadcast feature is available for trial globaly, the other two features are currently US only.

Get to know the real Windows-geeks in your environment

I always like to check out who is using my environment, be it an on-prem Exchange setup or an Office 365 tenant.
One of the things I find interesting, is checking in on the devices being used to connect to Exchange. Mostly because it can warn me of issues that my occur; it wouldn’t be the first time some iOS update causes trouble. The second reason I like to do this, is because I like to know what user are the first to upgrade their device, be it Apple, Android or anything else. Those ‘early adopters’ might be the perfect users to help in testing out new features in Office 365. They’re usualy tech-savy and willing to cope with issues that come with working with bleading edge technology.
When iOS7 was released, I used this simple Powershell one-liner to check on all devices running this operating sytem:

Note: get-mobiledevice will work in Exchange 2013 or O365 up from wave15. For Exchange 2010 of O365 wave14 I used the get-activesyncdevice cmdlet.
If you know what users are using a particular operating system on their mobile device, you can also use this information to block certain devices. For example if the latest iOS-relase breaks something in ActiveSync, like happened in the past.
With some Powershell, you can easily create an ActiveSync rule that blocks certain iOS-versions (or Android, or Windows Phone, or whatever).

Just to show my company actualy is full of nerds (well, I actualy prefer the term geek), I ran the following command against our Office 365 tenant:

As you can see, more then one on every six mobile devices in our organisation is running a beta-preview of the new Windows Mobile operating system!

Managing Office-installation for your users in O365

One of the perks of having an Office 365 E3 (or higher) subscription are the licenses for using the full office suite.

Just in case you didn’t know: you have the rights to install up to five copies of the Office suite on various devices. So you can use it on every device, including laptops, tablets and smartphones! From you own Office 365-settings page, you can manage those licenses. You can see the devices you installed Office on and revoke those license when needed, for example if you stop using that device. Here’s a snap of my current active licenses:

Untill now, there was no way for administrators to manage those licenses for their users. If, for example, a user calls in that he can’t activate his license on his new laptop, the admin would have to start a screen sharing session to help deactivate some licenses or log on using the credentials for that specific user. Fortunately, that has changed.

From the user settings in the O365 admin portal, it is now possible to manage the Office licenses for each specific user. Simply click the user you want to manage and in the right-pane menu click the ‘edit office installations’ link.

In the menu that pops up, you can see what devices currently uses a license for the Office Suite. For privacy reasons, the device names are not fully shown. From here, you can deactivate one or more of that licenses for the user.

As you can see, our company runs a dutch portal of Office 365. The demo and testing tenant that I use does not have any active Office Suite users, so I can’t create English screenshots. You’ll just have to believe me on this one 😉

Setting Google as search provider in Edge

In the last few Windows 10 Preview builds, I fell in love with Edge. Seriously, it’s one of the best browsers i’ve ever seen. It’s fast, responsive and some extra features like the ‘ask cortana’ context menu and the reading list feature sometimes come in very handy.

The one thing i missed tho, was the ability to set Google as a search provider. Searching from the address bar or search box would default to Bing and there was no way to add Google as a search provider. In the latest 10240 build things has changed: we can finaly make Google the default search provider!

To use Google, first make sure you visit the google.com website from Edge. Once on the site, open the settings menu.

In the settings menu, scroll to down to find and open the advanced settings

When you’re in the advanced settings menu, scroll down to the ‘search with’ setting. This will be set to Bing by default.

Open the drop-down menu and click ‘add new’. There will be a list with recently visited sites that support the OpenSearch protocol, and somewhere in that list you can find Google. Click it and select ‘add as default’

That’s it! You can leave the settings page and do some test-searching directly from the menu bar.

Happy searching!


Office for Mac 2016 released

A few days ago, Microsoft released the Office 2016 suite for Mac.

Next to the improved display for devices with a Retina display, one of the main features is the improved support for OneDrive, OneDrive for Business and Sharepoint. A complete list of improvements can be found on the Office for Mac website.

If you are a current Office 365 user with a license that includes the Office Suite and your tenant administrator allowed it, you can download the software from your personal Office 365 portal now!