8 Quick Steps: Guide to Microsoft Office 365 Exchange Online Free Trial

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This guide tells you how to quickly and easily get started with Exchange Online using a 10 user free trial which can easily be converted to a paid subscription later ($6 per user per month, minimum 1 user)

This is how you do it (steps may vary a little bit depending on what country you are from)

    1. Go to Office365.com
    2. Click “Get the trial”. This will give you a fully functional free 10 user trial for 30 days.
      So this means one month free and you can test everything before you start paying. When the trial period is up, it is easy to turn it into a paid subscription. No rebate coupon or voucher code needed.
    3. Select the option for “Professionals and Small businesses”, this is the “P1” plan. For some countries this may already be preselected.
      (If you are a larger company select the “Midsize businesses and enterprises”, plan “E3” but note that pricing, features etc is different from what is covered here)
    4. Fill out the information about yourself to create a Microsoft Online Services ID.
      You will have to select an onmicrosoft.com domain name, e.g. mycompany.onmicrosoft.com. Don’t worry, you will be able to add your real domain name (or multiple domain names) later
    5. You should see a page telling you that Exchange Online, Lync Online and Sharepoint Online is being set up and that it will take a few minutes. Wait for them to finish.
    6. Add your own Domain. a) Click Admin in the top navigation. From the Admin page on the left column navigation b) Click Management-Domains, then c) Click Add a Domain. d) Enter your domain name and click the Check Domain button. After domain information is shown e) click Next and you will be taken to a page with instructions how to add a TXT record to your DNS for verifying your domain.
    7. Add users. a) Click Admin in the top navigation. From the Admin page on the left column navigation b) Click Management-Users, then c) Click New + User and follow the instructions.
      If you wish, you can make the admin user that was created when you signed up just an admin account without a paid license. To do this edit the user and uncheck “Microsoft Office 365 Plan P1” under License.
    8. Add me as your partner – optional. Thanks! a) Click Admin in the top navigation. From the Admin page on the left column navigation b) click Subscriptions-Manage, then c) click your subscription, Microsoft Office 365 Trial (Plan P1). On the far right you will see d) Partner Information, click Add and e) in the box shown enter 1912364 as partner id to use my company XS Tech as partner and click Ok (or if you prefer to use another partner enter their partner id) Thanks.

Done!

Background
Microsofts cloud offering Office 365 (formerly BPOS) includes among other things Exchange Online, Microsofts hosted email offering.
Exchange Online can be accessed from a browser (Outlook Web App), Outlook (Windows), Entourage or Outlook for Mac or any mobile software supporting ActiveSync, e.g. Android, iPhone, iPad, Windows Phone etc.
I find Exchange Online well priced at just below 50 SEK (US$ 6) per month for a 25GB mailbox with Sharepoint, Office Web Apps and Lync also included. It is half the price compared to my current Hosted Exchange provider and with over 10 times the storage. Extra plus for me is also that my Hosted Exchange provider is running Exchange 2007 while Office365 is on Exchange 2010. New with the change from BPOS to Office365 is also that you can now signup for only one single user instead of the previous minimum of three.

Browsers
I recommend using Internet Explorer or Firefox with Office 365, Exchange Online and other Office Web Apps. Chrome (currently in release 14) is working most of the time but not always.

Disclosure: My company is a Microsoft partner.

Duplicates using ActiveSync and PC Suite from Sony Ericsson

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Today I connected my z770 cell phone to my Windows Vista PC with the non-included USB cable.
In the manual it says it should be included but to the manual there is also a single-sheet addendum correcting the “typo” in the manual: “using the included USB cable” should read “using a USB cable” etc. ๐Ÿ™‚

Anyway, I have been syncing with ActiveSync which does an ok (not great) job at syncing email, contacts and calendar. But ActiveSync in Sony Ericsson world is only for syncing OTA (Over the Air). To Sync with your PC you need to use Sony Ericsson’s synchronization software – PC Suite.

First of all you have to download it because there is no CD included. I don’t mind that because I always want to download the latest version anyway, but I found it a bit strange that no CD was there. But then again there was no USB cable either.

I have owned Sony Ericsson phones before and I was a bit skeptical to installing their software because it has made my computers behave strange in the past. But besides that the installation program seemed to be in a 30 minutes long endless loop installing drivers before I shut it down, it seems to be working fine.

When starting to sync I got questions asking me (I guess I should be happy it at least asks) to confirm whether entries are the same. There was no way to cancel so instead of clicking Yes or No, I hit Escape which closed the window and I thought would be the same as “skip” but when I finally succeed in hitting Cancel on the background window it turns out lots of duplicate entries have been created in my Contacts and Calendar in Outlook. It also seems that for each Contact where I have entered a birthday a duplicate birthday entry is created in my calendar. ๐Ÿ™

Contacts
On Contacts Active Sync have synced not the Email address field but the Display as field, e.g. Email contains “bill.gates@microsoft.com” and the Display as “Bill Gates (bill.gates@microsoft.com)”.
This I have already noticed because when you try to send an email to a contact with multiple email addresses from your phone it gets very difficult to select email address because the screen only shows the first x characters. But PC suite sync on the email address field and therefore gives you the question for each entry if it is the same or not.
I guess a solution for contacts could be to change Outlook settings to only show email address in the Display as field and then change it in your existing contacts, but I have not tried this.

Calendar
Just as on Contacts there seem to be a difference between ActiveSync and PC Suite when syncing Calendar. The fields Notes and Classification (internal field?) are handled differently.

Email
PC Sync don’t sync email at all for some reason so there is no problem here.

I called the Sony Ericsson help line and the person I spoke with seemed surprised I even tried to sync with both ActiveSync and PC Suite, “I advice you not to do that”.
So basically there seems to be no plans to fix this and the workaround is to sync your stuff either with Active Sync or PC Suite.

Since you can check what things to sync where you can for example select to sync only email with Active Sync and the rest with PC Suite.
With ActiveSync you have the options to sync Email, Calendar and/or Contacts.
With PC Suite you have the options to sync Calendar, Contacts, Tasks, Notes and/or Bookmarks.

I miss my Windows Mobile phone…

Exchange Session Failed Communication Interrupted

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Yesterday I went ahead and bought the new Sony Ericsson z770i that I blogged about some time ago. I have been waiting a few weeks to get it in black instead of silver and during that time they announced another model – z780i – that should be all that the z770i is but also with a built in GPS. It seems there is always another model being announced, so even if I would have preferred the z780i I wasn’t prepared to wait any longer. I also hear that it will not be sold on the Swedish market for some reason (maybe because they just started shipping the z770)

Last night after I put the children to bed I played around with it and tried to get ActiveSync to work. I filled out the info in the Synchronization settings and connected but only got “Exchange Session failed Communication interrupted” (or since I have Swedish selected as language: “Exchange Sessionen misslyckades Kommunikationen avbrรถts”)

I searched the Sony Ericsson Support Knowledge base – not a single hit for neither Exchange, ActiveSync nor Active Sync! ๐Ÿ™

Thanks to Google and this thread by dmwood at Microsoft Technet, Goran at my Hosted Exchange 2007 provider managed to solve this for me late last night. In my Hosted Exchange Control Panel the ActiveSync Policey “Allow Non-provisionable devices” was unchecked. Once Goran checked that option for me everything started to work. Thanks Goran for working late and helping me out!

I also sent an email to Sony Ericsson support and this is their reply this morning:

Confirm with your IT staff that device security settings on the server allow access to devices that do not fully support password settings. This option is available in:

Exchange System Manager > Global Settings > Mobile Services > Device Security

If this checkbox was unchecked, you will get a connection failed, although a Windows Mobile device would still sync properly.

The following security settings are supported:
Wipe: PIM data and settings are supported.
Exchange 2003 Device security Settings: NOT supported.
Exchange 2007 Additional Security settings: NOT supported.

I will probably get back with a post on the differences between using Windows Mobile ActiveSync and non-Windows Moible/Sony Ericsson ActiveSync, there are a few.