Quick auto-dialer for Office Communicator

From time-to-time there are really quick/easy programs that are available on the Internet and sometimes even for free. In this case, the product Phone Tools for Communicator by ESTOS is all of the above. 

Phone Tools for Communicator is a small applet that runs on your local PC that enables you to quickly call any phone number using Office Communicator.Communicator and the back-end Office Communications Server must be capable ofmaking outbound calls - this tool does nothing for that - but assuming you have a functioning telephony solution this product assists you in making those calls.

How? Communicator already has the ability to understand the tel: hyperlink so that if a phone number is linked correctly, it is click-able and the number is dialed. However, it is all too often that numbers are entered into documents, websites, or other electronic communication without the hyperlink. To call the number withoutPhone Tools for Communicator you have two options: 1) Stop being lazy and simply push the numbers on your Windows Phone Device or 2) highlight the number, copy it, open Office Communicator, paste the number, and press enter.

For all of us lazy folks, option two is generally the route we take. Phone Tools for Communicator is essentially performing option two but with fewer clicks. To use the product, simply highlight the desired number and click F8 (the default hot-key which can be changed) and viola, the number is dialed - simple, yet satisfying.

As I mentioned, the product is free, it takes 2088k of memory to run, and I have successfully used it on Windows XP, Vista, and Windows 7. Save yourself a few extra clicks and go out and try Phone Tools for Communicator - you won't be disappointed.

Free/busy (aka Calendar information) within Office Communicator 2007

I have been fielded multiple questions lately about the mysteries of the calendaring information within Office Communicator 2007. Why does my email and SIP URI need to be the same? Why does Communicator Web Access (CWA) not pull information but it can display it? Where does the information pull/push come from? What versions of Exchange server are supported?

Understanding how and where the calendering information is relatively simple - in fact, the basic concept for the user free/busy information is back-end agnostic - Outlook on the desktop is the key component. Office Communicator uses Outlook (natively 2003 sp2 and newer) to make MAPI calls to retrieve the information. This small detail means Exchange 2003, Exchange 2007, and service pack level - it really does not matter (from a free/busy perspective) - the client can and will integrate!

This integration is possible when the user's SIP URI matches the user's email address; but what happens when this is not the case? If you install Office Communicator on a home computer and sign into your corporate OCS system, can (and should) it retrieve information from your local Outlook? It can (the should is up to you) if a simple registry change is made. By default Office Communicator compares the SIP URI to the email address of the default email profile and if they do not match, it does not integrate the two. The logic is simple - if the two integrate, conversation history, contacts, and free/busy will be folded into the OC experience. If they are not the same, an integration error is presented.

To modify the registry to all integration of your free/busy and conversation history regardless of your email address run regedt32 and set the following:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Communicator
Key (you may have to create this yourself): DisableEmailComparisonCheck
DWORD: 00000001

Make sure Communicator restarts to load the new registry information (or simply log out and back in) to force the integration. Remember - this registry change will integrate ANY Outlook email address with ANY OCS login so test and make the end result is what you are looking for.

Communicator 2007 Update

Microsoft Office Communicator 2007 was recently updated (as mentioned in the Microsoft KB article 954439 http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=954439) but the location of the hotfix itself has been a mystery to many - not any longer! ;)

Microsoft's sustained engineering folks need and want to track the download of the hotfix and in order to do so each person must request the hotfix at the following address:http://support.microsoft.com/hotfix/KBHotfix.aspx?kbnum=954439&kbln=en-us

The request is quick and easy and once the form is filled out a link to the download (and the password to decrypt the file) will be sent to your email generally within 5 minutes.