My parents at Epcot, 2005

My father died yesterday, after a prolonged fight with health issues that no one expected him to survive. He fooled us all by living for years past when I was first told he was going to die. Earlier this year, when my mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer, he rallied and stepped up in ways no one would have believed him capable of. When she died, part of him did too, and yesterday he finally had enough.

I wanted to write something here about him, his life, his legacy, and how important he was to me, but I just don’t have the words. His close friend and colleague, Dr. Stephen Ausband, fortunately does, and wrote this about my father. I couldn’t have come up with better if I had a year to prepare.

Dr. Edward W. Fisher died today. Ed was probably the first colleague I met many years ago when I came to Averett. He was finishing a Ph.D. in biology, and I was completing one in English. We were young guys with young families and high hopes and similar interests. So we went fishing and talked a lot. Over the years, we became very close friends.

I think some of Ed’s colleagues found him a bit prickly at times. People who are strong-willed, opinionated, and smart often get a reputation like that. He would argue with a fence post. Loudly. His students adored him. They loved him for his care for them, for his knowledge, and also for his very genuine eccentricity. Sometimes he would walk into a class, displaying a special sort of high dudgeon about something, and quote a few lines of poetry. Frost, occasionally Service, but most frequently Byron. There was a bit of the Byronic about my friend.

My days are in the yellow leaf;
The fruits and flowers of love are gone.
The worm, the canker, and the grief
Are mine alone.

“Who wrote that?” he would growl at a class of sophomores. When nobody dared answer, he would say, “My God! Have you not had a literature class? Tell me who has had Dr. Ausband’s 202! Yes, you. Now, who wrote that? That’s right; Byron. Thank you.”

And then he would launch into a lecture on cell biology or ecology or whatever topic the students had expected him to discuss in the first place.

Ed regarded field trips as important parts of a biology major’s education, and he was forever taking them to Virginia’s parks or to the Eastern Shore or even to a research facility in Maine. Sometimes the students couldn’t afford to go, and so he paid their way. Or he paid enough of the overall expenses so that any student could afford to go. The students never knew of his generosity, but they knew he cared deeply about their education.

Like most of the people I’ve been strongly attached to, he had an eclectic curiosity. He wanted to know what I thought about this writer or that one, he wanted to learn more about painters and writers he admired, and he read voraciously in fields unrelated to his own. Conservative by nature, he could display a marvelous sort of rage at what he regarded as the muddled thinking of many liberal politicians. (He could rage equally well at muddled thinking by anyone, but on a university campus it’s the raging at liberal sacred cows that makes one infamous.) His closest friends told him he reminded them of Yosemite Sam in moods like this. Or perhaps the Tasmanian Devil. He liked both comparisons.

Ed had a good eye for the ridiculous. Once when an outdoor adventure of some kind had been rained out, turning fields and even farm roads into deep, gooey mud, he, Don Ethington, and I took shelter in my truck waiting for the storms to pass. Ed produced from somewhere a bottle of moonshine. Well, there seemed nothing better to do at the time. After a while he mused, “Isn’t it interesting to have the Chair of the Department of Mathematics, the Chair of the Department of English, and the Chair of the Department of Biology sitting in a truck in a rainstorm, with shotguns, drinking untaxed whiskey? Is this the apex of Western civilization or what?”

He was tireless. He could out-walk his most athletic students on field trips; he could talk about painters or decoy carvers or biologists or country music all night; he could snore louder than a chain saw when he finally fell asleep, keeping a whole camp awake. And then he could get up and cook breakfast for everybody before anyone else stirred. But in one of those nasty tricks that the fates or the gods or whoever is in charge of such things sometimes plays, he threw a clot in his leg the very first year he retired. The clot settled in his lungs, and the x-rays looked like pictures of a well-centered pattern made by number six shot. He knew what was coming, of course.

He fought bravely and with dignity. He painted, he read, he talked with the many former students who had become close friends. He held on for years, longer than anyone, including his physicians, thought possible. I saw him a few weeks ago, on his seventy-third birthday. He thanked me for coming, but he was more tired and weak than I had ever seen him in his long illness. It could not be much longer.

His daughter told me that he died about 4:00 this afternoon. I had been out fishing then, and the fishing had been pretty good. Ed would have been pleased that I was on a boat today, I think. He told me once he never went to funerals, that he hated the things. Even memorial services. “Well,” I said, “what do you think should be said on the occasion of a friend’s passing.”

“How about, ‘Call in the dogs and piss on the fire; it’s time to go home,’” he answered.

I thought it was a pretty good reply.


Outlook 2013 autocomplete stops working. Outlook works fine otherwise.


Probably nickname cache corruption.


You can use NK2Edit to fix a corrupt nickname cache file.

  1. Have Outlook open.
  2. Download and install NK2Edit from http://nirsoft.net/utils/outlook_nk2_edit.html
  3. When prompted run it. It will automatically open your nickname cache file and prompt you about the total entries versus good entries.
  4. Close Outlook.
  5. Save your nickname cache file (default save.)
  6. Reopen Outlook and confirm your autocomplete now works.
  7. Sing along to Outlook with the song below.

Direct link for RSS and email subscribers…http://youtu.be/k4V3Mo61fJM

Did this hook you up? If yes, a retweet or follow on Twitter is a great, free, and quick way to say thanks. Of course, anonymous comments are allowed and appreciated too.


One of the most useful parts of Lync is that it automatically saves conversations in a mailbox folder called “Conversation History.” I probably refer to content in there three or four times a day-what did my boss ask for? What what that URL Tim sent me? Who did I promise to send something to? Which customer wanted to do X? When you’re a hardcore multitasker and don’t have an eidetic memory, Conversation History can be a lifesaver. But if it is in your mailbox, then it becomes discoverable, and there are some companies (or rather, some legal departments in some companies) that think users will spill the beans in an IM, so they want to make conversation history go away. IF you don’t want to save Conversation History at all, for any user, with any client, then you can use Lync Online remote PowerShell to do that. This is not that blog post. Read More →


Office 365 recently upgraded all enterprise customers mailboxes from 25 GB to 50 GB, but some users may find that they are still seeing only 25 GB of storage. If you find yourself in this situation, here’s a couple of quick fixes to set your users up for their new massive mailboxes.

Existing Users

If you have existing users whose mailboxes are still showing 25 GB limits, but you’ve been upgraded to the new 50 GB size, you just need to adjust those users. Here’s what you can do.

    1. Confirm that your mailbox databases have been upgraded. They should be by now, but best to make sure before you proceed. Open a remote PowerShell session to Office 365 and run this command
      get-mailboxplan | fl displayName, *quota
      If your quotas still show 25GB limits, open a support case.
    2. Run this command to increase the mailbox quotas for the 50 GB limits
      get-mailbox -resultsize unlimited | set-Mailbox -IssueWarningQuota 48.5GB -ProhibitSendQuota 49GB -ProhibitSendReceiveQuota 50GB
    3. Profit.

New Users

If you want to ensure that new users are automatically provisioned with the 50 GB limits, you want to update your mailbox plan defaults. You will have to do this for each mailbox plan in your tenant.

1. Remote PS to your tenant.

2. Get-MailboxPlan to get the plan(s) in your tenant.

3. Run this command, substituting your plan name. Command is one line that wraps.

set-mailboxplan ExchangeOnlineEnterprise-fdeba728-963d-40df-8ff3-9a6b7a751ab2 -IssueWarningQuota 48.5GB -ProhibitSendQuota 49GB -ProhibitSendReceiveQuota 50GB

4. Rinse and repeat if you have more than one, or you could do a “get-mailboxplan | set-mailboxplan…” to nail them all at once, as long as you don’t mind getting an error for any plans, like K, that cannot go that high. It won’t hurt anything to do it that way, but some folks hate to see red text.

And with that, you have some really big mailboxes for all your users. They won’t need to delete anything for years to come, unless of course they use their mailbox as a file system, and subscribe to every DL and newsfeed they’ve ever seen. Even then, if they want it all, they can have it all!

Did this post hook you up? How about a comment or a Twitter follow to say thanks? Either are good, both are free.

So there is a class I am trying to get into, and apparently it’s so full that the waitlist is massive. They sent an email blast out for the first open seat on a "first to respond wins" basis. I wasn’t first. If they happen to send another email blast though, I will win that time, because this is what I am doing.

  1. Create a rule in Outlook to launch an app when the next email arrives. I used the "Subject contains" rule since it is definitely unique.
  2. Create a register.cmd file that contains the following
    START "" "c:\scratch\reg.html"
  3. Create "c:\scratch\reg.html" to include the following
    <!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01 Transitional//EN"> 
    < html>       
       <meta http-equiv="Refresh" content="0; url=http://theurloftheregistrationlink" />
    < /html>
  4. Make sure I leave Outlook open since this is a client-side rule.

If you use the START command in a batch file, you can specify the title of the window that is open. Since I am trying to invoke my browser, I need to specify a blank title else it will just create a cmd prompt with that URL as the title.

If the URL was a little more straightforward, I could invoke it directly from the START, but in this case the URL has some interesting bits that just make it easier to keep in a separate page.

If all goes well, victory will be mine! And if not, I still learned something cool today, hence the share. Hope this helps someone else (just not anyone going for the same class as me!)

Direct link…http://youtu.be/0FmPg4lrBKc

I bet you were expecting a Charlie Sheen video, weren’t you?