Doing an Asok

For all the money a consultant makes, the job is often thankless. Nothing exemplifies this better than today’s Dilbert:

There are some parallels and some non-parallels between Asok and me:

  • Asok, like me is an IIT graduate. Worse still, like me he is trained to sleep only on national holidays

  • I must have flunked the course where they taught us to reheat tea by holding the cup to my forehead

  • But I did meet the prerequisite for getting in

  • Asok is an intern, hence his position at the company is not permanent. As a consultant my privileges at my client are pretty similar, except that a consultant probably earns about 4 times more than an intern

  • I must have also flunked this other course, since I am still nutty about a lot of things:

My kinship with Asok often reminds me of this classic scene from Lage Raho Munna Bhai:

Yes, just keep doing it hoping that some day things will be better.

The Extra Outlook

A somewhat techie article after a long time, prompted no doubt by my travails at my last client! Read on if:

  1. You are in consulting
  2. Your firm uses Microsoft Outlook
  3. Your client uses Microsoft Outlook
  4. You want to connect to two Exchange Server instances at the same time

Of course, you could read on even if none of the above applies to you.

The reasons why #4 is difficult in the above are:

  1. You attach an Exchange Server to a profile
  2. Only one Exchange Server can be attached to a profile
  3. Only one profile can be opened at one point of time in Microsoft Outlook

So only one inbox can be open at one time.

Luckily the solution for this is very simple and straightforward. And you have Hammer of God’s ExtraOutlook to thank for this. Here is what you will do:

  1. Download ExtraOutlook
  2. Extract the file from the Zip archive and either add the directory to your path or note the directory
  3. Let’s say that your Exchange Servers are attached to different profiles called “My Own Company”, “My First Client”, “My Second Client” and so on. For each client create a batch file (a file with an extension .bat) with the following content
    ExtraOutlook.exe "C:Program FilesMicrosoft OfficeOffice12OUTLOOK.EXE" /profile "My Own Company"
    Replace the part after /profile with the names of the profiles that you have. The above will work if the directory with ExtraOutlook is in your path. If it isn’t, create a batch file in the following manner:
    <Path to ExtraOutlook>ExtraOutlook.exe "C:Program FilesMicrosoft OfficeOffice12OUTLOOK.EXE" /profile "My Own Company"
    You will have one such batch file for each instance that you want to run.
  4. Close all open instances of Outlook
  5. Double click the batch file to launch whichever instance of Outlook you want to connect to.

You could use some variants of the above setup too. E.g. I haven’t created batch files for my default profile. That way if I launch Outlook by itself, I get connected to my company’s Exchange Server.

Good luck!