Sunday, August 3, 2008

Sims... horrible deformed Sims

While I was in on my Skitch page, I found a picture of some Sims I created a while back.

The Sims 2 Pets
Uploaded with plasq's Skitch!


Baby is just creepy. Mom looks like Scott Bakula in drag. *Shudder*

Exchange OWA premium on a Mac

Since we're implementing Exchange at work, I've been trying to figure out a way to get Outlook Web Access (OWA) to function in full mode on a Mac. Unfortunately, if you are using anything but IE 6 or higher on Windows 2000 or higher, you're only given the option to run OWA in "light" mode, which has several limitations. I won't go into to much detail on that here, but this page has all the info you could ever want: http://msexchangeteam.com/archive/2006/09/13/428901.aspx.

The big ones (for me anyway) are day only view in the calendar, and no access to message rules. Obviously, I could run IE in VMware Fusion, but firing up an entire virtual machine just to get OWA premium doesn't make much sense to me, so I started by seeing if I could trick OWA into thinking I was on IE. My first idea was simply to switch the user agent for Firefox or Safari. Setting the user agent to IE6 or IE7 in Safari wouldn't trick OWA, but on Firefox I was given the option to log in to OWA premium. Unfortunately, what I got was a jumbled mess.

Firefox - IE 7 User Agent

So that's no good. Next up was a project I had heard about a while ago called ies4osx, which uses Darwine to run the Windows native version of IE. A couple quick downloads later, I ran the ies4osx installer, and had a working copy of IE6 fired up. Unfortunately, since Darwine emulates Windows 98 -- OK, not emulates, since everyone knows that WINE stands for WINE Is Not an Emulator -- OWA still only gave me the light option. So I did some quick Google searches for changing IE's user agent and found this page. Where that guy girl is using Linux, I had to modify her instructions somewhat. While I had IE fired up, I used it to navigate to C:\Windows\ and opened up regedit.exe. Once the Registry Editor launched, I closed out of IE and followed her instructions.
  • In the registry editor window navigate to:HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Internet Settings\User Agent\
  • Select the "Edit" menu -> New -> Key. For the key name enter: Post Platform
  • With "Post Platform" selected: Edit menu -> New -> String Value. For the name enter: Windows NT 5.1
  • Click "OK", then double-click the new item named "Windows NT 5.1" and set the value: This String Doesn’t Matter I think
  • Select "User Agent" key again
  • Select the "Edit" menu -> New -> Key. For the key name enter: Pre Platform
  • With "Pre Platform" selected: Edit menu -> New -> String Value. For the name enter: Windows NT 5.1
  • Click "OK", then double-click the new item named "Windows NT 5.1" and set the value: This String Doesn’t Matter I think
  • Close regedit
  • Run IE and test logging into OWA. On the login page it should now allow you to select either premium mode or lite mode.
Bam! It worked. As you can see below, OWA gave me the option to log in to Premium mode.

Microsoft Exchange - Outlook Web Access - Microsoft Internet Explorer 6.0

Once in I had full access to OWA premium as if I was a windows user.

IE6 through Darwine

However, if you look at Activity Monitor in that screenshot, you'll see that wineserver and mwine are going completely out of control, together taking up 100% of both CPUs. Not really acceptable performance. So on to something else.

The next idea was to do the same thing in Crossover, another implementation of Wine for OS X. Crossover is a bit more polished/tweaked than Darwine, and can actually run Office 2007 very well. I'm still debating if it was worth the purchase, but since I own it, might as well try. Crossover has IE6 listed as an installable program; you pretty much select that you want to install Internet Explorer and let it do the rest of the work. A few minutes later, I had an IE6 install ready to go. Unfortunately, it had the same problem as Darwine -- reporting that it was running on Windows 98, so I followed the same procedure to edit the registry to change the user agent. Again, I was able to log in to OWA Premium.

OWA through Crossover

So you can see the performance is much, much better, but there are some strange rendering issues. Calendar items are blacked out - that was how it showed up, wasn't done by me. Also new mail counts render weird, and the quicklinks on the bottom left don't show. The calendar rendering is the big killer on this one, and really, it's too bad since otherwise, it performs really well. I'll probably do a little more work on troubleshooting this at some point.

So there you have it. ies4osx/Darwine and Crossover both will let you get in to OWA premium with a bit of tweaking. ies4osx has huge performance issues, but other than that renders everything well. Crossover renders some things poorly, but has excellent performance. Neither seem like a particularly great option, but if you don't care too much about calendar but do want OWA Premium (and have the $40 to spend), Crossover is probably your best option.