Get a room!

This security pilot fish is a big believer in automated systems. And he's very impressed when his company moves into new offices where the meeting rooms take the manual labor out of scheduling meetings.

"There are room wizards outside every door to assist in scheduling," fish says. "And there's full integration with Microsoft Exchange, so that your meeting information is accurate and timely and always shows the proper room."

One of fish's most important meetings is a committee meeting every month on the day after Patch Tuesday to consider how to handle that batch of Microsoft updates. It's been a regular meeting for years, and after the move the new scheduling system seems to handle it fine.

That is, until one Wednesday. The patch committee has just started its work when another group shows up, claiming that it booked the room the day before.

Fish points out that they must be wrong -- this particular room has been booked for this monthly meeting since the company moved. And he knows that for sure, because he's the one who booked it.

"I checked my BlackBerry to verify that the room was booked," says fish. "Uh oh -- it seems that Exchange cancelled the room on my calendar. And didn't send a notice. And did not cancel it on anyone else's calendar. As far as we knew, we were golden!"

The patch committee quickly packs up and starts looking for a vacant meeting room. After much quick searching, fish and his cohorts find one and get to work.

And halfway through their meeting, yet another group shows up to claim the room for their meeting.

But this time, just as fish is picking things up to move once again, a late-comer pops in to announce that the patch committee can have this room; the group that wants to bump them is actually supposed to be in a different room, just around the corner.

It isn't until later that fish solves the mystery of how the patch committee lost its room the first time.

"It seems Exchange has decided that you cannot book a room more than three months in advance," fish grumbles. "You can book the meeting -- you just can't book the room. Ah, the beauty of automation!"

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Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

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