Haiku #26

Danger! Danger! Will

Robinson! Please review the

IM disclaimer.

Many years ago, long before television became the bastion of intellectual wit and high culture that it is today, there was a short-lived show titled Lost in Space. To be perfectly honest, Lost in Space wasn't one of the best TV shows ever produced (for example, it can't even hold a candle to The Adventures of Pete & Pete). Despite that (or, more likely, because if that) Lost in Space has become something of a cult classic, mainly due to the Class M-3 Model B9, General Utility Non-Theorizing Environmental Control Robot (a name not quite as catchy as R2D2 or C3PO). The Class M-3, General Utility Non-Theorizing Environmental Control Robot was moderately interesting simply because he didn't have the cool, calculated demeanor you expect of a robot. Instead, he had a habit of over-reacting (i.e., over-acting) to pretty much any situation. For example, if there was the slightest hint of trouble afoot the robot wouldn't just grunt a monotone warning like, "Unexpected incident in sector 13G." Instead, he would wave his arms wildly and shriek something along the lines of "Danger! Danger! Will Robinson!" doing his best to get the attention of the show's boy hero (Will Robinson).

Note. Believe it or not, that was the best part of the show, even better than Tybo, the Talking Carrot. (And no, we are not making up the part about a talking carrot.)

What's even harder to believe is that, some 30 years later, Hollywood decided that this cheesy TV show would make a great candidate for a feature film. Strangely enough, the Lost in Space movie not only tanked at the box office, but was labeled by one critic as "… the dumbest and least imaginative adaptation of a television series yet translated to the screen."

Apparently there's just no accounting for taste.

In case you're wondering, no Class M-3 Model B9, General Utility Non-Theorizing Environmental Control Robot is included in Microsoft Lync Server 2010 even though there is a need to include an optional disclaimer that can be displayed to meeting participants before they join a Lync Server conference. Although the Lync Server product team toyed with the notion of providing each meeting participant with his or her own hysterical, arm-waving Class M-3 Model B9, General Utility Non-Theorizing Environmental Control Robot, it was eventually decided to use a simple conference disclaimer instead. With the conference disclaimer, a robot does not shriek "Danger! Danger!" each time a user attempts to join a conference via a hyperlink (that is, by doing something like pasting a link to the conference into Internet Explorer). Instead, a simple dialog box pops up, a dialog box that lists whatever text you want displayed to the user. (And yes, we suppose that text could say, "Danger! Danger!" That's up to you.) Before the user can join the conference, he or she must agree to the stipulations set forth in the disclaimer. (For example, you might use the disclaimer to inform users that meeting information is not to be disclosed to others, or that all meeting transcripts are recorded and retained.) If a user won't agree to the conference stipulations then he or she won't be allowed to join the conference. That's all there is to it.

As it turns out, there are three cmdlets used for managing Lync Server's conference disclaimer: Get-CsConferenceDisclaimer, Remove-CsConferenceDisclaimer, and Set-CsConferenceDisclaimer. If you're looking at that list and thinking, "Hey, there's no New-CsConferenceDisclaimer cmdlet," well, you're absolutely right: there is no New-CsConferenceDisclaimer. And for good reason: in Lync Server, you aren't allowed to create a new conference disclaimer. Instead, you're restricted to a single global disclaimer that gets used throughout the system.

But, then again, how many conference disclaimers do you need?

By default, the conference disclaimer is set to a null value; that simply means that no disclaimer will be displayed when users join a conference. (And, remember, only users who join via a hyperlink will see that disclaimer anyway.) If you'd like to use a conference disclaimer, then a command similar to this one should do the trick:

Set-CsConferenceDisclaimer -Header "Litwareinc.com Online Conference" -Body "Important note: Conferencing proceedings are recorded and archived."

As you can see, all you have to do is call the Set-CsConferenceDisclaimer cmdlet and assign values to the Header and/or Body parameters. If you later change your mind and would prefer not to use a conference disclaimer, well, all you have to do is call the Remove-CsConferenceDisclaimer cmdlet:

Remove-CsConferenceDisclaimer -Identity global

Note that, even though there's only one conference disclaimer, you still need to include the Identity parameter and the Identity (global) of that one disclaimer when calling Remove-CsConferenceDisclaimer. And yes, that's kind of a hassle. But, let's face it: if that's the biggest hassle you face during the course of your day, well, you're doing pretty good.

And there you have it: something so simple even a "bubble-headed booby" could do it. In case you're wondering, "Bubble-headed booby" is one term used by Lost in Space's malevolent Dr. Smith to refer to the Class M-3 Model B9, General Utility Non-Theorizing Environmental Control Robot. Coincidentally, it's the same term that was scrawled across the last performance review submitted by the author of today's haiku. What are the odds, huh?