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If you use Exchange Server and Microsoft Outlook together in an organization where you employ invites to arrange meetings and schedule resources, you've probably been deluged with an endless flood of acknowledgment e-mails.
Dealing with all of them can be a terrible headache -- they can't be deleted without losing useful information about the resources being tracked, yet answering each of them individually is a terrible time drain.
Sumatra Development's AckHack is an event sink for Microsoft Exchange designed to make life a little easier for people bombarded with these auto-generated meeting request and resource scheduling acknowledgement e-mails.
AckHack performs several processes automatically to help alleviate "ack overload." Whenever messages are received that state all attendees for a given event have accepted, or whenever you receive an acceptance or a tentative acceptance with no comments, those message are automatically cleared from the inbox, and the availability/free/busy information for any matching resources are updated.
Only explicit declines and acceptances with messages are allowed into the inbox, since those tend to be the e-mails that require personal attention. That way, you spend less time doing busywork and more time dealing with real problems.
Since AckHack runs entirely as a server-side component, users do not need to be logged in for it to work.
AckHack also works for calendars in Outlook Web Access, and features optional logging of all actions. It's also configurable, so it can automatically delete declines, as well or have its sink priority set above or below other sinks that also process acknowledgment e-mails.
The basic version of the sink is free (with user registration), and is completely unrestricted. Pricing has not yet been set for a commercial version as of this writing, but benefits of buying the full version include support, detailed product documentation and being able to suggest features for the next edition.
Serdar Yegulalp is editor of the Windows Power Users Newsletter.
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This was first published in January 2006