There’s a lot of stuff happening right now at Microsoft, they innovate, create great software and services, the new CEO accepts and wins almost all challenges and the SharePoint and Office team is listening! This is the Microsoft that I like and this is how I want Microsoft to continue to be. But Microsoft and the SharePoint team can’t just listen in blind – they listens to us out here in the real world, customers, clients etc.
It’s Aprils fools day and together with a lot of other MVP’s around the world we’re checking our junk mail folder for the e-mail that says that we have been renewed. I just got mine (actually not in the junk for the first time). This was my second renewal and I have now been awarded MVP for three consecutive years (2010, 2011). Thanks to everyone, colleagues, friends and Connecta, who have supported me the last year.
In less than a week Sweden’s largest Microsoft conference will take place in Örebro - TechDays 2011, same place as last year. The conference is already fully booked with 1.700 participants, but there’s a waiting list! The theme of the conference is “The Cloud Story”. This year I will do two sessions, or rather one long sessions split into two parts on Office 365 + Windows Azure. This will be over two hours full of great demoes and information.
Today almost everyone have more than one computer; one at work, a few at home, a media center, a PC, a Mac etc, your family members, friends and colleagues have the same. One problem is that a lot of us need access to files on one machine when we are using one of the others. For example I want to access my images when I’m at work sometimes and I do not want to copy all of these images onto my work laptop, when I’m at home I want to have the same favorites and documents that I use at work and so on.
The time has come to make a summary of the past year and have a look into the future – the year of 2009. About a year ago I made a similar post with a summary and some predictions. This year has been a fast year and I have made so much, both personally and at work. For a few months in the spring I was at home taking care of my daughters and tried not to work (which I find really hard).
So the last day of PDC 2008 is over. The brain has been cooked for a few days… This very day did not have any keynote and I kicked off with a session on the Visual Studio Extensions for SharePoint. I have note used this add-in since the first releases of it since I didn’t like it that much but had instead relied on manual packaging and deployment as well as STSDev.
Working and developing with Microsoft products is a great, but when it all comes down to deliver a full solution to your clients you must know how the different products from Microsoft are licensed – and this is a mess (SharePoint?). Hopefully you have some in your organization that has some knowledge of the Microsoft licensing or you have a nice licensing partner that can help you out. But once in a while you end up with a client that wants to know how much it costs – and right now!
Finally I have registered for PDC 2008. It will be awesome to head over to Los Angeles and attend to the conference. Since there has not been a PDC for a few years I expect some interesting stuff revealed, like what’s happening with C# 4.0 and the SharePoint team will also have a few sessions (Lawrence Liu has not revealed it’s content though). I will be staying at the Westin Bonaventure hotel, like some other Swedes.
Breaking news! Good news! Finally! Microsoft and the Internet Explorer team has finally decided to change their previous decision and decided that Internet Explorer 8 will render pages using web standards by default, instead of having some backwards-compatible mode. To catch up and read more head on over to these posts/links. I guess the blogosphere will be flooded with this today… Microsoft Press Release on the subject IEBlog - Microsoft’s Interoperability Principles and IE8 Mary Jo Foley - Microsoft caves: ‘Super-standards’ mode to become IE 8 default This is by far the best news in ages from Microsoft (the new open Microsoft?
A few days ago Microsoft dropped the news that they are increasing their openness regarding interoperability. This is great news for the world of software, even though everyone has their own opinions in this matter. What now have been made public is more than 30.000 pages of documentation of the various protocols used within Microsoft server products (Windows Server 2008, SQL Server 2008, Office 2007, Exchange Server 2007, and Office SharePoint Server 2007).
Microsoft continues to strengthen their position in the Enterprise Search segment by acquiring the Norwegian Enterprise Search company Fast Search & Transfer (FAST). FAST is, according to Gartner, leader in the enterprise search segment together with Autonomy, where Microsoft was considered Tier 2 players. After releasing the Microsoft Search Server (MSS) and the MSS Express version, I’m glad Microsoft continues to emphasize on this interesting and “hot” area. Forrester stated after the Microsoft Search Server release that:
Microsoft is currently in the middle of the process of creating the next generation Microsoft web browser, with the fantastic name - Internet Explorer 8. A few days ago, the IE team reports, the internal build of Internet Explorer 8 passed the Acid2 browser test, which is used to ensure proper support for web standards. This is not the case with IE7, take a look at the picture on the right, it should render to a nice smiley…
Neowin.net has posted a picture of suggestions of features for future versions of Windows, gathered from the Windows Early Feedback program. The list contains the top 61 suggestions which is to be presented to the Windows 7 team. I think it’s great that Microsoft tries to listen to the community, but a lot of these suggestions should have been in Windows by now or earlier! Just take a look at these few examples:
On Monday TechNet Edge will open at http://edge.technet.com. The Edge is a (social) network for Microsoft IT Professionals to connect with people at Microsoft “in an informal way”, as Jeff Sandquist says in one of the first forum posts on the site. There are no content so far, but the ReadMe.txt states that the site will contain screen casts, interviews and a discussion forums. It’s basically the same as Channel 9, but this time for IT-professionals.
Microsoft has announced their new enterprise search setup of server products, which include the Microsoft Search Server 2008 together with an Express version, that are free (currently a release candidate). This new server product is an evolution of the Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 for Search. This is great news since the Search Server (MSS) has great possibilities to integrate to other search engines or data sources (something that you only could do with some heavy BDC programming using MOSS 2007 Enterprise Edition).
When using BitLocker or encrypting your file system with EFS on Windows Vista, you will be using certificates and/or passwords. If these certificates or passwords are lost the chance that you loose the information and data on the disks that are protected is very likely. The certificates can of course be backed up on removable media or similar. But storing these kind of crucial information bits on a remote location is of course the best way and you should do that.
Today Microsoft announced that it will be extending Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 with new enterprise social computing capabilities, by adding features from the partners NewsGator (Press release) and Atlassian. SharePoint Connector for Confluence This connector will integrate the Atlassian product called Confluence which is an enterprise wiki that makes it easy for your team to collaborate and share knowledge. The connector is allowing you to create more advanced wikis and blogs than the standard features of SharePoint or you can include SharePoint lists into Confluence, it even allows you to search both SharePoint content and documents as well as the Confluence content in one location.
istartedsomething dug up something interesting from the Steve Ballmer presentation at the Microsoft Show and Tell 2007. It’s a roadmap for Microsoft products for the fiscal year of 08 and beyond! Some things caught my attention: Expression Studio V2 - there will be a new version of the Expression series pretty soon Microsoft Tellme - this can be really cool. Windows Server 2008 Update Release and Service Pack 1 - wonder what nice stuff they have in the pipeline for these releases… Microsoft Surface - it will be a real product and is not just a showcase!
The MSDN site is currently changing how it looks and works, go check it out. Apart from the actual change of colors and layout the new tabbed interface is the biggest user interface change. Navigation is far much better with this and with the breadcrumbs. The search is the most improved feature, now with auto-complete and more indexed content. The MSDN library tree seems to be much faster, really nice for users (like me) who uses the online help instead of the full DVD install of MSDN library (I always forget to update it when a new DVD arrives).
One of the features of XML Paper Specification, XPS, is the light-weight reader approach and the portable format which Adobe have had the major market share for, and still has, with the PDF format. We all like the approach with having some kind of document format that can be sent to anyone without worrying that they don’t have a reader for the document. I like that there now are competition on this market, even though I really think that Microsoft with XPS have a long road ahead until they reach an acceptable level of XPS users, even with an XPS reader built in to Windows Vista.
I will in a number of posts try to explain the XML Paper Specification document format, XPS format, that has been developed by Microsoft. I think the XPS initiative is nice from a developer and ISV perspective, since creating and reading XPS documents is easy and supported from various environments. This series of XPS articles will start off with an introduction to the XML Paper Specification and then continue with general support and competitors and then of course some nice introduction on how to use XPS in applications.
DELL, one of the largest PC computer-hardware companies , has really understood how important it is to communicate and interact with customers. First of all I am a very satisfied DELL user, except for some problems with my Inspiron 9100, and I think that the DELL support has been great. But having good stuff to sell an providing satisfactory support is not everything. To be able to stay on top you have to evolve and get with the trends and listen to your customers/community.
I previously wrote about that Microsoft is using PDF documents as downloads for product information on microsoft.com, instead of their own XPS format. Yesterday I was happy to see that the Virtual PC site contained a Technical Overview document available for download in XPS format, of course with references to the XPS viewer download and a “What is XPS?" link, and there are no PDF download available. I decided to check back on the some other pages on microsoft.
The day is finally here and Windows Vista is available for the consumer market and the commercials are everywhere. In Sweden we hade the annual Grammis awards, the Swedish music industry price, this evening and it was broadcasted on TV. The awards was sponsored by Microsoft and of course it had the standard sponsored by stuff in every commercial break (I’m glad I watched it on Vista Media Center with 30 minutes delay so I could skip those :-).
Today I start my two weeks vacation and I thought I should summarize this year. The year of 2006 has been characterized, for me, as the year of Betas and Technology Previews. I have been trying to involve myself as much as possible in the all the goodies flowing out of Redmond. Microsoft has released numerous amount of new applications and upgrades. Internet Explorer 7 The new version of Internet Explorer is the application this year that will have most impact in the short run on users.
The Panel is a site, by Microsoft, with projects focused on the Windows Vista Presentation Foundation and XAML. The site will feature applications and source code for these techniques to show how you can design and implement nice applications for Windows and Live Gadgets. Currently there are some Live Gadgets available as well as a nice 3D RSS Reader called UniveRSS. Feeds are displayed as rotating boxes in a “galaxy” in which you can move around.
Yesterday I abandoned my streak of Sony-Ericsson mobile phones which started many years ago. In fact it started when I was studying and working for the summer at one of Ericssons mobile phone assembly lines with the GH-688. Since 1996 I have been using them, except for a short period when my employer forced me to use a Nokia. I was choosing between upgrading my Sony-Ericsson P910i to a Sony-Ericsson P990 or the HTC TyTN.
According to CNET News Google, Yahoo and Microsoft teams up on using the Sitemap protocol. The Sitemap protocol is an XML standard for describing the site content and the update frequency to make it easier for search engines to crawl a site. This is great news for all site developers and owners to have their sites crawled correctly. The only problem so far is that you have to submit the Sitemap to each and every crawler that supports the Sitemap protocol.
A few months ago I saw a video from Microsoft Live Labs in which they presented something called Photosynth; an advanced image collection viewer that combined the images into a 3D view in which you could zoom in and out and walk around it. I really loved the application I saw as a demo. Today the team behind Photosynth announced a Technology Preview of the application as an ActiveX control which works really nice!
The Microsoft.NET Framework 3.0, or just .NET 3.0, has been released by Microsoft as well as the Visual Studio 2005 extensions for .NET 3.0 and the .NET 3.0 SDK. The downloads are available for Windows XP, Windows Server 2003 and Windows Vista where applicable. The .NET 3.0 is .NET 2.0 extended with new technologies such as Windows Presentation Foundation, Windows Communication Foundation, Windows Workflow Foundation and Windows CardSpace.
Microsoft offers a number of VHD downloads at Microsoft Download Center. You can find ready to go/test virtual hard disk images of: Windows Server 2003 R2 Exchange 2007 and Microsoft Live Communications Server 2007 ISA Server 2006 SQL Server 2005 Microsoft Dynamics CRM 3.0 Virtual PC demonstration The Dynamics CRM demo VHD contains a complete server with Windows Server 2003, Active Directory, SQL Server 2005, Exchange Server 2003, Microsoft CRM and Visual Studio 2005.
The new Office document format present in the new Microsoft Office 2007 suite is completely new and open and based on XML. This opens up a lot of possibilites for us developers; there is now an easy way to create your own Word or Excel documents from an application. The file format used is called Ecma Office Open Xml format. Previously it has been very difficult or expensive to provide the customers with nice Word or Excel output from an application.
A few days ago Microsoft officially released a modified Royale theme in black. The Royale theme is the one used in Windows XP Media Center. Now there is an updated variant of that theme called Zune desktop theme, download it here. This theme looks really great and matches the black and silver themes in the new Office 2007 and the default theme for Windows Media Player 11.
To view XPS files, if you do not have Windows Vista or Microsoft.NET Framework 3.0, you can download the Microsoft XML Paper Specification Essentials Pack Version 1.0. The download contains an XPS Reader, very much like the Adobe PDF reader and an XPS Document writer, which allow you to print to XPS files. There are other goodies in this pack such as: an XPS IFilter that will help you index XPS files, with Windows Desktop Search for example Windows shell handlers for thumbnail views in Windows Explorer The pack requires Windows 2000, 2003 or XP with the latest service packs and Microsoft Core XML Services 6.
Microsoft has released Windows Desktop Search 3.0 RTW and it’s available for download here (XP x86, other versions are available at Microsoft Download Center). I have been using the beta 2 extensively since the release, and the betas before that. It’s a great desktop search application and integrates incredibly nice with the upcoming Office 2007. Finding e-mails in Outlook 2007, documents on your harddrive or captured images in OneNote 2007 is really easy and fast.
Both Google and Microsoft have released custom searches which allows you to create your own specialized searches. Microsoft call it Windows Live Search Macros and Google Google Co-Op. They are basically the same and allows you to create search engines that are specialized for a certain interests, sites or set of keywords. Microsoft Search Macros is the easiest one to start with and with a few simple clicks and forms you are done.
Windows Vista will be released later this year to partners and volume license customers and in the beginning of 2007 to the masses. A successful release of a software product such as Windows Vista requires that a lot of consultants use it and can recommend it to the companies. The last few days it has come out in the open that Windows Vista will not support Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 until the first service pack is released, during the first half of 2007, and even then it will be compatibility issues.
Ok, this may not be new to a lot of you or you have never even thought about it - me neither until a few days ago when I was happily unpacking our brand new Dell PowerEdge 2950. I assemled it fast and inserted the Dell OpenManage Server Assistant CD and followed the instructions to install it, this is usually the fastest method and involves so little interaction, everything went fine and it started configuring the RAID and copying files.
Winternals Software LP is aquired by Microsoft! Winternal (previously known as NTInternals) is most known by their freeware site Sysinternals a site containing numerous awesome and crucial applications to be used with Windows operating systems such as; RegMon, FileMon, Debug Viewer etc. The aquisition is great for Microsoft as they will get their hands on Mark Russinovich and Bryce Cogswell and their knowledge in how to create small, efficient and safe applications.
My company is partners with Microsoft and I am the one responsible for managing the partnership and now and then have to log in to the Microsoft partner site to manage the partnership (check out the status of references, products and MCP’s). Since I have been using Internet Explorer 7 (beta) for a few months I have not been able to use the site with the browser, unless I fire up my test machine with W2K and IE6.
Microsoft Hardware will later this year release a new keyboard - Ultimate Keyboard. The keyboard is a wireless (bluetooth) and ergonomical keyboard with backlight functionality that senses the light in the room and when you use the keyboard. The keyboard are designed for Windows Vista and the Microsoft Live services (Messenger etc). I really like the design and that it is an ergonomical layout of the keys. I use that kind of keyboard at work but at home or when sitting at my laptop my fingers more thatn often slip.
Sitting here in the halftime of the Brazil vs Croatia World Cup Soccer game and enjoying a good game. During this FIFA World Cup tournament a must have application is the Microsoft Soccer Scoreboard. It’s a nice little application with direct results, standings and schedule of all games and teams. You can also use the application to be your football news RSS reader and Microsoft provides us with a number of interesting football feeds.
XPS (XML Paper Specification) is an electronic paper format and is competing with Adobes PDF. Since Microsoft is forced to withdraw the function of publishing to PDF from Office 2007 the XPS will be more widely adopted. Read more about it here; Adobe PDF vs Microsoft XPS. Windows Vista will include a XPS reader, but if you already now get XPS files you can download either the WinFX runtime components or the XPS Essentials Pack (beta).
There are a lot of downloads today; the new CTP of Microsoft Expression Graphics Designer was announced today. You can download it here. There are also a new CTP of the Interactive Designer. I did some initial tests by exporting images to Gif and Jpegs - and it seems to work much better now, great!!! Remember to download WinFX Beta 2!
So, Microsoft Office 2007, applications and servers, are finally here for download at http://www.microsoft.com/office/preview/beta/getthebeta.mspx. Expect some huge downloads; Microsoft Windows SharePoint Services is at 75 MB and the SharePoint Server at 1.000 MB. The Office Suite and programs is a tiny download of 2.049 MB. That would be a massive hive of 3.5” disks :-). I think a lot of bandwidth will be used on the backbones tonight, and this is just a faint hint of what will happen in a few weeks when the new public Vista beta will arrive.
Wow, thats my opinion of Microsoft Internet Explorer 7, beta 2. I have been running the preview of the beta 2 for a while and I am so pleased with the upgrade (ahem - new) browser. I have been faithful to Internet Explorer through the last years and I sure will be one truly loyal user for a few more years - if they will speed up the adaptation to new techniques in the upcoming releases.
Today I had to move (make an exact copy of) an ADAM (Active Directory In Application Mode) installation to a new server. It was not that trivial and therefore I thought I would share on how to do it. Add the BUILTIN\Administrators group to the Administrators Role in the Adam instance_This group has a well known SID and therefore can be moved to any server. Se picture below._ Make a backup of the Adam data files folder, using Microsoft Backup_The files can not just be copied because they are locked_ Create the exactly same installation on the new server_Use the same ports, service name, application directory partition etc_ Stop the newly created service_So the files won’t be locked_ Restore from the backup you created in 2)Make sure that you specify to overwrite all files, which is not by default Start the service and test it Adding the BUILTIN\Administrators group to the Administrators Role in Adam
Just came back from the training center with a passed 74-132 (Designing a Portal Solution with Microsoft SharePoint Products and Technologies (including Microsoft Content Management Server) certificate. It was quite easy to take even though I never worked with Content Management Server or Commerce Server. Most of the questions was about MCMS and Commerce Server, more than I expected.