Archive for January, 2008

SBTUG: Links, contact details from last night

Posted on January 31, 2008. Filed under: SBTUG |

[UPDATE: Fixed the News file link]

We had an excellent start to the year, with Cecelia Haddad taking us through Public Relations (PR) and Peter Ward covering the new features in SQL Server 2008 with a focus on those giving the most business value.

Here’s some links and contact details.

Cecelia Haddad: Marketing Elements

Peter Ward: WardyIT

Here’s the Tech News presentation with all the links embedded.

If you want any of the past News presentations, they are available from the previous meetings section of the site.

The SBTUG Twitter feed – http://www.twitter.com/sbtug – was being updated live by Catherine Eibner.

Andrew Coates looked after us as usual and dished out some great prizes.

Btw don’t forget to join the ‘Convince Andrew Coates to join Facebook’ group 🙂 – we need to get 150 members (currently 73).

Upcoming User Groups

And a reminder of upcoming user groups (this is also in the Tech News slide deck)

Thur 07 Feb – SDNUG – Nick Randolph – Visual Studio 2008 features

Tue 12 Feb – RDN – Darren Neimke – Managing the Development process

Tue 12 Feb – SQL UG – SQL Spatial features and Virtual earth

Tue 19 Feb – SPUG – SharePoint topic TBA

Wed 27 Feb – SBTUG & SNUG (combined meeting) – Mike Culver – Web-scale computing with Amazon Web Services (click here to RSVP)

There’s probably a few others in Feb too, if so drop me a note in the comments and I’ll add them to the list.

I’ll be having real difficulty on Tue 12 Feb because both those groups look excellent. The SQL spatial stuff, combined with Live services is exciting and opens up a world of possibilities. But, I’m a Darren Neimke fan, so I’ll be at the RDN meeting.

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ELCOM: Career plans for Developers – Part I

Posted on January 30, 2008. Filed under: Elcom, Management |

Part of my brief at Elcom is to look after all the developers (ie people management). This is something I enjoy, especially when seeing developers grow and improve themselves.

During November and December I sat down with each of my staff and started preparing their career plans. It is their responsibility to work out their goals and aspirations, it is my job to facilitate that happening (within reason of course).

The process involves preparation by the developer (approx 1 hour), then a chat with me (1-2 hours) and then some updating of notes, consolidation of ideas, etc.

During the chat we cover everything, including likes and dislikes, books, training, aims and goals, money, gripes, and then finish with some KPIs.

I thought others might be interested in how we conducted the process. Attached is the Career Plan brief, which outlines the method. I’ve included my original one, which has a few problems.

Based on feedback from the team during the process, I will be updating it to fix a few things. For example, the doc has various time frames that it asks about which can be confusing, however my point is this: when setting goals we often over-estimate what we can achieve in 1 year, but under-estimate what we can achieve in 3 years. So we need to have short term and longer term goals continually in mind.

The file is a Word document. Feel free to take it, improve it, use it if useful to you and your role. I’m open to any comments and suggestions you have…

Download here

(Here’s the books we have ordered so far, here’s the ones still to be ordered)

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TIP: Compressing Virtual PC images

Posted on January 24, 2008. Filed under: Tip |

If you’ve got a stack of Virtual PC images clogging up your hard drive(and who doesn’t these days?), here’s how to compress (or compact) them.

1. With the Virtual PC image running, choose Capture ISO Image… from the CD Menu

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2. When the dialog opens, find the Virtual Disk Precompactor.iso image (it’ll be in your C:\Program Files\Microsoft Virtual PC\Virtual Machine Additions\ directory)

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3. When loaded the program will run automatically and prompt you as follows:

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4. Click Yes and the PRe-Compactor starts it’s magic.

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5. Once complete it’ll tell you to go look in the Help file. Cheers, thanks for that!

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6. Now close down the Virtual PC (ie shutdown the operating system and everything)

7. From the Virtual PC Console, File Menu, choose Virtual Disk Wizard. Select ‘Edit an existing Virtual disk’

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8. Find the existing image you want to compress

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9. Choose Compact it

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10. Choose to save a new copy (if possible) rather than replacing the existing copy. This is just safer in case something goes wrong (you could get your image corrupted).

I usually do this, then go and delete the original once the new one (compacted) is complete.

But since we are probably doing this because we need the extra space, chances are you won’t have room to save a new file. I’ll let you decided how to best cater for this…

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11. You are ready to go! Click Finish and the process will go through and compact the image. It can take a while, so don’t do this during a busy coding session.

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12. All going well you should have a significantly reduce image when complete. Most of mine reduce by 20-30% if I haven’t compacted them for a while. On a 20GB image that can be 5GB or more!

13. Finally, you now need to find more stuff to download and fill up all the extra room you’ve got 🙂

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TIP: Selecting multiple items in Outlook

Posted on January 22, 2008. Filed under: Tip |

Outlook allows you to select multiple items with just your mouse.

The trick is to position your cursor in the very left part of the first column so that the cursor changes from pointing North-West to pointing N-E.

Here’s how it is normally:

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Now position it a little more to the left and your cursor will change to be pointing up to the right (ie North-East):

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Now simply hold down the left mouse button and drag and all the items you cover will be selected. No need to use the Shift or Ctrl key while selecting.

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This works in other areas too. For example if you view your Contacts in Phone List view it will also allow multiple selections using this method.

[See my Disclaimer if you’ve known about this tip for ages.]

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TECHNOLOGY: Security, email and SPAM

Posted on January 20, 2008. Filed under: Technology |

Reading through Australia’s IT news roundup over the last few weeks has been illuminating.

Security

Take security exploits and spam for example. This reminder on SQL exploits welcomed us back to the new year, alongside this note about how 70K web pages were hacked in a single week. And a new take on the hijacking side things was scary (but inventive): the printer hijacking method. Or perhaps just using Windows Server 2008 is enough. In any case, you’ve been warned. That won’t matter for some though, given that many still fall for lottery scams. Especially ones from the FBI. Oh, and brace yourself for Valentines Day.

Email

And speaking of email, more interesting (or depressing) were the SPAM statistics delivered by various parties. Reportedly 95% of all email traffic in 2007 was spam. Can this be true? I get a lot of spam, but 95% seems excessive. The results did come from an anti-spam firm, so perhaps they were measuring outside the norm…

Not to be outdone, another Spam monitoring company pegged the figure at 97%. I tried to get more information on how they come up with these figures, but the details are sketchy at best. For example, did they include intra-company emails (by far most of the emails I deal with come from my work colleagues) or were these excluded, and only external email sources included in their scans?

Spam traction

Either way, there’s a lot of rubbish email floating around these days. The interesting point in all this is how it manages to get any traction. The answer is in the technology the spammers use. Spammers aren’t all old school – many of the successful spammers are using attachments with MP3s, videos, SWF files, documents and other items that grab (fool) the readers attention.

Fed up with all the spam you get? Yeah, well spare a thought for the techies over at SpamStopsHere:

“SpamStopsHere has a team of technicians that review spam 24/7. This allows us to update our system every minute and block the latest spam campaigns.”

As if getting regular spam isn’t bad enough, these guys have to look at it all day long as part of their job. They must be awesome conversationalists at parties…

But here’s the scary part…

In the end, all the hassles of spam and virus attacks, web sites going down and general time wastage, are nothing compared to the most frightening threat: the ‘powers that be‘ that start deciding your privacy today is worth far less than it was yesterday.

 

[And if all that isn’t disruptive enough, seems there’s a damn sunspot out to cause havoc. Out damn spot.]

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TIP: Using GMail +

Posted on January 20, 2008. Filed under: Tip |

GMail (and some other email providers) supports the ‘+’ directive in email addresses.

Thus, if your GMail address is:

barackobama@gmail.com

Then, emails sent to the following address will reach you as well:

barackobama+temp@gmail.com

Based on the email address sent to, you can set automatic spam filtering or other rules.

This is handy for signing up on web sites, since you can choose a new email address for each, and then if you are being spammed deal with it (and know who it was that handed out your details).

barackobama+oprahclubsignup@gmail.com

It’s also handy for creating multiple test accounts when testing your web site as different users.

(Note: unfortunately a few web site validators don’t like the ‘+’ character, so this won’t always be an option)

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ELCOM: More on Windows 2008, SQL 2008, VS 2008

Posted on January 18, 2008. Filed under: Elcom, Microsoft |

Earlier this week I mentioned Elcom had moved everything over to 2008 (that is, our product – Community Manager.NET – is now targeting .NET 3.5 in Visual Studio 2008, and our site is running on Windows Server 2008 with SQL Server 2008 on the back end).

Initial thoughts were that the site was running a bit quicker. Turns out we were wrong. The site is actually running a lot quicker.

One of our techies, Alan Lee, set up a testing environment so that we could start measuring the performance improvements. You can check out his method here, and his results here. This is only the start of his testing mind you, and there are a few caveats to note (in regard to CPU usage).

But the results are stunning.

Bottom line: The Elcom site is now running over 5 times faster.

 image+elcom=speedy_bank

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TIP: Vista performance tools

Posted on January 17, 2008. Filed under: Tip |

I can’t always remember where I learn my favourite tips, but I think this one came from Adam Cogan at a recent .Net User Group meeting. In any case, it is covered via my usual Disclaimer.

Here’s how to run a quick performance monitor check on your Vista machine.

Go to the orb, and type in perf in the Search box

Vista Start menu

Choose the Reliability and Performance Monitor application. When it opens, click the Reliability Monitor option.

Reliability and Performance Monitor

In the timeline on the right you can now click on any of the events to see what happened on your machine, be it a software update, application crash, etc.

Great for working out what may have changed recently on your machine, if it suddenly starts playing up.

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SBTUG: Wed 30 Jan – Understanding PR, and SQL Server 2008

Posted on January 17, 2008. Filed under: Community, SBTUG |

Only two weeks until The Sydney Business & Technology User Group (SBTUG) kicks off for 2008.

And what a great return meeting we have lined up.

Business

On the business side of things, Cecelia Haddad will be giving us an overview of PR. The whole public relations side of business is a mystery to many, so this session will be especially relevant for business owners.

Cecelia has more than 15 years experience in PR and runs her own PR firm: Marketing Elements. I’ve seen Cecelia present previously, and was so impressed (and helped) by her session that I begged her to present at SBTUG.

Technology

Following that, Peter Ward will be giving us an overview of the new features in SQL Server 2008, with a particular emphasis on how they are relevant to software companies. The focus will be on which features are of most relevance to software businesses.

Peter is a Brisbane based SQL MVP, and owner of WardyIT, one of Australia’s leading SQL Server consulting firms.

Details

Date: Wed 30 January 2008

Time: 6pm for a 6:30pm start

Venue: Microsoft, North Ryde

Contact: call me on 0413 489 388 if you have any questions

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TIP: Using IE7 Quick Tabs

Posted on January 16, 2008. Filed under: Tip |

IE7 has a nice thumb view list of all your currently open tabs.

That’s it there, right next to the first tab. Click on it or type Ctrl + Q

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to give you this – a thumbnail of each of the sites you have open. Simply click on the thumbnail you wish to switch to.

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To obvious you say? Yep, but after using IE7 for ages, I only just noticed it a little while back. So, as usual it sits under the ‘well duh’ terms of my Disclaimer.

On a related topic – IE7 – I liked Jeff’s post today on browser shortcuts. The only thing I’d add is that using IE7Pro allows you to open a new tab from the address bar when you press Enter – ie you don’t have to use Alt + Enter.image

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ELCOM: Windows Server 2008, SQL Server 2008, Visual Studio 2008

Posted on January 15, 2008. Filed under: Elcom, Microsoft, Technology |

Elcom is all 2008.

The Elcom web site is now running on a Windows 2008 Server, with SQL Server 2008 as the back-end and Community Manager.NET completely recompiled under Visual Studio 2008 (targeting the 3.5 Framework) delivering the content.

Elcom - Enterprise Content Management

Community Manager.NET is Elcom’s content management system (CMS), which we have now re-compiled, tested and released on the .NET 3.5 Framework.

Now, you might think this is a pretty simple thing to do, but there’s actually a reasonable amount of work involved to ensure it is all performing smoothly. I won’t go into the details here, but suffice to say, when you have a mature product (Community Manager is in its 5th year of development) there’s a fair bit of code that needs to be checked. Third party tools, and rarely used custom modules only add to the mix.

Additionally, running it on two products that are still not yet released (Windows 2008 and SQL 2008) brings its own share of fun 🙂 The main hassles have been in getting up to speed with a few of the Windows 2008 Server settings, some of which Brad and Alan have noted.

And, to be honest, there are still a few little issues with the site… (can you find them?).

It’s a little early to be talking about the advantages and performance improvements that the updates provide, but we’ll report back in the coming months with issues and improvements.

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TIP: Saving Tab Groups in IE7

Posted on January 15, 2008. Filed under: Tip |

A feature I like in IE7 and use all the time is the Save as Tab Group function.

If you have a bunch of sites open and want to save them for later review, simply Add the whole set of Tabs as a Group in your favourites.

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Later when you want to open the sites again, simply go to Favourites, choose the Tab group, right click and Open as a Tab Group

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I usually save a whole bunch of open links to a Favourites Tab Group names with a date.

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TIP: CTRL + TAB in VS2008

Posted on January 13, 2008. Filed under: Tip |

Another simple one you may already know.

When working in Visual Studio 2008 you can use CTRL + TAB to switch through your open windows (similar to how you use ALT + TAB to switch between applications).

It brings up a window as shown below. Simply keep Ctrl + Tabbing through them until you get the one you want (complete with thumbnail).

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Thanks to Angus for alerting me to this one.

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COMMUNITY: User groups are starting up again

Posted on January 13, 2008. Filed under: Community, SBTUG |

Is it half way through January already?

That must mean it’s time for user groups to start up again! And what a great bunch of sessions they’ve got coming up this month. Here’s a few to get you excited:

Immediate problem: which group to choose for this Tuesday night? – they both look excellent.

Others to keep an eye on (not yet announced):

(I keep a list of Sydney User Groups on my home page. Readify also keep a fuller list of Special Interest Groups from around the country.)

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VSTO: How Do I videos by Steve Hansen

Posted on January 12, 2008. Filed under: VSTO |

I’ve linked to these a bit over on my link blog last year, but I think they warrant a dedicated post here.

I’ve been spending a fair bit of time with VSTO lately, and I’ve found Steve Hansen’s How To videos to be one of the best resources in getting me started.

What I particularly like is that he takes interesting ideas as his sample examples. For instance: how to put a WPF Action Pane in Excel, or how to Search SharePoint from Word. No ‘Hello World’ sleep inducers here.

The other thing I like is that most between 10 and 20 minutes in length. Watch one whilst you’re having breakfast. Or lunch. Too easy.

[Last year I tried to get through some of the TechEd videos but found it too difficult due to their length. At over an hour each I could never get through in a single sitting and always found myself coming back to a half watched session wondering where I had got up to.]

Short videos is the way forward.

Here’s a few links to Steve’s videos that I watched and found useful:

There are plenty more on the VSTO How Do I videos page.

I’ve also been checking out Beth Massi’s excellent How Do I videos on VB and LINQ – but more on those another time.

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TIP: Resetting Visual Studio environment

Posted on January 11, 2008. Filed under: Tip |

If you’ve installed Visual Studio with a specific environment (eg Visual C#, Web development) and want to change it something else, you can simply reset it from the Tools > Import and Export Settings menu option

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Just choose the third option

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You can save your current settings before the reset is enabled.

As usual, this tip is covered under my ‘well duh’ Disclaimer.

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CLARITY: Thin, Thick and Smart clients

Posted on January 9, 2008. Filed under: Clarity |

The term Smart Client is probably the most often misused of the three, and there always seems to be a little bit of confusion as to where Thick stops and Smart begins.

But, yet again, The Architecture Journal (Issue 14, p10) guides us with a simple and helpful summary. Some will no doubt disagree (since the issue is focused on connectivity and mobile devices).

I’ve summarised them here:

Thin Client (Online Application): Client software, normally browser based, where connectivity is required.

Thick Client (Offline Application): Client software, installed locally, where connectivity is not required. All required data is local. (Synchronising of data at some point may be provided)

Smart Client (Occasionally Connected Application): Client software, installed locally, where connectivity is required regularly but not continuously.

This is a helpful guide, but of course is still open to debate.

The key point is what the term ‘required’ means? The common answer in my experience is that ‘required’ means ‘required to provide a good user experience‘.

Thus, is a program like Outlook a Thick Client or a Smart Client application? I usually say it is both, since it will work fine on its own (eg for Contacts, Tasks, Calendar) and yet it requires a regular connection for others (eg Email, Meeting requests). If a good user experience for you means instantaneous email Send/Receive then Outlook is a Smart Client, but if you only need to check email once a day or every few days then it is a Thick Client.

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GOOGLE: Playing with Google AJAX Search API

Posted on January 8, 2008. Filed under: Technology |

I’ve been playing with the Google AJAX Search API for a few hours and it seems pretty easy. (The API isn’t new or anything, it’s just that I haven’t played with it until now.)

The advantage of the AJAX search is that results are presented in the page with no obvious refresh or having to open a new page.

You can see a simple implementation on my home page (just type something in the search box, click Search, and the search results will appear in the page) and also a test search page I built (you can view source on it to see how simple the code is).

Getting started is simple, and there are plenty of example scripts in the Developer Guide. You’ll need an API key, but that is easily obtained (and all free of course).

I won’t go through the code here as it is all well explained in the doco, but I will highlight three little tips that took me a little while to find.

1. Opening search result links in the same page (instead of firing off a new instance)

To do this simply set the Link Target using this code:

searchControl.setLinkTarget( google.search.Search.LINK_TARGET_SELF );

2. Showing all results by default

Set this line of code:

searchControl.setResultSetSize(GSearch.LARGE_RESULTSET);

3. Setting the width of the results set

You need to override the .gsc-control style. In your own stylesheet do something like this:

#searchResults .gsc-control { width : 554px; }

where searchResults is the name of your results DIV

There’s plenty of online help, especially the Google AJAX Search API Group. I’ve only done simple stuff and limited it to Web searches that search only within my web site. You can add tab groups, with local searches, news, blog, book and video searches as well.

Note: The Search results still include sponsored links, but are displayed at the bottom.

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TIP: Sending free time details in Outlook

Posted on January 7, 2008. Filed under: Tip |

Here’s how to send someone a list of your available time slots from Outlook 2007.

Create a new email item as per below example, then click the Calendar button:

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The following form will appear:

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Choose the Calendar (if you have multiple) and Date (or range) you want. I usually tick the box to limit it to just work hours.

Click OK and it inserts the list of available times into your email (note it requires the email to be in HTML format).

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Click Send.

Already know this tip? Yep, you’re probably not alone. That’s why this post is covered under the ‘well duh’ item in my Disclaimer.

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2008: The Year of VSTO

Posted on January 6, 2008. Filed under: Microsoft, Technology, VSTO |

There’s been a number of predictions made about technology for 2008, and of course a list of disappointments for the past year. Considering that no ones really takes any of them very seriously, then why not add my own 🙂

Here’s my prediction:
2008 will be the year that Office Business Applications go mainstream*.

And by Office Business Applications (OBAs) I’m interested primarily in applications built using Microsoft Visual Studio Tools for Office (VSTO) technologies**. Word, Excel, Outlook and PowerPoint are the main platforms targeted.

Outlook is the future  

My main focus will be on Outlook because it is the program (IMO) that is used by the most people, and for the most time during each day (ie ‘everyone’ has Outlook open all day). (Word and Excel are of course close behind).

Outlook has over 450 million users (admittedly most are not yet on Outlook 2007) and this will only increase in the coming year.

But why hasn’t this happened already?

Hurdles so far
Reason 1: Toolset

VSTO, even though it is in its third version is still hard to learn. There are still significant hurdles to cross, but it is getting much better. Many of the security and deployment concerns have been addressed, and the breadth of material and online help available is growing steadily.

Reason 2: Mindset

However, the main reason for the lack of mainstream* movement so far is because people are still caught up with matching VSTO applications to Office functional context.

Thus, they think (incorrectly in my Web 2.0 opinion) that an Outlook add-in should relate to an already existing Outlook task eg helping with email, or contact, a to do item etc.

Time to rethink I say.

We should start building all kinds of applications into Outlook, especially those that have nothing to do with normal Outlook activities.

Changing our mind set

And ironically the catalyst for this will be games.

I predict that there will be a rash of games built into task panes of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and most importantly Outlook.
Sound crazy? Yeah, I know…

But wait.

Imagine having Poker, Sudoku, Scrabble, Chess, Minesweeper and other games hanging off your Outlook 2007 To-Do Bar. Just sitting under the calendar and above your task list. Perhaps in a task pane of your email, constantly there as you go through each item. (With a ‘boss’ key of course 🙂

And it won’t stop there.

Follow the Facebook model

Facebook really upped their traction when they added the developer tools to allow applications to be built into the platform.
It is a simple conceptual jump to see how this can be easily transferred to Office.

The key of course is that many of the Facebook applications available have nothing to do with social networking (ie they are using a social networking platform simply as a developer platform, focusing on the reach, not the social networking nature).

Suggestions

– So, think of any Facebook application that you currently use, and simply transfer it to Outlook.

– Next, think of any gadget currently in your Vista side bar and then imagine it in an Outlook task pane.

– Further, open it up to Skype and IM, all built into Outlook, along with Twitter and other communication tools.

And the list goes on…

Key point

The key is to use Outlook (and Office) as a developer platform, and stop limiting it to just an email, contact, calendar, to-do list related platform.

Summary

Microsoft Office is a platform. Let’s start using it as such for ALL application types***, whether they be directly related to an Office function or not. Think about reach, not functional context.

And finally

Look out for VSTOgames.com later this year…

🙂

* Mainstream – there are a lot of OBAs in enterprises already of course, so when I talk of mainstream, I am referring to that adoption rate where non-IT friends and family are happily installing the applications. Various Outlook add-ins (Plaxo, LinkedIn, etc) have come close to bridging this gap – we just haven’t had the killer Outlook app yet…

** For those not familiar with VSTO (Visual Studio Tools for Office) it is a set of tools for building applications into Office programs using Visual Studio and .Net.

*** By application types, I mean let’s make our Outlook add-ins relate to anything. Obviously, I’m not suggesting we re-write our huge standalone Winform apps into Outlook 🙂

 

Acknowledgement

It was Scott Scovell (a former work colleague, now making waves in the BizTalk community) who first put me on to the whole Office applications idea. Three years ago he was telling me how we should be building some of our company apps into Outlook (I wasn’t convinced at the time, but as usual he was right…)

However, for me it wasn’t until I heard Andrew Coates present on VSTO at TechEd 2007 last year that the penny finally dropped. His excellent ‘Standing on the Shoulders of Giants‘ post in September was the clincher.

 

Note: This post is covered under my new Disclaimer ‘terms’.

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DISCLAIMER: Being as open as possible

Posted on January 6, 2008. Filed under: Personal |

This is a disclaimer post that I will refer back to from other posts.

Last updated: 06 January 2008

Opinion only

Anything you read on this site is my own opinion and not necessarily endorsed, agreed to, or even known about by friends, family, employers, etc.

If I ever represent the opinion of some one else, it’ll be clearly noted.

Well Duh! – Original thought is rare

I’m not the first one to have thought most of this up, especially when it comes to tips or code samples. So, if you come across something that is embarrassingly obvious, years old, or just plain ‘well duh’ then don’t be concerned. I probably just found it, and using the (possibly presumptuous) logic that ‘if I didn’t know about it then others probably don’t either’ I’ve popped it on here.

When I show tips, chances are they are something you’ve already been using for years…

I’m new to most things

I’m always playing with stuff that is new to me, but possibly not to you (eg VSTO). Rather than go on about what a newbie I am, I’ll simply be putting out stuff as I work through it.

Hopefully it will be helpful to someone else that is in a similar position. But please don’t misconstrue it as me pretending to be an expert in anything.

Often wrong

Making mistakes is a pretty normal part of life. As long as we learn from them, they can be helpful. That said, I’ve made so many mistakes and stuff ups it isn’t funny. The post you just read could be one of my latest…

Thus, take everything here with a grain of salt, and please let me know if I’ve botched something – I’ll be very thankful and quickly correct it.

And at times I’ll no doubt be guilty of writing posts that are little more than ‘Ignorance parading as opinion’.

Comments become posts

I suspect most people don’t read the comments on blogs (I know I rarely do), so it is likely that you will see comments left by others (perhaps you) end up as a future post. I’ll aim to acknowledge the original commenter but may not always get the chance to.

I get free stuff

Because I’m a Microsoft MVP I get some free stuff from time to time, usually in the form of software licenses. The advantage of this is that I can review, try out, use and play with stuff that I might not otherwise get the chance to.

As such, I recommend stuff that I like.

Focus on positives

Life is too short to complain about all the bad things, so I tend to focus on the positives. That doesn’t mean I don’t have the occasional rant, or highlight something if I think it can be improved. And it also doesn’t mean that I write about how everything is really great.

Generally, if I think something is good I call it, and if not I don’t say anything.

Microsoft is my main area of interest

Most of my posts are limited to the Microsoft realm. This is simply because it is my area of interest. So, if you hear me going on about how a certain product is the best of it’s type, chances are I mean the best of it’s type within the Microsoft world. There may well be better products in the Java, Unix, Mac, Sun, AS400 worlds – it’s just that I am not covering those communities in my posts…

And finally…

So there’s no misunderstanding, here’s a few things about me:

I am married. I work at Elcom. I used to work at Talman. I run a user group. I am a MVP. I am friends with a number of Microsoft employees. I am religious. I have a temper. I have an ego. I wish I was smarter. I am lucky.

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PERSONAL: Welcome to 2008

Posted on January 6, 2008. Filed under: Personal |

I’ve had a nice two week break over the Christmas and New Year period. The first week was spent on chores, family events and generally unwinding. The second was spent reading and thinking, and catching up with a few close friends.

Now, I just need another week to do all those technology related projects I intended to get finish…

I decided to avoid email and blog reading over the break, which now means I have a ton of great posts to get through. I’m sure there’s been plenty of interesting news updates.

Instead I toyed with twitter a bit, but am still undecided on whether it is worthwhile or not…

The break is coming to an end – back to work tomorrow.

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