Friday, September 14, 2007

Vista Service Pack 1 News

There is a beta release out now for Vista SP1

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Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Windows Vista Service Pack 1 Beta

Windows News

Now is the time and the time is now: let's talk about Windows Vista Service Pack 1 (SP1).

In addition to updates we’ve previously released, SP1 will contain changes focused on addressing specific reliability and performance issues we’ve identified via customer feedback, supporting new types of hardware, and adding support for several emerging standards. SP1 also makes additional improvements to the IT administration experience. We didn’t design SP1 as a vehicle for releasing new features; however, some existing components do gain enhanced functionality in SP1.

A Beta release of Windows Vista SP1 is slated for availability in the next few weeks. A small group of testers has been putting a preview of the SP1 Beta through its paces to help prepare for broader release. We made the choice to start with a very small group of testers because we think it’s better for both our customers and for Microsoft to keep the beta program small at the start.

Nick White

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Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Folder permission in Vista, Tablet PC Support & Vista Experience Pack

How do I… Change access permissions for all folders and files in Vista?

In a previous How do I… blog post, TechRepublic published the steps one would take to change permissions on a single file in the Microsoft Windows Vista operating system. The basic procedure is the same, but there are a few more check boxes to look at during the process. But once those checks are inserted or removed, depending on the situation, the permission changes will be propagated to all of the files and folders below the folder being acted upon.

Mark Kaelin

Tablet PC Support

The Tablet PC ushered in a new era of mobile computing as a single, fully functioning PC that's practical and comfortable while you're on the go and that also works well when you're at your desk. With integrated pen support, touch-screen support, digital-ink input, handwriting recognition technologies, and innovative hardware, ultra-portable Tablet PCs are comfortable and productive virtually anywhere, anytime.

Microsoft Experience Pack for Windows Vista

Here are four programs that provide unique functionality and fun to enhance your experience using a Tablet PC. And don’t forget Microsoft Ink Desktop, which is available separately for download.

Media Transfer
Copy or stream media files from your home computer to your Tablet PC, so that you can enjoy your favorite music, videos, or pictures wherever you go.

Ink Crossword
Solve crosswords on your Tablet PC using your tablet pen. Twelve puzzles come with Ink Crossword. You can also download a free daily puzzle and purchase more puzzle packs online.

Equation Writer
Easily add mathematical expressions to your papers. Handwrite a math equation, and then convert it into a neatly typewritten image to paste into a report or a presentation.

Ink Flash Cards
Create flash cards to help you learn facts or study for an exam. Handwrite a question on the front of a card and put an answer on the back. Draw, insert graphics, and add text, too.

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Friday, August 03, 2007

Logitech Vista Gadgets

I am using these cool gadgets in my sidebar with my Logitech IM web camera.
The motion detector is a pretty cool one!

Download Vista Gadgets

Elevate the Power of Windows® Vista™ with Gadgets designed exclusively for use with Logitech products. Turn your QuickCam into a motion detector, capture still pictures quickly and easily, or stay up-to-date with news about new Video Effects. The Vista Gadgets are free, so check back often for updates and new tools for Logitech mice, keyboards, and webcams.

QuickCapture Gadget
This three-in-one Gadget streamlines how you work with your Logitech QuickCam. QuickPicture enables you to take snapshots with a single click, QuickCapture helps you to record, store and email videos, and QuickView shows you a live feed from your Logitech QuickCam. Use the QuickCapture Gadget to compose and preview your video communications, watch remote rooms and hallways in real time, or even create a "security" monitor by setting the time-delay recording function.

Motion Detector Gadget
Keep a watchful eye—even when you're not around. This Gadget acts like a motion detection sonar, triggering a recording whenever it senses movement within the field of view of your QuickCam. Recording stops when the motion stops, and an .AVI file is saved in a location you specify. The videos are even time & date stamped to help you keep track of what happened, when.

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Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Vista, Sharepoints, OneNote & Outlook

I read this article below and it pretty much says what I would have said.
However I now have a tablet - will write about that shortly and I find it very useful.

Windows Vista improves productivity, power management for mobile PC users

When I travel, it isn't always convenient to have both my laptop and my Smartphone with me at all times. That's why I like the capabilities of Sync Center in Windows Vista. I can work on whatever device is most convenient for me at the time, and Windows Vista ensures that the same information appears on both devices.

Windows SideShow is another feature getting attention from mobile PC users. It's a new technology that allows you to view important information from your computer on a secondary display, such as a small screen on the outside of a laptop's case.

Windows Vista improves the wireless networking experience by consolidating key information in the Network and Sharing Center. From there, I can check my connection status, signal strength, and other properties.

When I'm on the go, I'm always worried about how much battery life my laptop has left. How quickly your battery drains depends, in part, on which power plan you select. When I'm home, I use the Balanced power plan, with a few extra settings tweaked. One of the power management settings I've tweaked is what happens when I close my laptop's lid. I've changed the setting so that nothing happens when I close the lid. That way, my e‑mail continues to download and is instantly available when I reopen the lid.

One of the major purchases I plan to make within the next year is a Tablet PC—a mobile PC that allows interaction via a tablet pen or, if the computer has a touch-enabled screen, a fingertip. In Windows Vista you can perform specific actions with pen flicks or touch flicks on supported hardware. You can flick your pen in a certain direction and the selection is copied to the Clipboard. What's more, you can customize the pen flicks to perform the actions you choose.

I have to make a presentation in front of an audience several times a year. I turn on presentation settings from Windows Mobility Center, a dashboard of sorts for common mobile PC settings. Windows turns off the screen saver, turns off system notifications, and prevents the computer from going to sleep. I can also customize the presentation settings to change the desktop background and adjust the volume level.

Jerri Ledford

View and update a SharePoint calendar

You can view and update a SharePoint calendar, just as you do your Outlook calendar.

You can view a calendar from a SharePoint site side-by-side with an Outlook calendar, view an overlay of the calendars as if they were one single calendar, and even copy events among the calendars.

When you connect a SharePoint calendar to Outlook 2007, it appears under Other Calendars with your calendar folders. You can connect multiple calendars at the same time, such as a team vacation calendar and a project schedule. Depending on your needs, you can choose which calendars you want to work with: a single calendar from a SharePoint site, multiple SharePoint calendars (if you have them), or Outlook calendars.

If your team stores its project schedules, conferences, or vacations on a SharePoint calendar, you can view the team calendar simultaneously with your personal calendar and check for conflicts. Additionally, you can copy items back and forth, without leaving Outlook.

OneNote Table of Contents powertoy!

Nani Courten is another tester on the OneNote team and created an incredibly useful addin for OneNote. There is a group of people sharing a notebook. Each person edits a few pages here and there every so often. Now when I open the notebook, I want to quickly find the most recent changes. If a page was changed last night, I want to see it, and if a page has been unchanged for some amount of time, I'm not as interested in viewing it. Essentially, I want a list of most recently changed pages. Nani created an addin which creates a Table of Contents for the section I'm looking at with the most recently changed pages at the top of the list. Each page in the list is a link to the page: I can see what changed last night, click the link and go straight to that page.

You can also delete the column which shows the time the pages were changed and make a table of contents which lists only the page titles. This way the user who posted to the newsgroups about wanting a summary of the pages in a section can get his information as well.

The setup files (and remember to exit OneNote, run setup.exe as admin and select to install for all users):

The source (includes setup):


Sharing a calendar via email

Did you know that you can easily create and share calendars with others in Outlook 2007? with Outlook 2007 this is an absolute joy!
I have created a “Bike Races” calendar which I can now use to store all these events. Updating my friends is as simple as clicking on ”Send a Calendar via E-mail…”, selecting the level on detail and choosing my recipients. Outlook is even smart enough to attach a “human friendly” text version of the calendar in the mail body (if I choose).
For my friends running Outlook 2007 it’s as simple as choosing to open the calendar when they receive my message. For those who aren’t running Outlook (and yes, there are a few out there), they can still see all the dates and times in the body of the email, and if they have an application that supports iCalender files (RFC 2445) they can also import them.
Create the calendar

1. Open Outlook

2. Select Calendar

3. Click File + New + Calendar...
4. Enter the calendar name (Bike Races)

5. Click on OK

One of my favorite features is overlaying calendars in Outlook. To view a calendar in Overlay mode, you can either click the left-arrow icon in the calendar’s tab at the top, or right-click on the calendar in the list and choose “View in overlay mode”.
Share the calendar.

1. Click on “Send a Calendar via E-Mail…”

A new message window will open and the “Send a Calendar via E-Mail” dialogue will be shown.
2. Select the “Bike Races” calendar in the Calendar drop down and select the visibility and detail that you want to send.
3. Click OK
4. Enter recipients
5. Click send

6. You’re done!

Benjamin Gay

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Thursday, July 12, 2007

Vista Sidebar Gadget Development, Windows Performance Tweaks and Outlook SPAM Management

Sidebar Gadget Security: Inspect Your Gadget

Review a Gadget for Security Bugs

As a first order analysis, the following should be carefully reviewed to make sure they are not introducing security bugs.

* Verify that all innerHtml constructs render only trusted or sanitized data.
You can use the innerText property to add untrusted data into the DOM safely.
* Verify that all document.write method calls render only trusted or sanitized data.
Again, use the innerText property to add untrusted data into the DOM safely.
* Verify that all calls into the Gadget object model or ActiveX controls instantiated in the Gadget pass validated data. As an example, be careful when calling System.Sidebar.Execute.
* Verify that all calls to eval() pass validated data.
* Verify that all ActiveX controls used by the Gadget are secure (no buffer overruns, integer overruns, and such).

Lawrence James

A further link: Guidance on how to develop secure Vista Sidebar Gadgets

Simple Tweaks to Improve the Performance of your Windows PC

Here are four simple tweaks for your PC that will help improve your overall computing and internet browsing experience.

Step 1: Change the IE Concurrent Download Limit - Internet Explorer's default settings only enable you to download up to two downloads at the same time. Optimizing the download settings enables you to download up to 16 files concurrently from the same server.

Method - Open registry editor and navigate to the following key:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Internet Settings

Right click the right pane and select New->DWORD Value. Type MaxConnectionsPer1_0Server and give it a value of 16. Add another DWORD using the same process - call it MaxConnectionsPerServer with the same value - 16.

Step 2: Disable Windows Indexing Service - The indexing feature consumes system resources, and may adversely affect your system's performance. By disabling the indexing feature, you free up disk space on your computer and may improve its performance.

Method - Goto Control Panel -> Administrative Tools -> Services. Find the Indexing Service, right click and select "Disable".

Step 3: Resize your Internet Explorer Cache - The default cache settings of IE are configured to hold a large number of cached temporary Internet files. However, storing many small files on your hard disk consumes valuable disk space and can cause disk fragmentation. Reduce the maximum size of IE cache to 128MB for optimal performance.

Method - Start Internet Explorer, Select Tools -> Internet Options ->General. Under Temporary Internet Files click the Settings button and type the amount of disk space to use.

Step 4: Windows Menu Display Speed - Menus are displayed on your computer according to Windows' default settings. By optimizing these settings, you speed up your computer's ability to display (and hide) these menus.

Method - Goto Start -> Control Panel -> System. Click the Advanced tab, and under Performance, click the Settings button. Clear the Fade or slide menus into view check box, and then click OK.

Amit Agarwal

Postmarking: helping the fight against SPAM

Postmarking is a new part of the Outlook 2007 junk e-mail feature; it complements the existing feature set to reduce the amount of spam in your inbox.

One of the great advantages of e-mail is that it is easy and cheap to send. Unfortunately, this is the very same reason that makes it so useful to spammers as it enables them to send huge amounts of email in bulk.

Think of Postmarking as computational “postage” imposed when sending email. This is a small burden for an individual user, but is a very large burden for spammers. Spammers rely on being able to send thousands of mails per hour, and in order to be able to send spam with postmarking turned on, they would have to invest a very large amount of money to expand their computational power.

Postmarking generation is only present in Outlook 2007 and postmark validation is present in Outlook 2007, Windows Live Mail , Exchange 2007, and Windows Mail in Vista.

Alessio Roic

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Technet in a Vista Sidebar Gadget, More Web 2.0 goodness, and YouTube news

TechNet Vista Sidebar Gadget

The Microsoft TechNet Gadget for Australia and New Zealand delivers information from several of the common news feeds and security alerts.
It supports up to 6 feeds with TechNet Highlights and Basic Security Alerts as default options. You can see items that have been read or unread at a glance. The security ticker glows red when there is something that you have not seen before.
The integrated TechNet Search means you can type a search query and it will launch a web browser window with the TechNet Search results.



Explore your city, find places to eat, shop or hangout. Share your favourites and connect with friends.


Socialize with your contacts from anywhere.With anywr you can import and organize your contacts from the tools you already use, for FREE! You can interact with your contacts, manage your calendar and back up your mobile.

Single Sign-On for YouTube and Google Account

Good news YouTube fans - you have one less username / password combination to remember since you can now move your YouTube data to Google account.
And if you have never signed-up for YouTube before, you can now create a new YouTube account with your existing Google Account. [you'll still need to supply an additional YouTube username though which is kind of strange]. Everything remains the same except that a new YouTube icon will show up in your Google Account Services page.

Amit Agarwal

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DNS Tools, Web Tools, Other Tools

DNS and Web Hosting Tools
DNS Tools

Live DNS
Whois Search
IP Whois
HTTP Headers
RBL Search
DNS Traversal

About The Netcraft Web Server Query Form
We report a site's operating system, web server, and netblock owner together with, if available, a graphical view of the time since last reboot for each of the computers serving the site.

Who is hosting this?

Who Is Hosting This is a tool that enables you to find out who is hosting any web site. Simply type in any domain name, and you'll get a link to the company that's hosting this particular domain. It's that simple!

Web Tools
Create Online Database Applications in minutes!

* Ease of use
Build forms and data views with easy drag and drop controls to create custom applications.
* Convert spreadsheet to online database
Import .xls .csv, .tsv files and start managing your data collaboratively over the web.
* Build powerful applications
Incorporate complex logic in Deluge scripting language effortlessly using Script Builder.
* Embed Forms and Views
Make your forms and views available in your website and blog.

Catergory Organisation

Socialize with your contacts from anywhere.

With anywr you can import and organize your contacts from the tools you already use, for FREE!

Online Survey Creator

Photo Sharing Even the Folks Can Handle

Developer tools

Internet Explorer Developer Toolbar

The DebugBar V4.02

The DebugBar V4.02 is an Internet Explorer plug-in that bring you new powerful features :

* DOM Inspector: View DOM Tree and modify tags attributs and css attributes on the fly to test your page
* HTTP Inspector: View HTTP/S request to check cookies, GET and POST parameters, view server info
* Javascript Inspector and Javascript Console: View javascript functions for easier debugging, see Javascript and AJAX code
* HTML Validator: Validate HTML code to correct and optimize your code and html size of your page
* And many more features:

Other stuffPresentation Delivery: TJ Top Video Tutorials To Boost Your Public Presentation Skills

Assign a custom icon to your flash drive

If you use multiple thumb drives on a regular basis, the TipMonkies weblog has an easy way to automatically assign a custom icon to each one when it's plugged into your PC.

TechNet Vista Sidebar Gadget

We have just released our new TechNet Vista Sidebar Gadget. For those running Windows Vista make sure you download this today.

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Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Outlook, Vista Sidebar Gadgets, New Web 2.0 Tools, Job Tracking Software and More

Outlook Category Organiser

Aladdin's sidebar to Outlook that allows instant control over your categories. Select a contact and the categories are assigned, make changes by using the checkboxes. Filter by categories is easy, select the category (or categories) and click Filter...DONE!

Make Windows and Windows Live your own

Sidebar Gadgets, Emoticons, Toolbar Buttons, Web Gadets, Display Pictures, Winks, Side Show Gadgets


Map your photos, show your favourite places, organize your photos with tags.

The first video guide for Hotels

Question Form

questionform is a web application for creating, publishing and analysing online surveys and forms

Side Job Track

Create projects, send estimates, track services, invoice clients.

With Side Job Track you can quickly and easily manage your side jobs with simple, straightforward project tools. Side Job Track's flexible data entry lets you to decide how to best fit your specific needs. If you have access to a web server, you can even create completely customized estimate and invoice templates.

Morgue File

A place to keep post production materials for use of reference, an inactive job file. This morgue file contains free high resolution digital stock photography for either corporate or public use.

RSS Widget

The RSS widget lets you add your own RSS feeds. Select the widget, type in a title and a URL for the RSS feed to see content for that feed. You can also configure title or description view, change the font, size, mark as read and more through the edit drop down menu. Additionally you can set up multiple RSS widgets and then apply the properties of one widget to all of them, ie color, size, etc.

“Clip to OneNote” Firefox Extension

There is a useful Firefox extension that allows you to send webclippings from Firefox to OneNote. It was developed by Gmx Lee for OneNote 2003. You can get it directly from his website. Even though it was developed for OneNote 2003, it also works with OneNote 2007.

Patrick Schmid

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Monday, June 11, 2007

Installing Vista

I have had the absolutely glorious fun of installing Vista this weekend. Long weekend, not having to work Monday, combined with PC having unexplained startup failures etc hardened my resolve to try Vista. I'm still unsure if it was a wise move or not, but at least I am (much) better acquainted with the beast.

Short summary
If you are a light to medium user of a PC using internet, email, office applications and the odd windows game - eg solitaire, then go for it. Get someone else to install Vista for you. You will love the rich easy to use interface, the classy graphics and the ease of use.

If you are a medium to heavy user, have specific applications you need to run, want to install scanners, printers, cameras, gaming devices etc then please read the following carefully "DO NOT INSTALL VISTA on a critically needed machine, on your only machine, if you do not have 2-3 days to waste fixing /researching problems drivers etc or do not have broadband"

Starting with the install, heres a list of some of the problems I have had so far.

I have a mirrored raid drive for a system drive and 3 500Gb other drives. Vista was good enough to pick up the Raid drive and would have installed on it if I hadn't selected the option to change things. When I wanted to back out I couldn't and had to end up exiting the install. On restarting the install the array had broken, and I had to rebuild the raid array. Vista did however find the drive an after a short (presumably quick NTFS) format (there are no options) It installed.

Connecting to the domain
Most users wont have this problem unless they are running a server with a domain for user authentication and logon. I had made the first user on Vista Admin. When I connected to the domain it created a user account for me using my user name, Tim. After I installed Office I tried connecting Outlook. However my previous use of Outlook had been in a user folder called Tim.Jethro (user_name.domain_name) Outlook refused to start. renaming the folder didn't help. After several tries at removing and re adding users I ended up reinstalling Vista and setting the first user as Tim (on the local machine domain). When I connected to the server domain it successfully created a Tim.Jethro folder in the users folder (to distinguish from the local user Tim folder). Installed Office and Outlook worked! Along the way I discovered that when installed, the Administrator account (system admin account for the local machine) is created with no password and then disabled by default. I have gone back and enabled it and then set a password. Note the only way to do this is to log in with your first user account, go to the advanced users tab and edit the Administrator account and uncheck the Account is disabled box) Then you have to log in with the Administrator account (no password) then click CTRL-ALT-DELETE and change the password.

Installing Drivers
I spent a lot of time researching and downloading drivers for my hardware and peripherals. Lots of time!
My canon scanner installed fine but refuses to find a TWAIN source to scan from. I have yet to resolve this one.
Check my Delicious tags for Vista and Drivers

Installing Applications
Lots wouldn't work at all. Some had compatibility issues. Some were outright difficult. Installed ok, then buggy when running. Some refused to recognise the options set in my user account from the previous install on Windows XP.
I found this Vista Application Compatibility page helpful.
Virtual CD / DVD software refuses to work or even install in some cases. That means I have to get the original cds from bookcases, cd folders or system boxes etc, instead of from the ISO archive I have on a file server on my network. Frustrating.

Using Vista
I have two 22" widescreen monitors. I have different applications on different screens for productivity reasons. I liked XP's ability to remember where an application opened last and its size (maximised or not) I have yet to find this feature in Vista.
Generally using Vista is ok once you get used to the new interface of explorer. There are some nice features and the graphics are pretty sweet.

I am not going to be installing Vista on any other PCs in the near future. I will be waiting until I have at least 12 hours free time - a luxury for me! (Doug take note!)
I will always keep an XP box available with the applications I need on it available - even after I get around to converting all my users PC's over (one day).

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Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Tech Links for Today

The ChargePod, once and for all !

The ChargePod is the perfect solution to put an end to those nightmares you're making because of all those wires !
Now, for 49.95$ and 9.95$ (cables) you can free your mind and plug all your USB thingies with no worry

Windows Vista (32 bit) 4Gb RAM limit

The Vista Windows memory manager is limited to a 4 GB physical address space. Most of that address space is filled with RAM, but not all of it. Memory-mapped devices (such as your video card) will use some of that physical address space, as will the BIOS ROMs. After all the non-memory devices have had their say, there will be less than 4GB of address space available for RAM below the 4GB physical address boundary.

Read Jeff Attwoods take on the Vista 4gb RAM problem.

Organising the World's rss Feeds - One Feed at a Time

AMbitious project to catalgue over one million rss feds. Add yours here

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Saturday, February 17, 2007

Windows Vista Action Pack Subscribers - problems in MS Land

I have written already on the new Windows Vista product from a retail perspective.

Now I write from the Microsoft Partern perspective. My business is a Registered Microsoft Partner and an Microsoft Action Pack Subscriber (MAPS).

Here is an extract from an email I wrote to MS today.

I have been reading a lot about the new Vista Licensing included in MAPS.
Nick Mayhew Blog
David Overton Action Pack FAQ
David Overton Windows Vista Clean Install
David Overton Windows Anytime Upgrade
David Overton Clearing up some things re vista and the action pack
Microsoft Windows Anytime Upgrade
Partner website FAQ

I have a number of concerns that I would like to air, though I am not hopeful of any resolution. Here we go regardless.

First of all I note that the MAPS is targeted at those partners supporting business and as such includes Windows Vista Business edition., not ultimate. Quote "Windows Vista Ultimate—a consumer and small-business edition—is targeted at high-end users, gamers, multimedia professionals, and personal computer enthusiasts." We are a partner who services some businesses, but over 50% of our customers are gamers, high end purchasers (PCS over $4000) and multimedia professionals. As such we need to be able to support this product and by forcing us to effectively pay for an upgrade has marginalised us through the generic demographic assignment so thoughtfully made by MS.
As a follow up to this I note "(Australian Note: Windows Anytime Upgrade is not available in our country at this time - advice coming on what you can do)" So how the heck are we supposed to get Ultimate?

Second I am concerned that MS has not made any provision for the use of VM to make complete installs of Vista (as opposed to upgrades)

Third it is assumed in numerous places in the above websites that partners buy PCS with OEM software. This is not the case. We custom build our PCs for internal business use and demos. We deliberately use specific parts to create PCS that emulate our customers hardware rigs. Most gamers and Multimedia professionals are very particular about the specific hardware requirements and never buy and off the shelf system. Why are we forced to install XP and then upgrade to VISTA, often with poor support by XP for SATA Raid, On board Network adaptors etc. This has just increased our build time for internal PCs.

Fourth, why is there no support for Vista 64 bit. The Beta versions contained 64bit. How are we supposed to trial the full version and demo it to our 64 bit customers?

I realise you are hamstrung by the MS legal eagles on these questions and don’t expect you will change anything because I complain, but can you please continue to pass the message on - maybe if enough of us take the time to register our complaints and ask MS to consider the partners who do not fall into their convenient demographics, they might eventually listen.

Thanks for listening.

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