Posts Tagged Microsoft

Key Links for SharePoint 2013

These are some key links for SharePoint 2013:

Overview Video of Microsoft SharePoint 2013


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A Curiosity about Windows Explorer Jump Lists

I really enjoy the Jump List feature in Windows 7 and I’ve described how useful Windows Jump Lists are before.

Here >> Helpful tool for Apps that don’t use Windows 7 jump lists


The Curious Frustration:

However, I found a frustration about the manner in which the “Frequent” folders list get populated.

It considers folders that are “Frequent” to be those that you open files from them (they contain files).

Therefore if you have folder of folders e.g. “My Documents\JumpList Folder\” – it won’t be counted or included.

Even though you open it and access it plenty of times, it won’t appear on the “Frequent” list on the Windows Explorer Jump list.

The Demonstration:

To demonstrate this – I created three “sub folders” (see image below).

I created a notepad document in both “Sub Folder1” and “Sub Folder2”.


I tested this by theory by opening the Notepad document in the folders “Sub Folder1” and “Sub Folder2”, those folders appeared on the Windows Explorer Jump list immediately. (see image below)


But, however much I accessed the empty folder “Sub Folder3” or the folder of folders “JumpList Folder” – neither appeared in the Windows Explorer Jump list.

Now I understand that empty folders don’t need to classed as a “used” | “pin able” item.  However, I think it strange that a folder containing folders doesn’t captured by the Windows Explorer Jump list.

I also haven’t found any documentation to state this?  Anyone seen anything useful here?

Jump List Hint & Tip:

So my Windows Explorer Jump list hint & tip, is if you use a “folder of folders” which you wish to pin to the Windows Explorer Jump list – create a txt file in it, and open it, pin the folder to the Windows Explorer Jump list and remove the file!

For another Windows Explorer Jump list tip for removing stuck pins check out : Fix for When Pinned Jump List Items Get Stuck in Windows 7 by HowtoGeek

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Cool Spotify track controls in Windows 7 preview mode and jumplist features added

Spotify is a ace music service,  and the recent Windows 7 client update has really improved my user experience.

They’ve included track controls and right-click jump list integration with recent tracks and playlists – which are pinable (if that’s a word!)

preview controls

jump list controls

How cool is that 🙂
For more info on Windows 7 jump lists and desktop preview see:
Windows 7 jump lists
Windows 7 desktop preview
and my blog post on the topic and tips on useful workarounds:
Hints on windows 7 jump lists

A small patch release on the client (circa 5/10/10) has fixed the preview controls disappearing after minimizing the client to the icon tray.
Also no start menu jump list at the moment.
Spotify also supports Function Key + ‘media control’ keys on Windows.  Click here for more short cut keys info.

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Helpful tool for Applications that don’t use Windows 7 Jump Lists

Since I’ve been using Windows 7, one of the best usability features I’ve come across is the Jump List feature which allows enabled applications (native to Microsoft Office etc.) to display two things:

  • A list of recently used files with that application (e.g. recent Word Docs)
  • Pin favourite files into the Jump List  to quickly access important files


Learn more: Using Jump Lists

This does produce a real efficiency change in the manner in which I work with files, web sites, pictures or videos etc. So much so that I actively remove applications that currently don’t support Jump Lists from the application list on the start bar.

Applications that I’m using that don’t currently support Jump Lists:

Kudos to GoogleGoogle Chrome does support them.

So what can you do with important applications that you use but don’t have Jump List support, and having them on start bar menu, could replace a launch icon for an application that does?

Well, there is a helpful utility which allows you to build a custom set of application launch short cuts into a single Jump List.

Hedgehog’s Jumplist Launcher

(video via hedgehog)

So now I have configured the Jumplist launcher to allow me to launch this list of applications from the start bar or the task bar, quickly but without upsetting the list of applications stored on the start bar which do support Jump Lists.


It does not replace my wish for those software vendors to produce a version that does include support for Windows 7 Jump Lists.  But it does help me stay more productive or at least more efficient in finding and starting key applications and maximising the capacity to use Jump List enabled applications.

So thanks to Hedgehog for this useful tool! 🙂

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Insight Client Event – Manchester Sept 9th 2009




A major set of vendors were present in Manchester to promote their products and services.  The focus was in small & medium business spectrum but there were elements that were relevant to the enterprise scale as well.  The vendors represented were also across the spectrum of the IT and computer services industry – memory and chip manufacturers, hardware manufacturers, infrastructure software to specialist application software vendors.

The most prominent stands (key sponsors) at the show being the Blackberry, Microsoft, Symantec and Sony, though as the host Insight was also well represented throughout.

Keynote talks were given on a number of current hot topics – Security (Symantec), ‘Recession proofing your IT department’ (Quocirca), Windows 7 (Microsoft) and Cloud computing (Google).

I attended both the Microsoft and Google keynotes – and you can find the my overview and conclusions on them here:

Microsoft Windows 7 Keynote

Google Cloud Computing Keynote


I wonder if this moment in time cross-section of service (software, hardware, services) providers reflects in some ways the roll-call or roster of the early-millennial IT market at the end of that era?  With the economic and delivery models of IT evolving towards utility based industrial-scale services, and businesses keen to reduce cost, complexity and overhead, perhaps this combination will precipitate some sort of consolidation and simplification in the range and breadth of service providers (even in the SMB market) – rather like the reduction of motor vehicle manufacturers during the period between and post the 2nd World war, as a large-scale industrial players absorbed, out sold and out played smaller less nimble providers and manufacturers.

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Microsoft – Windows 7 Keynote – Insight Client Event – Manchester Sept 9th 2009


On Microsoft:

The Microsoft stand had demonstration available on Exchange 2010, BPOS (S), Dynamics, Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2, and ForeFront their security and perimeter protection product.

Microsoft gave a keynote on Windows 7 (with a short preview of Office 2010), given by James Akrigg – head of technology for Partners, Microsoft UK. This was very well attended, with all seats taken in the auditorium. This was a very timely presentation for Microsoft on the verge of the public Windows 7 launch.

He asked at the beginning how many were already using or trailing Windows 7 and a good percentage of hands of raised to show that Windows 7 was in use already for that sort of purpose.

In the context of the talk James outlined the continuing emphasis by Microsoft on R&D, they have an annual budget of around $9.5 billion (larger than NASA’s R&D budget), with around  $7 billion being assigned to their communication and productivity product area (office suite etc.). This clearly highlighted the race to innovate is key component of ‘arms race’ amongst software vendors!

He outlined the main component or service areas that Microsoft was tackling in bringing Windows 7, Office 2010 and Windows Server 2008 R2 to market :- “improved virtualisation”, “software + services” [choice for customers – in platform and delivery], “business information & data”[more visible and available data], “unified communications” and  “desktop & server” [closer linkage between services and management between client & server]. [emphasis mine]

The main part of the presentation focussed on demonstrating Windows 7 – so there was both the gimmicky (playing to the audience parts)  – as well as items delivering real business value in this section.  

A look at the desktop and user experience of Windows 7:

  • Drag to the side and snap into position for Windows being worked – useful for work across two or more windows
  • The Windows wiggle, joggle the window in focus and the others disappear (minimize), joggle again the others re-appear again in their positions – useful for un-cluttering the desktop.
  • Mouse-over actions
    • In the corner to make windows transparent and show desktop
    • Over minimised desktop icons or internet explorer tabs to preview and select if required
  • Problem step recorder – combining audio and step by step screen shots to show the issue or provide training help.

A look at the ‘Desktop & Server” side efficiencies which focus on reducing delivery and management costs:

There was demonstration of ‘Direct Access’ service (Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2), which provided IPSEC (IPv6) tunnelling without the need for separate VPN clients.  Enabling much more simple yet secure remote access into corporate environments, as well as allowing better management of corporate end-points even while not directly connected to the corporate network.

He talked about the ‘Branch Cache’ feature (Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2), where duplication of data transfers across the WAN are reduced by invoking a peer-to-peer transfer of files between clients – upon the request of that asset from the server (the requesting client is re-directed to another client peer to obtain that data).

He demonstrated the use of encryption on USB key -“Bitlocker-go” and how that policies could enforce that all USB storage keys are read-only, and data can’t be copy on to them, a great feature to help the heads of security rest and relax.  Another enterprise-wide policy that would help the environment and provide ‘energy’ savings was the use of group policies to set the power management settings for all devices. 

For those concerned about application compatibility between previous versions of Windows “the previous version of Windows” – was the comment used to address that product beginning with a ‘V’ – his words not mine :-)  He demonstrated the ‘XP Mode’ of Virtual PC – where applications are launched in windows from a virtualised XP instance hidden and running in the background. This is particular useful for example where a web application still bound to IE6 is required, and therefore can be used without hampering the transition to Windows 7. He also mentioned the application compatibility toolkit available to help in application assessment for Windows 7.

Other server or management enhancement briefly mentioned were improvements to virtualisation in the Hyper-V, bringing in a similar feature to ‘v-motion’, the fact that System Center 2010 will consolidate the management of both Vmware and Hyper-V infrastructures into a single admin tool. App-V and App-locker also got a brief mention.

The last demonstration was the use of OCS communicator to do VOIP calls as well as instant messaging, which was ambitious for a live-demo – the remote voice didn’t come through on the auditorium speakers 😦 – But not really what I’d attribute to being a feature of Office 2010 -  OCS clients have been able to do peer VOIP for a long time.

There wasn’t much in demonstrating relating to “software + services” for cloud and on the productivity side of things, presence embedded on OWA 2010 and  “ignore conversation” conversations feature – again a little bit of mixed bag in terms of what was really new.

In wrapped up he again mentioned the portfolio of offering from Windows Azure, BPOS, Windows Live to Windows client and server on-premise solutions, which give the user a good choice the type & delivery of services that they need. 

In-conclusion Microsoft & Windows 7:

There can be no doubt that Microsoft have really taken on the feedback about “that previous version of Windows” and produced a very compelling desktop operating system combined with some very attractive server side integration features.  They’ve made significant advances in feature and functionality across their product set, and augmented their portfolio of offering (BPOS & Azure etc.) to remain competitive and relevant in a time of tremendous change in the mechanisms of how IT services are provided and consumed. 

Their position at the ‘heart of the enterprise’ remains intact and secure, having survived the fall out from “previous version of Windows” and the longevity of Windows XP.  This has been in part to great brand inertia and loyalty Microsoft have established around their Windows and Office products, something their competitors find very difficult to overcome.  However, what I feel will really demonstrate Microsoft’s prowess as an Enterprise software and services provider, is getting their customers to remain ‘sticky’ to Microsoft’ but not ‘sticky’ to a particular Microsoft product. I don’t think it will be Microsoft’s business plan to see Windows 7 remaining as their most deployed client operating system for the next 7 years!

Competitors of Microsoft will see their opportunities to get customers to switch to their products at the points of transition, as in the past transition paths from one version to the next has not be an easy and straight forward process.  I expect Microsoft will improve in this area and take advantage of virtualisation & hypervisor technologies to help alleviate any teething issues that occur.  Other competitors will continue to focus on gaining significantly in a specialist market (not necessarily enterprise),  Microsoft will need to stay focussed and on the ball to ensure they relevant and valued in all their markets.



Exchange and Lotus (again)

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Ok, this debate is nothing new. 

Stumbled upon this using the Terraminds search function for Twitter within the Twhirl client. (Last updated: 09-01- 2008)

Unfortunately… these guys (

“IT Comparison team consist of many IT Professionals who work for
several enterprise firms. Our team has first hand experience with most of
the products compared on this site. ”

…remain to some extent hidden; and this review is one of the few software comparisons  available. 

However, presuming they are who they say:  Then I welcome and the review/opinion of a group of professionals, who should be interested in providing an objective review and remain independent of the vendors.

Also the format is also useful…  providing a rating and comments about certain performance and functionality aspects within the product.

I hope that this site continues to provide this type of output.  I wonder why they feel need this type of site; aren’t there already sites/forums like this available!

Their home page:

However, as their forum uncovers in 5 posts; the sides of this debate are so loyal/stubborn I think it will be hard for an honest objective review to receive that type of acknowledgement from both camps.

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