Microsoft Windows 8 Metro Style Start Screen

Microsoft’s newest desktop Operating System, Windows 8, is still many months away (9 at least I’d say) but we’re seeing more and more info about what it will contain and how it will look.

Metro is the design style introduced with Windows Phone and is now making it’s way across the Microsoft eco-system…soon to appear in the Xbox dashboard and now in Windows 8. Here you can see:

The Start Menu:


Desktop Notification Balloon:


This obviously fits very well with the tiled start screen we’ve already seen from Windows 8:


I am certainly looking forward to getting my hands on the beta of this ASAP…just need a tablet so I can test it properly…hint hint Winking smile

Fantasy Football League 2011-2012 Season

For all the football/soccer fans that read this blog, I’ve set up a new Premier League Fantasy Football League for the new season – and would be honoured if you’d come and join Smile

Head over to:

and sign in/register.

Then go to “Leagues” in the top bar:


“Join a League”:


Choose “Private League”:


Hit next and it asks for a code:


Enter the code – 280698-83455

and away you go!

Windows Phone 7 can’t access Marketplace

I came across an odd issue with Windows Phone 7 yesterday. The device, an HTC HD7, just could NOT access the Marketplace in any way…updates failed, new apps couldn’t be downloaded etc. The error it gave was:

“The Windows Live ID service is unavailable”

I checked various settings but everything seemed in order. Wifi & 3G were working, the marketplace worked on other WP7 devices, Hotmail still worked on the phone etc so I was at a loss.

After some head scratching, a solution was reached – which I’d like to share with you all just in case it crops up.

Go into Office and OneNote.

Select “All”.

Hit the “Sync” button on the bottom bar.

That will bring up a username/password prompt for the Live ID used with the device.

Even though the fields will be pre-populated (probably), re-type the password just to be sure.

Hit “ok” and BOOM – you’ll have access to the Marketplace Smile

I don’t really understand what the issue is to be honest. I could understand if ALL things that used your Live ID failed but the fact that Hotmail still worked seems odd.

If you’ve got any ideas as to the potential cause – let me know!



Lync Online & Lync Translator

I’m sure you already know what Lync is but just in case you don’t:

Lync is $1,000,000,000.

Lync is On-Premise.

Lync is Online.

Lync is Awesome.

Lync is Multi-Lingual.

It does:

  • Instant Messaging
  • P2P Voice Calls
  • Presence (are they free, in a meeting, on lunch etc)
  • Video Conferencing
  • Web Conferencing
  • Desktop Sharing
  • Presentation Sharing
  • VOIP Calls

and loads of other things too, like collaborative whiteboards & polls.

Microsoft Lync 2010.png

However, this post is about a specific add-on for Lync and what to do if you’re having problems with it & Lync Online.

Lync Translator:

This is a great feature that I saw demoed at the Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) this year in LA and it does what it sounds like – it translates your Lync IM’s from 1 language into another!

You choose your language:


Then choose the recipient’s language:


Then Voila:


It of course will translate when they reply too, allowing 2 people without a common language to have a conversation, be it personal or business.

It companies with offices across the world this could be invaluable. Not only that, as Lync allows you to federate (i.e connect) with other companies this could be used for communicating with customers and partners too!

Getting it working with Lync:

Translator is an add-on for Lync which can be downloaded from:

and a quick, simple install to get you started.

However I ran into this issue:


I thought this was due to me using the Office 365 Lync Online but I was told via Twitter that it does work. It was a Snr Program Manager with the UC team in Redmond, Tom Laciano AKA (@TomLCSKid) who had tweeted me and he was also kind enough to help me further with some troubleshooting.

It turned out to be quite a simple step but I’d never have come up with it myself:

· Look in IE’s Trusted Sites (Tools/Options/Security/Trusted Sites/Sites) and make sure there’s an entry for

That was it. I added that in and BOOM – I was off IMing in various languages with ease Smile

So if you get a similar error – make sure that step above is completed first off…

Hope that helps someone out there…