Microsoft Webinars with Bechtle


I am running a series of Microsoft webinars through the month of June which I think/hope will be of interest to a lot of people out there :-)

The sessions and dates are:

June 15th

Windows 7 – Overview of Business Benefits

Click to register

June 17th

Overview of Microsoft Desktop Optimisation (MDOP)

Click to register

June 22nd

Office 2010 – Business Benefits and WebApps

Click to register

June 24th

SharePoint – Document Management, Business Connectivity Services and SharePoint Workspace

Click to register

First Event

The first webinar is tomorrow so it’s not much notice (sorry!) but the agenda is:

This session will cover the business benefits of deploying Windows 7, from both an administrator and user perspective covering things such as:

  • Increasing user productivity
  • Enhancing security
  • Flexible working

and more. The session will also cover Windows 7 Enterprise, Software Assurance (SA) benefits & Windows Server 2008 R2.

As well as myself, our Account Manager from Microsoft will be hosting the event too so there will be a chance to ask questions/give feedback directly to MS…which is always nice :-)

You can hit the “Click to Register” links above to email me or you can message me on twitter:

@richfrombechtle

We’ll be sending the registration info out around 16:00ish this afternoon so I’ll need to hear before then.

This is open to pretty much anyone so feel free to register :-)

I don’t often mention Bechtle on my blog as I don’t use it as a sales platform at all, but I feel this is a good exception ot make…I hope you agree!

Windows Phone 7: Unlocking the Emulator


Windows Phone 7 is going to be with us later this year but it’s still a fair way away. Don’t fret though, there is a way to play with Redmond’s upcoming mobile OS…Unlock the Emulator.

Gizmodo have got a great, easy to follow guide on what you need to download etc to get up & running…find that here. It only took about 15 minutes to get up & running and that includes the download time and re-starting the machine, so it’s not particularly arduous!

I’m now going to take a look through the various screens, sections and folders of the WP7 emulator and see what’s hiding. This post will be resplendent with screenshots of course :-)

Homescreen:

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The 1st hub is

“People”:

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Clicking the “+” next to “all” allows you to add new people to your contacts:

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Social networking is also handled by this hub and the default accounts available to set up are:

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Click any of those, enter your address and password and setup begins.

The next hub is

Messaging:

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Not a huge amount to show for the Messaging hub really :-) Onto the

Calendar

You get the standard “day” view:

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but I’m a big fan of the “Agenda” view:

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It makes it nice and easy to see what you’ve got coming up. Also, the homescreen hub shows upcoming appointments:

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Up next,

Internet Explorer

Here’s this very blog as viewed in “Desktop” mode on WP7 IE:

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Here’s Bechtle’s UK site:

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and here’s Gizmodo:

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One new addition that I’m very pleased to see is this:

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You are now able to open multiple browser windows at the same time, and switch between them:

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This is one of my favourite things about mobile browsing on my Android phone and something I definitely wouldn’t want to lose in my next phone, so it’s great to see it in Windows Phone 7.

The extra settings screen in IE:

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Pin to Start does what it says on the tin and pins that site to your start screen:

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That’s the Microsoft site in the bottom corner there.

“Settings” doesn’t bring anything up at the moment, at least not for me.

The next hub is one of the most exciting:

XBOX Live & Games:

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Don’t ask me why the New York Times is classed as a game but click on it and you get:

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You can see the easy “Try” & “Buy” options there, a huge improvement over app interaction in previous Windows Mobile editions.

I can’t get the Emulator to connect to Windows Live, so I can’t explore the Xbox integration any further. I have asked Twitter if it can be done though!

Our next stop is:

Pictures:

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The extra settings button gives you:

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Again you can see sharing as an integral part of the OS. Currently its only option is text messages but I assume that, once set up, your other social media accounts (Twitter, Flickr, Facebook etc) will appear there too.

This next hub is the one I am most excited about…Microsoft mobile devices, welcome:

Zune:

I’ve been using the Zune desktop software for a few months now and I love it. It’s cool, clean, sexy, swish, awesome and fully featured…to be able to continue that experience on my mobile device will be fantastic!

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It’s not just the look and UI (User Interface) of Zune that I’m a fan of, there are 2 main things and the first is:

Marketplace

Clicking the link above takes you to the Marketplace, where you can see:

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So a huge range of media available to purchase directly from your mobile…awesome :-)

The arrow at the top right of the homescreen gives you access to the other features of the OS:

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The “Convert” option is a nice addition, I use the new conversion features of the Windows 7 calculator a lot so I’m definitely a fan of this:

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All the Office Mobile Apps are there but there’s also a “Microsoft Office” option, allowing access to all the programs at once:

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Excel:

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A new feature that shows the direction MS are taking with Office integration can be found in the “personalize” section in Excel:

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This is a clear tie in with Sharepoint and one that will be welcomed by many mobile users and fits in well with the Office 2010/Wave 14 message of Increased Productivity.

Word:

Word has got an easy to use commenting feature:

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and there’s the option to send files directly from Word:

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Sharepoint:

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This gives you quick and easy access to your corporate Sharepoint sites from your Windows Phone 7 device.

The settings for the Sharepoint Client are:

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Built in support for UAG (Unified Access Gateway) isn’t something I was expecting to see, but perhaps isn’t surprising.

OneNote:

OneNote currently gives this error message:

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This is the first time I’ve seen Skydrive integrated into any other Microsoft products, and I think it’s a great idea. The 25GB of free storage sitting in Windows Live is under-utilised by almost everyone I know which is a shame, as SkyDrive is a brilliant, and generous, offering.

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OneNote has lost none of it’s rich media inclusion in the mobile version, with the ability to add pictures & audio recordings right on the device.

Powerpoint:

Oddly, Powerpoint isn’t listed in the Office App but it is still there! However there are no .pptx’s built into the emulator so there’s nothing for it to open:

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All in all, Office on Windows Phone 7 certainly looks a lot sleeker and easier to navigate than on Windows Mobile 6.1.

Other apps in the OS include:

Maps

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That is a very well rendered image of the London Eye in the Windows Phone 7 Maps app.

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The above shows that it’s very clear and well designed application, easy on the eyes and easy to see where you’re going.

Camera:

One camera setting I really like is the top one:

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Being able to wake the phone up with the camera button will allow you to grab those snaps that little bit quicker…which can be the difference between a great picture and a picture of nothing!

Settings:

The settings menu shows that Microsoft MyPhone, the online backup service Microsoft released last year, is now integrated into the Operating System rather than being a separate add-on.

Myphone Features:

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Themes:

If you’re not a fan of the dark default theme, you can brighten it up as so:

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System Info:

This gives a screen familiar to PC users across the world:

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ands also:

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The “Shortcuts” menu also gives you access to the file structure:

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I think it would be a good idea to keep these in the final version of the OS; it makes it more consistent with the desktop Windows experience and is also usual to many users. However, Jason Chen of Gizmodo said something similar and Long Zheng said he was a “moron” who deserved to “be sacked” so I’ll stay away from that hornet’s nest ;-)

Conclusion:

There are still bits of the OS that aren’t present in the emulator as well as a few areas that are a bit glitchy, but that is to be expected with something that isn’t even a beta but simply an expanded emulator!

However there are plenty of things in here that make it clear this is Microsoft’s greatest Mobile Operating System ever. Gone are the confusing menu layers and different styles of previous Windows Mobile editions and in are smooth, sleek lines of the new Metro User Interface. I’m an Android user now and am pretty pleased with it but Windows Phone 7 has a real chance of winning me back…however, it’s going to be all about the apps at the end of the day. My HTC Hero is an e-book reader, a barcode scanner, a food tracker, a translator and more…if Windows Phone 7 can’t be all those things, and more, then it’ll have to be “thanks but no thanks Redmond”.

So I think image

Office Web Apps on Sharepoint 2010


I’ve recently started building the demo server for our stand at the BETT show 2010 and it’s been a fantastic experience! Installing server 2008 R2 was a breeze and Sharepoint 2010 went on with just one (easily fixable) issue related to a missing hotfix. Once I’d got those up and running, I decided to get Office Web Apps installed…that too, was pretty easy…although I had the help of a great Technet article and a blog over on MSDN to guide me.

First of all, the technet article to installation is:

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ee695758(office.14).aspx#bkmk_install_standalone

As you can see, I was putting it on a standalone server – for ease of demonstration if nothing else :-)

The initial steps are few and simple but nothing appeared to be working. However, if you scroll a little down the page, you’ll see a bunch of

Powershell

scripts like this one:

$machinesToActivate = @(“contosoapp1”,”contosoapp2”)
$serviceInstanceNames = @(“Word Viewing Service”, “PowerPoint Service”,
“Excel Calculation Services”)
foreach ($machine in $machinesToActivate) {
foreach ($serviceInstance in $serviceInstanceNames){
     $serviceID = $(Get-SPServiceInstance | where
         {$_.TypeName -match $serviceInstance} | where
         {$_.Server -match "SPServer Name="+$machine}).ID
     Start-SPServiceInstance -Identity $serviceID
}
        }

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As the note above shows, these Powershell scripts are only required in certain instances…and of course, I had that instance :-) Luckily, just copying the scripts from Technet and pasting into the Powershell window worked perfectly…which was good!

At this point I could see that everything was where it should be and services seemed to be running etc, so I headed over to the demo site I’d set up to test it. Unfortunately I kept getting an error message…so back to Bing, where I found this extremely helpful post:

http://blogs.msdn.com/officewebapps/archive/2009/11/18/9924525.aspx

I had a read through and quickly saw the problem. It was simple and obvious but had confounded me for about 45 minutes (don’t say it!)…it was:

“Activate “Office Web Apps,” listed under SharePoint’s Site Collection Features, on each site collection for which Office Web Apps should be available.”

So that was the missing step…activating it inside Sharepoint…D’oh! Homer Simpson

Bechtle @ Bett 2010


BETT “is the world’s largest educational technology event” and Bechtle will be there for our 2nd year 13th-16th Jan 2010. It really is a very important event in the world of Education…

 95% of exhibitors at BETT 2009 felt they met a good quality of visitor at the show

 88% of exhibitors have said that attending BETT is important to their business

 89% of visitors agreed that BETT is excellent for finding new products and suppliers

Last year our stand was hardware focussed, all about Thin Clients, Servers and other such things. This year however is different, as I’ve commandeered quite a big portion of the stand for Software ;-) I’ve been planning recently and, while it’s not 100% confirmed yet the set list looks something like this:

Demos:

  • Windows 7
  • Windows 7 Touch
  • Office 2010
  • Sharepoint 2010
  • Semblio

Discussions:

  • Academic Licensing
  • Cloud Computing/BPOS
  • Windows Server 2008 R2 w/ Windows 7
  • Windows Server 2008 R2 & Virtualization
  • Licensing in a Virtual Environment

I’ve got a busy few weeks ahead of me building and perfecting the demos, but it should be good fun. I’m also on the verge of ordering some of our swag for stand visitors and I think everyone will agree, it’s pretty awesome ;-)

So if you’re at #BETT2010 @ London Olympia Jan 13-16…come and see me on Stand G118 :-)

Microsoft Office Web Apps


Microsoft’s Office Web Apps have garnered a lot of interest recently as a new way of interacting with Office, and as a competitive move against Google Docs. Despite me having had the Tech Preview of Office for a while (and indeed, I installed the beta tonight), I’ve just got Web Apps in my Windows Live SkyDrive…so let’s take a look :-)

I now have a button entitled “New”:

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Excel Workbook:

After giving the workbook a name, you’re presented with what is easily recognisable as an Excel Workbook:

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You can see that most of the ribbons tabs are missing, here we have just “Home” and “Insert”, but I can do pretty much everything I generally need to do in Excel. Admittedly I’m nowhere near a Power User but I think I’m probably a typical user..

FAQs:

Can I do Sums? Yes:

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Can I drag a formula down into other cells? No

Can I create Charts? No

Can I change font size, colour and type? Yes

Can I insert tables? Yes

Can I do filters? Yes, if you insert the data into a table:

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Can I paste into Excel Web Apps from other programs? Yes

The “File” menu has some extra options too:

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Word:

Word Web App isn’t available yet:

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Powerpoint:

Powerpoint Online is similar to Excel, in that it is cut down but contains all the basic features you’re likely to need:

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You get a choice of different types of slide when you add a new one:

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Something I wasn’t expecting is a great choice of Smart Art:

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That’s pretty impressive :-)

The Slideshow works perfectly well but it opens up in a new browser window, so it gets stopped by pop-up blockers.

The big thing that’s missing is Transitions though…maybe they’ll be coming soon…

OneNote:

Same as Word, OneNote isn’t available yet:

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