David Overton's Blog and Discussion Site
This site is my way to share my views and general business and IT information with you about Microsoft, IT solutions for ISVs, technologists and businesses, large and small.  

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  • Tech days 2010 – UK, covering Virtualisation, Office 2010, Windows 7, SQL Server 2008 R2, Visual Studio, the Essential Mix, Rich Client and Windows Phone

    Registration for UK Tech Days events from 12 th to 16 th April is open!. UK Tech Days 2010 is a week-long series of free events run by Microsoft and technical communities to celebrate and inspire developers, IT professionals and IT Managers to get more from Microsoft technology.  Our day events in London will cover the latest technology releases including Microsoft Visual Studio 2010, Microsoft Office 2010, Virtualisation, Silverlight, Microsoft Windows 7 and Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 plus events focusing on deployment and an IT Manager day. Please visit our website for full details: http://www.microsoft.com/uk/techdays and follow what’s happening @uktechdays   The agenda looks like this: Monday 12th April Tuesday 13th Wednesday 14th Thursday 15th Friday 16th IT Pro Days Virtualization Summit Office 2010 - the next wave Windows 7 - Deployment SQL Server 2008 R2 - The Platform Raising the profile of IT Dev Days Visual Studio 2010 Launch Visual Studio 2010 and .NET The Essential MIX Rich Client Windows...
  • Want MIX08 in the UK? Then come to ReMix08 in Brighton on 18th and 19th September and save if you book an early bird place now

    I love what goes on at these events. It would be good to see you there. Here is the little advert: Final chance to save £110 . Very limited Early Bird places left - don't say we didn't warn you! 1,000 web developers, designers, development managers and technology evangelists are going to take the media they love to the next level. Why? Because ReMix UK 08 is getting bigger and better. Scott Guthrie Developer Track Bill Buxton Design and UX Track For Designers, Developers, the Community and Beyond Work Julie Howell, Fortune Cookie • Brendan Dawes, Magnetic North • Paul Foster, Microsoft Evangelist • Guy Smith-Ferrier, Capella • Tim Regan, Microsoft Research • Mike Taulty, Microsoft Developer Evangelist See the website for the growing list of speakers... What's in the mix • Panel discussions to Interactive Mash Ups • Designers and developers hand-in-hand to • All day VJs to conceptual walls • Open Source project, CodePlex • Backnetwork to Moo cards • Photosynth master classes to Microsoft Surface • Our...
  • If you liked the Deep Zoom (aka Sea Dragon) tool, then you will be blown away by the preview of the Deep Zoom Composer

    I created my Star Wars Deep Zoom preview and really liked it, but then contacted the author of the site to see how I could add more pictures and control the layout &/or host it myself. Normally when I ask these sorts of questions I get a response about "later" and "out of beta", but instead I got pointed to these 3 articles and I have to say Wow!! You can see what someone can do with this technology at The Hard Rock Cafe - http://memorabilia.hardrock.com/ Download the Preview of the Deep Zoom Composer What is the Deep Zoom Composer? Deep Zoom Composer allows you to quickly import your own images, arrange and position them to your liking, and export the final output as either a Deep Zoom Image or Collection that can be fed into Silverlight's MutliScaleImage control. This means that you too can use your own images and display them using our Deep Zoom technology. Download the Deep Zoom Composer However, having done this I needed a simple user guide. At this point the blog Expression Blend...
  • How to Report a Problem Page in IE8 with the Report a Problem Webpage for Internet Explorer 8.0 Beta Add-On

    I've spent the day using IE8 and while it is faster, some pages have problems. If your seeing this, download this add-on to submit to Microsoft. Report a Webpage Problem Internet Explorer 8.0 Beta Add-On The Microsoft Report a Webpage Problem Internet Explorer Add-on allows the user to submit a report to Microsoft for webpages they believe are having rendering problems, scripting errors, or various other types of problems Download details: Report a Webpage Problem Internet Explorer 8.0 Beta Add-On To use, go to the tools menu and select Report a Webpage Problem Then you get to submit a page like this: thanks David Technorati Tags: Beta , Microsoft , IE8 , Internet Explorer , Application Compatibility , Support
  • Microsoft SQL Server Data Services - more online services announced this week

    This is one big week for developers (as Mix was always going to be). We now also have data services in the cloud ( http://www.microsoft.com/sql/dataservices/default.mspx ) On-demand Scalability SQL Server Data Services (SSDS) are highly scalable, on-demand data storage and query processing web services. Businesses use storage resources as needed transforming large upfront capital and operations expenditures into much smaller on-demand costs. On-demand storage and access Store and query your data virtually any time, anywhere on the web. Use and pay for storage resources as you go. Scales easily as your data grows Take advantage of virtually no restriction on the amount of data stored. Use the same service interfaces for your storage needs at any scale. Easy to manage Easy to use web-based service for provisioning, deployment, and monitoring. Lights-out manageability and commodity hardware for lowest service cost. Business-ready SLA SQL Server Data Services are built using robust Microsoft SQL Server database technologies...
  • Training announcement for ISV who are developing or planning to develop on the Windows Live Platform (Silverlight, Live Controls, Live ID, Messenger, Spaces)

    Another entry from the ISV blog - this time for developing on the Windows Live platform Training announcement for ISV who are developing or planning to develop on the Windows Live Platform. The Partner Readiness have just announced the release of the Windows Live Platform Services course. This 1.5 day deep dive covers the core technical aspects of Windows Live Platform Services including: Overview of Windows Live Silverlight Streaming Windows Live Controls Windows Live Tools for Visual Studio Windows Live Data (Authentication/Delegation model) Live ID Quick Apps Deep Dive (dev.live.com/quickapps) Messenger Presence Spaces APIs Dates currently scheduled are: 28–29 April (London) https://training.partner.microsoft.com/plc/details.aspx?publisher=12&delivery=242857&site=UK&lang=en-uk 14 -15 May (Altrincham) https://training.partner.microsoft.com/plc/details.aspx?publisher=12&delivery=242858&site=UK&lang=en-uk 9-10 June (London) https://training.partner.microsoft.com/plc/details.aspx?publisher...
  • Office from the past, ODF and OOXML (Office of today and tomorrow) and why is organic growth nearly always bad for software and why re-writing is not good either

    As I have said many times in the past I used to write document conversation tools. I believe this gives me a valid reason to be able to pass comment on the ODF/OOMXL debate that is raging at the moment. If these types of questions interest you, have a look at the book I talk about later ( In Search of Stupidity: Over 20 Years of High-Tech Marketing Disasters (UK) or here for US link ) Lets start with some history about the Office 97-2003 file formats. Joel was writing about this today ( Why are the Microsoft Office file formats so complicated? (And some workarounds) - Joel on Software ). Note that part of what he has commented on is the fact that the documentation for the binary file format is now available from Microsoft: Why are the Microsoft Office file formats so complicated? (And some workarounds) This item ran on the Joel on Software homepage on Tuesday, February 19, 2008 Last week, Microsoft published the binary file formats for Office . These formats appear to be almost completely insane. The Excel 97...
  • Microsoft DreamSpark - Free developer tools for students around the world. Think of the opportunities!!

    I heard about this a day or two ago and I have to say this is a MASSIVE move for Microsoft and something that can only do good. As a student you can now download, at no cost, the professional Microsoft development tools. That is all there is to the programme, however this is a dream come true for many educational institutions. Just think of the opportunity - help them implement all this software, when the software is free to the students!! Channel8 described it as : How would you like a free copy of Microsoft Visual Studio 2008 ? How about the entire Microsoft Expression Studio ? Not enough...... how about Microsoft Windows Server 2003 and more? For once, something that sounds too good to be true really is this good and really is true. Starting today (or soon in some areas), students worldwide will be able to download our professional development and design tools for free ! It's called DreamSpark and it is upon us. For information on the project from PressPass: PressPass: What is the thinking behind Microsoft...
  • Business Contact Manager Team Blog - good information, including SQL and VBA tools, Smartphone and product information

    I was hunting for an answer to a questions someone asked me and I came across this the BCM Team Blog. Below are some of the recent posts. It is worth adding to your RSS feed list. Troubleshooting BCM for Pocket PC/Smartphone Get Business Contact Manager with Outlook Standalone How to Change BCM Polling Interval? Happy Holidays Business Contact Manager for Outlook 2007 SP1 is Live Business Contact Manager Team Blog ttfn David Technorati Tags: Microsoft , BCM , Business Contact Manager , Office 2007 , Office System , CRM , Small Business
  • Time to Nominate your solutions for the Awards at the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference!

    You may remember people who have one awards at the Worldwide Partner Conference before - is it your time now? I saw Steve Morrow (my boss) has put some great information on the UK ISV blog and while he is thinkking about it from a purely ISV point of view, you could apply under any of the categories. Time to Nominate your Applications for the Awards at the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference! Time to submit your entry for the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference Awards program! This is a great way to get some free PR. As a finalist or winner you’ll receive promotions that identify your company as part of an elite class of Microsoft partners. Logos will also be displayed in Microsoft Solution Finder. The nomination process is open NOW and closes on 4th April 2008 . Finalists for the 2008 awards will be announced on June 9, 2008. Winners will be announced and recognized at the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference in Houston, July 7-10, 2008. Go to Award Submission Tool For a full list of the award categories...
  • Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 VPC Image

    I saw this and thought I would share for those who had not seen it - Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 VPC Image Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 VPC Image Get familiar with the upcoming Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 release: Preview Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 in a Virtual PC (VPC) image. Overview This Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 preview leverages Release Candidate (RC0) code in a Virtual PC image. The demo is designed as a one-computer setup with Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 server and Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 client for Microsoft Outlook. Note: Although the image can be utilised on a single PC or laptop computer, it is strongly suggested that the image be run using an external USB 2.0 hard drive for best performance. If you do not have an external drive, you can run the image locally on the host computer; however, you will experience a decrease in performance. Contents This VPC contains the following: Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 (RC0) Microsoft Dynamics CRM Laptop and Desktop Client Microsoft Dynamics CRM SDK (C:\CRM Tools\SDK...
  • Register Now for the Windows Server 2008, Visual Studio 2008 and SQL Server 2008 UK Launch Event

    I saw this in the Technet newsletter and thought I would pass it on: The launch of Windows Server 2008, SQL Server 2008 and Visual Studio 2008 is drawing near and we are pleased to announce the three main launch activities to help you learn more: 1) The main launch event on 19 March at the ICC Birmingham - register now 2) The TechNet and MSDN Roadshows in April and May - pre-register now 3) The Virtual Launch Experience also on 19 March - pre register now ttfn David Technorati Tags: Events , Windows Server 2008 , SQL Server 2008 , Visual Studio 2008 , Launch
  • Heroes Happen Here - Where are you?

    If you don't know about the Heroes Happen Here :: Home campaign then you are very much behind the times. The Launch events for SQL Server 2008 (errrm), Visual Studio 2008 and Windows Server 2008 are fast approaching and so is your customers ability to buy and use them - do you understand what, why and when? If not, go to the website and see how your customers can benefit and why you should learn more about the product and what you can do to improve your business with these products. ttfn David Technorati Tags: Heroes happen here , Heroes happen {here} , Heroes , Windows Server 2008 , SQL Server 2008 , Visual Studio 2008
  • Microsoft Live Labs Volta Team Blog

    I saw this and thought I would share. Write apps with another simple set of tools. Between Popfly, this and more it seems that building on Microsoft is getting easier and easier. Have a look at http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/features/2007/dec07/12-05Volta.mspx for some more info. Announcing Volta: Web Development Using Only the Materials in the Room Today, we are announcing the Volta technology preview , a developer toolset for building multi-tier web applications using existing and familiar tools, techniques and patterns. Volta’s declarative tier-splitting enables developers to postpone architectural decisions about distribution until the last possible responsible moment. Also, thanks to a shared programming model across multiple-tiers, Volta enables new end-to-end profiling and testing for higher levels of application performance, robustness, and reliability. Using the declarative tier-splitting, developers can refine architectural decisions based on this profiling data. This saves time and costs associated...
  • Looking for where to focus as a developer - latest job ads data suggests Microsoft based technology is the place to be!

    I saw this data on developer jobs at http://www.itjobswatch.co.uk/default.aspx?sortby=0&orderby=0&q=&id=1300&lid=2618 and thought it would make some interesting reading. It shows: lots of demand around MS technologies and reasonable pay (average salary over £40K and about 3rd of the market is focused on MS specific skills) J2EE and Websphere pay/cost the most in terms of staff, but represent just 7.8% of the market demand, so if you are here, you are feeling good!! Old style HTML web jobs are dying in terms of pay (html, CSS, XHTML, JSP) and falling demand in terms of the number of jobs AJAX, the next great web dev scenario is not in high demand, which is a surprise to me For those of you who like graphs, you can see the highest salaries for J2EE & Websphere people, but this is probably caused by the fact that there are so many fewer jobs, so rushing to get skilled in this area could severely weaken any salary advantage. The chart above was created from the data below. Development Skill Average...
  • Partner Perspectives : There's a new breed of Web Solution partners

    If you work in the ISV / developer end of the market then there is a chance you will have met Katy already, however here is a person who is passionate about people who design and deliver solutions. When I first sat down and "worked" with Katy (rather than chatting several times previously) it was when I was new to the ISV team and Katy was a beacon of information. Once we had the ISV "bit" done we then spent a considerable amount of time looking at what designers and web developers needed in life. Now, as if by magic she now has a new area of focus... read more at Partner Perspectives : There's a new breed of Web Solution partners . Oh, and yes, it is about Silverlight, Expression Web and more!! There's a new breed of Web Solution partners Katy Hamilton's got something up her sleeve. It's a new brand of partners - the Web Solution partners. The move towards next-gen web applications such as Silverlight and web tools such as Expressions has opened up a whole load of new opportunities...
  • Action Pack - you now have to take an exam to qualify ... so do so!

    I suspect that you will have seen this everywhere before, but just in case, see below - notice that SBSC and Web Developers, designers and agencies get an even more valueable kit: Enhancing the value of Microsoft Action Pack Subscription In response to feedback from our partners, on 30 November 2007 we will unveil a new renewal and subscription procedure, as well as launch two new special edition kits. This is all part of our continual effort to enhance the value of the Microsoft Action Pack Subscription (MAPS), our quarterly toolkits of software and resources that help our Registered Partners stay competitive, meet their sales goals and grow their business. Essential courses and assessments Starting 30 November, new MAPS subscribers must take an online course and pass an assessment (with a score of 70% or higher). From 1 March 2008, those partners that would like to renew their subscription will also be required to take an online course and pass an assessment. Most courses run for an hour, while our straight...
  • Microsoft Passes OpenAjax Alliance Interop Tests

    More evidence that Microsoft is playing very nicely with its "open" buddies. The Open Ajax Alliance has confirmed that Microsoft has passed its interop tests. Microsoft Passes OpenAjax Alliance Interop Tests By Darryl K. Taft Microsoft joins several other companies and open-source projects in meeting OpenAjax guidelines. Microsoft has passed the OpenAjax Alliance's suite of interoperability tests to prove that its software can interoperate with other parts of the OpenAjax ecosystem. On the eve of the AJAX World Conference and Expo 2007 West taking place Sept. 23-26 in Santa Clara, Calif., Microsoft officials said the Redmond, Wash., company's software passed the OpenAjax InteropFest 1.0 tests and is interoperable with other AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML) components in the OpenAjax ecosystem through the OpenAjax Hub. The OpenAjax Hub is a set of standard JavaScript functionalities defined by the OpenAjax Alliance, with strong focus on being small and fast. Brad Abrams, a project manager...
  • The Open XML Vote (OOXML) and why I hate politics

    This is a rant and it is my opinion and does not reflect that of Microsoft or others - It is my Opinion! From 1992 to 1995 I had to write document converters - I had to pick apart binary file formats and translate them to another format. It was hard work and I JUST WISHED people would create a largely encompassing standard for documents that was documented so I did not have to do all the work myself. Role forward to today, Office is still the prominent document format (which is now documented on http://msdn.microsoft.com ), but there is a new kid in town that encompass everything that an Office document is and more. This is the Open XML document format. People have cried for years that they wanted the Office Document standard to become more than a defacto standard, they wanted it to become a format an open standard. It was always going to be large, but to cover all the features and functions available in Office, it would have to be. There is no point in the standard being something different to that used in Office...
  • New blog "hackers @ microsoft"

    A new blog has opened at Microsoft called "hackers @ microsoft". As many people know Microsoft is very strongly involved in the security arena. Part of this is having people who have hacked or now hack against our products to understand how to make them more secure. This group of people know have a voice in the blogsphere. Welcome to a new blog from Microsoft. The focus of this blog is likely to be a little different from most other blogs you'll see on blogs.msdn.com. Microsoft employs some of the best hackers in the world and actively recruits them and develops them. They work on all kinds of projects, whether it be in development, research, testing, management and of course security. Of course, there is controversy even in the word " hacker " but I don't think that should stop us from using it in the manner I think is the most appropriate. At his or her core, a true hacker is someone who is curious and wants to learn how systems work. This can and of course at Microsoft is done in...
  • The Linux is beginning to admit that Microsoft might have some good ideas, but shows that it is still important for you to code the kernel and there still is not a way to know an application will run on it!

    You know me, I like talking about Linux and when I saw these three articles I thought I had to share them. They all came out last week. The 1st article discusses the need for a bit more respect between the Windows an Linux camp. Microsoft has tried to put fact behind the arguments against Linux adoption and while some people think the surveys were doctored (they were not), they did start the discussion as to why each OS was better. I have said before that this should not be a religious discussion, but an evaluation based upon needs. In some cases people will choose Linux, in others Windows. It is nice however to have this recognised by the Linux community. While the article only discusses Microsoft's PR, there is an underlying respect beginning to grow with statements like "has a good track record in fending off competition" have to mean more than just marketing otherwise it paints most users as pretty stupid. One other thing discussed is the fact that the lack of release synchronisation causes users...
  • MicrosoftBlog.com » Windows Server 2008, Visual Studio 2008 and SQL Server 2008 to Launch on February 27, 2008

    Just a FYI, 6 days after my birthday Microsoft launch another storming set of products. Microsoft announced at its partner conference on July 10 that it will launch Windows Server 2008, Visual Studio 2008 and SQL Server 2008 together in a single launch on February 27, 2008, in Los Angeles. MicrosoftBlog.com » Windows Server 2008, Visual Studio 2008 and SQL Server 2008 to Launch on February 27, 2008 ttfn David Technorati Tags: Windows Server 2008 , Visual Studio , SQL Server 2008 , release date
  • How to customize Business Contact Manager 2007 forms in Outlook 2007

    I found this on the Office Website when someone asked me about form customisation for BCM. I thought I would share it. Demo: Customize Business Contact Manager forms You can customize Microsoft Office Outlook 2007 with Business Contact Manager forms by adding fields and list items (drop-down lists) that are unique to your business. You can customize the following types of forms: Account Business Contact Opportunity Business Project You can customize drop-down lists by clicking Edit this list and then adding your item to the list. Watch this short demo to see how to customize a Business Contact Manager for Outlook form. How to do it (text version) Customize your Business Contact Manager forms through user-defined fields Customize drop-down lists on Business Contact Manager forms Demo: Customize Business Contact Manager forms - Outlook - Microsoft Office Online ttfn David Technorati Tags: Business Contact Manager , BCM , Customise , Customize
  • Vista Squad 2nd Reading meeting on 24th May 2007 - Bitlocker and WPF to be discussed

    Did you make it to the 1st Vista Squad event? Well, if you did you will know how well it was appreciated, and if you did not, then time to get down here. The details are: The next Vista Squad meeting is confirmed :) All your favourite superheroes will be in attendance. In addition we have two guest heroes sharing their superpowers on WPF and Vista's BitLocker feature. Date: 24th May 2007 Time: 5.30pm onwards Location: Microsoft UK HQ, TVP, Reading, Building 3 Room: Memphis Agenda: 6.15pm - 6.30pm "Introduction" 6.30pm - 7.20pm "BitLocker presented by Stephen Lamb" 7.20pm - 7.30pm "BitLocker Q&A" 7.30pm - 8.30pm "Food and Networking" 8.30pm - 9.20pm "Introduction to WPF presented by Ray Booysen" 9.20pm - 9.30pm "WPF Q&A" Link: http://vistasquad.co.uk/blogs/announcements/archive/2007/05/02/vista-squad-2-0.aspx Come along!! ttfn David
  • SBS 2003 R2 & CALsare now on the Academic Price list so you can sell SBS to schools again :-)

    Hi guys, I've just picked this up from one of our internats web chats and thought I would share it. SBS will be on the Academic Price List and available in all languages (SBS Standard, Premium + 5 CAL packs) through Volume Licensing as of April 1st. For FPP, retailers will be able to get the product as of May 4th. This is great news and I have had it confirmed that it is on Wescoasts price list, plus some other distributors. ttfn David

(c)David Overton 2006-17