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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  • Do you want a Microsoft Architecture Poster?

    I saw this at Chris's site and thought I would share: Chris Bowen's Blog : Got Tech Posters? There are plenty of technology posters and charts for developers available on MSDN. I didn't realize just how many until I searched for "poster" on MSDN downloads . Here's a list of the more recent ones: [Edited list by David - more on Chris's blog] .NET 3.5 Namespaces Poster The .NET Framework 3.5 Common Namespaces and Types Poster Exchange Component Architecture Poster This poster highlights the architecture and feature set of Microsoft Exchange Server 2007. Visual Basic 2008 Keybinding Poster Printable wall poster containing list of useful keyboard shortcuts for Visual Basic 2008 developers Visual C++ 2008 Keybinding Poster List of keybindings for Visual C++ language within Visual Studio and Visual C++ Express 2008 Visual C# 2008 Poster Wall chart showing useful keyboard shortcuts for Visual C# programming language 2007 Office System: Developer Posters Download these posters to learn more...
  • How to modify the Windows Vista Aurora, bubbles, mystify and ribbons screensaver hidden settings

    I saw this and thought I would share it for those who want to customise the screen savers that ship with Vista. Windows Vista Aurora Screensaver Hidden Settings For those of you who are using Windows Vista, you may have noticed that the screen savers that are included do not contain any settings. Actually, they do , but Microsoft didn't include options dialogs for them. Long Zheng posted the settings for the Bubbles, Mystify, and Ribbons screensavers back in September before Windows Vista officially shipped. But he didn't post the settings for Aurora . Through a little bit of digging and guess work, I've uncovered one registry key that actually works for customizing the Aurora screensaver. Let's get started, shall we? Kristan Kenney: Confessions of a Windows Enthusiast : Windows Vista Aurora Screensaver Hidden Settings ttfn David Technorati Tags: Vista Tweaks , Windows Vista , Vista
  • Mummy, why is there a server in the house (I had to change it for the UK audiences)

    This is a funny campaign from the Home Server team who have been blogging about their new marketing campaign. It made me smile. Have a look at the "book" and the "videos"!! Earlier I posted about our new ad campaign " Stay at Home Servers " and pointed you at the videos (the first of which are getting rave reviews ). Yesterday we posted the full contents of the hit Children's book " Mommy, Why is there a Server in the House? " for your online reading pleasure. Windows Home Server Blog ttfn David Technorati Tags: fun , Home Server
  • BBC NEWS | TV rivals (BBC, ITV, C4) form on-demand service

    I saw this and had to share. I signed up to the BBC iPlayer service and it is very good. Now all 3 major TV channel providers are looking to put make everything available under one hood ... fantastic. From the BBC news site - BBC NEWS | Entertainment | TV rivals form on-demand service TV rivals form on-demand service Channel 4's Ugly Betty is one of the shows likely to be on the service The BBC, ITV and Channel 4 are to launch a joint on-demand service, which will bring together thousands of hours of television programmes in one place. The service is set to go live in 2008 and will offer viewers access to current shows and archive material. Plans will have to be approved by the BBC Trust and the other broadcasters' boards, and a name for the service will be unveiled ahead of its launch. The three broadcasters currently offer their own separate on-demand services. The BBC's iPlayer and ITV's catch-up service will continue to exist along the new online "aggregator", which will provide a...
  • Another Vista UI tweak - change the size of the thumbnail (preview) picture in Vista Aero when you hover over an icon in the taskbar

    The final one from Ave, another amazing UI tweak. Thumbnail Sizer Thumbnail Sizer allows the user to change the size of Vista's Window thumbnails that show when one hovers over the taskbar button for the window. download from Ave's Vista Apps ttfn David Technorati Tags: Windows Vista , Vista Tweaks , Vista
  • 3D Rotating (swaying gently back and forth) User Pictures in Windows Vista Start Menu

    Another User interface trick that I am now using from Vishal's blog - it just adds minor touches to Vistas UI. 3D Rotating User Pic in Windows Vista Start Menu Ave’s 3D UserPic In the old longhorn 4xxx days, the startmenu user picture was more animated as it was today. Today, we get a cheap alpha-fading effect when you hover over an item: the user picture simply blends with the icon for a while. Back in the days, the user picture was actually rotating when you had the start menu opened. This application tries to achieve that effect. Screenshot ttfn David Technorati Tags: Vista Tweaks , Windows Vista , Vista
  • Glass/ translucent Toast and balloons in Vista from Tweaking with Vishal

    I got a mail from a MVP asking me to link to his site. This is not that uncommon an experience, but often I can not find anything in common, however Vishal's request is different. I found lots to link about. Added to this is the fact that Steve Clayton recently blogged on something I covered ages ago (Steve's was at Change your Vista logon screen and mine at Vista enhancements and utilities (changing the screen savers, adding extra search functionality , but I've just realised he's not got me on his blog roll!!) The 1st link is how to go from the "new" opaque balloons translucent ones ala early betas of Vista Glass Toast: Get longhorn 4xxx style Glassy notification balloons in Windows XP / 2003 and Vista From this To this: GlassToast Download link and more at Glass Toast: Get longhorn 4xxx style Glassy notification balloons in Windows XP / 2003 and Vista | Tweaking with Vishal ttfn David Technorati Tags: Vista Tweaks , Windows Vista , Aero
  • Photos, photography, JPEG XR, Photosynth, the future of photography and Seadragons - why all the excitement?

    It's funny working in an industry where if you are not going at 50,000 miles an hour you are considered to be standing still. One area where Microsoft is speeding along is photography. In this post I will explore the announcements, the demos, short and long term products and then the future that lots of people are beginning to see. For me, the fact that people are already seeing such a future and its possibilities is very exciting (both the visions and the fact they are having them without drugs!! (humour)) Look at the recent events: Raw photo support in 2005 - Microsoft and Imaging Industry Leaders Unveil Support for Digital Photo HD (which some people thought was a JPEG killer.. tut tut) - HD Photo - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia JPEG XR - JPEG committee supports Photo HD as next gen JPEG TrustedReviews - Official Jpeg Successor Is Microsoft's HD Photo Now this is all very nice, but so what - a better format for bigger pictures, that could be a bit like FAT disks getting FAT32 format, but it is not...
  • When digging holes in the garden, watch out for suspicious objects... it might mean you have to get the bomb squad out!!

    It was a rare weekend, I had agreed to do some digging in my parents garden to put up two arches. Some of you will know my dad - Derek Overton from various SBSC events. They live just over the way from a piece of MOD land that used to be used for all sorts of things and bangs were not unusual. Anyway, we were drilling into the ground when we hit something that should not be there - it was tubular and metallic. Having joked a bit that "who knows what it could be when around here" Dad decided to call the police. They arrived, examined it, decided since one of them used to be in the army that it could be dangerous, so calls were made to the bomb squad. The bomb squad said it sounded potentially hazardous, so came for a visit :-) The neighbours were obviously quite interested when we had 2, then 3 police cars out the front of the house and finally the bomb squad van and army folk. Finally, several hours after the 1st phone call the object was declared safe and that it had not ever have been a threat, but...
  • Windows Home Server - 120 evaluation CDs, Why get it and what is it about

    I am sure you have seen me blog about home server before ( Windows Home Server is coming ... What can it do- , Microsoft announces Home Server - ever want something like SBS, but targeted at home users with ) and others: ActiveWin - http://www.activewin.com/awin/comments.asp?HeadlineIndex=41455 Firing Squad - http://www.firingsquad.com/news/newsarticle.asp?searchid=18172 Gizmodo - http://gizmodo.com/gadgets/windows-home-server/the-windows-home-server-nitty-gritty-319130.php Sean Alexander - http://blog.seanalexander.com/2007/11/05/HPMediaSmartServerAvailableForPreorderShippingWin30Days.aspx PC Retail - http://www.pcretailmag.com/news/28935/Windows-Home-Server-to-launch-today Well, you can now obtain a 120 day eval if you want to see what it is all about without spending huge amounts of money (approx £5 for shipping in the UK): Why wait? Order the Windows Home Server 120-Day Evaluation Kit now to protect, connect, and organize your photos, videos, music and more. For those who want to know more, there is the Home...
  • How to use OCR (Optical Character Recognition) in Office 2007 (using OneNote or a small tool)

    As you know I have been away on holiday and I fly away again tomorrow. While I was traveling I asked my dad to send me a recipe for some scones. He was unable to find the OCR tool in Office 2007, but with the help of OneNote 2007 it was very easy. Paste the image you wish to OCR into OneNote and let it do the rest. I found the answer at OneNote 2007: OCR Rocks this researcher's world | Techwillow where there is more information, but in summary: This is how it works: Take any image of text, paste it into OneNote, right-click on it and select Copy Text from Picture . That's it, you can then paste it anywhere as text. What's more OneNote will automatically OCR and index all your images (if you enable this in the settings) so you can search through your clippings. Now, of course you might not have OneNote, but that does not mean you don't get scanning. As the project at http://www.codeproject.com/office/modi.asp points out, you can use their code and the Office 2007 scanning tools to make it work too...
  • Where is David now and what can Maps.Live.com do?

    It is that time of year again, so I will be on holiday again in the English Lake District. While Live Writer, my blogging tool, has the ability to show maps (click the map for more information) http://maps.live.com has also improved amazingly. To show you what I mean, click the link below: http://maps.live.com/?v=2&sp=Point.t1yfjsgqqygt_Holiday___&encType=1 and you will see a screen like this: Switch to Hybrid view to see the satellite and road maps: Zoom to this location by clicking on the pushpin: Switch to 3D mode by pressing the 3D button (it might have to load a control to your browser) and then hold the Ctrl button and drag the mouse down to see a 3D profile: Search for pubs in the area and see them on the 3D map: Now go to London (search for London in the location) and zoom down to start to see the 3D views: As you zoom in more you can turn on the birds eye photography of London - note on the above picture the glowing square - this is one of the birdseye photos - zoom in more to see the actual photos...
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  • We're Microsoft, we know everything... not

    I saw this little posting by Darren and it reminded me of several stories. One was the "mobile expert" around Denver this year and the other is the types of mails I sometimes get. I have had mails that say things like: My computer is not working, can you fix it for me I am having problems with Outlook Apple won't support iTunes on Vista, but I want to use it, so can you fix it for me? and my favourite I am having a problem where by people can't e-mail me back...... what e-mail address did they give.... What is really so funny about many of these is that they leave no contact details . Just their name. Now, even if I was able to fix their problems (and sometimes I can), without contact details it makes my life much harder to truly resolve the problems. Am I responsible for Windows Mobile Software? Today Gareth and I were walking along 16th Mall Street after having had some breakfast and I was wearing my Windows Mobile cap, as you do in Downtown Denver. I guy randomly stopped me and asked me if...
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  • Will Halo 3 take over the world.... someone thinks so...

    http://www.loadingreadyrun.com/videos/view/228 Made me smile :-) ttfn David Technorati Tags: Halo 3 , fun
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  • Is Google evil and so what if they are?

    I saw these two web pages and just found them too compelling. I can tell you more than you might imagine about people who come to my site, but it pales into comparison when you see what Google can store and some of the conditions. Anyone who says "they won't use it" needs to rethink the demands of shareholders to maximise revenue and profit. I would suggest looking at: Google Docs and Spreadsheets clause gives pause For a company whose motto is "Do no evil," it's interesting how often Google's customers suspect them of it http://www.infoworld.com/article/07/09/14/Google-clause-gives-pause_1.html and then the "story" at Radar Fiction - "Scroogled" Google controls your e-mail, your videos, your calendar, your searches… What if it controlled your life? By Cory Doctorow http://www.radaronline.com/from-the-magazine/2007/09/google_fiction_evil_dangerous_surveillance_control_1.php I then clicked on the I-Spy link on the last page of the Radaronline fiction and was able...
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  • David and others, slightly drunk, speaking poetry on the South Bank

    This is just a silly post, but thought I would share: Of course, not wanting to do it alone, many others also joined in. Did I mention that we were standing on our chairs at a bar under the bridge with a lot of confused people around us? - Matt Brady was very animated in his performance - Stephie shows us that the Scottish have romantic hearts - Danny picked the shortest poem. but picked on people as "characters" - Steve Clayton decided to do a duet with Stephanie who found it all a bit too much
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  • Halo 3 is Gold - so I post about the trailers and then see that it has released to manufacturing

    OK, so I just posted about the trailers and now the product is finished according to this "mag" Halo 3 is Gold : Next Generation - Interactive Entertainment Today, Video Game and Industry News Halo 3 is Gold The fight is ready to be finished: Halo 3 has gone gold and is heading to manufacturing. ttfn David Technorati Tags: Halo 3 , Xbox 360
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  • Halo 3 - Silverlight based build and watch trailers - promo site and fun

    I'm no great Halo Wiz - why, I don't have the reactions of a 21 year old to beat them in network play, but I do enjoy playing against the cpu inside the box (whenever I join a network match I nearly always end up dead in a few second.. ho hum). Anyway, the graphics of the xbox 360 always impress me as does the UI of some of the games. Halo 3 is coming and there is now a site with great trailer videos, background info and more. For those of you who don't believe that Halo is reality, have a look at some of the film (yes film, not graphics) that was shot and for example, see the Warthog that was used ( http://www.bungie.net/images/News/WeeklyUpdate/WarthogB110707.jpg ) Anyway, enjoy the site and enjoy building your own trailers too :-) ttfn David Technorati Tags: xbox 360 , Halo 3 , trailers
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  • Microsoft Surface Parody joke

    I saw this and thought I would share it :-) http://www.sarcasticgamer.com/2007/06/ms-surface-how-we-would-have-done-it.html ttfn David Technorati Tags: Surface , Joke
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  • How unified communications could be with Exchange 2007 and Office Communications Server (OCS)

    Unified Communications, VoIP, IM, e-mail, messaging, call redirecting, talking to your calendar - so hard to explain in words, so easy to watch in this short demo. A bit cheesy, but it works ttfn David Technorati Tags: Unified Communications , Exchange 2007 , Office Communications Server , VoIP
  • Microsoft launches beta of "skydrive" - a disk in the cloud (and now you can use it in the UK too)

    Another "it is here" moment. Skydrive gives you, today, 500MB of storage in the cloud, free of charge. You can set up permissions to control who can read and write files. I love it. In fact, I love it so much that I have put all my demo videos that I recorded recently up there. The Skydrive team blog can be found at http://skydriveteam.spaces.live.com/blog/cns!977F793E846B3C96!124.entry . Click for the Training Videos to be downloaded as videos. Top features for me are: Upload and download documents with permissions on files Embed file stores in web pages Drag and drop upload process Accessible everywhere For some eye candy: - Home Screen - Documents sub folder - Folder Options - Change Folder Permissions - Embed your SkyDrive into your web site - Drag and drop files for uploading - The upload process - Non ActiveX upload page ttfn David Technorati Tags: SkyDrive , Live , SAS
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  • Star Wars art work from Celebration Europe

    While I was at Star Wars Celebration Europe I managed to spend quite a bit of my unearned bonus on bits of "art". Some I will put pride of place on my wall, others will go in a tube because I don't have enough wall space. Here is what I bought (I just photographed them and then used a tool to remove the perspective from the photos, but don't expect print quality images): From Steven D Anderson the "Dark Avenger" poster, signed by him and one of 250 (11 / 250) and the little post card of the two ladies with blasters. Next up was Joe Corroney - I love his work especially since he also does some of the Star Wars comics. He has a web site http://JoeCorroney.com and his Star Wars blog can be found at http://blogs.starwars.com/joecorroney/70 . As you can see from the pictures on the left, I was lucky enough to not only get number 20 of 250 from his collection, but also the ORIGINAL PENCIL drawing that made this great poster. WOW, amazing and top. This is my best treasure from this event....
  • Star Wars Celebration Europe - How I got to re-shoot the Imperial storming of the Tantive IV and the final movie

    OK, so still need to do a all up post, but before I do, here is how I got to re-make the video. One item at the event was part of the set for the Tantive IV. The nice director and actors explained how shooting from different angles and by swapping bits out the set could be made to look even bigger etc. They then asked for 6 volunteers to be the "rebels" who die in this shoot. I was lucky enough to be picked, so off I went to wardrobe (yes, a proper costume maker, costumes and props). I quickly put on my rebel uniform with my 5 hapless colleagues and off we went to be briefed. We had to shoot 3 scenes and then these were to be edited into the original film, Scene 1- Running down the corridor toward the place we expect the imperials to board. while we are running, an explosion will rock us back (you have to act the explosion) and then on we go. Scene 2 - Run into position, line up your sites, then look above and back as you hear a noise and wonder what it is, then focus again on the big door. We had all...
  • Star Wars Celebration Europe Photos on the site

    Hi, this is a quick note to say that I could not help myself - I went (sorry, I took my 7 year old daughter) to Celebration Europe. If you don't like Star Wars, then it is best you probably look away now. I got my (or in some cases Molly's) photo taken with all the stars and characters I could find including Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker) , Anthony Daniels (C3PO) , Kenny Baker (R2D2) , Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca) , Ray Parkes (Darth Maul) , Matthew Woods (Voice of General Grievas) and some of the leading artists down Artists Alley (picture is of Molly with Bonnie Burton and Tom Hodges) who wrote the book How to Draw Star Wars. I will post a long blog on the 2 days on "how I got to star in Star Wars", all the art we bought and a full run-down of what we did, but before that I wanted to share with the Star Wars fans out there my pictures - they can be found by going to http://uksbsguy.com/photos/starwars . I have not photographed the artwork yet, but will be doing so, so expect that to go up as well...
  • Green phone charging from Orange - designed for Glastonbury, but still useful

    Since I have been posting a few things on being greener, this is something that can help charge your phone on a beech, in the garden on anywhere else. Orange goes green for festival phone-fueling “Orange today launched a prototype wind-powered charger capable of delivering a constant supply of green juice despite “the unpredictable English climate”. How? The turbine charges a battery, and it’s from that power pack that the phone’s own battery is charged. It is, of course, a variation of one on humanity’s oldest devices, the windmill, though this time kitted out in suitable, sponsor-friendly colour. The windmil weighs a mere 150g - let’s hope it’s capable of being anchored against strong gusts - and is compact enough to be tucked into a rucksack.” ttfn David Technorati Tags: Climate Change , phone charging

(c)David Overton 2006-18