Cascade Skyline - with Microsoft Logo and Project Support header - author Brian Smith

March, 2009

  • Brian Smith's Microsoft Project Support Blog

    Announcing the Microsoft Translator web page widget

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    This is a repost from the Microsoft Research Machine Translation (MSR-MT) Team Blog by permission, and I have also implemented on my site.  I know that many of my readers are beyond the US and the English speaking world, and from browser settings over 25% of my readers are not set to English.  I’d love to have feedback on how useful this machine translation is for you – or would you get more benefit from some of our local support engineers also running blogs?

    On to the announcement:

    The Microsoft Translator team is very proud to announce the technology preview of an innovative offering for web page translations. Attendees to MIX09 this week get a special invitation to try out the Microsoft Translator web page widget. We are also accepting registrations, and will be sending out more invites as they become available.clip_image002

    What it is: Built on top of the Microsoft Translator AJAX API (also announced today) it is a small, customizable widget that you can place on your web page – and it helps you instantly makes the page available in multiple languages.

    Who it is for: Anyone with a web page. If you can paste a small snippet of code into your page, you will be able to display the widget to your audience. No need to know programming intricacies, or how to call a javascript API. No need to write or install server side plug-ins for your specific software. 

    What it offers: It provides a simple interface to anyone that visits the web page to select and translate content into a different language. You can see a demo on this page.

    What is cool about it:

    • Innovative: Unlike other (including our) existing solutions, it does not take the users away from the site. The translations are in-place and instant. Users can hover over the translation to see the original. clip_image004
    • Easy to Use: Adding it to your page is as easy as copy and paste. Using it on the site is as easy as select language and click the button.
    • Customizable: You can pick the colors that best blend into your site design. You can pick the size that would best fit into your design (in fact the widget has an adaptive layout that better uses real estate when very wide). clip_image006
    • Thoughtful User Experience: Progressive rendering allows for the page to get translated progressively – without having the user stare at a white space while the translation is being performed. The translation toolbar that appears when the translation is kicked off provides a progress indicator, the languages selected and a way to turn off the translation.  
    • Localized: The UI is available in multiple languages – so users that come to your page with their browser set to a different language will see the widget in their language. 

    Fun! What does it cost: It is completely free. You can put it on any site – commercial or non-commercial. You are only limited by the invite codes available at this point, but over the coming months we plan to make it more widely available.

    What we are working on:

    • More polish: We will be looking for your feedback and continue to work on the fit and finish for the widget & toolbar UI.
    • More customizability: We will be evolving the default color palette available to you through the adoption portal. We will also be looking at your feedback on the overall design.
    • New Features: There are a bunch of very cool features that we are working on that will be added soon (your widgets will inherit most of these features). These include “Automatic” translations on page load, multiple layouts/views (bringing in the well received views feature of our bi-lingual viewer offering) and some surprises that we are working on with other teams at Microsoft.

    Other questions:

    I can’t get it to work. Where can I get support or provide feedback?

    I would like to highlight that this is a technology preview release – so please do test it on your site before presenting to your users. The Microsoft Translator forums are now live. Feel free to head over and interact with other users. You will also find members of our team there who can help.

    Can this save me the cost of doing human translation on my professional website?

    Our goal (and that of most machine translation systems available today) is to provide what we call “useful” translations. While the technology is improving month to month, it will still take a long time before it can match human translation quality. We don’t recommend using machine translation for sensitive or highly critical information. You can learn more about translation quality here and here. You can learn more about how we do machine translation here.

    How many languages do you support? When can you add support for <insert language here>?

    Currently we support the following languages.

    · Arabic

    · Chinese (Simplified & Traditional)

    · Dutch

    · French

    · German

    · Italian

    · Japanese

    · Korean

    · Polish

    · Portuguese

    · Russian

    · Spanish

    Polish was our most recent addition. Our goal is to keep adding languages as we get enough training data to meet our minimum (“useful”) quality criteria which include both standard measurements and human evaluations.

    I am using a hosted service for my site/blog that does not let me use javascript widgets. What can I do?

    We are looking to work with providers of hosted services to make adding the widget an easy process for their users. If your provider does not offer this, please let them and us know that you would like to see the widget work with your site.

    Keep checking this post and our forums for announcements, known issues and more information. You can follow our MIX09 coverage on twitter and on Vikram’s blog.

  • Brian Smith's Microsoft Project Support Blog

    Non-Project blog – Songsmith stuff and Future Pro Photo Competition

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    A couple of interesting things came across my radar today that may be of interest to others.  If you have.know of any school/college age children interested in either music or photography – read on.

    Firstly from Sumit Basu:

    There’s a music remixing contest in the UK called Mixable (http://mixable.co.uk ), where an up-and-coming band is chosen to put up creative-commons-licensed tracks that UK school kids (grades 6 -> first year of college) can remix/reinterpret as they see fit.  This year’s band, Georgia Wonder, had seen some of the remixes of classic songs folks were doing with Songsmith, and had fun playing around with it themselves on their own song; they then contacted us for some help in putting their vocal track into Songsmith (i.e., without doing a loopback recording).   They now have a Songsmith project file on their site (along with standard file types, i.e., WAV and AIFF), with which folks can get a quick start and play around with different chords/styles easily.  They felt that this would particularly appeal to the younger end of their audience (i.e., 6th graders) who might not be as well versed in pro audio tools, harmonization, etc.    The files (in all formats) are available at their downloads page here: http://mixable.co.uk/download

    and from Jeff Green:

    Once again, I am quite pleased to announce the 4th annual Microsoft Future Pro Photographer Competition

    This is the most lucrative and influential international student photo contest in the world. The Grand prize is $20,000 and some great photo gear, but more importantly, it provides all four winners the opportunity to kick-start their careers.

    Full time college and university students from around the world are invited to submit their three best photos in one of three categories;

    • Nature & Landscape,
    • People & Portraits, and
    • Sports & Photojournalism.

    Not sure if Jeff is English – but “quite pleased” sounds very under-stated :).

    I know a few of you are also keen photographers – so when I get my new camera you may see my heading photo change…

    Enjoy!

  • Brian Smith's Microsoft Project Support Blog

    Project Server 2007: Deploying Cumulative Updates

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    Thanks again to Rob for putting these words together on the different versions of packages in the cumulative updates – specifically describing the additional options available since the December 2008 Cumulative Updates which introduced the server rollup packages.  Over to Rob:

    The Server CU is released in two different versions.  The first version is in Individual Packages specific to a particular product like WSS, Project Server and MOSS.  If you do not have MOSS installed and have already installed the Infrastructure Update for Office Servers then you can download and install these individual packages.

    The second version is the Server Rollup Packages.  This is a set of two uber-packages which contains all the fixes for WSS, Project Server and MOSS.  These packages should be used when MOSS is part of the deployment or Infrastructure Update has not been deployed to the server environment.  The Server Rollup Packages are much larger (~200MB each) but they will greatly simplify MOSS patch deployment.

    The Server Rollup Packages include all of the fixes included in the Infrastructure Update so installing these packages will allow you to skip the added step of deploying the Infrastructure Update.  The Infrastructure Update only needs to be installed once so this will not be a consideration for deployments that already have the Infrastructure Update installed.

    More general information and links regarding Project Server Cumulative Updates and their deployment can be found at http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dd239177.aspx.

    At the time of writing the February update is the latest and more details are in the post at http://blogs.msdn.com/brismith/archive/2009/03/13/project-server-2007-cumulative-update-for-february-2009.aspx.

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  • Brian Smith's Microsoft Project Support Blog

    Project Server 2007: Cumulative Update for February 2009

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    The Cumulative Updates for February 2009 for both the Office server and client components are now available (well it is only Feb 41st :))  Thanks Rob for putting these details together.  I will have another posting shortly which explains the deployment process you should adopt with the new server rollup packages first introduced in December.  Here are the February Cumulative update details:-

    You can read about the fixes included in the February CU Server Rollup Packages from the following articles:

    Description of the Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 cumulative update package: February 24, 2009

    http://support.microsoft.com/kb/961755

    Description of the SharePoint Server 2007 cumulative update package (MOSS server-package): February 24, 2009

    http://support.microsoft.com/kb/961756

    Note:  The Project 2007 client patch is not included in the Server Rollup Packages so you will need to deploy the individual client patch.

    These KB Articles list the fixes included in the Individual Cumulative Update Package for Project Server and Project 2007:

    Description of the Project Server 2007 hotfix package : February 24, 2009

    http://support.microsoft.com/kb/968271

    Description of the Project 2007 hotfix package (Project.msp): February 24, 2009
    http://support.microsoft.com/kb/966308

    Note:  KB Articles may not be released at the time of the CU release but we should see then publically available within a week or two of the CU release.

    At the time of writing, 7am PST on 3/13/09 only the first KB listed above gives a good link and I would urge you to wait and see what is fixed before loading.  But if you are too impatient and want to test these out in a non-production system (which you always do – right?) then using links like the following will get you to the downloads.  This one is for KB961756 – so substitute any of the other KB numbers above to get to others.

    http://support.microsoft.com/hotfix/KBHotfix.aspx?kbnum=961756&kbln=en-us

  • Brian Smith's Microsoft Project Support Blog

    Project Conference 2009: Lets get social and a request for speakers!

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    We now have a Facebook Event for the Project Conference in September -

    http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=69039984055.  Join up if you plan to come – or even if you don’t think you will make it.  This will be a great place to share stories of past conferences, project songs (you know who you are…) and for us to keep you informed as we get closer to the big event.  Obviously we also have the site www.msprojectconference.com for all the information you could possibly want.

    Another ask for the conference is for speakers.

    And, we wanted to be sure you also received this: Your personal invitation to present at Project Conference.

    New this year! The Project Conference team has received a tremendous amount of interest from customers and partners to present content at Project Conference 2009. In response, we are formally offering customers, partners and you an opportunity to contribute to and present content at Project Conference 2009. We encourage customers, partners and you to utilize the content submission form at https://pc2009cfc.dynamiceventsreg.com to propose content ideas and speakers. Time is limited – let your customers and partners know and act now!

    And as far as I am aware the early bird discount is still available at the time of writing! Save $150 by being one of the first 500 attendees to register! Register now at https://pc2009.dynamiceventsreg.com/ to secure your Early Bird discount rate of $699.

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