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

  • Brian Smith's Microsoft Project Support Blog

    RSS Readers will now get my full postings again!


    Back in June I flicked a switch on my blog that meant that after about 4 lines you would get a “read more” link and if I had grabbed your attention you might even click and read the rest. Today I have flicked the switch back again after feedback that people prefer to get the full post rather than having to go look for the rest of it.

    The reason I had set it this way was that it did at least give me some indication of what was being read – because I could see the visits to the pages.  The RSS hits don’t really give me that information.  However, I appreciate that many readers may consume these posts offline – or even if you are online it is extra clicks and time to get the full story.  In return for my setting this back to the way you want it I ask that if you like or don’t like a posting – let me know!

    The stats I get from adCenter break down into 3 groups in terms of inbound referrals to the pages – search, direct traffic and referring websites.  For September so far I am running at just over 61% search, around 24% for direct traffic, and the final 15% from referring websites.  I am guessing that much of the direct traffic is from RSS readers hitting the “read more” link – and probably a few that have links saved – it will be interesting to see how the figures change over the coming weeks and months as the changed setting comes into play.

    Do let me know how you feel about this change.

  • Brian Smith's Microsoft Project Support Blog

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


    We now have a Facebook Event for the Project Conference in September -  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 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 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 to secure your Early Bird discount rate of $699.

  • Brian Smith's Microsoft Project Support Blog

    Project Developer Center Portal redesigned!


    Take a look at the new Project Developer Center portal - your one stop shop for all things development around Project and Project Server.  Great work Jim, Verna and the crew!  The Office Developer Center, SharePoint Server have already had the makeover and other office applications will be following.

    Technorati Tags:

  • Brian Smith's Microsoft Project Support Blog

    A New Kid on the Block – but what ate his cat?


    Well new to blogging anyway.  Doug McCutcheon has joined the realm of Project bloggers with particular focus on our partner community.  Welcome Doug, go visit his blog and perhaps we’ll even find out what ate his cat???

  • Brian Smith's Microsoft Project Support Blog

    Announcing the Microsoft Translator web page widget


    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.

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