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    Enable Vista theme in Windows Server 2008

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    When installing Windows Server 2008, you probably noticed that you’re running in Windows Classic theme. If you’re fan of the Windows Vista theme, you can benefit from it in Windows Server 2008. All you have to do is to enable one service as described below.

    NOTE: using the same procedure as below, you can enable Windows 7 theme on Windows Server 2008 R2.

    To be able to run in Windows Vista theme in Windows Server 2008, you have to enable the “Themes” service as follows:

    1.       Open the Server Manager by clicking on Start è Administrative tools è Server Manager;

     

    2.       Click on Configuration è Services, and locate the Themes service. If it is not started, start it by clicking the Play button in the toolbar.

     

    3.       Go to Control Panel è Personalization and click on the Theme link;

     

    4.       The Theme window opens. Select Windows Vista in the dropdown list and click OK;

    Enjoy the Windows Vista theme in your Windows Server 2008 installation!

     

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    Effective presentations using Powerpoint's Presenter View - Tidjani Belmansour - MSP

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    I decided to write this post after seeing many students in my university and colleagues being “in pain” with their presentations. It’s the same scenario all the time: when they have to do a presentation, they always proceed using the following steps:

    1.       Create a PowerPoint document;

    2.       Take relevant notes in the PowerPoint’s notes section;

    3.       Print the notes they took on paper (with the risk to forget them and be embarrassed…).

    And, during the presentation, it’s always the same pattern as described below:

    1.       Use the printed papers during the presentation as reminder for important things to talk about;

    2.       Take a quick look at the watch to know how long they have left (or even worse, it’s the jury that tells them that the time is over before they’ve reached the end of their presentation and thus feel frustrated about the time they spent preparing that presentation and not having the chance to present all of it…).

     

    Microsoft Office PowerPoint allows you to avoid all this embarrassment and frustration by using the “Presenter View” mode. Let’s see together how this works!

    Actually, it’s quite easy…Before starting your presentation, go to tab “Slide Show” and activate the checkbox “Use Presenter View” in the “Monitors” group (as shown on figure 1). And that’s it! You’re ready to go using the Presenter View mode. You can now start your presentation as usual by hitting the F5 key.

    Figure 1. The “Presenter View” option.

    In the figure below, which shows a part of a VSTO presentation I did last year for the MSP program, you can see on left what the audience will see (the actual presentation), and on the right what YOU, as a presenter, will see.

    Figure 2. “Presenter View” vs “Classic View”.

     

    The Presenter View mode allows you to have all the below information, on the same screen, in the twinkling of an eye:

    ·         The presentation;

    ·         The notes related to the current slide;

    ·         The current time;

    ·         The time spent since the beginning of the presentation;

    ·         The slide number.

    All these features are shown in figure 3 below.

    Notice that you, as a presenter, have a more “effective” view of the presentation and you can control it better. For example, if you’re running out of time, you can inform your audience at an early point and ask them if they want more or less information regarding a specific part of the presentation to decide which content you should present and which one you can skip. This will add interactivity to your presentation!

     

    Figure 3. The “Presenter View” in action.

     

    As a final word, the Presenter View in Microsoft Office PowerPoint allows you to perform more efficient and more attractive presentations. Use it without moderation!

     

     

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    Women in Technology: Lynn Langit - "SoCalDevGal" By Genevieve L’Esperance - MSP

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    When you talk about speaking several languages you probably start thinking of the usual suspects; English, French, Spanish, German and so on. But Lynn’s ‘languages”, and yes she actually has a BS in linguistics from the Minnesota State University, also includes technical languages such as C# as well as database  expertise in T-SQL, Business Intelligence, OLAP, Data Warehousing, SSAS, Data Mining, LINQ, WCF, WF, C#, ORM.

    Lynn is better known around technical blogs worldwide as the SoCalDevGal as she heralds from Southern California. But Lynn can seldom be found at home. In fact Lynn is such a dynamic and fascinating techie that she is constantly speaking or teaching somewhere in the world. What makes her even more amazing is her unbelievable passion for taking technology and bringing it to girls the world over and engaging them in her world for a day through the Digigirlz camps and now through her not-for-profit Teaching Kids Programming organization. 

    In fact this is where I got my opportunity to take my passion for helping girls “get IT” and bringing this experience to places like Washington. Malvern PA and Moncton, New Brunswick.  It was Lynn and her partner Llewellyn Falco who helped me get understand the potential this program held for changing kids’ lives. It’s obvious Lynn thrives on her community work and her most exciting project is also where she “vacations” every year; South Africa. That current project is called SmartCare, which is an electronic medical records system being deployed nation-wide in Zambia.  Its projects like these that show us three important things:

    1)      Girls in IT are doing amazing things with technology because they lean towards social issues and how to solve them. In this case Lynn uses technology as he “platform”

    2)      Technology can be used to change the way some of the poorest countries deal with serious issues around health, education and sustainability.

    3)      Girls teaching girls how to sue technology: Lynn’s program has proven itself over and over again to help girls realize that what most girls would view as the impossible, programming, is something they really get. I’ve seen it firsthand and I cannot wait to deliver my next sessions in Mountain View CA at Dare2Bdigitial this coming weekend.

    http://www.dare2bdigitalconference.com/home2010/speakers/speakers-2011

    At the end of 2010 Lynn did her Top Ten “people to Watch” I am humbled to say that Lynn included me in that list because of our collaboration on Teaching Girls Programming, the offshoot I developed from the TKP events.  To even be mentioned by Lynn is huge honor because she is one of the most respected people in the tech world and she is in demand from all over to speak and teach on the latest platform developments. 

     

     

    Lynn is truly the one to watch. Her work is only surpassed by her passion for seeing change, the kind that with the help of technology is giving people the chance to reach for the impossible and bring a better life to people in places we can only dream to duplicate. But then again that’s why I’m in technology in the first place and I just hope to accomplish half of what Lyn has done.

    Where to read and learn more about Lynn:

    Books by Lynn Langit

    http://www.very-clever.com/books/author-Lynn+Langit

    Lynn’s blog

    http://blogs.msdn.com/b/socaldevgal/ 

    Lynn shares her favourite presentations. Check out her recent Azure shows.

    http://www.slideshare.net/lynnlangit

    Lynn’s biggest project to date and where you’ll find me listed as her youngest teacher!

    http://www.teachingkidsprogramming.org/

    Lynn at GeekSpeak

    http://channel9.msdn.com/shows/geekSpeak

     

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    Ketyurah’s Experience at Microsoft

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    Working at Microsoft Canada has been amazing. I am halfway through my 8 month term and already I’m dreading the day to say goodbye.  My positive experience can be contributed by a variety of factors such as the nurturing environment, friendly co-workers, lunch-and-learn sessions, an excellent manager, opportunities for development, and other perks including my Windows Phone 7!

    How did I get here? Well, I started out pretty small but grew steadily with hard work and dedication. I went from volunteering at my high school to volunteering at the Science Center and Art Gallery of Ontario. I then moved on to working at a retail chain, and a small business. When I saw the job application for Microsoft, I thought, “Why not? It does not hurt to apply.” To my complete awe and wonder, I got chosen for an interview and subsequently the position. One thing I did correctly: I showed my passion for learning, my dedication, and my positive outlook on life.

    I was excited at the prospect of working for a large business for the first time. But something was at the back of my mind. I had always assumed Microsoft was only looking for students in the fields of computer science and engineering, so automatically I ruled myself out. I mean I had a little experience with coding in high school and took a course in University, but that’s about it. I heard it’s actually harder to get into the “business” roles in organizations like these because they mostly hire young adults with coding experience and only business professionals. However, through applying for the job, I demonstrated opening my eyes to the opportunities out there.

    I am a few months in at Microsoft, and already I feel that I fit in perfectly. Sure there is a lot of work to do, but I always keep in mind that with effective time-management and knowing I am never alone, the work will get completed. The atmosphere here is one I have never experienced before; everyone is willing to help no matter where in the hierarchy we both are.  One significant (and shall I say embarrassing?) moment was on my first day here. I had asked someone to help me set up my access/connection for a work program. The person willingly helped me, accepted my thanks, and went back to work. A few days later, I found out that the same person was actually the director of the entire department! I felt that even though I was only there temporarily, I was never treated as such.  The moral of this anecdote: Take chances and ask for help – in most cases, people want to share their knowledge.   

    As well, most of my positive experience here was influenced by my manager. It really helped to have someone listen to my needs and expectations of the job, create development plans, and actually carry them through! I was given the opportunity to explore not only my job and the field, but also work with other departments and other managers. There are always opportunities to get involved in additional projects around Microsoft; these allow anyone to develop multiple competencies and experiences.

    Everyone knows that work needs to be done on a timely manner and with their best effort – it’s a mutual agreement at Microsoft. Personally, I find I am stimulated by those people who are high achievers; those who take their work and transform it to another level – that’s what I see at Microsoft all the time. This behaviour stems from a core of hard work and dedication.

    I’m very lucky and grateful to working at Microsoft. I am learning a tremendous amount about business processes, operations, and management. I now can actually link concepts from my business courses right into real life!

    So, if you only remember a few tips from my story, please remember these:

    ·         Don’t assume you know a company completely and rule it out of your options – research opportunities!

    ·         Demonstrate and always show the real you – that’s the best way to assess a fit between yourself and an organization.

    ·         Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

    ·         Take a chance and try something new.

    I am glad I opened my eyes and took a chance. Something so insignificant at first may actually turn into something surprisingly meaningful…Try it yourself!

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    8 Ways to Nail that Job Interview By Prashanth Gopalan

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    In the world of job interviews, there are precious few pots of gold to be found at the end of the rainbow. And yet, once you find one pot of gold, there are many ways to actually ensure that you have a higher than average chance of finding another one.


    At least that’s how I felt at once I received an opportunity to work for Microsoft. The day I got the phone call offering me a job, I resisted the urge to run around the house screaming like a Madagascarian macaque on three shots of espresso and a rotten banana.


    I’d like to think that I’ve been doing this for a while, but the reality is that in the world of job interviews there really is no hard-and-fast rule to ensure that you can get any job you want. But before we all throw ourselves off the nearest cliff, rest assured that there are ways that you can ensure your success, at least in the dreaded job interview.


    Based on experience and after several bouts of trial and error, I managed to get a rough sense of what employers are looking for in potential interviewees. Since its interview season, I hope this helps.

     

     


    The first 5 seconds:

    ·         Walk in a measured pace, confident in your step

    ·         Smile

    ·         Greet them

    ·         Address them by name

    ·         Thank them for travelling to your location

    ·         Ask them if you may take a seat

    ·         Be courteous and polite.

     

    1)       Appear literate and knowledgeable

    If you don’t read, you’re already at a disadvantage – especially if you’re looking to get into a more marketing-related role. Read books and follow blogs in your chosen field – pick up quotes, concepts and ideas and show how they relate to the job – but in moderation, you don’t want to come across as a braggart.

    2)      Research your interviewer

    If you know their name, Bing it. If they have a blog, read it. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about it in the interview, and at least mention it somewhere in conversation. It demonstrates that you’re tenacious, persistent and have taken the time to do your due diligence.

    If they or their team have won awards recently, ask them about what they did to be awarded such accolades. If their workplace has won awards, ask them about its effect on company culture. If the person you’re interviewing is someone prominent and in the news, make sure you research them thoroughly, but avoid bringing up any sensitive or contentious issues in the interview.

    3)     Research your company

    Find up-to-the-minute news concerning the company (even minutes before your interview) and keep yourself informed. Knowledge is power. If you have a smartphone, make sure you check it frequently before the interview to keep yourself informed on the latest developments. Candidates who do this often impress their interviewers because it demonstrates their preparedness and commitment to the company.

    4)      Exude confidence and polish in your presentation

    a.       Pause before speaking, take your time. Your presence should be an economy of movement. Watch politicians orate to understand how they use body language to add meaning to their statements.

    b.      Comb your hair. Shave (if you tend to grow a beard). Cut your fingernails.

    c.       Wear a tiepin, maybe a kerchief in your *** pocket and that nice watch and cuff links. Make sure your clothes are ironed (especially your collar) and that your shoes are polished.

    d.      Facial expressions should be guarded and reflect deep thought. Avoid blank, bored stares by exercising your facial muscles to reflect an expression of mild surprise mixed with a knowing glance.

     

    5)      Never, ever, use colloquialisms

    Employers hate it when you use slang or colloquial tongue – “like”, “er”, “yeah”, “smoked them”, rushed them”, “aced it” – especially ones that the employer doesn’t understand, or doesn’t even moderately relate to. The last thing you want to do is make them feel old.

    6)      Be bold and be plucky…

    …but don’t put the employer on the spot with your questions. Don’t ask mundane or hopelessly granular questions about one of their least-known products to demonstrate your in-depth knowledge. If you sound like a smartass, they’ll reject you right away.

    7)      Humour

    Be mature with your humour and don’t unnecessarily bash competitors to impress your interviewer – overbashing competitors makes you look desperate, obsequious and pandering, and may suggest an inability to be objective in criticism. It also tells them that you are hostage to your emotions – a quality that can just as easily be used against colleagues and coworkers in an unguarded moment. They won’t like the thought.

    8)      Objectivity

    Let your employers know that you use their products and that you have your own opinions about them. Usually employers like candidates with independent viewpoints, as long as any comments made are well-thought and conveyed respectfully. Respect the seniority of your interviewer. They’re in their position for a reason. Please don’t try to (fecal matter of a bull) them.

    That’s all for now. How did I do? I’d be happy if you told me how close to the mark these recommendations were. Remember, if these recommendations don’t work perfectly the first time, keep practicing.

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