Ian Moulster's blog

A Microsoft employee translating Microsoft technology into plain English
  • Ian Moulster's blog

    What’s the use of a Zune Pass?

    • 10 Comments
    It took me a while to realise that many people don't seem to "get" the Zune Pass (available on Windows Phone 7, Xbox 360, PC, and US Zune players). To explain the value as I see it, I’d like to back up a bit and look at the way the vast, vast...
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    Searching your Hotmail inbox

    • 8 Comments
    I didn’t realise until recently that you could search your hotmail inbox using keywords to narrow the search. I’m talking about the web version of Hotmail, not when you’re accessing it via a client application like Outlook. For example, let’s say you...
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    Download WinFX extensions to VS2005 (beta)

    • 0 Comments
    In case you missed it, you can now download the extensions to Visual Studio 2005 for developing WinFX projects (well, a beta version anyhow). So, for example, once you've installed these and you start up VS2005 you'll see new project types for Avalon...
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    My email to Bill Gates

    • 17 Comments
    I love working at Microsoft. And that's not as sickly sweet as it sounds, it really is a fun place to work. There's always interesting stuff going on and lots of incredibly clever people around. Another cool thing is that I work for the richest man in...
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    Activating the “flip ahead” feature in Internet Explorer 10 on Windows 8 and Windows RT

    • 4 Comments
    As I have mentioned previously, Internet Explorer 10 has been built from the ground up to offer great support for touch while still retaining all of its advantages for keyboard and mouse. One simple but very effective feature is how you can simply "swipe"...
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    What's hot from day 1 at the PDC?

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    Day 1 of the PDC is done (apart from a meal with the Press tonight) - what's the scoop on features and announcements? The problem I have is there is just too much - if I list it all this will turn into a marathon posting. So I've decided instead to post...
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    Introducing w3Schools, plus here comes the PDC

    • 5 Comments
    As I'm a fairly simple sort of person I'm always on the lookout for resources that explain things in really simple terms. I don't have much time and I have too many priorities (sound familiar?) so I when I need to understand something I want to get straight...
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    Using offline maps on Windows Phone 8

    • 3 Comments
    One of the really useful features in Windows Phone 8 is the ability to use maps offline. I recently had the opportunity to road-test this feature in a trip to Lisbon in Portugal. It works like this: Before leaving home I downloaded the map for Portugal...
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    Developer launch of Vista and Office in the UK – Register now

    • 22 Comments
    As I’ve hinted previously, we’re planning a developer launch event in the UK for 19th and 20th January 2007. I’m now able to provide some additional details including the registration link: http://www.microsoft.com/uk/launch2007/dev/default.mspx ...
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    Sharing your DVD or Blu-ray Drive across your home network

    • 1 Comments
    Remember when every computer you bought had a CD drive? Then a DVD drive, and maybe a DVD writer? And these days, a Blu-ray drive? Well as you know things are changing and many of the newer form factor PCs such as tablets, convertibles and ultrabooks...
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    Using any email address for your Windows Live ID

    • 1 Comments
    Did you know that you can use any email address to sign up for a Windows Live ID? Which means you can use any email address to access Hotmail or Messenger for example, or SkyDrive or Spaces or any other Windows Live Service. So if I have an existing email...
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    USB drive too slow for ReadyBoost

    • 6 Comments
    As I'm sure you're aware, Windows Vista introduced a feature called ReadyBoost which allows the operating system to make use of storage space on a USB drive or SD card to extend the available system memory. So if you have, for example, a 1GB USB drive...
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    The competition

    • 36 Comments
    You may have to refresh your browser to see it, but to save you the bother the link is here: http://www.microsoft.com/uk/launch2007/dev/competition.mspx It's also on the left-hand nav
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    A .NET CF search class

    • 3 Comments
    There's a clever little feature on smartphones that I've been keen to replicate in my own .NET CF apps: It's the way searching happens when you're looking for a contact. It works like this: Let's say I'm looking for my friend Graham. I go to contacts...
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    Windows Phone 7 Tips

    • 3 Comments
    Having had my Windows Phone 7 for a while now I've come across a number of features that weren't obvious to me from day 1. You may already know some or all of these (I have seen some on other sites) but take a look and see what you think. If you have...
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    "So when can I get Windows Vista RC1?"

    • 2 Comments
    ...is a question I keep getting asked*. Now that we've announced that it's finished, people understandably want to get their hands on it. And rest assured, the product team is keen for you to get it too so it all bodes well. This is being driven by...
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    New categories feature in Hotmail

    • 2 Comments
    Hotmail has a great new categorisation feature that really helps you to find information and emails more quickly and keep your inbox organised. It’s worth spending a little time reviewing the various ways in which this new feature works so I’ll delve...
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    The Power of CSS

    • 5 Comments
    Playing around with WPF makes one thing clear: Applications are about to become a whole lot prettier. Which itself implies that the design - the look and feel - is likely to become increasingly important for every application in the same way that you...
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    3d mapping for Virtual Earth

    • 0 Comments
    We've just launched a 3D version of Virtual Earth, take a look at http://maps.live.com . It's pretty cool. Here's a map showing the London Eye and surrounds. It still has the features you've come to expect from Virtual Earth - driving directions show...
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    SkyDrive upload facility in new Samsung camera

    • 2 Comments
    I can’t remember the last time I bought a camera. Like most smartphone-owning folks I have got used to using the built-in camera with all of its advantages. After all, my Nokia Lumia has an 8 megapixel camera and loads of photo apps – not least one I...
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    What's hot from day 2 at the PDC?

    • 2 Comments
    Ok, 10 more things to be aware of that were talked about today (again in no particular order, and again these are just my personal views, take careful note of the disclaimer at the end of the posting!) And yes, I will be digging into these in more...
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    FrontPage vs Quartz Web Designer: Clearing the air

    • 0 Comments
    A number of people have asked me some searching questions since Quartz Web Designer (QWD) was aired at the PDC last week. For example: Is QWD replacing FrontPage? Why would I need FrontPage if I have QWD? Alternatively, why would I need QWD if...
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    Getting up to speed quickly on Visual Studio 2005

    • 0 Comments
    So you've downloaded the final version of Visual Studio 2005 from MSDN subscriber downloads (or got a free copy from attending a launch event). What's the best way to get up to speed quickly? How about some short - 10 to 20 minute - videos that walk you...
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    Ask.com now uses Virtual Earth

    • 3 Comments
    Great to see that ask.com has done the right thing and adopted the best mapping solution available on the web. See http://maps.ask.com .   And of course multimap ( www.multimap.com ) now has VE's bird's eye view images - hardly surprising since we...
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    What are the Expressions products and how do they fit with Visual Studio?

    • 0 Comments
    I’ve been asked this question a couple of times recently, so thought it worth trying to clarify. First, a little background – bear with me for a few paragraphs: Today, Microsoft has a pro developer tool called Visual Studio 2005 – so far, so good...
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