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Veni, Vidi, Velcro...

(I came, I saw, I got stuck!)

July, 2007

  • Veni, Vidi, Velcro...

    *New* Office Communications Server 2007 Virtual labs released...


    Check out the Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 Virtual Labs.  Experiment with the newest features in a free, online virtual environment.  More »


    While you are at it, you can also view these Webcasts that we did a couple months ago:


    Unified Communications Platform



    Unified Communications 101 (Part 1 of 4): Introduction to the Unified Communications Platform

    Replay Link


    Unified Communications 101 (Part 2 of 4): Overview of the Unified Communications Client API

    Replay Link


    Unified Communications 101 (Part 3 of 4): The SDK for the Unified Communications Managed API

    Replay Link


    Unified Communications 101 (Part 4 of 4): AJAX APIs in Unified Communications

    Replay Link



    Communications Server 2007



    Introducing Communications Server 2007 Speech Server (Part 1 of 4): Speech Server Overview

    Replay Link


    Introducing Communications Server 2007 Speech Server (Part 2 of 4): Authoring an Interactive Voice-Response Application

    Replay Link


    Introducing Communications Server 2007 Speech Server (Part 3 of 4): Debugging and Reporting

    Replay Link


    Introducing Communications Server 2007 Speech Server (Part 4 of 4): Deploying Speech Applications in a Telephony Environment

    Replay Link


    Hope this helps!!

    -Mithun Dhar

  • Veni, Vidi, Velcro...

    iPhone qualms continue...*must read*


    I was reading Shelly Palmer's blog earlier today and came across this FANTASTIC Article about her experiences on the iPhone... read about it at http://www.shellypalmerblog.com/?p=476 

    OR here's a Ctrl+C and Ctrl+v version:


    iPhone Reality/Sanity Check — my iWish list

    By Shelly Palmer | July 21, 2007

    iphonehero1.jpgWhat you are about to read is not an indictment of the iPhone platform, the concept or its design. I truly love the device. It’s just not very useful as a phone, PDA or business tool.

    Right now, I’m forwarding all of my Verizon calls to my iPhone. I didn’t have the guts to port the number over without a few weeks of iPhoning under my belt. This turned out to be a very good idea.

    AT&T Phone Service — What I didn’t know beforehand was that AT&T offers “anytime” minutes as in, “Anytime you can get a signal.” As a Verizon customer, I am spoiled. My Verizon Blackberry 7130e works practically everywhere and it almost never drops a call. Conversely, I have yet to end an iPhone call with “good bye.” All of my iPhone calls have ended with, “Hello! … Hello!” Using AT&T cellphone network is like going back in time 10 years. This is a serious problem. If you are thinking about using the iPhone as a phone, forget it. (Cities of travel with my iPhone: New York City and surrounding metro, central Connecticut, eastern Long Island and Atlanta, GA)

    AT&T Edge Network — Actually, it is nowhere near as bad as everyone says it is. But, when you compare the iPhone’s operation in a WiFi environment to its performance on the EDGE network, you think the device is broken. In a year or two when they introduce a new iPhone that’s truly 3G, everyone will be much, much happier.

    The Speaker Phone — This is actually my second iPhone. I visited the Genius Bar at Apple’s Fifth Avenue store and exchanged my first one because I was sure that the speaker in my iPhone was defective. As you can imagine, the people at Apple bent over backwards to help me and replaced my iPhone without any problem at all. Sadly, the second device was exactly like the first. The speaker is useless. For all practical purposes, there is no speaker, or speaker-phone capability in the iPhone. It is unusable. If you’re used to putting your Blackberry in the middle of a table during a business call so your colleagues around the table can participate, this is not the phone for you.

    Email Threads — The email application in the iPhone integrates perfectly with Apple Mail, g-mail and a bunch of other email applications. Only one minor problem — the device does not support email threading. If you like single-threaded communication, you’re in luck. If you are trying to do business with three-dozen contacts on any given day, you are going to be very, very unhappy.

    iphonekeyboard.jpgNo Search — I don’t mean limited search, I mean “no” search capability. If you are a Mac user and you rely on Spotlight the way many Mac users do, you are going to be amazed to realize that you cannot search email, contacts or anything else on the device. No localized search, no global search — no search. This is really a serious problem for business users. Try to find an email from yesterday or a name from a very big contact list — the experience is not sub-optimal, it is unacceptable, even personal use.

    Highlighting Text/Cut/Paste — Nope! Get used to hitting the backspace area of the touch screen (there are no keys) multiple times. This is a huge pain. You don’t realize how much you rely on simple word processing tools until they are gone.

    Not Flash Compatible – Yes, you can get a fantastic HTML experience on the iPhone. It’s really fun to get HTML emails and browse the web. Some Java applications work, Flash applications don’t. (Apple says that the mini-Safari browser will be Flash compatible in a future software upgrade.) This is really important.

    Email Attachments
    — Some popular file formats work, most do not. Ouch!

    Battery Life — Don’t ask. Check your email once per hour and take five phone calls during the business day and you’ll be lucky to have enough battery-life left to call home and tell them that you’re going to be late. The battery is not user serviceable and is rumored to be built to take approximately 300 charges. This is unsubstantiated, but the battery life is so awful in the iPhone, you are willing to believe anything people tell you about it. Sanity check: I played a :45 second video five times over the course of an hour, demonstrated the web browser three times and took one five minute phone call and used 50% of my battery by noon today. I’m not sure exactly what to do about this.

    Quicktime Files – Apple Quicktime is, well … from Apple. Older .mov files need to be converted to play in the iPhone. This will more than double the size of your iTunes video library. You will need to keep both formats. To make videos iPhone compatible, highlight the video you want to convert, go to the Advanced tab in iTunes and select “Convert Selection for iPod.” Then rename the .m4v file, with a .mov extension and make sure to “Use” the .mov extension when asked, otherwise the converted file won’t play in your iPhone. I have to assume that they are going to fix this very soon.

    hotiphone32.jpgHeat — The iPhone runs very hot. It is actually uncomfortable to hold the handset to your ear in the summertime. I assume that it will be a pleasure in the winter.

    Headset — The supplied stereo headset has a microphone so you can use it (instead of a battery-draining Bluetooth headset) to make and receive calls. It is simply an awful piece of technology. The sound is terrible and the microphone has to be held close to your mouth or you can’t be heard. Ugh!

    Long Fingernails — If you get a manicure once a week to keep your long fingernails looking Fab, the iPhone is not for you. You must be able to use the pads of your fingers on the touch-screen. I really enjoyed watching my wife try to use the iPhone. You can’t actually write comedy like this, you just had to be there.

    In conclusion, I think the iPhone is the great-great-grand-father of the future of personal media devices. I’m looking forward to a software upgrade that will solve some of the issues listed above. However, some of the physical and network issues cannot be solved with a software upgrade, they are simply limitations of the technology Apple chose to incorporate into the device.

    Should you buy one? If you want to be the coolest kid on your block, sure. If you are happy with AT&T/Cingular as a wireless provider, sure. If you are willing to carry an additional cell phone to make important calls, sure. If you are seeking knowledge about the future of personal communications and want to “see for yourself,” sure. Otherwise, I’d wait for at least one, if not two, generations. iLove my iPhone. I truly do. It’s just not suitable for the purpose for which it was designed. This may sound negative, but it’s not. We all own many beautiful things that don’t really do much. My iPhone is techno-art and I’m happy to have it.

    Shelly Palmer is Managing Director of Advanced Media Ventures Group LLC and the author of Television Disrupted: The Transition from Network to Networked TV (2006, Focal Press). Shelly is also President of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, NY (the organization that bestows the coveted Emmy® Awards). He is the Vice-Chairman of the National Academy of Media Arts & Sciences an organization dedicated to education and leadership in the areas of technology, media and entertainment. Palmer also oversees the Advanced Media Technology Emmy® Awards which honors outstanding achievements in the science and technology of advanced media. You can read Shelly’s blog at http://www.shellypalmer.com. Shelly can be reached at shelly@palmer.net



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  • Veni, Vidi, Velcro...

    Hackers take over security firm, courtesy iPhone flaw...


    A recent demo at Blackhat shows that the iPhone is prone to being attacked a lot more than expected! Looks like Safari vulnerability was the attack vector.


    Also nice to see a PhD and former NSA guy stating what we all know:
    “Windows gets hacked all the time not because it is more insecure than Apple, but because 95 percent of computer users are on Windows,” he said. “The other 5 percent have enjoyed a honeymoon that will eventually come to an end.”

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  • Veni, Vidi, Velcro...

    Top 10 cell phones & PDA's...


    Four of the top 10 cell phones & PDA's are running Windows Mobile...is this any indication? :)



    Personally, I love the WM phone and my next phone is going to be a HTC S710 Smart Phone! A colleague of mine was using and I just loved the form factor...its also very small and elegant! CHECK IT OUT!

  • Veni, Vidi, Velcro...

    The very first Apple iPhone prototype from 1983


    Earlier today I was browsing and came across this article. For some reason, I want to believe this but just take it for what it's worth :)

    Here's an early prototype of Apple's iPhone. Designed in 1983...you can see Apple's thinking has been revolutionary from the very beginning

    It's awesome! Apple's never been 'just another brick in the wall' and that is what brings this company to almost a cult status.

    Read more about the article HERE




    Very soon, I'll post some pics of the Microsoft's Unified communication devices (VoIP devices) that I'm a trial testing! They're pretty damn nice looking and very functional too :)

  • Veni, Vidi, Velcro...

    'Global village'


    Have you ever wondered why they use the term 'Global Village' or a 'Shrinking world'? It's because, technology is nearly eliminating boundries, distances and making sure that all timelines are erased. Can't wait for Quantum Computing! :) Can you imagine?

    Anyway, a friend of friend was in Hyderabad, a city in India and he sent the picture below from his cell phone. Apparently Poutine has made it's way to India. What are the odds that a Canadian pastime dish showing up on a menu in some city in India. WOW! Anyway, my very close friend Kristina knew my weakness for fries (esp the Curly fries that you get at Microsoft Cafeteria's) and my undying love for Poutine and she lost no time in sending me this mail.

    Now, one thing less I'll miss in India! 



    Source: Microsoft's 'Canadians at Microsoft' DL...

    From: Kristina Hotz
    Sent: Wednesday, July 18, 2007 9:01 AM
    To: Mithun Dhar
    Subject: FW: Poutine in India

    There’s Poutine in India!!  It’s world famous now.  :)

    From: Tara Brown
    Sent: Tuesday, July 17, 2007 10:29 AM
    To: Canucks at Microsoft
    Subject: Poutine in India

    My friend Sanjay just emailed this to me – he took the pic at a local cafe called Mocha in Hyderabad.  I looked the cafe up on 43places.com and apparently it’s the most happening place in Hyderabad. :)


    Gotta love technology aye.... :)

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  • Veni, Vidi, Velcro...

    MSDN Events in Aug/Sep 2007 - LINQ, Silverlight and WCF...


    We are back on the road with lots more cool stuff to talk and show you guys! Register HERE for a free training session on LINQ, Silverlight, and WCF!

    Here's a detailed description:

    Session 1 | New Thinking in Data with LINQ and Visual Studio "Orcas"
    • The architecture of LINQ
    • C# and Visual Basic extensions
    • Manipulating data with Visual Studio "Orcas"
    • Scenario demonstrations, including LINQ to SQL and LINQ to XML
    • Incorporating LINQ into ASP.NET Web applications
    Session 2 | Building an Effective Messaging Infrastructure with WCF
    • How to build and configure services in WCF
    • WCF core code concepts
    • Techniques for building a rock-solid messaging infrastructure
    • How to maximize WCF services, including security, transactions and durability
    Session 3 | Light up the Web with Microsoft Silverlight
    • Building rich, interactive applications with Visual Studio and Expression Blend
    • How to create dynamic experiences with XAML
    • Application and experience manipulation with code
    • Incorporating Web service data and media into Silverlight applications

  • Veni, Vidi, Velcro...

    68 iPhone bugs, and counting...


    While I have immense love for Apple and it's products, my adulation for iPhone is yet to come! I really really hate the keyboard :( either my fingers are Godzilla's fingers or the touch screen keyboard of the phone that I used wasn't good...and I think it's the latter.


    Anyway, I was amusurfing (surfing for amusement!) and came across this awesome compile....Apple's lucky to have free testers! :)

    Get yourself some popcorn and enjoy the read...it's darn too long: :) http://www.applehound.com/node/104 


    Meanwhile, I'll just wait for the iPhone nano :)


    -Mithun Dhar

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  • Veni, Vidi, Velcro...

    Visual Studio 2008, SQL Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 to be launched on Feb 27


    We finally announced the Launch of our three big products...VS 2008 (Code name: Oracs), WS 2008 (Code name: Longhorn Server) and SQL 2008 (Code name: Katmai) will be launched on February 27th at an event in Los Angeles, followed by a series of launch events around the world. (Linked from My colleague, Chris Bowen's blog)

    For details and press coverage see:

    Hope to see you there!

    -Mithun Dhar

  • Veni, Vidi, Velcro...

    Androcles and the Lion...


    I wish I could mark my blog entries as 'Low Priority'! I am not sure why I am posting this entry but I had completely forgotten one of the fables that I had read as a kid. Today, in my inbox one of the spam mails was titled 'Androcles and the Lion', long after deleting the mail...I was sublimely trying to remember what the story was...of course, I hazily remembered the lion and the thorn but had forgotten the whole construct! A quick live search (yeah, we have a search engine too!) helped me read the story!

    It's amazing, I think this fable and many others have helped me frame my mindset and live a virtuous life. Little stories like these help instill morals and values in us as we grow to become adults!

    Here's the refresher,

    Androcles & The Lion

    A slave named Androcles once escaped from his master and fled to the forest. As he was wandering about there he came upon a Lion lying down moaning and groaning. At first he turned to flee, but finding that the Lion did not pursue him, he turned back and went up to him. As he came near, the Lion put out his paw, which was all swollen and bleeding, and Androcles found that a huge thorn had got into it, and was causing all the pain. He pulled out the thorn and bound up the paw of the Lion, who was soon able to rise and lick the hand of Androcles like a dog. Then the Lion took Androcles to his cave, and every day used to bring him meat from which to live. But shortly afterwards both Androcles and the Lion were captured, and the slave was sentenced to be thrown to the Lion, after the latter had been kept without food for several days. The Emperor and all his Court came to see the spectacle, and Androcles was led out into the middle of the arena. Soon the Lion was let loose from his den, and rushed bounding and roaring towards his victim. But as soon as he came near to Androcles he recognised his friend, and fawned upon him, and licked his hands like a friendly dog. The Emperor, surprised at this, summoned Androcles to him, who told him the whole story. Whereupon the slave was pardoned and freed, and the Lion let loose to his native forest.

    And, like all fables, here's the moral: Gratitude is the sign of noble souls. Bread that is eaten should never be bread that is forgotten.

    -Mithun Dhar

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