I am Microsoftie 4 ever (19+ years) working in Windows Services and Content team in the UK, my blog is mainly focused on the Windows family of products and trying to provide help pointers and resources for customers on our products.
Spurred on by my poor effort yesterday, I decided to give it another go today, and wandered out and took 5 shots (again on the E650) of the Microsoft UK main campus at Thames Valley Park. After a bit of cropping I got the following much better (but not perfect result).
(Click on it to open up the full image 1.3Mb)
So a better end product, I was surprised about how well it came out. Pity about the foreground ropes not quite lining up, and clearly it was sunny when I took the first shot on the left.
I am typing this entry whilst trying out my new headphones a set of Microsoft LifeChat LX-3000’s,
...and I have to say I am very impressed so far with the sound quality. I am no audiophile at all but the music is very crisp and clear, and most of all the background noise has disappeared due to the generous cups that envelope my ears :). Although it feels odd to have these type of headphones as I am used to my Bose in ear phones for listening to music.
Of course these will come into there own for chatting to friends and colleagues via messenger.
One thing to mention was the install on my Vista notebook, I plugged them into a USB slot, Vista detected them within 2s and installed the drivers automatically and I had them setup and working within a few more seconds. Which all in all was a great and trouble free experience. I would highly recommend these to anyone wanting to listen to music, make calls or chat on there PC.
One minor thing where the experience could be improved ever so slightly is that when I hover over the little speaker in the notification (or System Tray), it says I am running Microsoft LifeChat LX-3000,great. However the icon is the same standard speaker one rather than the headphone one!
Currently listening to a little bit of Voodoo Chile by Jimi Hendrix, which sounds amazing :)
Whilst outside the London offices, I took some pictures with my mobile phone (E650), with the plan of stitching them together later using the Create Panoramic Picture option using Windows Live Photo Gallery. We have a great demo of this on the site at:
So only the train back from Paddington I created the following, it is not as good as I would have liked but nether the less it is worth showing.
(Click on it to open up the full image 1.1Mb)
A couple of problems I encountered where (all my own fault)
1. the obvious not keeping the phone straight issue!!
2. there was actually 5 pictures but clearly the 2 edge ones didn’t over lap so Windows Live Photo Gallery ignored them
3. the camera only shoots up to 2mb, which these days sounds a little low
4. I should have done it in front of the big lamp post on the left
Doing this on a cramped train was actually easier than I thought, thanks to the very easy to use software, even though the end result wasn’t great.
You can get Windows Live Photo Gallery for FREE at http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=3c04d993-dbb4-4fb1-96dd-4b806a9ef1a4&displaylang=en&tm
try it out :)
It is not obvious but did you know that you can search the Windows Vista Knowledge Base (aka KB) directly from within the Windows Help and How-To site?
No? well I don’t blame you as it is quite hard to discover!
First you have to click the little black triangle next to the search box, which then leads to a fly out where you can then select ‘Windows Vista Knowledge Base’ instead of the content on the Windows Help and How-to site.
Now that you have found out about this little hidden (not intentionally) feature you may be wondering, so what? or what is the difference between the 2?
The way I like to think of how what distinguishes the 2 different searches is as follows:
However there is content such as common error messages where we try on the Windows Help and How-To site put a less technical and more consumer friendly view on it vs the KB article which tends to be more technically written and targeted at a wider audience. Such as about error 80070003
Windows Update error 8007003 Vs Error message when you try to download updates from Windows Update on a computer that is running Windows Vista: "Error 0x80070003 The system cannot find the path specified"
The other thing to remember about the support Kb is that it is not just for Vista but for all our products.
There has been some good debate for the pros and cons (mainly cons on the debate) of the switch from LiveMaps to Multimap for UK users today. James Senior a UK Microsoft blogger has some information about it on his blog below…
James.Random() : Live Maps switches to Multimap
There is some geo-targeting going in the mix somewhere so as a UK user you will be likely sent to the MultiMap interface by default, whether you type in http://maps.live.com or http://www.virtualearth.com !!
However if you prefer the old VirtualEarth experience you can override it using the following link http://maps.live.com/?mkt=en-us
You can download the Helpful Hints – Your guide to mastering the Windows Vista Ultimate operating system for free here. Its quite big at nearly 9mb but contains some great and useful content especially if you are new to Windows Vista it is well worth a quick read.
It covers everything from starting your computer to managing pictures and security features to games.
However one thing to note is that it is focused on the Ultimate version so not all features are available if you have a different version.
Last month I highlighted the pages on the UK Windows Help and How-to site that had the most traffic. I have looked at the data for March now and there really is not much change except for the inclusion of the Windows Vista SP1 pages. Lower down is the list.
However looking at the data I couldn't understand why tabbed browsing was such a popular topic. So after a quick bit of digging I think I have found the reason why. When you create a new tab in IE, you get a page with the following view...
... and if you press the Lean more about tabs link it takes you to the Internet section on the Windows Help and How-to site, which has a section on Using Quick Tabs at the very top. Mystery solved.
At the same time I clicked the Show more tab shortcuts link and found a useful set of shortcuts for use within in IE. I had been wondering how to tab between tabs and now I know CTRL and TAB. Why I hadn't thought of that in the past I don't know but it had always bugged me how to do that.
March top 10 Visited Pages
No this isn’t a topic that will end up in a Phythonesque dead parrot sketch. But over my morning black americano I was reading The Independent when I stumbled upon an article about punctuation, and a complaint from our French cousins that:
"English writing style has killed the semi-colon; it’s too direct, they say."
anyway it was quite an interesting topic (for a Friday) so I thought I would share it with you below.
Punctuation: does it matter? - This Britain, UK - The Independent
On the web site, one of my goals is to get good and consistent use of punctuation, grammar and spelling so the site is as professional and easy to understand as possible. I don't always get it right as I am not an English language expert. Recently I have been trying to find out the correct use of the colon and if you should have a capital following it. Some sites suggest in British English that it should always have a capital, and in others that it depends. So my decision for now is get a level of consistency and try and get the capital correct.
Whilst on the subject of language, check out the Microsoft Language Portal
"...is designed to enable individuals and communities around the world to interact with each other and with Microsoft’s language specialists on matters related to computer terminology. "
The site is really useful if you are looking for computer wording translations as well as providing (ripped form the blog posting below):
Well worth a visit if you have to do any type of translation or localisation work.
The Microsoft Language Portal team have a blog as well over at http://blogs.technet.com/microsoftterminologyforum/default.aspx
Thanks to Mina, my French Canadian counterpart who sent me the information.
If you had not already heard April 29th is the scheduled date that Windows XP Service Pack 3 will be available via Windows Update and the Microsoft Download Center
See the announcement over on the Technet Forums:Windows XP Service Pack 3 Released to Manufacturing - TechNet Forums
There is a summary of what is in XP SP3 either in PDF or XPS here
‘Windows XP SP3 includes all previously released Windows XP updates, including security updates and hotfixes, and select out-of-band releases. Windows XP SP2 was released in August 2004. Since then, Microsoft has released hundreds of updates. Windows XP SP3 includes all of these updates. Microsoft is not adding significant Windows Vista functionality to Windows XP through SP3. However, SP3 does include Network Access Protection (NAP) to help organizations that use Windows XP to take advantage of new features in the Windows Server® 2008 operating system’
Yesterday we put up six great new demo videos on the Windows Help and How-to site. These are a new type of video to the ones we have traditionally have had. They are short and very task specific and demonstrate in a step by step fashion using screencasting technology and voice over narration.
We would love to hear your feedback on this type (or any other) of video on the help and how to site. Actually any feedback on any aspects of the site are very much appreciated.