May, 2006

  • Steve Clayton

    Sparky Jr. has $40k of competition


    We already introduced you to Mr Deakin’s Sparky Jr Aibo but now there is competition afoot in robotland – and from a familiar foe for Sparky – Messenger Bots!

    “Microsoft is challenging developers worldwide to create conversational robots, or BOTs, for MSN Messenger and Windows Live Messenger. The most original, useful robots collect $40,000 in total prizes. Find out more

    We’re thinking about building an Ask Partner Bot at the moment to deal with the common questions we get on the Ask Partner line and in to my team. Interested?

  • Steve Clayton

    the 12mb version of Vista guide


    Wanna learn more about Vista beta 2? The link off links to the 60mb Word document which is possibly the largest Word document I have seen this year. However, that linked seemed broken when I look no I nosed about elsewhere and found this page where you can download the XPS formatted version which is a measly 12mb. Nice. No where is that colour printer.

    Meantime…I’d love to know where the photo on of the girl in the field is taken. Looks quite Scottish apart from that mountainy type thing in the distance. Her cardigan looks very Scottish and my guess is her name is Heather.

  • Steve Clayton

    Here's the URL


    We heard again and again at the Partner Roundtable last week that people find it tough to find things on our sites. Too much time is spent on the phone to Partner Account Managers and other Microsoft people simply to find a URL. It shouldn’t be this way and it doesn’t scale. Jonathan solves the problem by having me and other folks on IM and I did consider giving out my IM address to everyone but that doesn’t scale either. Our site is getting better and with a major revamp on the content management side coming later this year things will continue to improve. Our search technology should also help but at the end of the day, if you can’t find what you need we need to fix it. We heard loud and clear and I promised to provide one thing I think could help - a Favourites file that you can add in to your browser with an A-Z listing of useful sites and resources. Who knows, it may help.

    I’m busy tracking down the file from the team at Ask Partner and will be visiting them on friday so worst case, it’ll be on this site by Friday evening.

    I have another idea though, how about you join a Microsoft alias – sort of. I am sunscribed to at least 50 internal distribution lists or alises and it’s largely what keeps me in touch with what’s going on. How about you tap in to a few Microsofties more closely? It’s pretty easy with RSS and Office 2007 so here is how

    • Download and install the Office 2007 beta (or just Outlook 2007)
    • Outlook 2007 includes RSS feed subscriptions so you can sync and read blogs in Outlook.
    • The easiest way to do this is via IE7 – if you have that installed, simply go to website and if there is an RSS feed the RSS icon will light up orange on the toolbar (like the one at the top of this post). Click on the icon, choose subsribe and it’s added to your RSS folder hierarchy on Outlook.
    • Add some of my teams blogs (listed below with the link to their feed)

    If all that new sofwtare is a bit onerous, check out Sharpreader which was my reader of choice pre Outlook 2007.

    [added RSS Bandit at Charlie’s request]

    What this is going to do is deliver solid info to your inbox from the technical experts in my team. This may not come across as easy as it seems so as soon as I lay my hands on a video camera, I’ll get a video done to show you how easy it can be.

  • Mark Deakin on Unified Communications (Exchange, LCS, Windows Mobile) 
  • John Westworth on Collaboration (Sharepoint, Office, Lotus Notes)
  • Dave Sayers on Windows & Security (Windows Server, ISA) 
  • Chris Parkes on Business Intelligence (SQL, Business Scorecard Manager, Office)
  • David Overton on Small Business and Vista
  • Steve Marsh on Office
  • James Senior SQL and Business Intelligence
  • if you want to see more of the Outlook integration before you make the leap, Channel 9 has a pretty good video on it.

  • Steve Clayton

    The UM landscape


    CRN | VoIP, Telecommunications, Collaboration | Microsoft To Take On Cisco In Unified Communications.

    This is going to be an interesting landscape over the next few years. I’m not as up to speed as Mark and no doubt he will comment when back from holiday this week but I do agree with one statement in here from a Microsoft partner in Ohio

    “People are sick and tired of having to go four or five places for voice mail, e-mail, text,” said Kerry Mann, president of Mantralogix, a Microsoft systems integration partner in Mississauga, Ontario. “We are looking forward to this with bated breath, although, of course, we need to see proof of concept. The proof is in the execution.”

    Check. Count me in on that one. If you have seen any of the demo of Exchange Server 2007 you will know that some of this pain is starting to be tackled – finally. I have to confess to using my comms tools in this order – IM, email, face to face, phone. When people leave me voice mail it doesn’t always get answered within a day. It’s not that I don’t care, I just prioritise the other channels. With Exchange 2007 that will get better as voice mail arrives in my inbox and I can control my inbox with voice from my phone.

  • Steve Clayton

    A memorable website #1


    Don’t ask how I came across this but I found a very cool way to engage csutomers and staff over at StLuke’s Communications. They ask staff and visitors a new question each day and then represent the answer in a graphical distribution on their home page. Pretty cool I thought. Today’s question – Are you excited about the World Cup?

    53% yes and 47% no. Ask in two weeks and I’ll bet it’s higher :) Meantime, here is their site from today before it disppears. They also have a downloadable screensaver that shows each day’s results but the PC version link is broken so I’ve emailed them. I’ll light up the link if it becomes available.

    Why did I post this? Well I stubmled across their site and stayed for more than 10 minutes despite not wanting to use or need their services. One day if I do though, I suspect I will remember them :) And this would make a very cool gadget!

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