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April, 2008 - The UK Higher Education Blog - Site Home - MSDN Blogs
The HE Blog
News and views from the Microsoft UK Education Team
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April, 2008

  • The UK Higher Education Blog

    Event: Identity & Access for Education


    We’re running a seminar in London, in partnership with Oxford Computer Group, on 12th June. It’s an opportunity to learn about solutions for identity and access management, messaging, collaboration, and how you can enhance existing technology investments.

    During the day we’ll provide an overview of Microsoft’s Live@edu services and how these can easily be integrated with your existing infrastructure using Microsoft Identity Lifecycle Manager (ILM) 2007. We will then demonstrate how to leverage this platform for identity and access management showing how to implement a rich identity lifecycle management solution that works with Live@edu and your existing in-house systems.

    When and Where?

    12 June 2008 - Microsoft London, 100 Victoria Street, London, SW1E 5JL


    09:00 Identity & Access for Education – Optimise your current Infrastructure Microsoft
    09:45 Overview of Live@edu & Exchange Labs Microsoft
    10:45 Connecting Live@edu with existing platforms and systems OCG
    11:15 Break
    11:30 Identity  Life Cycle Management for Education OCG
    12:15 Case study from King’s College London + Demonstration OCG
    13:00 Q&A and Lunch


    To register for this free seminar please email Ceri Morriss,, providing your name, organisation name, email and telephone number.

  • The UK Higher Education Blog

    UCISA Seminar on Desktop and Application Virtualisation


    The UCISA team are running an event on virtualisation on the 26th June, and looking at the agenda it promises to be a day full of useful content. It’s being held up at Leicester University, and they are going to be talking about the work that they have done to implement application virtualisation with SoftGrid, and providing a ‘warts and all’ insight into what they have achieved, and how.

    The opening session is titled “The business case for a virtualised desktop: moving away from the annual PC desktop refresh”, which alone seems like justification for the trip up/down to Leicester.

    My colleague David Hitchen, the man who’s job title says “Mr Softricity” on our email address book, has been invited to present a technical overview of where SoftGrid is going, and the infrastructure requirements to support application virtualisation.

    The events is run by the UCISA Infrastructure Group, and you can find out more, and register on the UCISA website

    In advance of the event, you can find out more about our virtualisation strategy on

  • The UK Higher Education Blog

    Business Intelligence in Higher Education with Microsoft PerformancePoint Server - Live meetings


    Please join us for one of the two Live Meetings to learn more about how Business Intelligence can bring benefits to your university through Microsoft Performance Point.

    Microsoft Office PerformancePoint Server 2007 was designed specifically to help improve operational and financial performance across all departments and all levels of your organization. An integrated application, Office PerformancePoint Server 2007 is built to support formal organizational business intelligence (BI) and performance management processes.

    With PerformancePoint Server 2007, you can:

    Built on the highly secure, scalable Microsoft BI platform, PerformancePoint Server delivers formal centralized and managed performance management tools and processes in the familiar, easy-to-use 2007 Microsoft Office system environment. A key component of the Microsoft BI offering, PerformancePoint Server can help you align organizational performance with individual and team goals and objectives.

    We have two live meetings on the 2 and 16 of May, please see below for details of how to participate.

    When: Friday, May 2, 2008 9:30 AM (BST)
    Duration: 1:00

    Add to my Outlook Calendar:

    When: Friday, May 16, 2008 9:30 AM (BST)
    Duration: 1:00*Nd6w

    Add to my Outlook Calendar:*Nd6w&i=i.ics


    -Computer Audio(Recommended)
    To use computer audio, you need speakers and microphone, or a
    -Telephone conferencing
    Choose one of the following:
      *  Start Live Meeting client, and then in Voice & Video pane
         under Join Audio options, click Call Me. The conferencing
         service will call you at the number you specify. (Recommended)    
      *   Use the information below to connect:
            Toll:                 +44 (118) 9092000
            Participant code:     901985

    To save time before the meeting, check your system to make sure it is
    ready to use Microsoft Office Live Meeting.

    Unable to join the meeting? Follow these steps:
      1. Copy this address and paste it into your web browser:
      2. Copy and paste the required information:
            Meeting ID: 9C6NS5
            Entry Code: g<%)Sg7jj
    If you still cannot enter the meeting, contact support:

    Microsoft Office Live Meeting can be used to record meetings.
    By participating in this meeting, you agree that your communications
    may be monitored or recorded at any time during the meeting.

  • The UK Higher Education Blog

    The Ultimate Mistake


    The mistake has been there for over three weeks. And I’ve only just noticed it.

    UltimateMistake1UltimateMistake2This morning, at half past ten, I noticed that the Ultimate Steal’s countdown clock (on, which is supposed to count down to the moment when the offer closes, is counting down to the wrong day!

    My system clock (left) shows 25th April – so there’s 5 1/2 more days left – and the countdown clock on the website (right) says 4 1/2 days.

    So, relax – the offer doesn’t close until Wednesday night.

    I’ll go and find the clock owner, and get them to change it now… Found him. Clock now corrected. Life's back to time warp exists.

  • The UK Higher Education Blog

    Ultimate Steal – just five days left for students and staff


    You can’t have failed to miss the offer we’ve been running for university students and staff – Office Ultimate 2007 for £38.95 – on

    You may have missed the looming deadline – it closes on Wednesday night next week – so there are just five days to go

    We’ve seen a rush of people mentioning it on blogs and forums suddenly, because it appears many students still haven’t heard of the offer. And we’ve also seen a burst of traffic from universities which have just announced the offer for the first time to their students. You may feel in an awkward position about promoting this – after all, we are selling something. But on the other hand, the deal for students and staff goes away next week, and after that point they will find the alternative to be (a) lower functionality and (b) more expensive – eg Home & Student from the shops.

    If you do want to tell your students about it, then this post gives you some words & images.

    Of the universities that have promoted it to their students (including BristolKentStirlingQueens University Belfast SalfordQMU EdinburghBradfordMiddlesex – Loughborough) my favourite two are:

    • Homerton College – on what’s an obviously student-centric IT page. It’s worth looking at as a good practice example of moving away from a dull, corporate look to student communications!
    • Derby – who used the lovely countdown clock one of my colleagues created.

  • The UK Higher Education Blog

    Email – the scourge of modern life?


    In my job, I know that I spend a lot of time in front of my computer reading and writing emails. But some tidying up of my Inbox today led me to some interesting observations

    Last year, I wrote 8,405 emails. That’s an awful lot - if I only worked 250 days a year, that’s 34 a day (gosh, when do I get any work done?).

    I wondered what they were all about, so I tested some words, to see how many emails I’d used them in. And then tested the antonyms (well, ‘teaching’ and ‘learning’ aren’t antonyms, by you may see what I’m getting at).

    Word Frequency Frequency Word
    Learning 1,845 565 Teaching
    Interesting 319 14 Boring
    Office 2832 910 Home
    Blog 1661 869 Talk
    IT 5,431 70 Human
    Sorry 829 673 Problem

    So what does that tell you about my life?

    • ‘Learning’ is 4x more important than ‘Teaching’?
    • One in five of my emails are about learning.
    • Life is 22x more ‘interesting’, than ‘boring’?
    • ‘Office’ is 3x more important than ‘home’?
    • ‘Blogging’ is twice as frequent as ‘talking’?

    And finally, what does it say about me, when I say “Sorry” in 1 in 10 of my emails.

    What does your “Sent Items” say about you? It’s easy to find out – use the Outlook “Search Bar”


    And it pops the answer in the bottom left hand corner of the window   SearchSentItems1

  • The UK Higher Education Blog

    Subscribe to this blog by email


    EmailIf you join the MSDN blog community, using the "Join" link at the top right of the page, you get a couple of nice extra features.

    One is that you get the chance to comment on any of the blog articles. It's not because I want to know who you are -  unless you tell me in your public profile, I can't see that info anyway - but to prevent 'comment spam', which is a direct equivalent of emal spam, where thousands of comments are dumped onto the blog redirecting readers to amazing, once-in-a-lifetime offers...

    The second reason to join the community, is if you want to subscribe to this blog by email, to get new articles into your inbox whenever they are published.

    To sign up for email alerts, use this page, and you'll start receiving new posts as soon as they are published.

    (And you can still subscribe to this blog through your RSS reader, using the RSS 2.0 link at the top of the page.)

  • The UK Higher Education Blog

    Ultimate Steal - Guernsey, Jersey and the IoM


    I forgot to blog this last month. If you're a student in a Jersey, Guernsey or Isle of Man college with an email address ending in ‘’, ‘’, ‘’ or ‘’ then you're now eligible for the Ultimate Steal offer (Office 2007 Ultimate edition for £38.95). You'll have to act quickly - the offer ends at the end of 30th April.

  • The UK Higher Education Blog

    Darwinian Databases


    The Windows Server launch team have made available the video of the Cambridge University team, who are using modern database technologies to solve a centuries-old data analysis problem. If you're into databases, and their uses, then this is a good video to watch now. But if you're like me, and the mysteries of SQL elude you, then watch it over a cup of tea this afternoon - you might walk away thinking about a data set you've had foa while, but hadn't realised you could analyse in a visual way.

    Find out some more about the project in this earlier blog post.

    Video: Microsoft Cambridge University SQL Server 2008

    A higher quality version of this video is on the right hand side of this web page

  • The UK Higher Education Blog

    Ultimate Steal - Staff now eligible


    With only three weeks to go, I can imagine this blog post could create some howls...but better late than never (even if the offer is only open for 3 weeks).

    We have just managed to convince all the powers-that-be that staff should also qualify for the Ultimate Steal. Until today, if members of staff in your university wanted a copy of Office, they could either buy the "Home & Student" version in a shop/online (at about £80-90), or use Home User Rights (if you allowed them, and you'd both agreed to the terms), or various other convoluted routes. But now we've managed to get the lawyers and licensing teams to agree to include staff into the Ultimate Steal offer.

    What does this mean?

    Staff can now purchase, for their own use at home, a copy of Office 2007 Ultimate Edition, for £38.95, via

    What's the qualifying criteria?

    The lawyers insisted there should be some qualifying criteria (after all, they argued, what happens if somebody is employed as a tea lady - do they qualify?) and so we created some with them. Hopefully it is easy for all of your staff to qualify - including the tea lady. There are just two simple criteria:

    1. Staff must hold a valid email address at a UK, Jersey, Guernsey or Isle of Man educational institution, ending in either ‘’, ‘’, ‘’ or ‘’.


    2. You must be employed at an education institution geographically located in the United Kingdom, Jersey, Guernsey or the Isle of Man, for at least an average of 8 hours per week or 4 teaching hours per week

    Do we have to do anything?

    Nothing other than letting your staff know they've got 3 weeks (and counting) to take advantage of the offer - it closes on 30th April. If you want an email template, take a look at this post

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