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November, 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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November, 2008

  • The UK Higher Education Blog

    Windows Live Translator - what can it do for me?


    For some time now I've been using Windows Live Translator on several sites published in different languages for both work and play.  Just recently, I discovered that it can also be used on this blog to help anyone read it in their native language.  If you scroll down the page a bit, you'll see this  in the news section:


    Simply use the drop down box to select the language you'd rather see the site in and away you go.  So the news is that this can be put on any website with a simple bit of code available here.

    Windows Live Translator can also be used to provide a link to another another website and translate it into another language. To understand that try the following:


    University of Lyon's web site in French

    University of Lyon's web site in English

    Similarly here is Oxford University's website in Chinese (simplified).

    and Perm State University's website from Russian to English.

    The languages available today are:

  • English to/from:
    • Arabic
    • Chinese Simplified
    • Chinese Traditional
    • Dutch - would have been helpful on my holiday earlier this year.
    • French
    • German
    • Italian
    • Japanese
    • Korean
    • Portuguese
    • Russian (Russian to English only)
    • Spanish
  • Chinese Simplified to/from Chinese Traditional
  • The translation service can also be added to both Office 2003 and Office 2007.

    Also on the subject of Windows Live Translator, you can also use it to translate Windows Live Messenger, this means that it's possible for you and your buddy to type in your native language and it will be translated on the fly.  For more information visit here.

  • The UK Higher Education Blog

    Excellent BitLocker deployment advice


    As you may know, I enabled Windows Vista’s BitLocker encryption on my laptop a couple of weeks ago, and since that time I have been reassured to know that should something happen to my laptop, all of the data on it is fully encrypted and secure. The whole process was very smooth – I simply enabled it in the Control Panel, and the encryption happened in the background over a morning. If you’re thinking of doing something similar for your laptops, you would benefit from reading an excellent TechNet article written by the Microsoft IT team – they’re the people that keep all of our in-house IT systems running.

    The article deals with both the technical, and managerial issues, of managing the introduction, and also gives a unique insight into the challenges of change in a very tech-savvy environment. And the article is incredibly honest about the challenges faced, and the lessons learned. Here’s an extract:

    Lessons Learned

    Lessons learned during Microsoft IT's BitLocker deployment include:

    • Microsoft IT tried to retrofit the environment with BitLocker. A better approach would have been to move forward with new computers and then upgrade only existing computers that had the highest security risk.
    • Microsoft IT thought BitLocker would be easier to deploy than it was. Microsoft IT relied on the BitLocker Preparation Tool to handle all aspects but found during testing that it failed in some situations, primarily due to locked files when trying to shrink the partition.
    • Hardware needs rigorous testing at scale. Computers that test well in a lab environment sometimes yield different results in a production environment. In other words, one computer in a lab might look fine but thousands in the production environment have variance, such as differences in the BIOS.
    • Recognizing high-business-impact data is a difficult, industry-wide issue. Few tools are available that enable organizations to find the types of high-business-impact data that users have on their computers.

    Read the whole article here, and if you have time take a look at the whole IT Showcase section – a large section of the website in which the Microsoft IT team share their experiences in running a complex IT infrastructure (The “How Microsoft IT reduces costs” section is especially interesting)

  • The UK Higher Education Blog

    Professional Developers’ Day – March 23rd 2009


    This is a blog post for the hundreds of developers in university IT development teams that didn’t get the chance to go to PDC (in LA) or Tech Ed (in Barcelona). Because this time, you’ve got to stand a chance – it’s in London, it’s only a day – and if your boss is at Tech Ed in Barcelona this week*, he might feel guilty enough to say ‘yes’ if you catch him early Monday morning!

    After all of the announcements in Los Angeles at the PDC Conference, it seems we’ve got a set of new announcements for developers heading our way next March.

    On 23rd March, as part of the DevWeek conference, there’s a Microsoft Professional Developers’ Day

    The Professional Developers’ Day (PDD) is a Microsoft exclusive, single-day event designed to give you an early preview of Visual Studio 2010 and .NET Framework V4.0 as unveiled at the 2008 Professional Developers Conference (PDC) in Los Angeles.

    PDD forms part of the DevWeek 2009 pre-conference and promises to deliver a day full of rich developer content through a series of demo-driven, code-based technical sessions. The detailed agenda will be available in mid-November - bookmark the PDD page and check back for updates

    Although you'll have to wait until mid-November for the full and detailed agenda, but it's worth me writing about it now because the Professional Developers’ Day normally costs £269, but there’s a special early-bird booking discount of £169 if you book before 12th December via this link

    * About 60 UK universities have sent people to the Tech Ed conference this week, learning all about implementation of new technology, so there’s a 30% chance you can find somebody who may be feeling guilty enough on Monday

  • The UK Higher Education Blog

    How Microsoft does IT: Managing Network Access Protection


    image The people that run our internal IT systems – Microsoft IT – regularly run workshops (both virtual and face-to-face events) when they share how Microsoft implements aspects of our IT systems, and especially the things we have learnt along the way.

    Next Tuesday afternoon, they are running a webcast on Network Access Protection. This is a way of securing your network, allowing a wider range of devices to connect whilst ensuring that they meet the security standards that you have defined. In a university, this could allow you to provide better support for students’ own laptops without compromising your core ICT service.

    As it’s being run from the US – it’s the Seattle team who are running it – it’s at a slightly inconvenient time (5:30pm), but I’m sure that there will be some really useful information. Here’s the details:

    TechNet Webcast: How Microsoft does IT: Managing Network Access Protection

    Network Access Protection (NAP) is a powerful new Windows Server 2008 feature that can help protect networks from malicious software (malware) and other threats. This webcast explains how organizations can use NAP to institute requirements for accessing a network, create policies that check for compliance with those requirements, and update and manage devices that are not in compliance. Join us to learn how Microsoft IT manages NAP within Microsoft and how organizations can leverage this feature to report on health policy compliance, and to take action to address identified risks.

    Presenters: Brent Scallan, Senior Systems Engineer, Microsoft IT, Microsoft Corporation, and Pat Fetty, Principal Program Manager, Windows Server Team, Microsoft Corporation

    Brent spent his first 8 years at Microsoft in Support and Consulting working with several Fortune 100 customers on enterprise deployments of Active Directory, DNS, WINS, DHCP, RRAS, PKI, and IPsec, among other technologies. Brent also worked with enterprise customers through pre-release deployments of Windows 2000 and Windows Server 2003. Brent has spent the past 2 years in Microsoft IT as a Senior Systems Engineer, dogfooding Windows Server 2008 and now Windows 7 specifically to deploy Network Access Protection (NAP) inside Microsoft.

    11th November – 5:30pm (GMT)

    It’s tagged by the technical team as “Level 300” – which means that you need to be a bit of a propeller head – I only ever understand about 50% of a Level 300 session!

    More details, and registration, here

  • The UK Higher Education Blog

    Taking the search out of ‘Search and Rescue’'


    If you’re a follower of technology, you will have seen all of the news from Microsoft’s PDC Conference in the States last month, where there were the first insights into Windows 7 and the launch of our new Internet strategy with Windows Azure, Live Mesh etc.

    Much of the coverage focused on the technology, but what made me sit up and take notice was that UK customers have been some of the first to start using these new technologies. For example, the RNLI (Royal National Lifeboat Institute) were featured for their use of Windows Azure to help them grow their search and rescue systems. I’ve met the RNLI IT team a couple of times, and I know that they run a very sophisticated IT system, but it was a surprise to see that they were so involved in such leading edge technology.

    They have been building a new system for lifesaving on Windows Azure. At PDC delegates saw this short video explains what the MOB Guardian system is all about and why they’re looking at Windows Azure as the next step forward to help them widen the use of the system.

    <a href="" target="_new" title="RNLI and AWS Mob Guardian Windows Azure Testimonial">Video: RNLI and AWS Mob Guardian Windows Azure Testimonial</a>

    (Video link)

    In a nutshell, MOB Guardian is a device that sits on a seagoing vessel and fires an alarm to a monitoring centre should the crew get in to trouble. Scaling this system was the challenge and that’s where Azure comes in with compute power on tap and the potential for huge cost savings.

  • The UK Higher Education Blog

    Microsoft tech-ed for IT Professionals is now happening




    I'm back in Barcelona, actually I'm not as I write this but probably will be by the time you read it.  Altogether I believe there are more than 80 people from UK universities looking to develop their understanding and capability to deliver great solutions to UKHE.  It's an investment in both time and money for their institutions but one that they always tell me brings a significant return when they come back home.

    If you're also here then please drop me an email or post a comment.  If you're not here then follow what's happening through the site.  Last year Ray and I were both present and updating the UKHE blog but this year Ray is staying back in the UK, leaving me on my own :-( but I'll try to provide updates when I can.  In fact, I have got several other colleagues here too so I'll ask if they can take notes in their sessions.

  • The UK Higher Education Blog

    Take a look at Office for the Web


    As mentioned earlier, Office is coming to the web and for a look then please view this Channel 9 video:

    First Look: Office 14 for Web

    So they're talking about cross-browser with AJAX and/or Silverlight (BTW, the video is Silverlight in case you're wondering).

    How useful will this be for students do you think?  When combined with the full off-line capability of Office through deals like then I think we've got some really compelling options for students and I mustn't forget live@edu.


    BTW - when I just did a search in for live@edu the first link is the University of Northampton - fantastic!  Try it:

    Yes, there are other search engines out there ;-) and yes I'm using Internet Explorer 8.

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