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Archive for July 2007

Washington DC – Part 3

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Today, was Day 2 of Campus Technology Summit in DC and the first of two days worth of exhibits.  The booth is looking really good, considering all the trouble I have been trough in getting things figured out prior to the event.

We had a great Microsoft presence at the event with Bruce Gabrielle and myself representing the Live@edu team, Kathy Richardson for Zune, and Rachel Drossman from the Office 2007 team.

We had a pretty even flow of foot traffic in the booth throughout the day, but as expected it was a little too slow for my taste.  The exhibit organizers were good about working with us and tried several things to drive more traffic into our exhibit hall.  Really, this was just bad planning on Campus Technologies part, but they are doing their share to rectify the issue.

The crowd is an interesting mix between tech-savvy faculty, IT decision makers, and university administrators.    I met with several current customers and we had great conversations around their needs.  Seems like there is a lot of talk about Live@edu and many are showing great interest.  We have a good list of people to follow up with once we are back in Redmond.

I also had the chance to give a brief product demonstration presentation in our hospitality suite.  A great opportunity to talk in greater details about the many features of live@edu.  The attending crowd was very interested and asked many follow up questions.  YAY!

All in all, a great first day.   However, I really hope we can drive more people to our booth tomorrow.

Washington DC – Part 2

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Today, was Day 1 of Campus Technology Summit in DC.  I met with our vendor to discuss details about the booth and ensure that everything falls into place nicely.  The venue itself is looking good, but for some reason the three platinum sponsors (HP, Trumba, Microsoft) are in a separate room from all the other exhibitors.  I hope this is not going to affect the traffic that we will get during the event hours. We shall see.

We had a hard time getting all our materials together for the booth, but my vendor (Meeting Solutions INC) did an outstanding job finding them all and hunting down the right people to get everything set up.  Apparently union laws prohibit exhibitors from just setting up the booth by themselves.  Anyway, I am really tired and the official event hasn’t even started yet.  Stay tuned for more about Campus Technology Summit.

Washington, DC – Part 1

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I just arrived in Washington, DC for the Campus Technology Summit (Microsoft is a platinum sponsor.)  Traveling here was a pain.  I left Seattle early this morning and took the Alaska Airlines non-stop into CD National – Reagan.  The flight was delayed due to a traffic backup and bad weather in DC, but the actually frustrating part of the journey where the people sitting around me on the plane.  They struck me as unusually loud and squirmy.  I guess this is the negative side to booking air travel in a large corporation – place tickets are purchased so late, the middle seat is often the only option available.

Anyway, I made it DC finally and got a cab to my hotel downtown (Hotel Monaco – rooms are small but very comfortable and nicely decorated).  My first learning experience in DC: Cabs don’t take debit/credit cards.  Ergo, my driver was forced to circle the hotel in search of an ATM.  Luckily, DC works on a cab zone system, so the fare remained the same, plus my tip probably made up for the extra five minutes.

After grabbing some dinner, I am now in the hotel working on my product demonstration PowerPoint and taking advantage of the hotel’s complimentary, but very slow and choppy, wireless. 😉

Hope you are having a great Sunday evening and I will keep you all posted on how things go at the event.    

Written by markusw

July 29, 2007 at 4:06 pm

Microsoft SharedView (beta)

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My friend Chris beat me to the punch on this one, but I wanted to also briefly explore the genius that is Microsoft SharedView (beta).  Another Live service in the making, SharedView allows several users to collaborate in real-time via an Internet connection.  All it takes is for the participants to install the freeware on their laptops/desktops and a stable (preferably quick) Internet connection.

Within just a few minutes, you can begin collaborating as a team.  You have several options, share your own desktop and allow others to view whatever you see on your screen, join another person on their screen, or even take control of you session participants desktop.  The participants may hand each other full control of their respective computers.  This makes for great collaboration on documents/presentations/or troubleshooting.

image Chris, pointed out correctly that a higher connection speed is favorable, otherwise things might get a little choppy.  Over a wireless connection you can observe a slight delay (mouse trailing your actual movement by a fraction of a second or so) but over my cable line things are smooth as butter.  Other than that, this is an amazing tool that will make group collaboration and communication much more engaging and effective.

For those of you with Vista, try out Microsoft Meeting Space, which is the hosted version of essentially the same product.

Written by markusw

July 27, 2007 at 8:17 am

The new Live services

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At yesterday’s annual Microsoft Shareholder meeting, Kevin Johnson (President Platform and Services division) described the new live services to be announced this fall.

The new product announcements will be available as a single download, making available the whole host of Windows Live Services.  Joe Wilcox, from Microsoft Watch, correctly pointed out that this entire strategy builds heavily on active Live IDs.  Something, that has been identified as critical to Microsoft’s FY 08 success. 

Active Live IDs are also central to my current project – Live@edu being one of THE primary activation drivers in the US.

The product enhancements that Kevin Johnson has  announced for this fall will take the Live services suite in a whole new direction and I am excited to see the things currently being worked on to be implemented so soon.  I believe they will fundamentally change the way we think about software as a service and Live as a means to providing online and offline services.

This is an very thrilling time for everyone.  The online and offline services business is going to change and Microsoft is at the forefront of this change.

Written by markusw

July 27, 2007 at 6:57 am

NO email or phone for 4 hours

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I just got kicked off my email and phone for the next four hours.  I am part of the newest roll-out for the new unified communications beta.  Starting at 4pm today I will be using our new Unified Messaging tools.

Certainly a damper to my productivity right now, but I am looking forward to trying out the new system.  It should be very exciting and I will definitely post about my experience here.  I will be using the new beta of Office Communicator 2007 as well as the Catalina Unified Messaging (UM) telephone.  Stay tuned for more to come.

Windows Live Writer

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The first Windows Live Service I am exploring in my post series.  This is a desktop application that ties into your blogging engine, allowing you to work on posts in a Windows Live native environment and without having to work within the constraints of your web browser.

The program plugs directly into your blog service and pulls all the data you need to post on your post right from the Dashboard.  Blog stats, posting tools, comments, editing, and formatting are all accessible directly from your Desktop.  You can write you post offline and the next time you log into the Internet you post is published, either automatically or manually.

The advantage of using Windows Live Writer goes beyond offline writing though, it enables fully functional word processing avenues.  Enabling the user to insert pictures, videos, tables, maps, tags, as well as other plugins.  Even better, all my categories are easily accessible at the bottom of the screen enabling me to pick them from a convenient drop-down menu.

Windows Live Writer 1

Additionally, Windows Live Writer offers a series of advance editing tools similar to any other word processor.  These include the four different viewing options.  You can view your blog and current blog post in a word processor native environment, a web layout, the native blog environment, or in HTML code.  Some of the other advance editing tools allow you to control paragraph and formatting settings as well as keeping detailed weblogs of changes.  Another very useful tool is the integrated spell-checker, which is in sync with the Office spell-checker.  Words added to your personal dictionary in Excel 2007 or Word 2007 are also recognized and corrected in Windows Live Writer. 

All in all, this is a fabulous FREE blog writing tool.  Part of the Windows Live Cloud of Services, this will enable you to write and maintain your blog with greater ease then ever before.  Of course, I wrote this post in Windows Live Writer.  Please comment if you have any questions, comments, or concerns.      

Written by markusw

July 19, 2007 at 4:03 pm

Posted in News/Blogging