Sunday, February 28, 2010

PowerPivot for Excel

  • I’m just brushing up on my Excel skills prior to Office 2010 going to RTM later this year
  • I noted that the PowerPivot site has some good demos and hands-on labs available via There is also a good blog and two sample sets of data (pivot sample data) here and (SQL Server data) here
  • For a Windows 7 installation, for the SQL data set for Adventure-works demo, you will need SQL Server 2008 Express edition with Advanced services from here. Instructions and prerequisites here. NOTE: You have to install SQL Server Express SP1 BEFORE you commence the main install and reboot the system. Then you won’t get any compatibility warnings and fail the ‘restart’ section of the install! SP1 is more of a pre-patch 


Monday, February 22, 2010

Outlook social connectors


  • Social connectors are links into external sites like Linkedln, Facebook, MySpace and Windows Live. They show up in your contacts, or during mail creation in the lower pane
  • Quote: “The Outlook Social Connector allows you to synchronize your contact data right into Outlook and obtain information about your friends and colleagues. See status updates from various networks and recently posted files.
    Easily track your communication history. Use the Outlook Social Connector to display a quick view of related Outlook content when you click on an email from a contact, such as recent e-mail conversations, meetings, and shared attachments. Developers can connect and feed social streams from line-of-business applications or integrate their solutions directly into Outlook
  • They also work work with earlier versions of Outlook 2003/2007. Compatible versions of Outlook 2010 beta-32bit include, Home and Business, Professional Plus and Pro


Friday, February 19, 2010

BPOS anybody? – Business Productivity Online Services

  • Just signed up for a 30 day trial of BPOS, aka Microsoft hosted services in the cloud. It’s early days, but the basics are already up there. When Office 2010 & SharePoint 2010 are out, later this year, I hope to see BPOS provide Word/Excel/PowerPoint and maybe OneNote 2010 in the cloud, alongside the existing hosted services. Should be a winning solution as a light-touch, non-infrastructure solution for small to medium sized businesses; possibly large enterprise businesses as well, although some may prefer to handle their own infrastructure/data storage and security concerns
  • As a user with the Standard Business suite you get: Exchange Online, Live Meeting, Office Communications Online, SharePoint. With the Deskless worker suite, you get Exchange Online, SharePoint Online (read only)
  • If you have Outlook 2007 or the 2010 beta installed, you will be able to create a separate profile in Outlook to handle exchange mail or you can use OWA – Outlook Web App, cloud based email
  • Live Meeting 2007 can be based in the cloud (web based) or via the Live Meeting console. Communicator 2007 R2 can be cloud based or you can download the client. There is also a BPOS client that you can download which acts as a launch-pad. If you sign-in as a Desk-less user you get a minimal subset of functions (third graphic shown)
  • The administration is fairly straight forward for someone with limited technical skills, plus there is plenty of online help to configure Exchange and SharePoint etc. You can migrate your domain across and your Exchange accounts/MX records via downloadable tools. You can also do bulk uploads via a .CSV file













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Tuesday, February 09, 2010


  • Would I buy an iPad? Nope, not until I see version 2, with a camera, more books and PC like apps that I can use
  • Do I like the look of it? Sure, it’s pretty, but I’m not impressed with 10 hours of battery life, nor how big it is, nor how heavy it is. First thing that will happen, is it will roll off your knee or you’ll drop it with a resultant cracked screen
  • If you get a chance to hold a Amazon Kindle v2 (not the DX model) you’ll see what an e-reader should be all about. The Kindle fits in my jacket pocket, runs for a whole week on one charge, can be held whilst reading and is very easy on the eyes
  • I think the iPad is competing with better net-books that have a full app suite, touch and probably as good battery life. It also kind of competes with their own MacBook..
  • If they came in at $299 I might be interested, but at $499 I could buy a Lenovo net book with Windows 7 and have touch with a full app suite
  • Pretty? Pretty useless in my honest opinion. Video on the go? Any net-book can do that. They should have made it thinner, lighter and focussed squarely at the books market. It’s really just an iPhone on steroids but without a phone!
  • People are already taking the mickey out of it. It’s a shame, because I think Apple make some amazing products and their app-store is sheer genius