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More annoying Microsoft Outlook errors

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 17-Mar-2008 21:36

Continuation from my previous post on annoying Microsoft Outlook errors:

Isn't this enough reason to be annoyed? Why offer add-in capabilities if any add-in installed turns a dual core 64 bit machine into a slow box?

Removed Xobni, disabled Avast Excchange add-in, disabled the search indexed - hey Windows Vista Search is a great feature, but the whole PC crawls to a halt if Microsoft Outlook 2007 is running and indexing is enabled.

Let's see how it behaves this week.

Annoying Microsoft Outlook error

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 15-Mar-2008 23:07

If there's a single thing that annoys me a lot on Microsoft Outlook is this "A data file did not close properly the last time it was used and is being checked for problems. Performance might be affected while the check is in progress" message.

Yes, it sure slows down everything, no kidding. It's worst when it happens on a Saturday evening.

I found this before and fixed it by disabling the Avast Exchange server add-in. Now I am using Xobni and it's happening again.

Is it possible to have any Microsoft Outlook add-in installed that do not crash Microsoft Outlook?

Windows Live Foldershare refresh live

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 11-Mar-2008 07:16

I read this morning that Windows Live Foldershare is live. It's a good, transparent and automatic way to synchronise folders and files between computers.

The service itselft is nothing new. Microsoft bought Foldershare a couple of year ago and it appears it now shows an updated web user interface and full integration with Windows Live accounts. The PC client has been updated as well - which means fuill Windows Vista support now.

Other than that I wonder if the 10,000 file limit per sync pair is still there. It makes the software unusable for me, because some of my folders have way more than 10,000 files - the documents folder for example, with all the web, images, etc.

IIS7 Remote Administration tool

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 9-Mar-2008 08:31

I was told this morning the IIS7 Remote Administration tool is now available for download. If you are already running Windows Server 2008, then this is a great little thing to have in your toolbox.

To install this on a client PC you will need Windows Vista SP1, and the Internet Information Services 7.0 Management Console installed already installed.

On the server you must have the Management Service configured and running. More instructions here.

The connection is over SSL, and if you are running a VPN and don't allow access through your firewall this should be a safe and quick way to manager IIS. In my case I am using Hamachi (it works great on Windows Server 2008) and I configured the Management Service to accept connections only from my private IP address.

WindowBlinds for Microsoft Windows: it is fun...

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 7-Mar-2008 08:43

A few months ago I received a copy of WindowBlinds to test but I never posted a review. Simply because I was running Windows Vista 64 bit on my laptop and I did not want to mess with that for any reason (I know a bit dramatic, isn't it?).

Anyway, last night I decided to install the software and see how it performs. First I downloaded their latest version to make sure all would be ok.

WindowBlinds comes with a few skins, but you can download more from their site. Some are free, some are premium. One of the default ones that come with the software is quite cool anyway and I am using it to demo the animation effects in the following video:

One of the themes makes my Windows Vista laptop look completely like a Mac OS X machine, except that minimise works on Windows.

This will modify the most common elements on your desktop - the themes. This includes buttons, scroll bars, fonts, the Windows Orb, taskbar, etc.

I did not notice any performance impact on my laptop with those modifications.

If you want to go a step further you can use other software from Stardock to customise the experience even more, including icons, a full taskbar replacement, etc.

I found only one program didn't work quite well with WindowBlinds, and that was SnagIt, for screen capture. SnagIt would crash every time I right-clicked its icon in the system tray - the only program to do this. So now I am divided between keeping WindowBlinds and limiting SnagIt usability or remove it from the system and stop having fun.

Internet Explorer 8 beta 1 and SQL Dataservices

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 6-Mar-2008 14:45

This morning (NZ time) I was overloaded with Internet Explorer 8 beta 1 information - RSS feeds, twitter, etc. The news didn't come alone though and Microsoft unveiled Silverlight 2, a beta of Expression Studio 2.

The Silverlight 2 announcement is interesting because Microsoft commited to deliver a mobile version for Windows Mobile, Nokia S60, S40 and Nokia Internet Tablets.

Microsoft also announced something that I think is even more important: Microsoft SQL Server Data Services, designed for developers building Web-based applications that need a scalable, programmable and highly available utility-based data store:

- Virtually limitless, on-demand scalability. Customers pay only for the resources actually consumed

- Reduced costs.  Customers use the service with minimal up-front infrastructure and operational cost. Businesses can minimize their initial investment in hardware and software and the on-going cost for storage administration, scale maintenance.

- Universal access.  SSDS supports simple web-programming interfaces like SOAP and REST for quick provisioning of web applications. Primary wire format is XML for data interchange.These easy to use, standards-based interfaces enable developers to focus on innovating with data quickly.

Back to Internet Explorer 8 beta 1 now... I read a lot of people shouting "Internet Explorer 8 has arrived" (by the way this was the headline at one of the blogs I subscribe to, and no Ben, not yours). This is not quite. What we have here is "Internet Explorer 8 beta 1". And look at the screenshot below:

No doubt a lot of people will download Internet Explorer 8 beta 1 and find out problems. Even though this is a "preview", "beta", "for web developers and designers".

Just please don't blame the software if it break things.

Office Live Workspace: try it

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 5-Mar-2008 19:50

You should try Microsoft's new Office Live Workspace beta. It's really easy to use. When the availability news came I jumped to try it and it's impressive in its simplicity.

It's a place to store your documents and files online. You can upload individual files or a batch of files into "workspacess", which act like folders where you can separate documents by topic.

You can share an entire workspace or just individual documents with friends or coworkers, giving them rights to view or edit the documents.

The service does not offer on-line editors. You still need to use the original tool to make changes - be it Microsoft's own Office suite or something else. You can still see a read-only version online, and check a history of changes.

The cool thing of using Microsoft Office though is that you can install a plug-in that will allow you to open and save files to your workspaces directly from the applications.

Of course if you want to store files - not only documents - then I'd recommend SkyDrive instead, which gives you 5 GB of online storage. But I would still like to be able to mount SkyDrive storage as a drive letter on Windows PCs.

Windows Server 2008 quotes and updates

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 3-Mar-2008 09:40

On the 20th March I will be flying up to Auckland to work on upgrading Geekzone from Windows Server 2008 RC to its final version.

We have been running Windows Server 2008 since November 2007 as part of an early adopter programme with Microsoft - and I am very happy with the results.

If you visit the Launch Wave 2008 site you will find quotes from early adopters - including myself. You will also find my quote on some of the banners during the event and on a wrap around the ComputerWorld magazine. Very cool, thanks for the link love Microsoft!

Application compatibility was high, and only a very old plugin needed to be upgraded - in fact we replaced that piece of software with a new product offering better features, so it was all good.

The upgrade back then happened as planned and quickly. Mind you, before upgrading the actual Geekzone server I spent three weeks, with countless upgrade options tested on a virtual machine that was an exact replica of the Geekzone server, thanks to Acronis.

In terms of performance, IIS7 and the server overall did really well. Geekzone readers contacted me to comment how faster they felt the overall site was for them, and I even managed to unblock the Newsgator RSS feed catcher IP address - which was a load the IIS6 couldn't handle before.

The "Launch Wave 2008" goes around the country with events in Christchurch (11th March), Wellington (18th or 19th March) and Auckland (26th March).

And one more thing: if you attend any of the Launch Wave 2008 events you will at the end of the day, upon returning an evaluation form, receive a bag with the following:

. 1 x Windows Server 2008 Enterprise Edition with 1 virtualisation license RTM
. 1 x Visual Studio 2008 Team Suite 90 day trial
. 1 x SQL CTP 6 (Community Technology Preview) plus a SQL RTM (final version) voucher for SQL Standard 1 user
. A 40% discount voucher on a TechNET Plus Single User subscription
. 1 x Service Pack 1 for Windows Vista DVD

Oh, and before anyone says anything: I am paying my own participation in the Wellington event, so there's no free lunch...

The Visual Studio 2008 blog

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 3-Mar-2008 09:01

We had just released the Visual Studio 2008 blog on Geekzone. The blog was created to add useful content to advertising.

Wait, what?

A couple of months ago an ad agency approached us and asked what we could do that is different from the old banner advertising on-line and I thought that creating value for readers would be a great way to go.

After lots of talks we agreed to create the Microsoft sponsored Visual Studio 2008 blog as part of a month long campaign.

Microsoft is sponsoring the blog by providing us with the means to keep it updated during March 2008. Throughout this month a series of blog posts will provide readers with tips and tricks on Visual Studio 2008 - and these blog posts are coming from New Zealand (and some Australian too) software developers that are already using the new Visual Studio 2008.

The blog is a first for New Zealand - I don't know of any other company sponsoring a blog like this before.

It is also different because unlike other forms of advertising this one is interactive - people can ask questions and post comments for example - and actually useful! The content will be living on Geekzone forever after the end of the month, and will serve as reference for people searching for those tips and tricks, well after the campaign is finished.

Make sure you bookmark the blog now or subscribe to its RSS feed.

Microsoft DreamSpark explained

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 26-Feb-2008 11:56

I have just posted on Geekzone an interesting interview with Paul Lo from the Developer & Platform Strategy Group, Microsoft New Zealand, about the DreamSpark initiative.

Chakkaradeep, one of the Microsoft Student Partners (New Zealand) discusses the program, asks when it will be available here in New Zealand and how it differs from MSDN Academic options.

freitasm's profile

Mauricio Freitas
New Zealand

I live in New Zealand and my interests include mobile devices, good books, movies and food of course! 

I'm the Geekzone admin. On Geekzone we publish news, reviews and articles on technology topics. The site also has some busy forums. Also worth visiting is TravelTalk NZ, a community for travelers!

Subscribe now to my blog RSS feed or the Geekzone RSS feed.

If you want to contact me, please use this page or email me Note this email is not for technical support. I don't give technical support. You can use our Geekzone Forums for community discussions on technical issues.

Here's is my full disclosure post.

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