Archive for November, 2009

Word 2010 – Screen Capturing Made Easy

word log

One of the cool new features of Word 2010 is that it allows you to automatically insert screen captures directly in to your document.  Watch this quick :60 clip on how to do just that 🙂

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Security and Computers in Schools…


So, if you follow me on twitter, you’ll notice lately that I’m marrooned on an island (aside of the island I live on).  On that island there is a small school, which in it has four computers and is connected “to the real world” via a 2MB microwave link.  The company I work for used to support the IT in the school, so I have a good working knowledge of it, however we no longer support the infrastructure. 

While stuck, however, I went in to look at the computers as they’ve been playing up some and my extensive knowledge was sought to hope shed some insight in to things (it turned out to be a simple DNS server setting which was causing all of the issues, but I digress).

Whilst in the school, I took the opportunity to have a look at the new system that has recently been put in to replace the old.  First off, let me say – Windows XP – What?!  Why!?  Don’t know.  However, lets progress to the point of this article.  Security.

What is the objective of going to school?  Learning, last time I checked.  So, what is all of this rambling about?  Well, the new system locks the kids out of so much, they can’t even change the background.  How can you teach children about IT if they can’t do rudimentary tasks?  Surely the best way to learn is by breaking things…why lock the kids out of things that will make them more successful in learning, which is what they’re meant to do?

C’mon guys…What is the point of locking down the machines so the kids can’t learn?  Also, for crying out loud, why put in Windows XP as it hasn’t even been supported since mainstream since June and it’s nearly 10 years old now.  Yikes!!!

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Software Pirates – Named & Shamed – Then Helped

As an MVP, MCT, MCITP, MC*.* you tend to get loads of emails.  In fact, I work for a Microsoft Gold Partner which means I get even more email from Microsoft.  One of the most interesting ones came in today and I’d like to share it with you.  Dracula was at the top and it was entitled – For Sale: Spyware, Malware & Viruses.  Then as you read the text it went like this:

Pirated software can leave your customers open to security threats, as well as damaging your revenue and reputation. That’s why Microsoft continues to crack down on offenders; protecting customers and helping legitimate resellers earn the rewards they deserve.

Not bad, but here comes the fun part.  The names – yes NAMES – of 21 companies who last year pirated Microsoft software.  The good news is Microsoft is now helping them come clean and be legit.  In case you were wondering, here they are:

1Hr Computers, Denton, Manchester

Annecto Computers Ltd, Droylsden, Manchester

Boss Systems, Duns

Charisma Computers, Manchester

Comp-u-Tel, Thatcham

Computer Clinic, Bolton

Computer Port, Walsall

Computer Warehouse (Manchester) Ltd, Manchester

Eazy PC, Redcar

Goldcast Computers, Stockton-on-Tees

Hi-Tec, Cheadle

ICN Computers, Newbury

Matrix Computers, Stockton-on-Tees

PC Assist, Oldham

PC Support, Worcester

Personal Touch Computers Ltd, Portsmouth

Platinum Computers, Hartlepool

Spacebar Computers, Litherland, Liverpool

Swift Computers, Wellington

The Little Computer Shop, Griffithstown, Pontypool

Unique Computers, Leicester

Morale of the story? Keep legit and you won’t be named and shamed.  Other morale of the story?  Big bad Microsoft isn’t all that bad if they’re willing to help you get out of trouble, should you decide to go down that road and get yourself in it in the first place!

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EasyJet looking for IT Staff too!

Last week, I reported to you that BAA (Gatwick if we’re being specific) are looking for IT staff. Good news is, if you don’t want to work for BAA (they’ve sold Gatwick anyways), there’s always other IT positions.  It seems low cost budget airline EasyJet – “Come on, Let’s Fly” – must not make enough from ticket sales to pay for quality IT staff.  OK you ask, what is it they’ve done?  Well, EasyJet has offices in the UK (Luton unfortunately of all places) and also in Switzerland.  What’s that got to do with the price of fish?  Well, they put their T’s & C’s in both English and French on the ticket back.

Good news is if you live in England you still utilise the pound as your currency and EasyJet take this in to consideration when they write out our T’s & C’s.  Let’s have a look (if you click the image you’ll see what I mean):

DSCF0607 (1024x768)

Essentially if anything happens you’re allowed £3,500 or EUR 5,100.  At today’s exchange rate, I’d rather the Euro’s please (5100 EUR = 4572 GBP).  No worries…now here’s where they are looking for IT staff, if you’re in the market.  French version goes like this:

DSCF0605 (1024x768)

Again, if you click on the image, it gets bigger.  UT OH!  Houston, we picked a font that doesn’t display the Euro symbol.  What the text means to say is “5,100€ ou 3,500 £”, but what it actually says is “5,100_ ou 3,500 £”.  First of all, should we tell them we put the £ before the monetary value, nah.  However, the bigger faux pau is the fact that in their own language they’ve botched up their own symbol and when printed it comes out 5,100_.  By the way, don’t they change the comma for a full stop in French?  Shouldn’t it actually be 5.100€

Come on, let’s fly!

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See MVP’s at TechEd…serious

So, every visit to TechEd is about education, swag gathering and clueing up on more Microsoft 1’s and 0’s, right…Well, occassionally (ok every TechEd) you see the MVP’s going around answering questions in the TLC and also in the Hands On Labs areas, but not only are we there to help you, we’re also there to see each other.  One of the fun things about all conferences is that we all get to get together again and share stories.  I was privileged enough this TechEd to meet up with Karen Young from the MVP team and share my experiences along with my colleague Erdal about TechEd, our love for helping the community, and a few other things…Watch and enjoy, I’m sure you’ll find humour in it 🙂  In fact, if you’re at a TechEd in the future, stop by the MVP booth or even stop by and see either Erdal, myself or Karen.  You’ll be glad you did 🙂

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Helping you Justify TechEd to your Boss

OK, so it’s a bit too late for it this year, but while at TechEd, my colleague Erdal and I did a quick 9 minute presentation for TechEd Online on how to help justify TechEd to your boss.  Why it’s important to visit, what you’ll gain from visiting, who you’ll run in to and best of all, a look at TechEd itself.

Hop across to TechEd Online and view it and be sure to share it with your boss (rate it too 🙂 ) and hopefully see you at either the next TechEd North America or TechEd Europe Next year!!

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Server 2008 R2 and Windows 7 – Better Together

On October 22, 2009 Microsoft released Windows 7 and also Windows Server 2008 R2. When coupling these technologies together, you gain more benefits than a server and desktop OS have ever seen before. Listen to this tech talk to find out how Microsoft’s new Server Operating System combined with its new flagship desktop operating system complement each other in ways never thought of before.

Watch the video here!

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Why Windows 7?

With the recent release of Windows 7 mainstream, there are loads of new features and benefits to both the IT Professional as well as the end user. This short tech talk will highlight some of the new features that make Windows 7 work more effectively and efficiently for you.

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Office 2010 – Test it for yourself


A lot of people tried the Tech Preview of Office 2010 and liked it.  However, you needed to be on a list to get the invite to the TP.  Well, I’m happy to announce – just like Windows 7 – the beta of Office 2010 is PUBLIC!! Even better yet, you get more tools than you did with the Tech Preview…So without further adieu here are some links that will be helpful in making you help us make Office 2010 just as good as Windows 7!

Office 2010’s Jumping Page –

Office 2010 Professional Plus Download (64 bit) – 
*NOTE: There are 32 and 64 bit versions available to run on both architectures, however strangely enough on the website it says “we recommend 32-bit which runs great on both 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows”…?

Office 2010 Pro Plus (32 bit) –

Visio 2010 Download (64 bit) –

Visio 2010 Download (32 bit) –

Visio 2010 Viewer (both x86 and x64) –

Project 2010 Beta Download (32 bit) –

Project 2010 Beta Download (64 bit) –

SharePoint Foundation Server 2010 (formerly known as WSS) –

SharePoint Enterprise Server 2010 –

SharePoint Designer (64 bit) =

SharePoint Designer (32 bit) =

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OK, so back on the 10th of November, I reported to you that MyMemory have a machine in Gatwick that is stupidly expensive. Interestingly enough just a day after writing that article Ben Garland from their company got in touch with me to try and set the record straight.  First off Ben, cheers for following up, however I still wasn’t convinced.  So, on the 14th (the same day I reported about the lovely IT at Gatwick), I was back in the ole’ airport with some time to spare :)  Ben made the comment that there was a 2 pack of memory sticks in his machine compared to that of Dixon’s…well I didn’t see those, however here is what I did see, and want to ensure it is a fair game, so I even included HVM in the mix…

Let’s have a look at’s machine (it’s just past gate 14 in the South Terminal):

mymemory battery (1024x768)

£4.99 for 4 Duracell batteries.  OK, here’s where the journalism gets fun…Now, how bout we go over to Dixon’s:

dixons batteries (1024x755)

£3.90..not bad, you save £1.09 by going to Dixon’s (not to mention it’s near McDonalds).  However, let’s go to HMV:

hmv batteries (1024x768)  

WOW!!! £3.40 and you get double.  Yep, that’s 8 batteries, not just 4 and the difference?  Save £1.59 and get double, plus you don’t have to walk all the way to the gates.

So, we’ve got the batteries covered, now lets address the memory sticks. has a selection of Kingston memory sticks, lids and all and let’s take a look at a 4GB stick (that’s what you’d need to install Windows 7 from USB):

mymemory usb (1024x760)

Not bad…£10.99, however note, it is Kingston and has no bells and whistles…Just a plain jane memory stick.  Now, let’s pop over to HMV:

hmv usb (1024x722) 

SanDisk 4GB, slightly more expensive at £11.39 however, let’s break down the Cruzer…First off, for the extra .40p you get a security programme, so if your memory stick gets stolen it is password protected (pretty good in today’s time with everyone losing their gear).  You also get U3 functionality which allows you to plug it in to any Operating System and get major extended functionality – if you’ve never seen U3, i’d suggest you have a look at it…good stuff (install to U3 is a big winner if you travel or if you’re a consultant).  Lastly, it has a completely different design.  The USB part (which is the most common part that breaks) hides away in the casing, furthermore negating the need for a cap (which you inevatably lose every time).  Is it worth the .40 to me? Well, if you check out revies, the Cruzer is the best in its field and worth more than .40, not to mention the ability to sleep at night, in case you lose the entire child protection database…

So, in summary, right now I still think MyMemory have a bit of work to do.  They’re on to a good idea and it’s good to see feedback from their team, however the price still isn’t too right and in order to succeed in today’s economy you have to be competitive, which it doesn’t seem these machines are, as of yet….Hopefully (maybe Ben can confirm for us later)…watch this space?

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