James O'Neill's Blog

October 31, 2007

Phase one: Capture one V4 has a new beta.

Filed under: Photography — jamesone111 @ 6:55 pm

Hot on the heels of the announcement that Phase one and Microsoft had entered an alliance I got a mail to tell me about Capture one 4 beta 2. The web site has one of the most annoying bits of flash I’ve seen a while. There’s a control to turn the cheesy music off but you can’t do anything about the loud “tock” that’s emitted when you hover over anything.

It looks like the UI has had a major re-vamp -which it puts me in mind of Adobe LightRoom (which I still haven’t bought for myself). Functionally it hasn’t changed much: but a nice feature is you can have multiple variants of the processing for the same RAW image. This means that you can keep a set of processing changes and try something different. It’s able to straighten pictures now (why it wasn’t before I don’t know), and can handle DNG. But it still can’t print as far as I can tell it has no answer for Lightroom’s lovely back and white handling and split toning. Give me those things and and a clone / healing brush and I can work in a single program.

Like it’s predecessor it does the things it does really well I’d say it’s worth a look if you’re serious about your photography. But I can see people going for the more complete offering from Adobe. I’ll probably want both.

This post originally appeared on my technet blog.

Sometimes I feel like a woman.

Filed under: Uncategorized — jamesone111 @ 11:27 am

No. Not like that.  But every time I read about things about “What Women want in the work place”, I find my self saying I want that too !

On Monday I was visiting a customer who, like Microsoft, appears on The Times’ “Where Women want to work” top 50. They had the Times supplement in reception, and while I was waiting I had a chance to leaf through it. Google got called out for their work life balance, although what I read there could equally have applied to Microsoft. DeLoitte got called out for their use of Facebook. (The idea that information workers want to use the same kind of tools in work as they do outside was something I was chatting to my Dad about at the weekend).

Microsoft’s family friendly nature came into play on Tuesday. I like to drop my daughter at school or my son at nursery rather than leaving them both to my wife; because I don’t have to be in the office a 9:00 sharp I can do that, and as a side effect I miss the rush-hour traffic and shorten my journey time. On Tuesday, just after the alarm went off, the power went off as well. This isn’t exactly a rare occurrence (I was grumbling about it this time last year). Normally I’d get some work done before leaving the house, but no power means no Internet connection… We managed to get everyone ready, and I took my daughter to school.

The power cut had killed the heating so the school was closed. Milling round outside the school were quite a few working parents – mostly mums – trying to work out what to do. I can’t work at home without power. I’m going on vacation next week and I’m at tech-ed IT forum the following week so I need to clear the decks this week. So I took my daughter to the office  (calling in at home to pick up some DVDs she could watch on a spare computer). One of things I like about this job is being able to do that, she’s been in before and although at age 7 she feels the “kiddie corner” the restaurant is a bit young for her, lunch at Microsoft is a treat; there’s free hot chocolate on tap, people make a fuss of her she likes being here. On Tuesday I’d planned to go to the on-site Gym, and the people there found somewhere she could sit safely. It’s a nice place to come with your kids.  

My wife’s workplace has things on-site which means they can’t accommodate kids, so it certainly helps us as a family that my workplace can. But  do I read that men, or fathers or more accurately PARENTS want this kind of thing from the work place ? No it’s “What women want”. It’s odd, because in my immediate area in Microsoft there are more women than men, but more fathers than mothers.

The other major thing that leapt off the page when I read the Times report was that one of the factors in their top 50 selection was “an eagerness to embrace new technology to facilitate work-life balance”. That might be more important to women in general than men in general, but “active” fathers value it too. It’s technology that lets me do the overnight e-mail before I leave the house. It’s technology that lets me leave the office by 5 and eat with the family: in my past life in services one boss went berserk when I wrote in my objectives that I wanted be there at breakfast or dinner for my kids 50% of the time (Any time I’m not there for breakfast, should have a balancing occasion where I’m home for dinner): these days it must be running at better than 80%.  

Here’s the wierd thing: I subscribe to the view that Darren says is part of the Millenial generation’s thinking: work is a thing you do, not a place you go.  I’m in the office for less than 30 hours a week I probably work 50+ hours and I’m reachable for over 100 hours. I see this as a good work/life balance. Work does intrude on home life. Home life intrudes on work; but neither intrudes on the other unreasonably.  Wind history back to when my father was my age (and I was the same age as my daughter) he worked fewer hours, wasn’t in touch with people from work at the weekends, but work was more intrusive. A big piece of work meant staying in the office. Last week I was listening to Thomas Lee talking about OCS and he asked the audience “How many of you have better network access from home than the office”. About half the audience did. “Yes”, he said, “and the coffee’s better and the atmosphere’s more conducive to writing.”. Indeed. These days a big piece of work means working at home – oddly that means might I see more of my family when there’s a “crunch” on.

So a plea to those who write about people want in workplace. I’m happy to accept that there are things that women want from their work place which men aren’t bothered about. I’ve written before that ‘a “melting pot” with diverse people bringing different talents and experience strengthens a company, and striving for that strength does a lot more to equalize opportunities than “Equal opportunities” policies found where managers hire people just like themselves’ and that means a excessively masculine (or feminine) style of going about work is usually a bad thing. But Please: Don’t assume that it’s only women who want family friendly working.

 

Bonus Link Jason linked to Stephen Fry talking about technology in the Grauniad. However Fry’s opening complains ‘In our culture we are becoming more and more fixated with an “it’s one thing or the other” mentality.’ Indeed.

This post originally appeared on my technet blog.

October 30, 2007

Phase one strategic alliance

Filed under: Photography — jamesone111 @ 12:10 am

I’ve been using Phase One’s “Capture one” software for the last 3 years and I like it better than anything else I’ve tried for processing RAW images. So I was interested when one of the photography forums linked to this press release.

“Microsoft and Phase One Form Strategic Alliance to Improve Digital Photography Solutions” it says.
In Plain Words, Gowers says we can’t send some words into the world naked, and have to give them a dressing gown, for example “Alliances” are always called strategic. Does this tell me what will come of it ? No.

The release also talks about “HD Photo, Photosynth, Digital Image Suite and other products that provide superior solutions for professional photographers and enthusiasts alike.”
HD photo hasn’t seen much adoption, Photosynth is available as product, and Digital image suite has been killed off.

Our record with software for the photo-enthusiast is at best, patchy. The one high spot being indexing pictures in Vista, and the basics provided in photo gallery (and its “Live” sister which works on XP) . This deal doesn’t say anything about Microsoft getting the rights to any Phase one software so I don’t know what the alliance is for. Still if I get to evangelise about Capture One I won’t be complaining.

This post originally appeared on my technet blog.

October 27, 2007

More halo 3 picture fun

Filed under: RSS,Xbox — jamesone111 @ 3:15 pm

warthog.sticker Driving home last night I heard Stephen McGill (who’s in charge of all things Xbox in the UK) on the PM programme (it’s about 40 minutes in if you want to use the “Listen again feature). He was talking about Gears of War winning the Golden Joystick awards. According to the BBC Xbox and Wii had a good night and Playstation had a miserable one. Halo 3 came out too late to be in the vote. I guess PGR4 and Bioshock were in the same boat, and I guess the timing spoils their chances for next year.

I have gears of War (thanks to a deal when I bought the Xbox-360), but I’ve not really immersed myself in it. Halo 3 is going to take up more of my time than I thought, the films feature is just fantastic. I wonder what people are going to do with the images (I’ve just discovered Bungie.net will give me an RSS feed to get to the images I upload, as well as one to give me all my game stats. Yikes, anyone can watch my stats and see what how badly I suck at multiplayer). The images are fascinating for the detail you find, not just in the lighting but the objects themselves. Just over 2 minutes into Cinema paradiso video (different sizes from here) one of the Bungie people says “I did not know that the Warthog actually had internal dash lights … and then I flying round and it’s like ‘What ? theres’ actually, like, lights in here ?”  Did you know that it had rubber mats in the foot wells, or the makers VIN sticker ? Look to the left …  This whole stop the action and view it from anywhere is … well to quote that Bungie guy again “The complexity of that system is SO insane”. OK it doesn’t make it any harder for the machine to render if you change the view point, and logging what objects are in the system and how they move, so you can render them again is a pretty simple idea. But

I’m a bit cross that the bungie guy says “The next thing you know they’re going to take the forge, and take saved films of that and add voice overs and do Macbeth” – I’m so cross he said Macbeth, because that’s the one play I’d pick; “Waiting for Goddot” performed by Spartans might have problems on a number of levels. I’m tempted to put together a Warthog brochure or a even a Warthog drivers club calendar. But… I’m concerned about copyright. Keep in mind that this only applies to the UK and I’m not qualified to give you an interpretation of the law, even If I do know my way round The Copyright designs and Patents  act 1988. (I recently had to refer someone to Section 30 (1) which says “Fair dealing with a work for the purpose of criticism or review, of that or another work or of a performance of a work, does not infringe any copyright in the work provided that it is accompanied by a sufficient acknowledgement”).  and I thought I knew what it said about computer generated art. These seem to be the key bits

Section, 4 Artistic works (1) In this Part “artistic work” means— (a) a graphic work, photograph, sculpture or collage, irrespective of artistic quality

Section 9 Authorship of work  (1) In this Part “author”, in relation to a work, means the person who creates it. (3) In the case of a literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work which is computer-generated, the author shall be taken to be the person by whom the arrangements necessary for the creation of the work are undertaken.

Section 11 First ownership of copyright (1) The author of a work is the first owner of any copyright in it, subject to the following provisions. (2) Where a literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work is made by an employee in the course of his employment, his employer is the first owner of any copyright in the work subject to any agreement to the contrary.

Obviously you should get someone qualified to interpret what “the arrangement necessary for the creation” of a snapshot from a halo game are and if there are other bits of the act you need to note. I’m going to try to find out what our stance is on other rights we have (e.g. the image rights of the Master chief). Sound like I need to get my own interview with Mr McGill. In the meantime here is a nice Warthog image to be going on with.

 

 warthog-splash

This post originally appeared on my technet blog.

October 24, 2007

Post removed

Filed under: General musings,Linux / Open Source,Working at Microsoft — jamesone111 @ 8:24 am

This article has been removed.


The article implied a number of traits about Mr Richard Morrell which are entirely without basis.


I apologise for both the factual inaccuracy and the offence caused to Mr Morrell through this article.


 


 

This post originally appeared on my technet blog.

October 22, 2007

Units: introducing the millitree

Filed under: General musings — jamesone111 @ 8:15 pm

One of my colleagues has in her e-mail signature “Please think of the environment before printing this. 1 ton of paper = 17 trees”. That’s all fine and good. But how many sheets of paper do you get from a tree ? Indeed is there a standard for the size of a tree ? Since we’re dealing with approximations I’m going to treat tons and tonnes as equal. 80 gsm paper is easy for the arithmetic. 1 SQ metre (A0 size) weighs 80 grams, so A1 size = 40g, A2 = 20g, A3=10g and A4 size is 5g. 200 sheets weigh 1Kg and 1 tonne, is 200,000 sheets. If 17 trees is 1 tonne, 1 tree is 0.06 tones, or 12,000 sheets. So 12 sheets = 1  millitree. WikiPedia says 24 sheets make a quire, which is a nice round 2 millitrees.

I wonder if can get this into any of those lists of conversions

You have to wonder how many of these units an army uses in a year 🙂

This post originally appeared on my technet blog.

It’s 1986 all over again.

Filed under: General musings — jamesone111 @ 3:55 pm

A few minutes before yesterday’s race in the Brazil began, I had a bad feeling about how the Formula one world championship would end. I know my F1 history (Recently I correctly dated each car in a display of F1 cars from the 1980s and 90s:  to the shock of some colleagues who were with me, and the chap who was showing us the cars). When ITVs commentator said this was the first time since 1986 that 3 drivers had a chance at the last race, I knew that was the year that Englishman Nigel Mansel went to the last race of the season expected to come home as champion. Over the season his team had insisted they were being fair to him and his team mate – Nelson Piquet, who had been champion twice before and expected number one status. (Some also suspected that Honda who were backing the team wanted Piquet.) Would Piquet snatch it ? In the end a failure on Mansel’s car put him out of contention, Piquet couldn’t do enough to take the title and Alain Prost came through and won.

Change the names and 2007 was the year Englishman Lewis Hamilton went to the last race of the season expected to come home as Champion. Over the Season his team had insisted they were being fair to him and his team mate -Fernando Alonso, who had been champion twice before and expected number one status. (would McLaren sponsor Banco Santander be happier seeing a Spaniard win ?) Would Alonso snatch it ? In the end a failure on Hamilton’s car put him out of contention, Alonso couldn’t do enough to take the title and Raikkonen came through and won.

With [a] England’s football team looking like they won’t make it to the next European finals and [b] the Rugby team proving that whilst you can beat a better team, but not if you give them more chances to kick penalties than they give you (ignoring officials who take very strange views) it made up a very nasty hat-trick, as a couple of this morning’s papers have pointed out.

Since I mention officials, there is a ghost of chance that cars ahead of Hamilton will be disqualified – since both Williams and BMW had chilled their fuel to an illegal degree. Of course that would require the FIA to do something which worked against Ferrari. Since they didn’t take points away when Ferrari were found to have run an illegal car in he first race the chances of that happening is infinitesimal. Indeed whilst I can name every world champion back to 1968 from memory, I can’t recall the FIA ever punishing Ferrari, please post a comment if you can.  Pete at demotivate.org sent me a link to his Ferrari parody T-shirt after my last post about the organization lots of people think of as “Ferrari International Assistance“. Looks like I might end up buying one.

 

This post originally appeared on my technet blog.

October 19, 2007

Software + Services – X-box live as a model ?

Filed under: General musings,How to,Xbox — jamesone111 @ 10:51 am

We keep talking about a world of Software + Services. I saw a slide recently that talked about this almost in the form of “Client / Server 2.0”

The idea went like this

  • First we had the PC / Mainframe era. It was either anarchic on the PC or Controlled and restricted as a central service
  • Then we had the client / Server era. PCs consumed central services but both halves were smart.
  • Then the Internet came along. Web sites gave you what they gave you, and didn’t provide services to be consumed, the client was relatively “dumb”  
  • Then the internet evolved into providing services which could be consumed …

is this the much talked about web 2.0 ? No. I find that to be one of the more irritating buzz phrases of the moment. Is it about services ? Not really. Is it about user generated content. Kind of, but not really either. I found a good quote recently about web 2.0 (and I can’t find it again), but the gist was that that it is about services that become better as you add users. Lots of people using a Search engine doesn’t make it better. Lots of people using X-box live doesn’t make that better. Lots of people using MySpace, Twitter, or Facebook does make them better. And that is partly because each participant contributes.

Software + Services is a way of providing that “Client / Server 2.0” so that the whole is more than the sum of the parts. The revelation of the X-box 360 for me has been Xbox live. I was expecting it to be the media centre extender but I still haven’t set up a permanent media centre at home. But I’ve used Xbox live a lot, not as a way of playing against other people, but as a mechanism for getting new games, demo games and videos; these services give me a better experience of the Xbox, but they couldn’t exist without the sophisticated client platform the 360 provides.

The folks at Bungie have taken this a step further. Actually they’ve taken things several steps further. The first thing is they put a data recorder into Halo 3. This lets you go to “saved films”, (their video linked from that page is pretty amazing.). The game is re-rendered in real time from the saved data, but you can move the “Camera” view point around in real time. Fire a rocket, pause the action fly round to the target and watch it fly in and hit in slow motion. Race through to that heroic moment where you took on an enemy tank and view it from all angles. Didn’t see the enemy who killed you, find them on a replay. It adds a whole new dimension to the game, last night I spent more time playing with saved films than playing the game. But there’s more. The saved films will let you capture clips or stills and upload them via Xbox live. I can send links to my “friends” on X-box live.

But the service is better than that. Bungie’s web site displays my pictures to to the world , not just people on Xbox live. And of course I can download them to my PC, crop them and then push them up to a blog post using Windows Live Writer. Writer too is an example of the software + Services model. The PC is better at editing a blog post than any of the blog sites I’ve looked at. Writer uses a published web service API to interact with sites: instead of the PC platform benefiting from the service the blog service is getting something extra from the PC platform.

Of course there are people who offer software-as-a-service, in other words the PC becomes a (relatively dumb) terminal to run applications in the browser; this does have a place, but replacing an application that runs on the PC with one which delivers less running in a browser isn’t compelling. So Software + Services can help us to span platforms (X-box and PC in this case), and combining a service “in the cloud” with a smart client produces a new class of applications which do more. Posting a picture from a console game (in this case of an Alien about to be hit by a fuel rod cannon shot) to a personal web page might be a trivial use of the capability, but 5 years ago it would have seemed impossible. 

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This post originally appeared on my technet blog.

October 18, 2007

Windows Activation (Server 2008 style)

One of the things we’ve done with Windows over the years is to try to make life a bit harder for people who pirate it. This isn’t just about protecting Microsoft’s revenue (or even keeping that revenue out of the hands of criminals) but investigations have found that pirates expose their “customers” to other risks: everything from dangerous electrical components to malware infestations. Our  targets are those who pirate in bulk rather than the person who sneaks a second copy for use at home. We know that there are keys out there that have been compromised and we invalidate them from time to time – which has caused grief for some legitimate customers whose systems have been built (or rebuilt) by someone who cut a corner and used a key they shouldn’t have. It’s also caused some real pirates to get reported.

Activation of Windows adds another layer of protection. When the system is activated it takes a snapshot of the hardware and if too many things change subsequently it requires re-activation. Of course if you rebuild the system that requires a second activation as well.
Internally Microsoft people can get product keys, but these are no different from the ones customers get. If I rebuild my system or change it it too radically then activation kicks in. And like a customer, I’ll get the message to say this product key has been used before.  For this reason I avoid activating machines until they get to the very end of their grace period (since there is a better than even chance demo machines won’t last any longer than that). But this morning my main Server-2008 machine ran out of time. So I went to activate it with my internally issued key and as expected, it tells me that key has been used. I have the luxury of getting another key, but since I’ve been asked about re-activation a number of times, I thought I’d go through the process that a customer would go through. So here are the steps

  1. Choose your country in the activation wizard and in the UK I get a Toll-Free phone number to call and an alternative number.
  2. Enter a 42 digit number on the telephone keypad… either the system can’t cope with Server 2008 or I mistyped because it told me the number was no good and transferred me to an operator
  3. After a short pause and some background noise that says “this call is going Off-shore” I get accented voice which confirms it. I’m not a fan of Off-shore call centres but if it’s a task which follows a script we should be fine
  4. I give the operator first part of my number. That number is too short to identify my specific copy of Windows (it’s possible that released software needs the full key) and I don’t have to tell him who I am.
  5. He asks a couple of questions, “How many other computers is this copy installed on” – “None. It was on this one, but I’ve reinstalled”, “Did the software come with the computer or did you buy it in a shop” “Neither, it was a beta”
  6. He reads me a 42 digit number. I feel sorry for the poor guy reading blocks of 42 digits out all day, asking the same couple of questions of anonymous people (some of whom will be annoyed at having to call).
  7. I click next, Windows says it has been activated and advises me to reboot to ensure all features are available.

Total time less than 5 minutes. I don’t think that’s an unreasonable imposition. I know there are people who don’t like it in principle, and I feel some sympathy with that. But the combination of decent length grace periods and taking as much pain as possible out of the manual activation process mean that it is not the horrendous business that some would have you believe.

 

 

This post originally appeared on my technet blog.

October 14, 2007

Skydrive update (and live vs on-line)

Filed under: Uncategorized — jamesone111 @ 7:26 pm

Over on the SkyDrive team blog there’s news of some improvements they’ve made. In case you haven’t heard about it Windows Live Skydrive is our “Storage in the cloud” solution.

  • 1 GB of storage
  • RSS feeds – You can subscribe to RSS feeds on public folders
  • Add a contact from the SkyDrive website  (You no longer have to go to Hotmail or Messenger to add contacts to share with)
    and  Share with non Live IDs Now if you share with a non Live ID e-mail address will receive an e-mail with instructions on how to access the shared folder
  • See who uploaded a file – it appears on the page that tells you all the details about a file

We put out press release at the end of September titled “Microsoft Charts Its Software Services Strategy and Road Map for Businesses“, we’ve split “Office live” into two parts, the old Office live has been renamed Microsoft Office Live Small Business and we have a new “Office skydrive extensions” product, named Microsoft Office Live Workspace on the way. And the release also covers Microsoft Dynamics CRM Live.

In addition the press release, explains Online offerings are now available to any enterprise with 5,000 or more seats and include the following new services:

  • Microsoft Exchange Online
  • Microsoft Office SharePoint Online
  • Microsoft Office Communications Online

So Live… …On-line what’s going on ? Fortunately I was sent a slide which explains the difference between “On-line” branding and “Live” branding.

How we describe our services

This post originally appeared on my technet blog.

October 8, 2007

One of those "Oh no" moments

Filed under: Security and Malware — jamesone111 @ 9:54 am

Someone was asking me about gadgets, and went off looking for something and turned up a page at Gadgets.co.uk innocently in a corner is something which you’d expect to find in Q’s lab in a James Bond movie, but not in the “Amuse your friends by plugging into their PC” aisle. A key logger.

KeyShark is a small external device, looking like and [sic] adapter plugged into keyboard socket
“Installation takes just seconds, and the KeyShark starts to record automatically.”
“With enough capacity to store half a million characters (key presses), it can quietly record the average computer user for many months and still have memory to spare.”

I knew these things existed, but it came as a shock to find they’re this freely available. At £49 each you can see a whole new generation of fraudsters buying a gross of them, and running round all the local cybercafes.

This post originally appeared on my technet blog.

October 5, 2007

Windows Server Virtualization (2008) Rapid Deployment Programme (RDP)

Filed under: Uncategorized — jamesone111 @ 5:37 pm

Update. Some days, I worry that the things I forget might be a sign I’m heading for the “twilight home for the bewildered”. RDP programmes generally take their customers from existing managed accounts, and the WSv one will follow that pattern. So I can’t nominate people for the RDP and we’re not looking for customers to put themselves forward. For some reason when I made the post I was thinking the exact opposite.
I know there are people out there who monitor blogs for posts being taken down, and I don’t want to start any mad rumours so the original text is still here. I’ll put up a fresh post, about the momentum programme at a later date.

 

We are getting ready to take nominations for this programme: It’s not an open beta program (it is expected to have only about 40 places) so most people will be turned away. There is a second programme called the Momentum programme which provides a lower level of support. If you’re looking to evaluate Virtualization on Windows Server 2008 either programme may be of interest, so please send me a mail. If you are in the UK I will help the process along for you. If you are located somewhere else I’ll try to put you in contact with someone local that can help. Please note that nominations  close on November 16, please don’t ask after then.

Here’s a summary of what the RDP is about.

Our Goals

  • Build closer relationship with customers to get deployment feedback
  • Understand and document best practices
  • Develop Case study evidence and customer references for the product launch

We will provide

  • Early Access to Pre-Release Code and information
  • Technical Support – providing an escalation contact and access to Premier support 
  • Access to application compatibility and test teams
  • Part payment of consulting costs associated with the project

Customer Requirements:

  • Commit to deploying Windows Server Virtualization and / or System Center Virtual Machine Manager (we expect to see Executive sponsoring participation, a project manager and other staff allocated to the programme)
  • Participate in regular status conference calls and training, and provide Provide ongoing status updates and surveys 
  • Pay part of consulting costs (Yes. You have to spend money to be on this programme)
  • Install pre-release code into a production environment (unlike most beta programmes, we will support RDP participants running pre-release code in production)

If that sounds like you then Mail me, if not but you’re still interested in WSV e-mail me with the word AIRFRAME in the subject line. (Airframe is the name of the portal we a just replacing for managing the programme).

This post originally appeared on my technet blog.

October 2, 2007

PowerShell and One-Note … No, really

Filed under: Office,Powershell — jamesone111 @ 8:47 am

Long ago, when I had my first job in the IT industry, all the engineers I met carried hard-covered exercise books wherever they went, and I was encouraged to do the same. These days I still meet old school project managers and engineers who carry a book, but for me OneNote gives me much the same functionality, and since the things I need to remember often stem from meetings or web pages it’s great to be able to click “Send to one-note” in Internet explorer.  There are occasions when I curse the lack of a 64bit Print-to-OneNote driver. [I must check with Darren to see if that’s going to be put right …]

Since I’ve been working with PowerShell I have been regularly cutting and pasting things into Excel (for the text to columns feature) or to OneNote to keep track of what I did. Since PowerShell will pipe output into other windows programs as well well as it’s own cmdlets, I can pipe things into clip.exe to make the paste operation easier… But Viral found something on Brian Dewey’s blog which just blows that away. A OneNote provider for PowerShell. Whoa … a provider ? Yes I can type

  cd OneNote:\general\Poweshell 

and it takes me to the PowerShell Section (tab) in my General notebook in Onenote. DIR shows me the pages in the section … well great .. it shows what can be done with a provider, but who wants to use the command prompt to explorer their notebooks ?

Here’s a quick bit of PowerShell to make a new page in that section 

  $OneNotePath="OneNote:\general\Poweshell\"+(get-date).tostring().replace("/","-").replace(":",".") 

new-item -path $OneNotePath -ItemType page

The first line takes the date and converts 1/10/2007 16:55:46 into something valid in a path: 1-10-2007 16.55.46,
new-item,  surprisingly enough creates a page at the given path. By saving the path I can then use it later in an add-content command. like this

  get-history | out-string | add-content $OneNotePath

In fact I might as well put this in a function

  function Out-OneNote
{if ($onenotepath -is [string]) {$input | out-string -width 120 | Add-Content $OneNotePath } }

I’ll leave the else {create a page and output to it} part as an Exercise for the reader. Now I can pipe anything straight into my OneNote page. That’s so cool you could keep a side of beef in it for a month, as someone once said. The next step is to refresh my memory on coding stuff to work with XML data and play with the pages that Get-Content returns. Good spot Viral, and major kudos to Brian for developing it.

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This post originally appeared on my technet blog.

New Live Search …

Filed under: Uncategorized — jamesone111 @ 12:50 am

After a couple of mistakes where people thought they’d seen it release (when  actually they’d just been randomly selected for early access), the updated version of search is now in production at www.live.com

Yes. I know you use Google. For the last year or so I’ve had both Google and Live on my IE search box. IE stays open for days at a time, when I can’t get what I want on Live I run the search again on Google, the act of doing that makes Google my default Search Engine, when I can’t what I want there, then I go back to Live. These days I’m doing most of my searches in Live. That wasn’t true a year ago. The new build has some slight cosmetic / UI improvements and at first sight seems a lot snappier. Go on, try it: you might like it

This post originally appeared on my technet blog.

October 1, 2007

An Unhelpful mire of Marketing-speak

Filed under: General musings — jamesone111 @ 5:54 pm

I’ve shared the text in my post “Civilisation will come to an end because no one will understand what anybody else is saying” with a few people and they liked it… I was teasing Andrew earlier that he never wrote anything which interested me, but that’s not strictly true. A slide on his blog, jumped out at me: asked about to rank the clarity of Language used by IT vendors, about 40% of respondents  said they “can often be ambiguous or confused”   and a similar number said it was “An unhelpful mire of marketing speak“. 

What the slide doesn’t tell me was whether the people being asked work for IT vendors. Someone sent me an “FYI” slide deck last week. 110 slides, and 19,800 words; those of you who are quick at mental arithmetic  will already know that averages 180 words per slide. When I asked “Why am I the one doing this ?”  one of the questions I asked was “Why do I have to organize the writer’s thoughts into something coherent”. Now I have the perfect description for these mails are sent to “Fill Your Inbox” (the true meaning of FYI) so thanks Andrew.

This post originally appeared on my technet blog.

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