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Microsoft Office 2007 Beta 2 expires

March 31st, 2007 by Zack Whittaker

Well it’s finally over – any “free” beta copies of Beta 2 of the 2007 Microsoft Office System have no expired and you’ll have to upgrade to the final version. Lo and behold, you can try the 2007 Microsoft Office System for free via their website for around 180 days.

Try Microsoft Office 2007 here (1,2) – Product Key: H24DV-XHCP6-RY4HK-J93Y3-BJ6W3

Posted in Office 2007 | 1 Comment »

Windows Live Mail desktop beta refresh

March 30th, 2007 by Zack Whittaker

With little news coming over the networks and the wires, Windows Live Mail desktop beta has been refreshed and somehow rolled out. Now this is very confusing, as a little time earlier, my application crashed and caused me to restart.I restarted, and the advertisement pane just vanished. So maybe now the final version won’t have advertisements? Who knows, the adverts are still around on my Windows Live Hotmail and Spaces pages, so who knows.

The new build appears to be 8.0.1226, three builds up from the previous version reported here. No differences are noticed as yet – the beta tags are still in place, and as of 00:43 BST in England, LiveSide hasn’t reported it yet – as it seems, we’re the first people. Check out the screenies below.

Source: Live and Beyond

Posted in Windows Live | 4 Comments »

Windows Vista boxshots

March 30th, 2007 by Zack Whittaker

They may be pretty small, but at least you can see what they look like. The boxshots of Windows Vista in their different editions:

From left to right – Starter Edition, Home Basic, Home Premium, Business, Ultimate, Enterprise

Posted in Microsoft, Windows Vista | Comments Off on Windows Vista boxshots

Microsoft Office SharePoint Designer boxshot released

March 30th, 2007 by Zack Whittaker

Posted in Microsoft, Office 2007 | Comments Off on Microsoft Office SharePoint Designer boxshot released

How to get on the front page of Digg

March 29th, 2007 by Zack Whittaker
  1. Make a list or a How-to tutorial: If you look at past Digg posts, you will find an endless number of ‘Top 10 Photoshop tricks’ tutorials and ‘Top 30 CSS’ sites lists. To top it all, take this post as an example! :)
  1. Flame the RIAA: Post any story that is negative about the RIAA, it is definitely going onto the front page.
  1. Flame the RIAA again!: Flame the RIAA again and make it to the top, twice! You can add in MPAA and Sony too to spice it up a bit!
  1. A Witty or Catchy title is always a Bonus: Post your story with a catchy title, this applies not only to Digg but to anything you write. ‘Why this is’ ‘How the RIAA..’, ‘5 reasons…’ are a few examples.
  1. Write about Digg and Kevin Ross: Diggers love Digg and just about any news related to Digg and its founder.
  1. Write about the evil alliance: Writing anything bad about George bush, Fox News, Wal-Mart, Microsoft will get you there…
  1. Write about Google, Apple, Firefox, YouTube, Ubuntu: These are the good-doers in Diggers eyes. Write about them and you will be on the front page (I hope). C’mon how many freaking Ubuntu articles have you seen on the front page?!!
  1. Get your friends to digg for you: A friend in need is a friend indeed and this applies to Digg as well. Add top diggers to your friends list and Digg their articles. They might Digg your articles in return and vice-versa. You can also get all your 50+ (MSN) messenger contacts to Digg for you, Hey you can even co-ordinate a massive digging session!
  1. Use a fancy profile icon: Looks go a long way. On the predominately white background Digg page, bright coloured Profile Icons stand out. You have more chances of being Dugg if you have a colourful profile icon, as this attracts attention.

Digg this article!

  1. Last but not the least: Write a ‘10 steps to get onto the Digg Front Page‘ article! Hey, it is worth a try…

Posted in Computing | 2 Comments »

Sony… you’re late!

March 23rd, 2007 by Zack Whittaker


Microsoft rained on the parade of the Sony Playstation 3 today, by rolling out a number of publicity stunts. At the Virgin Megastore in Oxford Street in London, Microsoft employee’s (and people I know) from the London office handed out chairs to those queuing that had a website address printed on them. – says it all really! Go Microsoft.

Posted in Humour, Xbox and Gaming | 16 Comments »

Windows Live Hotmail Milestone 10

March 23rd, 2007 by Zack Whittaker

You can expect to see the following updates/fixes/changes in M10:

  • Windows Live Hotmail branding.
  • Faster & More Reliable.
  • Classic Version enhancements such as Spell Check, improved Photo Upload Control, and Bi-directional language support.
  • Improved Safety Bar.
  • Version Picker (choose “Classic” or “Full”).
  • More “forgiving” checkboxes.

The Hotmail Team rolls out Milestone updates in waves by server bays instead of all at once. So if you’ve not been updated, give it some time. You’ll know you’re updated once you see the “Windows Live Hotmail” branding in the header.

Source: Liveside

Zack’s Note: different types of user, users from different locations and a number of different factors determine your bay number. Your bay number is found in the address of when you access your Live Hotmail (mine is 9 by the way). Bays related to virtual servers running the backend stuff, and some will be updated before others. Mine already has new branding, whilst my other email account doesn’t. It’ll take time, around 24-48 hours for everything to get re-done.

Posted in Microsoft, Windows Live | 1 Comment »

Finished the Translation on WF HOL Lab04 to VB2005

March 21st, 2007 by kenlin@HK [MVP]
Well, I start doing the translation again. I spent 2 days on this propose in the end of Jan. And I start pick it up again and try to finish it asap. Cause I found someone left message in and asking me if I will do the rest. So….I hope that I would be able to finished all HOL Labs within this month. But it is a very hard job. I wake at 5:30am(because of Jet lag after back from Global MVP Summit 2007 in Seattle), and so I still search around about Orcas, I got confuse on what Orcas acutally is. I know that it is Next VS(might be VS2007 with .NET Framework 3.5). But….I also found the Windows SDK for Vista are called Oracs_Mar07CTP in the description….hm….then….Orcas is including Windows SDK too?
Anyway, I don’t wanna get into sleep again, so I keep getting information from internet, and found, I have 3 things to do,
  1. Translation on WF HOL(Lab04 – Lab10);
  2. Translation on WF Starter Kit(still in beta and not released yet, so I think only WF team and I got it at this moment);
  3. Study Oracs, LINQ
  4. WF interact with WCF
Well, I found all I need the most is …..WF. And…I should start from basic first. So I found the first item I should choose is….(1). Then….should be (2). So I start my work on rest of Lab04. When I complete the Exercise 1 of Lab04, I cannot run it successfully. I search around and around, find many people saying that they have the same issues. I found many developers are trying to interact WF with ASP.NET2.0. But it is not a easy job but I think many companies(even in HK) will ask the developers to do so.
Well….until 3:30pm, I still cannot solve it. What happen to my VB one? C# is working and I just do the translation…..I take a rest and don’t wanna think about it any more for a short time. I start my work again at about 10pm. I found there is a MSFT guy who answer a lot from this issue in MSDN forum, so I try to send him my source code and ask him if he can help. After I sent the email for 2-5 mins, a light comes up. I try to see my workflow project, get into every State and look at the HandleExternalEvent Activity. GOD! I made mistake on the Initial State. That is why the program cannot run it. Correct it and it works. Thanks god. And then I received that MSFT guy’s email and telling me the same stupid thing I found. He is really good, within few minutes and he really do help me and found the point.
And now, it is 4:25am, all translation on Lab04 has done. Double check and the files can close. During today’s translation, I found I have made mistake in my MSMVP’s blog. I mention, if C# is programming like
         if(SomeEvent != null)
            SomeEvent(this, args);
And VB should be
         if Not SomeEventEvent is Nothing Then
            SomeEventEvent(Me, args)
         End If
But….this is not true when apply to WF’s State Machine Workflow, I have to make sure the event raise ONLY after the workflow runtime has really started. I have to change one property from the event arguments. So the code turns out like,
         if Not SomeEventEvent is Nothing Then
            args.WaitForIdle = true
            SomeEventEvent(Me, args) ‘Or “Raise Event SomeEvent(Me, args)
         End If
But then you will found out that the program will fire another exception, it is saying (Event “{1}” on interface type “{0}” for instance id “{2}” cannot be delivered). Now you have to look deep into the InnerException and you will found (“Type {0} is not marked as serializable”). But you already given the serializable Attribute to the class. Why the exception is fired? It appears every parameter going into the event must be serializable, including the sender parameter! We pass this reference, which points to our payment processing service. The workflow instance doesn’t actually need a reference to the testing service (if it needs to invoke a method on the service, it can use the CallExternalEvent activity), so we can fix this problem by leaving the sender parameter as null or Nothing. So finally, your code(with WF) will be like this,
         if Not SomeEventEvent is Nothing Then
            args.WaitForIdle = true
            SomeEventEvent(Nothing, args) ‘Or “Raise Event SomeEvent(Nothing, args)
         End If

Posted in .NET Framework | Comments Off on Finished the Translation on WF HOL Lab04 to VB2005

Run Vista without activation many times… legally

March 16th, 2007 by Zack Whittaker

Microsoft has built into Vista a function that allows anyone to extend the operating system’s activation deadline not just three times, but many times. The same one-line command that postpones Vista’s activation deadline to 120 days can be used an indefinite number of times by first changing a Registry key from 0 to 1.

This isn’t a hacker exploit. It doesn’t require any tools or utilities whatsoever. Microsoft even documented the Registry key, although obtusely, on its Technet site.

But dishonest PC sellers could use the procedure to install thousands of copies of Vista and sell them to unsuspecting consumers or businesses as legitimately activated copies. This would certainly violate the Vista EULA, but consumers might not realize this until the PCs they bought started demanding activation — and failing — months or years later.

The following describes the Registry key that’s involved.

  1. While running a copy of Windows Vista that hasn’t yet been activated, click the Start button, type regedit into the Search box, then press Enter to launch the Registry Editor.
  2. Explore down to the following Registry key:
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \ SOFTWARE \ Microsoft \ Windows NT \ CurrentVersion \ SL
  3. Right-click the Registry key named SkipRearm and click Edit. The default is a DWORD (a double word or 4 bytes) with a hex value of 00000000. Change this value to any positive integer, such as 00000001, save the change, and close the Registry Editor.
  4. Start a command prompt with administrative rights. The fastest way to do this is to click the Start button, enter cmd in the Search box, then press Ctrl+Shift+Enter. If you’re asked for a network username and password, provide the ones that log you into your domain. You may be asked to approve a User Account Control prompt and to provide an administrator password.
  5. Type one of the following two commands and press Enter:
        slmgr -rearm    or    rundll32 slc.dll,SLReArmWindows
    Either command uses Vista’s built-in Software Licensing Manager (SLMGR) to push the activation deadline out to 30 days after the command is run. Changing SkipRearm from 0 to 1 allows SLMGR to do this an indefinite number of times. Running either command initializes the value of SkipRearm back to 0.
  6. Reboot the PC to make the postponement take effect.
  7. To extend the activation deadline of Vista indefinitely, repeat steps 1 through 6 as necessary

Read full story and other tricks at source.

Posted in Bugs, Windows Vista | 1 Comment »

This is the way that they worship their god

March 15th, 2007 by Jabez Gan [MVP]

Stand before him and clothe thy body in red. Offer unto him thy technology, screens great and small glowing with the holy light. Polish thine head until it reflects verily like the convex back end of a stainless steel milk truck. And when thou has done so, chant the incantations at a sharepoint service. Invoke replication across a broad server farm. SELECT * from Authors. Tie the unholy scripture in broad ribbons woven with HIS icons. And when he has left the stage, endure penance as the lesser priests drone the unending chant, at least until 5:00.
Tomorrow will come and the mysteries of Microsoft Office Project 2007 and Microsoft Office Project Server 2007 (MOP and MOPS – sorry Brian) will be revealed.


Posted in MVP Program | Comments Off on This is the way that they worship their god

Windows Server 2003 SP2 and WinXP x64 SP2 have released!

March 15th, 2007 by Jabez Gan [MVP]

Windows Serviceability is pleased to announce the broad availability of Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 2 and Windows XP Professional x64 Edition Service Pack 2. This release includes the following standalone builds of Service Pack 2:

  • Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 2 (32-bit x86)
  • Windows Server 2003 R2 Service Pack 2 for x64 Editions
  • Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 2 for Itanium-based Systems

Service Pack 2 for Windows XP Professional x64 Edition will also be available integrated with the operating system. Today’s release includes editions for English and German. Other languages will be released in the coming weeks.

You may visit to get official builds, tools and documentation related to this release.

Posted in Windows Server System, Windows XP | Comments Off on Windows Server 2003 SP2 and WinXP x64 SP2 have released!

Arriving Seattle for MVP Global Summit 2007

March 12th, 2007 by kenlin@HK [MVP]

As Jabez said, we are now in Seattle for the MVP Global Summit 2007. The registration will be starting tomorrow. We will try to write something that are not under NDA. Today Daniel and I met Patrick and Jabez. We had a breakfast in Subway and also took a mini-MVP Dinner with another 14 MVPs. Please allow me to share some photos with you.


Posted in MS News | 5 Comments »

MVP Global Summit 2007

March 11th, 2007 by Jabez Gan [MVP]

This year, Microsoft will again be hosting the MVP Global Summit 2007 in Seattle. Ken, Daniel, Joseph and me from MSBlog will be attending the summit.

Most of the things that is being covered during the Summit 2007 is under NDA, but we’ll try to give you insights on the non-NDA informations.

We’ll keep you updated! 🙂

More information about the MVP Global Summit 2007:

Posted in MVP Program | Comments Off on MVP Global Summit 2007

Bye bye Microsoft, and thanks for all the fish

March 9th, 2007 by Zack Whittaker

Some people have questioned me over the last week or so asking, “are you leaving Microsoft” and all this. Let’s get something straight first… I was never Microsoft’s b***h and never will be. I’ve worked with the Windows Live guys now for little less than a year starting off on Messenger and Spaces and moving on to web safety. Web safety (or rather as it’s now known as family safety as it’s more appropriate) means an awful lot to me. I’ve got a young goddaughter and a much older sister who uses the Internet and to be fair, there are all kinds of weirdo’s out there who would love to bury their faces into a young’un and it makes me sick to the core. Being a younger gentleman, I have added advantages of being young and having that special perspective which a lot of other people have. I started really young – most people could never say they’ve worked with some of the amazing people I have by the age of 15, and now I’m 18 and have met even more influential people, it makes me glad I started testing in the first place.

The Windows Live division, more specifically the family safety section is undergoing a major restructuring backend with people being shifted around from place to place, even if they’ve been doing that job for a good length of time. Family safety is really important to Microsoft but from my perspective, it’s being put off more and more because people are being shifted around. Someone I’ve done work for, Jo who worked on the family safety products for some time, isn’t working on it anymore; that really saddens me as I know she loved doing it. From what I understand, a big head of citizenship (of which the family safety comes under the hood of) has been replaced which will mean it’ll take months to find someone else let alone the time to bring them up to speed with what’s going on.
There aren’t the resources available, nor is there enough money to really push forward with some of these great ideas which have been bounced around internally.

Because of this, people have already reported that the Windows Live OneCare Family Safety product won’t be around until the summertime. The product is pretty much nearly done and I suspect one of the reasons why it’s not moving forward is because of the lack of resources and people. There are some interdependencies here and there however, like needing to interact with other products and ensuring that other teams are on track so that the Family Safety product can move forward. We’re talking about Microsoft, one of the biggest and most wealthy organisations in the world, and there isn’t the money to do these things, to protect the kids online from the things they should never have to experience. I’ve had a whole wave of ideas which could seriously improve the family safety side of things within products and existing solutions, but because of the lack of money and people being busy with hiring new leads of citizenship, these ideas are all pending for a good 6 months.

Now maybe it’s because I’m young and stupid and naïve, but can the kids of this world wait another 6 months? These threats are getting more intense every day and its Microsoft’s products which are central to these because they’re so popular with the users. It’s not Microsoft’s fault that these services are being exploited; it’s their fault for being so popular, which is hardly a bad thing. This is why I focused on Microsoft for the web safety – because they have the products and the services which are being used and that could be improved and secured for the younger generation.
One thing I can be super proud of – is that I’ve greatly contributed to improving the Windows Live OneCare Family Safety filter with the help of Jo, and that’s something which I’m proud of. Some of the people I’ve worked with – my God, just brilliant.

I’ve had a “mentor” being Philippa, and without doubt the best “boss” I’ve ever had. Cristiano, Dev, Andy, Jo, to name a few – it’s been a good stretch. But for the time being, I’ve only really got to say this as I wrap it up. I’m not leaving Microsoft as I was never really part of it in terms of a paid full time position. For the time being, I’m stepping back for some time, letting things mull over, I’ll still do the odd bit here and there no doubt but it’s time to focus on me and me only. I need to get past these next few months and finish my further education, and head on to higher education at university starting this September/October. Who knows what’ll happen next… I guess I’ll just have to take things in my stride and let things happen as and when they do.

Posted in Daily Life, Microsoft, Online Safety, Windows Live | 3 Comments »

OneCare Family Safety updated

March 2nd, 2007 by Zack Whittaker

Windows Live OneCare Family Safety has been updated to a Beta 2 refresh status. Current users will get a notification through asking you to update, new users will be able to download it from the website by tomorrow morning.

Check it out:

Posted in Online Safety, Windows Live | Comments Off on OneCare Family Safety updated