Archive for the ‘Tips’ Category

Windows Phone & Windows Live

I’m not sure if you got it but, in my previous post, I put a link in the Windows Phone logo.

During my trips and my online meetings, I talked with different people and realized some of them don’t know about this feature included in Windows Live.

It’s a service provided for your #wp7 Phone or, better, it’s a suite of services for your phone.

At this link:, login using your Windows Live ID you used as a primary Live ID account for your Phone.

You’ll get something like that:


From this page you can do a lot of stuff:

  • Find, Ring, Lock & Erase your Phone remotely (you need to setup the Mapping feature just by inputting your phone number)
  • Make WL send an email when you map, ring, erase, or lock your phone
  • If you enabled the Location Service on your phone, you make WL send a text message to try to find your phone last time it was localized by the internal GPS
  • Look at the pictures you uploaded on SkyDrive through your Phone
  • Play with your XBOX Live Avatar
  • View your OneNotes and calendar events
  • Check your SkyDrive storage
  • and plenty of tips and tricks

It basically replaced the MyPhone application that was present on Windows Mobile 6.5, adding new features to it.

I’m not sure how many times I’ll go there, but it’s good to know just in case you lose your phone :)

How to BCC people in a Schedule

I already talked about that in my previous blog some time ago but, as I had to do it this evening, I thought it could be worth mentioning.

If you are using Outlook, you want to send a schedule (a meeting request) but you don’t want to disclose e-mail addresses for privacy reasons, well: you can.

I know this can be pretty uncommon but some people need that.

What you need to do is the following:

Open the Meeting Request and click on the To button (below)


Click on the “Resources” button (below)


And add all the Contacts you need to. In the “Required” field, put your e-mail.

Doing so, all the e-mail addresses will appear both in the TO line and in the “Location” line as well. Then, you can easily remove all the e-mail addresses from the Location field and put the real location (or leave it blank). And you’re done !

You’ll still see all the e-mail addresses in the TO line as well but don’t worry: they won’t appear in their calendar invitations ! Smile

Check-In or not Check-In

This afternoon I read this article from ReadWriteWeb about Google Latitude and its possible deployment as an app for IPhone.

It’s a very interesting one as it talks about privacy too. I don’t want to go into details about this service (maybe in another post) but primarily focus on the already mentioned geo-location based apps available for most of our smartphones and gives a brief description of those.

So let’s say the most popular ones (because I’m sure there are plenty more) are Foursquare, Gowalla, Facebook Places (not mentioned in that article) and Brightkite.

You install the app, and everytime you go to a place, you “checkin” and you get badges and so forth. With Gowalla, you can even add pictures of the places. Facebook now entered this checkin-checkout “business” recently with the Facebook Places through which you basically the same thing (allowing all your Facebook friends to know where you are). They all require a GPS (or an A-GPS) and they are based on Google Maps and Bing Maps mostly.

Of course in this social-digital era, all these apps are linked to some of the most popular websites/social networks so you can connect everyone of them with Twitter and Facebook, apparently the most popular “digital environments” in which users are and connect through each other (although Brightkite has a Facebook-like approach making it totally independent).

You can also add places if you can’t find yours (could be a restaurant, a bar, a shop, whatever) and get some recognitions about that.
What they are not? They are not applications like TripAdvisor with which you can write a review about that. I mean, you could but if you check-in in a restaurant before entering it (this is what most of the users do), how can you possibly write a review about your experience? Yes you could but you need to go there again or check-in again after your lunch/dinner (check-out? Smile)

There are 3 main questions on top of my head:

1) What’s the business around that

2) Why users should stick to this “game”

3) Who’s gonna win.

1) The first one is pretty easy: for Foursquare, for example, many Companies realized the potential of it and so they are publicizing their offers through their Foursquare accounts. Also, when you check-in in a particular place, there’s a chance you can get a 5% to 10% discount to that shop (probably if you check-in multiple times).

Also, many exhibits and conferences usually add their locations, including a description of the event, so the attendees can have a more complete experience on the event and have fun checking in everyday. But it’s business, remember. Let’s call it “Business 2.0” but it’s still business. It has the same potential as when an event shows up tweets on the main webpage, making attendees to use a particular hash-tag.

2) Foursquare, for example, is pretty popular in the US (although it crossed the ocean and became popular in Europe and Asia as well) and people from, say, New York and San Francisco, are massive users of it. But I got this question several times: “why should I do it” or “isn’t that childish” or even “what about my privacy”?. I get it, and I partially agree. Users are addicted, that’s the main answer. Also, users want to share things through these applications so, say you’re with some friends in a place, you check-in together with a group photo (there’s an application called PicPlz with which you can even tag friends before actually uploading the photo!). But it’s not as childish as it seems. Isn’t that childish to go and post YouTube videos on Facebook ? Isn’t that childish to post your real-time experiences on Twitter? Isn’t that childish to connect and share ideas and content with each other? NO ! That is why we have all these features and services around. Do you know anyone not being on Facebook nowadays? I probably know 2 people that are not in there. Do you know anyone who’s not using LinkedIN for connect with others for business purpose? Very few I guess.

So, believe it or not, many people are using these apps and, no matter what the purpose is, They like it. and that is set in stone !

The point, at least for me but probably for many other people, is: who’s gonna rule the market? Who’ll be the winner? You can’t check-in with 3 or 4 different apps (some people do though Smile). Years ago, probably around 2007, there were other real-time micro-blogging engines (like Jaiku for example) but eventually Twitter won.

Probably there won’t be a single “winner” application but we’ll get even more applications and services with added value in them (making the competition tougher). And the user will decide what’s best for him/her, perfectly in line with our digital/social era we are living.

Probably during LeWeb, the most important Web 2.0 event in the World, there’s gonna be some announcements about the future but, having heard that there are tons of startups there in Paris as exhibitors, I’m sure no one will be the winner but the user will (or he/she will became addicted, your choice Smile)

Categories: Social Networking, Tips

How to become an MVP

This is something it has been asked so many times I can’t even count and, thanks to a community contributor who suggested this to me, I decided to make some clarifications around that.

As you may know, the MVP Award Program is an Award for your past community contributions. But what does this mean exactly?

– In short: all the 1:many community activities you may have done in the past. It could be speeches, blog posts, conferences, webcasts/screencasts, forum posts, written technical articles, books and so forth. Again, what is important here is the one –> many relationship. Replying to e-mails from a technical standpoint is a 1:1 relationship, even if you replies to tons to them. So, if you get a lot of them, why don’t you tell the person requesting a technical solution to go to the forums (wherever they are hosted) and ask the community? Because doing so will help other people solving the same issue.

– Back to the Program: it’s about a specific Product. You can do a lot of things, from a community standpoint, and touch a lot of products but think about it: how can you be an “expert” of multiple products and technologies? Tough to answer and tough to evaluate too… – It’s a balance between quantity and quality. I always remember a SQL MVP who once compared some forum posts made by one MVP between the forum posts made by another SQL MVP. The first one replied to almost 1.500 questions. The other one replied to 400 questions (almost). So basically the difference here is that the first one was giving a lot of resources’ links and other links to solve issues while the first one was writing his replies as they were technical articles. Every single one of them. Both of them were (and are) great MVPs.

– It’s about giving feedback. How many times are you giving useful feedback on specific Microsoft Products? How many beta products are you testing? This is another important pillar to make note of. And here are some questions you may have in your head right now: – Does it last forever? No, it’s a 1 year Award and it is re-evaluated each year.

– Do I need to know anyone to be included in this group of individuals? No.

– Is it a lobby? Not at all. Ask me, ask some MVPs if you know any, write me and I’ll give you more details on how it’s a totally different thing. Yes, if you know MVPs you’ll probably get some insights about the Program. And yes, if you are collaborating with a Microsoft Subsidiary will help too. But it’s not mandatory, please bear in mind this.

– So if I don’t know anyone, how can I reach this important goal (of, of course, if it’s is important to you)? You can write to to ask and be a potential nomination and also to be a referral for another potential nominee, including: name, technical area of expertise and some examples of his/her community activities. You can also write me and/or you can ask other MVPs to contact me as well. Easy as it is. So, to summarize, the MVP Award Program recognizes community individuals who share their technical knowledge, on a specific Microsoft Product, online and offline. Last but not least, there’s one more thing to mention and I’ll never give up on saying this to anyone who’s involved in a User Group or a community website or whatever the community is located.

– The MVP Award Program is about Passion. You can change your job, you can change your Country for business reasons, you can be married and have kids but you won’t change your passion. And that’s a fact. You can probably lose it, and that may happen. But the Passion? I consider it to be the “Most Valuable Value” of the Program. Now it’s your turn: are you willing to get involved and be engaged ?! :)

Top Windows Phone 7 Apps – Bing


I really love this:

Basically Bing, with the Visual Search feature, now indexes all the available apps for Windows Phone 7 !

And here is the link. I recommend you to go there and check it on a regular basis as I heard that there are now more than 3.000 apps available !


Link to: Top Windows Phone 7 Apps – Bing

Windows Live Messenger on Windows7

As far as I installed Windows 7 Ultimate on my laptop (and, again, I strongly recommend to download it and install it: you still have some time before the beta closes!) one of the minor issues I experienced was with the use of the latest Windows Live Messenger (one of the product included in the Windows Live Essentials suite).

As Windows 7 handles taskbar and notification area icons in a different way, the Windows Live Messenger thumbnail preview, due to compatibility requirements, shows two confusing Messenger’s windows.

It’s very easy to workaround on this and show the icon in the Notification area.

  • Close the application
  • Go to Windows Live Messenger Properties
  • check the “Run this program in compatibility mode for” and select “Windows Vista” from the drop-down list

WLM Properties WLM Properties2

If you need to set this for all users, click on the “Change settings for all user” button

And then you’ll see your IM back to where it was !

WLM icon


Link to: Workaround to Hide and Minimize Windows Live Messenger Icon/Button to Notification Area (System Tray) in Windows 7 » My Digital Life

Categories: Tips, Windows 7, Windows Live

How to run Windows 7 on a Virtual machine

As many of us are really excited to run & see Windows 7 in action,

Virtual PC Console

I found this very useful step-by-step guide made by a colleague (Brian Keller)

Things to keep in mind:

  • Install SP1 on Virtual PC 2007
  • Use Windows Vista as the virtual OS
  • Dedicate half of your physical ram for your virtual machine


Read the full story here & enjoy !


Link to: Brian Keller: Technical Evangelist for Team System : Installing the Windows 7 Beta with Virtual PC 2007 SP1

Categories: Tips, Virtualization, Windows 7