Suggestions for weekend reading, Bill Gates explains why vaccines matter, and more of what I’ve read this week

United States Library of Congress's Prints and Photographs Division under the digital ID cph.3c05139This week John C. Maxwell offered this famous QOTD:

Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up. – Thomas Edison

To end the work week, Dominic Carr offers his own suggestions for weekend reading on the Microsoft Blog

It’s Friday afternoon again, and time to wrap up some of the interesting things that happened this week that you might not have seen.  It is Super Bowl weekend here in the US and so it only seems fair to start with something sports related.

Jordan Brand taps Microsoft technologies:  The Jordan Brand turns 25 this year, and Microsoft technologies are helping with the celebration in partnership with Wirestone.  First up is a social mosaic called Mosaic 23/25.The Mosaic uses Silverlight 3 and Deep Zoom to create a huge mosaic of the man himself, all built from hundreds of individual pictures uploaded by fans.  And Windows Azure, Microsoft’s cloud operating system helped to make it possible.  There is more to come with Microsoft Surface and Windows 7.   If you are interested in more details on how the technology works, then read the Silverlight team blog and the Windows Azure blog.

Internet Explorer 8 is very popular:  This week NetApplications released their browser market share report and it showed that Internet Explorer 8 is the most popular browser, just less than a year after launch.  Brandon LeBlanc has more details on the benefits of IE8, and on reasons to upgrade from older browsers in his post over on the Windows Blog.

Using technology to help the planet:  BBC Radio covered the European Environment Agency’s Eye on Earth project, a partnership with Microsoft and based on Microsoft technology such as Bing maps, Windows Azure and SQL Azure.  The project aims to combine inputs from citizens with scientific data to provide a better understanding of air and water quality in a given location.  You can listen to the the BBC Radio story with the Eye on Earth project starting at 6:45mins.  

SharePoint Gets Social:  This week seven startups from around the world (all participants in Microsoft’s BizSpark program)  came together at  Microsoft’s Silicon Valley campus for SharePoint 2010 SocialFest.  The goal; see how each team could take advantage of some of the new features in SharePoint 2010 to extend their social networking applications.  Each team worked closely with the SharePoint team over 4 days and showed off their work to a panel of judges.  The Brits won, and you can read more, and watch the videos in this Microsoft News Center article or in Techcrunch.

Microsoft Tag:  You may not yet have heard of Microsoft Tag, but the band We the Kings certainly has and is putting it to good use.  Microsoft Tag lets you snap a picture of a “Tag” and get access to more information online about the particular person, product or service.  You don’t need to rememeber a URL or text a short code.  Just take a picture.  We the Kings has teamed up with Microsoft Tag to give away free concert tickets.

Well Done Bill:  Microsoft Research Principal Researcher Bill Buxton has been recognized by Business Week as one of the world’s most influential designers.  Congrats, Bill.  You can read more about Bill and his work on things like Natural User Interface and Microsoft Surface in the News Center article, or this video.

And finally just when we thought we could go home the Bing team announced enhanced cooperation with Facebook on search.  This will give users a more complete search experience with access to some great Bing features, and expands the Bing-Facebook search integration beyond the US so that the more than 400 million people who use Facebook around the world will see the fruits of the partnership

And here are a few of my favourites found on Twitter during the week:

isdixon: Controlling Windows Media Center with an iPhone:

nytimesbits: In an effort to compete with Google and Apple, Nokia makes its mobile phone software free of charge.

PCMag – How to Buy the Right Netbook [If you’re not thinking about getting a powerful, cheap netbook, you should be.]

Pogue – My email column today: Why home videos matter. It’s a good one!

andreaplattdyal – Measuring Microsoft’s Work by Its Broad Impact:

MSFT_IT – White paper on the benefits of Office 2010 + SharePoint 2010 (something to look forward to!)

Microsoft – Nat’l Sci Foundation & Microsoft team on cloud. Huge info cache requires both desktop computers & cloud

techxav – Amazon Said to Buy Touch Start-Up

billcox – Some good stats showing why IE8 is doing well at Thanks brandonleblanc!

JohnFontanaMSFT-funded CodePlex Foundation gets first FT employee, executive director Paula Hunter

Microsoft_GovMicrosoft Education (@TeachTec) launched a K-12 ebook – Digital Storytelling in the Classroom –

neilblecherman – Students invent/distribute soccer ball that generates electricity, bringing clean power to developing countries

edbott – My latest at ZDNet: Will your new Windows 7 PC support XP Mode? It’s still too hard to find out:

MSFT_IT – See how Microsoft does IT, in this great post by BuckWoody

PCMag – The ever-divisive John C. Dvorak calls the Apple iPad "good for nothing."

slashdotARM Exec Says 90% of PC Market Could Be Netbooks

thurrott – What’s New in Windows Mobile 6.5.3:

Cisco_Mobile – A Peek at Apple’s Plan to Re-invent Textbooks

Cisco_Mobile How the #enterprise is going #social – thanks, susiewee for this Very interesting read.

stevecla – Microserfs at Microsoft UK

MSWindows – Set up an energy-efficient home with these tips from @MicrosoftCanada

comcastcares – New Personal Blog Post "The Customer, not the Company Defines How Products are Used"

MSWindows – Here’s a list of devices that work w/ Remote Media Streaming in Windows Media Center for you –

teedubya – Watching TV Without Cable: Series Part 1 – Netflix Solution

MSWindows – Stream your Windows Media Library to devices around the house w/ Remote Media Streaming –

WSJ – Medical journal retracts study linking vaccines to autism: More autism research:

LanceUlanoff – Why Chrome Will be Your Next Browser #Google‘s browser is about to make the leap from upstart to leader of the pack.

njeaton – NYTimes reports that Google is planning a business-app store to boost Google Apps.

Carnage4Life is impressed at how Google has made enemies. Apple and Firefox are the biggest surprises. See &

volkerwWindows XP to Windows 7 Migration workflow for the IT Pro on TechNet

warrenellis – Still can’t buy Tor books by writers like @cmpriest or @doctorow on Amazon? @Scalzi brings science:

toddbishop – New push for data-center tax breaks in Washington state, with support from Microsoft and others:

ForbesTech – The Growing Malware Problem [Article by Charlotte Dunlap]

thurrott – Apple Entry into Market Means Higher eBook Prices

mike_elgan retweeted this from ScotFinnie: Why Apple chose the iPad’s screen format Resident smart guy LanceUlanoff says he’s right.

JVascellaro – Google to Launch Store for Online Business Software.

MSWindows 4 steps to keeping your computer protected –

EverythingMS – Syncing Windows Home Server, Zune and Windows Media Center!

dancosta – 42 Reasons Why Netbooks Are Better Than the Apple iPad [Dan suggests that perhaps "Different" would be a better word.]

exectweets – Manage your company’s software with Windows 7 AppLocker (from our sponsor Microsoft):

edbott – My latest at ZDNet: Can Microsoft close the ‘app gap’ with Apple’s iPad?

Microsoft: Windows Azure & SQL Azure now available in 21 countries [Microsoft Blog]

valleywag – Googlers Fire Back at Steve Jobs ‘Bullshit’ Jab #nerdfight #stevejobs

joewilcox – Dalrymple’s beard speaks about "iPad and crazy people":

joewilcox – Apple US retail unit share is 90% for PCs selling above $1,000; doubled YoY in $500-$1,000 segment:

maryjofoley – Microsoft to target SMB users with new ‘BPOS Lite’ cloud service:

And this from BillGates – A quick post to Gates Notes – "why vaccines matter" –

Have a good weekend!


Tags: Friday Link, humour, Santa Claus, Christmas , Windows, Microsoft

Clubhouse Tags: Clubhouse, how-to, Windows 7, Windows Vista.

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Tips & Tricks: How to deauthorize Apple iTunes on all computers associated with your account

Yes, I use lots of different software, including applications from companies of all sizes, from WinZip to Scansoft, to popular applications from Adobe, Intuit, Microsoft (of course) and many more.

And yes, I also use software from Apple.

We own lots of different devices and systems in our home, and we have iTunes installed to manage content we purchased pre Zune days(mainly videos of network shows we missed on our Replay TV DVR or Media Center PC). As I was logging on to my account I noticed that I had reached the maximum number of authorized computers for iTunes (it’s five).

Unfortunately, we are only using iTunes actively on two of our many PCs in the home. Past computers with iTunes have given up the proverbial ghost, as it were, having wiped, upgraded and donated our old PCs.

Apple doesn’t make it too easy to find how to deauthorize computers you’re no longer using, But through the winders of Bing, I found Apple’s knowledge base article on deauthorizating PCs en masse. Turns out that once per year, you may deauthorize iTunes on all computers and then re-add the current computers.

To deauthorize all computers associated with your account (Apple KB HT1420)

If you find you have reached 5 authorizations, you can reset your authorization count by clicking Deauthorize All in the Account Information screen.

  1. Click iTunes Store in the menu on the left side of iTunes.
  2. If you’re not signed in to the store, click the Account button, then enter your account name and password.
  3. Click the Account button again (your ID appears on the button), enter your password, and then click View Account.
  4. In the Account Information window, click Deauthorize All.

Note: You may only use this feature once per year. The Deauthorize All button will not appear if you have fewer than 5 authorized computers, or if you have used this option within the last 12 months. If you need assistance on using this feature, please contact the iTunes Store support via email (

(I noticed that Apple uses a similar hierarchy for their support site as we do at Microsoft, using and then noting KBs such as this one as I wonder if this is a case where Apple followed Microsoft’s lead.)

As you managed your accounts going forward, consider deauthorizing iTunes on a computer prior to its exit from your home network.

Oh, BTW Apple: please don’t automatically assume that I want to install new software or services, this time with Safari 4 and MobileMe. You tried to install Safari in the past, going as far as to setting the default to install the app, as noted…

After complaints, Apple tweaks Software Update for Safari

"Following a storm of criticism, Apple has changed its Software Update software to mark a distinction between new programs, such as its Safari on Windows browser, and updates to existing ones.

"Now, Apple’s Software Update has two separate boxes, one labeled "New Software" and the other labeled "Updates." Before Safari 3.1 was under the "Updates" box and there was no "New Software" heading.

"An Apple representative told Computerworld that the change was done to distinguish new software from updates but declined to say whether it was in response to criticisms or whether Apple may leave the "New Software" box unchecked, as Mozilla’s Dotzler suggested."

Personally, I like the options we provide in Windows Update that allow you to opt in for optional installations. Maybe you could emulate that approach, just as you have with your Support URLs. 😉

imageAnd please fix the text formatting in the Apple Software Update app…



Tags: Apple, Microsoft, iTunes, Windows, how to, tips, Customer Service.

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A couple of choice items benefitting the Microsoft Giving Campaign this year

Autographed Samsung NC20 with Windows 7As I noted in my post yesterday, this year’s Microsoft Giving Campaign activities kicked off this month. In addition to the items I mentioned in my previous post, I also posted a couple of special items. (If you don’t know about our campaign, see this link for more info: Although this is only open to Microsoft employees, I wanted to thank many of the folks who have been kind enough to provide some interesting items. (I checked with our auction and PR team to ensure I could mention the items here. 😉

One of my favourite items is my Samsung NC20 mini notebook PC with Windows 7, autographed by the Windows 7 management team, including Jon DeVaan and Steven Sinofsky. This is an awesome portable, and combines the small size (11.5" x 8.5" x 1.2") and light weight (3.3 pounds) of a mini notebook with an excellent screen. The 1,280 x 800 resolution makes you feel like you’re using a full-size notebook, compared to the cramped 1,024×576 or 1,024×600 of typical small notebooks.

The keyboard is also large and comfortable to type on, with the same key spacing as full-size notebooks. The PC has 2GB of memory, a 160GB hard drive, slip case, charger, and two batteries (standard 6-cell unit for 5-6 hours and a 9-cell for 7-9.5 hours) battery, making this perfect for extended time away from sockets.

My thanks to our management team for taking the time to sign this computer!


Signed pink Zune 30Also up for auction is this new-in-the-box, never used, limited edition Pink Zune 30, courtesy of my wife (this was her original Zune, but she preferred a smaller 4GB Zune).

I purchased it at the initial release of the model and then obtained autographs from Robbie Bach, Steve Kaneko, J Allard and Bill Gates.

In all, the donations raised from the sale of these items will go to a good cause.


Tags: articles, what I read, twitter, Microsoft, Windows 7, Giving Campaign.


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Video of the new Zune HD in action, courtesy of Gizmodo

On the news today is this blog post from the Seattle PI about how the folks at Gizmodo got a demo of the new Zune HD, "Microsoft’s answer to Apple’s iPod Touch, set to be released this fall".

Zune HD Video Hands On from Gizmodo on Vimeo.

Very cool. I do think that there is a market for the small form factor 4/8GB units, of which I am fond (next to our tried and true 30GBs).

Tags: Microsoft, Zune. Clubhouse, Zune, demo, video

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Advisory: 30GB Zune issues noted today, related to time and the leap year

MP3 players

First it was questions about whether or not we’d have to worry about the coming Leap Second, then today after our power came back on, customer questions about the Zune 30.

As we have a couple of Zune 30s in our home going strong, I was surprised to see a post on the Zune Insider blog WRT the 30 GB Zune and news of issues reported today related to leap years (which some referred to as Zune2K and Y2K9), especially with all of the efforts we have applied to dealing with time and calendar changes around the world.

The team has been working throughout the day on this issue, and Paul from the Zune Insider blog offers this update this afternoon:

Early this morning we were alerted by our customers that there was a widespread issue affecting our 2006 model Zune 30GB devices (a large number of which are still actively being used).  The technical team jumped on the problem immediately and isolated the issue: a bug in the internal clock driver related to the way the device handles a leap year. 

The issue should be resolved over the next 24 hours as the time change moves to January 1, 2009.   We expect the internal clock on the Zune 30GB devices will automatically reset tomorrow (noon, GMT). By tomorrow you should allow the battery to fully run out of power before the unit can restart successfully then simply ensure that your device is recharged, then turn it back on.  If you’re a Zune Pass subscriber, you may need to sync your device with your PC to refresh the rights to the subscription content you have downloaded to your device. 

Customers can continue to stay informed via the support page on (

We know this has been a big inconvenience to our customers and we are sorry for that, and want to thank them for their patience. 

From the FAQs:

Q:  What fixes or patches are you putting in place to resolve this situation? 

This situation should remedy itself over the next 24 hours as the time flips to January 1st.

Q:  What’s the timeline on a fix?

The issue Zune 30GB customers are experiencing today will self resolve as time changes to January 1.

Q:  Why did this occur at precisely 12:01 a.m. on December 31, 2008? 

There is a bug in the internal clock driver causing the 30GB device to improperly handle the last day of a leap year.

The Zune service is unaffected — as are all Zune 80, 120 and Zune flash models — so we’ll be listening to music via our PC this evening.

Happy New Year.

Tags: Microsoft, Zune.

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