Sway, Microsoft Office’s Newest Application

Posted Posted in Microsoft, Microsoft Office

 

I as luck enough to receive an invite to “preview” this really new and cool application called Sway. You can read about it at http://www.sway.com. Sway is basically a jquery driven web tool to quickly build out high quality presentations from data and content sourced from a variety of sources (with more coming soon) like .docx, .html, .pptx, images, and video files from YouTube. Sway creates a folder on OneDrive and stores much of the content there (good thing storage is now unlimited for Office 365 users). Here’s my first attempt at building a “Sway”. Just scroll to view and be sure to click on the stacks to view more images.

 

I built this out in about half an hour.

Security Notifications from Microsoft Windows 8.1 App

Posted Posted in Microsoft, Windows 8.1

 

Microsoft is "suspending" emails (because of the Canadian SPAM law effective 7/1). I found these REALLY useful. I’m sure others did as well.

 

Notice to IT professionals:

As of July 1, 2014, due to changing governmental policies concerning
the issuance of automated electronic messaging, Microsoft is
suspending the use of email notifications that announce the
following:

* Security bulletin advance notifications
* Security bulletin summaries
* New security advisories and bulletins
* Major and minor revisions to security advisories and bulletins

In lieu of email notifications, you can subscribe to one or more of
the RSS feeds described on the Security TechCenter website.

For more information, or to sign up for an RSS feed, visit the
Microsoft Technical Security Notifications webpage at
»technet.microsoft.com/security/dd252948.

 

So then I looked at the page referenced above. My "quick and dirty" very basic ‘Security Notifications from Microsoft Feed Reader’ app is now available in the Windows Store. http://apps.microsoft.com/windows/app/security-notifications-from/f5459c09-6233-4100-bfe1-d198111fc30b

 security app main menu

 

I hope that Microsoft reinstates the emails after they figure out how to exclude Canadian customers who don’t want to receive this important information.

Replaced a Computer with an HP Laptop from Microsoft Store

Posted Posted in HP, Microsoft, Windows 8.1

 

Subtitle: A Signature PC should not behave this way or require this amount of manipulation. Not to mention that an average person would never be able to get through this.

A very old (in computer years) computer from the XP years that I’d been updating (hard drive, RAM, video card, network card, and of course Windows Operating System) (it was running 8.1 updated completely) finally gave up the ghost. It was an old clunker by today’s standards, and I had been using it for development and testing work. I’d been expecting this and had been doing some research for a few weeks. I’d already decided on a 17 inch laptop as a desktop replacement and I was loathe to order something I couldn’t test first or that came with bloatware, crapware, and things of that ilk. I’ve been to out almost local Microsoft Store enough times to know that the signature PC’s there were probably my best choice. And decided on an HP Envy 17 that appeared to be “fully loaded”.

envy17

The nice man that waited on me showed me a similar (less powerful) model that was on display. I decided that if testing that model proved acceptable, that the higher end model would be as good or better. On the negative side, the sales person was unsure of the specs of the higher end machine. I asked if it had a 5400 or 7200 speed hard drive (he had to look it up). I also asked if the higher end model had Windows 8.1 or Windows 8.1 Pro (the down level demo I was testing did not have Pro) and he replied affirmatively.

The demo seemed to be quite responsive, even on the store’s not so wonderful wireless internet connection. I wasn’t absolutely crazy about the gesture enabled trackpad and mouse functions, but knew I’d be purchasing/using a separate Arc Touch Mouse most of the time and that I could turn off and adjust trackpad functionality. Backlit keyboard was a plus. The keyboard itself is so-so but usable (I still think that no one has equaled the ThinkPad keyboards). After about twenty minutes I decided to pull the trigger and purchase.

The box came out from the back of the store. NOT Windows 8.1 Pro, only Core. I complained. I asked for a discount to offset the need to buy an upgrade key. The assistant store manager said yes to that in seconds (the store manager, who I know, was on vacation) and did some magic with prices to effectively reduce the cost by the amount needed to offset the Pro Pack Upgrade. Home I went, laptop in hand.

Arriving home, I plugged in and spent a couple of hours first applying the Pro with Media Center upgrade and then hitting Windows Update about 8 times until I was fully updated to 8.1, Update 1 (or whatever it is officially called).

I walked away to have lunch.

Problem #1: When I came back, the laptop was displaying an ominous black screen showing Boot Device Not Found Please install an Operating System. Held down the power button, did a few more things, started downloading my apps from the Windows Store. Went back to the desktop. Had two more instances of Boot Device Not Found Please install an Operating System. A web search for “hp envy operating system not found” turns up and ungodly number of hits. Most of which are folks who can’t get their computers to boot at all. That was not my problem. After some thought, I went hunting for a BIOS upgrade. Which I found and applied.

Problem #2: Under heavy network load (over 802.1ac wireless), I had some complete lockups. I went hunting for a driver update on the HP site. Found one for this specific model and applied it.

Problem #3: After performing the Windows 8.1, Update 1 update, Bluetooth went missing. It was completely gone from Device Manager as well. While I couldn’t find anything specific to the model laptop I had, I did find http://h30434.www3.hp.com/t5/Notebook-Operating-Systems-and-Software/Bluetooth-missing-HP-ENVY-15-j026tx-Windows-8-1/td-p/3753454. After some more searching, I figured out that I should try https://downloadcenter.intel.com/Detail_Desc.aspx?DwnldID=23761. Yes, that worked. Or at least I see Bluetooth in devman and have a functional BT task tray icon.

Problem #4: The HP Assistant Program  finds newer drivers that those listed for the product page for this model laptop. It found an even newer Intel Wireless drive for the AC NIC. Suggests that it is a waste of time to use drivers from the product page. HP should be ashamed. If you have drivers, HP folks, keep your site updated.

Problem #5: I installed all my modern apps from synced profile. I then got all the Windows Store Updates for these apps. Skype and Bing News won’t install and error with 0x80073cf9. I can install other apps and update other apps. I uninstalled the “old” versions. Now I have none. I ran the PowerShell script to remove windows store apps and these two do NOT appear on the list. It’s not corrupted files, I’ve sfc /scannow’d and tried the standard wsreset, license sync, and it appears I am not alone. I do have the desktop app and there are other News Apps, so it is not the end of the world.

 

skype

Problem #6: Locks up when accessing an SDXC card in the media reader slot. I’ve got an external card reader that works, but gee whiz…

Bottom line.

 

I’ve got a thirty day return window and have resolved most of my issues. I’ve spent the past day and a half installing my apps and so on. I want this to be a keeper. I’m hoping I’m over the hump. HP should be ashamed for sure. And I’m hoping that the Microsoft Store folks leaern something from this.

Fixed: IE9 “Only Secure Content is Displayed” warning

Posted Posted in Connected Home, Microsoft, Software, Technology, Windows 7

For a very long time, it seemed as through every site I visited with IE9 created an annoying prompt about secure content and encourage me to show all content. I’ve seen fixes that involve lowering your security etc., but never thought THAT was worth the risk. I had an “Ah HA!” moment while troubleshooting a similar annoyance with a wordpress plugin. It turns out that this issue occurs if you are logged into Facebook using https (and you should be using https) and have elected to always stay logged in that since nearly every site in the world has a Facebook Like button or some tie in to Facebook.

ie_secure

My solution? (Edited 8/9/2011) Stay logged into Facebook with Firefox, but NOT with IE. And strictly use Firefox for Facebook. (And note that this warning does not happen when I use Firefox to browse other sites while still logged into Facebook because Firefox is displaying mixed content by default.). Microsoft has other solutions posted, but they involve allowing mixed content to kill the prompt, or not allowing it ever (which kills the prompt) and even adding Facebook’s https site to the trusted zone. I prefer to use IE for financial sites and keep prompts and elect to only display secure content. And I am not by any means advocating dumping IE9.

I’m almost always running at least two browsers, but I just had not figured out what was causing OE to behave this way. There may be similar situations with other Facebook type sites or plugins, but with Facebook being by far the most widespread, my solution solves 99% of the problem for me. Now I know, and if you didn’t know this before, I hope this is helpful.

ie_security2

Microsoft RAW Codec and Windows Media Center

Posted Posted in Connected Home, Digital Photography, Media Center, Microsoft, Windows 7, Windows Live, Windows Media Center

Yesterday (see previous post) I wrote a little about the newly released Microsoft RAW Codec. One of the first things I did was try my latest batch of Nikon RAW NEF files from a balloon festival earlier this month. I had so-so results, especially inside Windows Media Center, where thumbnails appeared, but after selecting an individual image file, WMC could not display it. This set of images was shot with a D7000 DX camera, in order to take advantage of the longer reach of FX lenses used with it. I normally carry both a D700 and a D7000.

As it turns out, for whatever reason, the Microsoft RAW Codec does not support the D7000. I’m not sure why, since Adobe and others now support it, and the D7000 has been available since mid October 2010.

Anyway, if you have a supported camera, the new codec most definitely is supported inside Windows Media Center if you want to view your RAW images there. You won’t get detailed EXIF info in View Details, but you certainly can display your images on a large screen. The screen capture below shows one of the folders (highlighted) from an Orchid Show I attended in 2009 where I shot with my D700 and the Nikon 105mm Macro lens. Thumbnails appear as expected.

mce-RAW-1

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