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  • 04/20/12--09:32: Friday Five: April 20, 2012.
  • This week we're taking a look at some great blog posts from our MVPs on AJAX, Excel, Windows
    Phone 7, Windows 8 and Windows Azure.

    1. Calling Web Services Using AJAX

    By Visual C# MVP Jonathan Wood 

    Jonathan presents  an ASP.NET WebForms application that will submit data to the server and get
    a response, all without refreshing the current page

    2. Odata Tool Spotlight PowerPivot for Excel 2010

    By ASP.NET/IIS MVP Lohith Nagaraj | @kashyapa

    Lohith walks us through PowerPivot for Excel 2010.

    3. How to Send Email in WP7 Using the EmailComposeTask?

    By Silverlight MVP Kunal Chowdhury | @kunal2383

    Learn how to compose an email using the Windows Phone 7 SDK class called

    4. Build a WinRT Metro App to Access the Windows 8 File System

    By Silverlight MVP Michael Crump | @mbcrump

    Windows 8 introduces a new native runtime called Windows Runtime (WinRT), which is the
    backbone of the new Metro user experience in Windows 8.   Michael walks you through the
    process of creating a Windows 8 C# and XAML Metro application and demonstrate how to
    manipulate files programmatically.

    5. Understanding Windows Azure Security

    By Windows Azure MVP Michael Collier | @michaelcollier

    Michael walks us through a seven part series on securing Windows Azure.






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  • 04/23/12--08:56: Pictures in PowerPoint
  • Editor's Note: The following MVP Monday post is by PowerPoint MVP Geetesh Bajaj

    Pictures in PowerPoint

    A picture is worth a thousand words – and that’s a saying that has been heard by all of us so often. Yet, there’s more to this saying than what you may think. Not only is there more to this saying, but there are also pros and cons in believing it to be true, as we shall explore in the rest of this article. Incidentally, this article is about using pictures in PowerPoint – and all sayings, observations, and thoughts shared are true for the pictures you insert in your PowerPoint slides!

    What are the Benefits?

    First of all, let us explore the benefits of using pictures on your slides:

    1. Pictures are visual communication – you can convey any idea more effectively through a relevant picture than by just using text alone. Research proves that people learn and retain information that is presented to them visually much better than that which is only provided verbally.

    2. Pictures make content more interesting. Look at the story books or even the school books of children in primary classes – while we may believe that we have all grown up and do not need that many visuals any more, the fact is that growing up has nothing to do with the human mind’s need to see more pictorial content!

    3. Pictures convince the audience better. Many times, pictures act as proof for what you are speaking about.

    And Some Guidelines!

    Having put across the advantages that pictures provide in grabbing your audience’s attention, there is one caveat you should be aware of. Pictures can do their job of enhancing your presentation’s retention power only when you use the right picture, in the right slide. Here are some guidelines that help you choose the right picture for your PowerPoint slides:

    · A picture is only effective if it is relevant to the content of your slide -- just any picture will not work. In situations like this, it is better not to use a picture than using the wrong picture.

    · Consider the number of pictures to use. More than one picture to illustrate a single concept is a picture too many. Remember, two pictures may not be worth two thousand words! Yes, you can use multiple pictures if one builds upon the other. For example, you may show a famous building in one picture, and a close-up of some architectural detail in another picture. That way, the second picture would add value to the first picture.

    · Don’t compromise with the quality of the picture. Stay away from pictures that are hazy, blurred, unclear, etc.

    · A picture that distinctly shows a human being of one race may not work too well in a multi-racial or international audience – in that case, explore using silhouettes. It is surprising how much more you can express with a mere silhouette.

    · Do use some text with pictures. This is especially true of captions that may be necessary for some pictures. Or even for credits and copyright notices, if you sourced the picture from a source that needs to be credited.

    · Don’t use the pictures that are not copyright free. We discuss this important guideline in detail next.

    Respect Copyrights

    Very often, slide designers just copy visual content from image search results on Bing or Google, and paste them right into their slides! That’s certainly something that’s needs to be frowned upon!

    The worst part is that many of these designers don't believe they are breaking any copyright laws because most people believe that almost anything on the web is free! Unfortunately, that is not true.

    There’s absolutely no excuse in not worrying about copyrights these days, especially with the amount of free and low priced visual content that is available copyright free these days. Even if the content was not free or low priced, the loss of reputation and face resulting from such copyright violation is not something any company or professional can disregard these days.

    Where to Source Pictures?

    There are some great resources and options available to PowerPoint users from where they can acquire genuinely legal pictures at little or no cost:

    1. There is no dearth of sites providing royalty-free pictures that can be used in your PowerPoint presentations. But imagine a repository of clip art, photos and sounds that is updated continuously with design reflected by the latest nuances and trends – available to millions of Microsoft Office users free of cost! This site at comes to you from none other than Microsoft, and everything is royalty free.

    2. Creative Commons: Creative Commons pictures are a special kind of visual content. Creative Commons is essentially a license that allows distribution of many media types including pictures. Photographers can provide (license) their work for free under easy terms which benefit both the photographer and the user. For the end user, Creative Commons attributions make it clear if the pictures can be used in commercial applications, if changes can be made, and if any content can only be used for personal use. In all cases, an attribution as specified by the creator must be included when the picture is used. The details of this attribution are usually displayed along with the image on the source web site often in a series of icons or a link to a license page. Some popular sources of Creative Commons pictures are:

    a. Creative Commons – Offers convenient access to search services provided by other independent organizations.

    b. Google Images You need to access the Advanced Image Search option, and then select for the Usage Rights dropdown. Choose the Free to use, share or modify, even commercially option in the dropdown list.

    c. Wikimedia Commons – You can find more than 10 million categorized, photos, illustrations, footage, sound clips, etc. here.

    d. Flickr – There are more than a hundred million Creative Commons licensed images on Flickr, and 15 million of these have the most flexible "Attribution only" license.

    3. Pictures from Digital Cameras, Scanners, and Camera Phones:
    You can also take pictures using digital cameras, or phones – or also use the scanned photographs for your presentations. Since these pictures are clicked by you, you own the copyright to them most of the time. Do remember that if you click pictures within a private property or even in some public buildings, you do not have copyrights for those pictures – this rule differs from the property to property, and even different public buildings have varied copyright issues. Of course, rules may vary again from country to country.

    Enhancing Pictures in PowerPoint

    Once you have included a picture into your presentation, you may want to make some changes to them for various reasons not limited to this list:

    · For relevance

    · For clarity and quality

    · To remove unnecessary detail

    · To optimize file size

    · To follow size proportions and standards

    Older versions of PowerPoint did not include many picture enhancing capabilities, but with PowerPoint 2010 for Windows (and PowerPoint 2011 for Mac), you no longer need a third party picture editing program. PowerPoint does all the edits you may want, and in many cases all edits in PowerPoint are easily undone or reversed as well. We will now explore some of the important picture-editing tasks that can be accomplished within PowerPoint – to access any of these picture editing options, first select your picture so that you can see the Picture Tools Format tab of the Ribbon (see figure below).


    All options explained next are available from the buttons on the Picture Tools Format tab:

    Remove Background: Among PowerPoint’s newest and most magical abilities is the Remove Background option that lets you remove the background from an inserted picture. This can be a great feature if you want to remove a sky, a wall, any backdrop, or something else in a photograph so that the slide background shows through within the removed parts of the picture. In the figure below, you see a picture in its original form towards the left. Towards the right, you can see the variation of the same picture after removing the background.


    Corrections: After inserting the picture on you slide, you may feel that the picture needs some visual corrections. The inserted picture may be too dark or too bright, and you may want it to look normal or even surreal! Sometimes you may want to make some changes to the picture so that it grabs the attention of your audience. These edits can be done using the Correction options. Look at the following figure – the original picture in on the left. The edited picture on the right has some Color Correction options such as Brightness values adjusted.


    Color: If the color of a picture you have placed on your slide is far different from the color of other objects on the slide, or if you want to make the picture to be of some particular color to follow a monochromatic Theme, you can then recolor the picture. You can adjust the saturation and color tone of the picture, or you can also choose any of the preset Recolor options available. The figure below shows the picture before and after applying the Color option in PowerPoint 2010.

    Artistic Effects: PowerPoint also allows you to apply some filters as in Photoshop or other image editors. You can make your picture look more like a sketch, a drawing, or a painting. You can tweak individual effects further to suit your needs. Compare the original picture on the left with its variation after applying a Sketch filter on the right (see figure below).

    Crop: The Crop tool can trim the edges of your picture so that your picture can focus onto an important segment of the picture. In addition, the Crop tool in newer versions of PowerPoint has a new behavior as well – you can choose various shape options to crop the inserted picture to any basic shape in PowerPoint. The figure below shows a picture and its variation cropped to the heart shape.


    Picture Styles: PowerPoint allows you to add Picture Styles such as shadows, glows, reflections, soft edges, bevels, and three-dimensional (3-D) rotations and borders to enhance pictures. The figure below shows some examples. The figure below shows examples of some inserted pictures with Picture Styles applied.



    We explore quite a bit about using pictures in PowerPoint, and it’s is a great idea to always use pictures in your PowerPoint slides. However, do remember that searching for and choosing the perfect picture is something that cannot be done in a hurry – you must set aside quality time to do this task.

    As you become more proficient working with pictures, you can try to reduce the usage of text and bullet points on your slides. This makes your presentation more visually effective.

    And finally, a picture on a slide can certainly be worth a thousand words and tell a story, but that story needs to be retold by the presenter or speaker.

    Author's Bio


    Geetesh Bajaj is an awarded Microsoft PowerPoint MVP (Most Valuable Professional) for over a decade now. He has been designing and training with PowerPoint for 15 years and heads Indezine, a presentation design studio and content development organization based out of Hyderabad, India.

    MVP Mondays

    The MVP Monday Series is created by Melissa Travers. In this series we work to
    provide readers with a guest post from an MVP every Monday. Melissa is a
    Community Program Manager for Dynamics, Excel, Office 365, Platforms and
    SharePoint in the United States. She has been working with MVPs since her
    early days as Microsoft Exchange Support Engineer when MVPs would answer
    all the questions in the old newsgroups before she could get to them.


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    BizTalk MVP Mick Badran

    How long have you been an MVP?
    6 years

    How did you first start in community?

    I started as a BizTalk developer/integrator and ran the Sydney BizTalk User group. I also had equal in depth knowledge in SharePoint.

    I also created and involved fellow peers into 2 successful ‘BizTalk Light and Easy’ 2009 & 2010 series –which are hosted on MSDN.

    Which technical community or communities are you most active in (where can people find
    I am active in:

    What’s the best technical tip you have today for implementing a cloud deployment?
    Developers need to know the costing model!
    Previously this didn’t enter into our development or design, memory is unlimited, services, processes, etc. are just there.

    When considering using the Cloud, what do you tell people if they aren’t sure about
    to the Cloud?
    “How the cloud can help you integrate” is generally the pitch I take.  I find these days it’s not about clients jumping into the cloud or not, it’s about what tools (cloud or other) exist and co-exist to solve the client’s challenges in the most effective way.  To that obviously Windows Azure has many features that are superb and provide so much value for clients. I’m even getting large financial institutions lending an ear to these sorts of possibilities.  First get the general picture of what is in the cloud – many articles exist on the Microsoft site. The next step is to realise how the hybrid world looks for you.  It’s not a matter of cloud or no cloud – the cloud functionality is complimentary with existing client processes. Finding the balance is where experience comes from.

    Do you have a blog/website link to Cloud related Tips or deployment stories you
    would like to share?,category,Azure.aspx

    Speaking from your experience, what words of advice do you have for new MVPs?
    Take the time to get to know the team, Microsoft and the structure. Think first and foremost about those in the community who are less fortunate than you and whom you can have a direct impact on.  Community and sharing is the essence of the MVP program in my opinion. Keep this close and don’t forget it in all you do as an MVP.

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  • 04/27/12--12:01: Friday Five: April 27, 2012.
  • To close out this month’s Friday Five post, we’ll cover Forefront, Visual C# and Microsoft Project.

    1. Translate and Compare Object SID : Download SIDTranslator

    By Forefront MVP Olivier Detilleux

    Olivier introduces us to the SID Translator tool which converts an objectSID from a string to hexadecimal format or vice versa.

    2. Portable Class Library in .NET

    By Visual C# MVP Adil Ahmed Mughal | @adilamughal

    Adil discusses how to create a class library to target different version of frameworks.

    3. Do’s and Don'ts: Sequencing Summary Tasks

    By Microsoft Project MVP Sam Huffman

    Sam walks us through how to properly sequence (link) summary tasks.

    4. Compare the Speeds of a Switch Statement and a Series of If-Then Statements in C#

    By Visual Basic MVP Rod Stephens | @cSharpHelper

    A switch statement and a series of if then statements have the same effect: both check a series of conditions until they find one that it true and then skip the rest.   Rod compares the two for speed considerations.

    5. Dispose Pattern and “Set Large Fields to Null”

    By Visual C# MVP Peter Ritchie

    Peter looks at whether fields should be set to null in the Dispose method(s).

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    Editor's Note: The following MVP Monday post is by Visual C++ MVP Cheng Yin (Below the English version is the Chinese version.)

    Microsoft released a new generation of operating system "Windows 8" consumers preview for users to experience as free download.. The new system using the new Metro-style user interface, a variety of applications, shortcuts to the style of the dynamic box on the screen, the user will see commonly used browser, social networking, games, etc. To install the "Windows 8" consumers preview version of the user's computer configuration need to meet the hardware requirements for Windows 7; to run some special features, you also need to have the high-resolution display, touch-screen display. Microsoft stressed that this system is still beta, retail version of "Windows 8" is expected to be officially released later in 2012. Codename: 8284.0.winmain.120216-1840.

    Windows 8 is divided into the traditional Windows interface and the Metro interface; two interfaces can be free to switch from the user's preferences. Metro style user interface known as the Start screen, how to switch between traditional desktop and Start screen, the most efficient way is to use the keyboard "Win key" Moreover, the traditional desktop to switch to the Start screen can do this that (move the cursor to the lower left corner is the earlier versions of the Windows Start button, it will "start screen" button is clicked on it), the start screen switch to the traditional desktop you can click on the "Desktop" icon. Metro is the function of the rectangular graphical interface combo box is a signature design of the Zune. The beginning of the interface is the use of Microsoft's smart phone system, Windows Phone platform.

    Metro, the UI, is an interface display technology, like Apple iOS, Google's Android interface. The biggest difference is: the latter two are to apply as the main rendering objects, while the Metro interface to emphasize that the information itself, rather than redundant interface elements. Display function of the next part of the interface elements on the main function is to prompt the user "here for more information. In visual effects, which contribute to the formation of an immersive feel. Metro style interface gives the user a glance and go experience the concept of the interface also introduction of Windows8 operating system.

    1. Start VS11

    2. Create an MVP-aborted newsreader engineering

    3. Insert a combox with a webview

    4. The Webview named for the web

    5. Combox named for the com

    6. Related blog links in XAML inside the insert as the combox of child




    7. Insert button to jump switch

    8. Click the button to add an event


    9. Choice for a set combox


    10.Add the following code for the button


    11. Double-click the run to see results



    开发基于C++ 运行在Windows8的metro界面的新闻阅读器


    Windows 8分为Windows传统界面和Metro界面,两个界面可以由用户的喜好自由切换。 Metro风格新操作界面被称为 “开始屏幕”, 如何切换传统桌面与“开始屏幕”呢,最快捷的方式就是使用键盘的“Win键”,再者传统桌面切换到“开始屏幕”可以这么操作(光标移动到左下角也就是旧 版Windows开始按钮那,就会出现“开始屏幕”按钮点击就可以了),而“开始屏幕”切换到传统桌面则可以直接点击“桌面”图标。 Metro是长方图形的功能界面组合方块,是Zune的招牌设计。刚开始该界面被运用在微软的智能手机系统Windows Phone平台中。

    metro UI是一种界面展示技术,和苹果的iOS、谷歌的Android界面最大的区别在于:后两种都是以应用为主要呈现对象,而Metro界面强调的是信息本身,而不是冗余的界面元素。显示下一个界面的部分元素的功能上的作用主要是提示用户“这儿有更多信息”。同时在视觉效果方面,这有助于形成一种身临其境的感觉。 Metro风格界面要带给用户的是glance and go 的体验,该界面概念同样被引入Windows8操作系统中。



















    Author's Bio

    Cheng Yin

    Cheng Yin, Visual C++  MVP, Microsoft Tech-Ed Beijing Conference Gold lecturer, senior software architect, Microsoft is well-known writers, the Microsoft community elite,  Dot Net experts, CPP specialists, speech technology experts, information security experts mobile 3G technology experts, professional interests and hobbies as artificial intelligence, Cloud computing, networking, and now committed to Windows8, Windows Embedded Compact 7, Windows phone 7 of the natural interface (multi-touch, voice interaction) and Microsoft's cloud computing platform Microsoft Internet of Things Smart Object smart home research.


    尹成,Visual C++ MVP,微软Tech.Ed 北京金牌讲师,资深软件构架师,微软知名作家,微软社区精英, .Net 专家,CPP专家 ,语音技术专家,信息安全技术专家,移动3G技术专家, 专业兴趣爱好为人工智能,云计算,物联网,现在致力于Windows8,Windows Embedded Compact 7,Windows phone 7的自然交互界面(多点触控,语音交互)与微软云计算平台,微软物联网Smart Object智能家庭的研究。

    MVP Mondays

    The MVP Monday Series is created by Melissa Travers. In this series we work to
    provide readers with a guest post from an MVP every Monday. Melissa is a
    Community Program Manager for Dynamics, Excel, Office 365, Platforms and
    SharePoint in the United States. She has been working with MVPs since her
    early days as Microsoft Exchange Support Engineer when MVPs would answer
    all the questions in the old newsgroups before she could get to them.

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    How long have you been an MVP?

    Since July 2008

    How did you first start in community?

    I started in 2000 as a community user, and then I began writing articles in 2002. After that, I became a forum answerer, author of books, speaker and so on.

    Which technical community or communities are you most active in (where can people find you)? Provide links if necessary

    The Italian Visual Basic Tips & Tricks community site and forums (

    The Italian LightSwitch Tips & Tricks community site and forums (

    Italian and US MSDN forums

    Twitter (@progalex)

    What’s the best technical tip you have today for implementing a cloud deployment?

    I usually don’t use technical words or show advanced stuff. I tell people that they have been using the cloud for a long time by storing their Windows Live contacts, emails, calendars. I tell them that their SkyDrive is on the cloud. I make them understand how they already use the cloud and how, after all, they’re happy to have a lot of items synchronized and always available with a network connection.

    When considering using the cloud, what do you tell people if they aren’t sure about moving to the cloud?

    I usually don’t use technical words or show advanced stuff. I tell people that they have been using the cloud for a long time by storing their Windows Live contacts, emails, calendars. I tell them that their SkyDrive is on the cloud. I make them understand how they already use the cloud and how, after all, they’re happy to have a lot of items synchronized and always available with a network connection.

    Do you have a blog/website link to Cloud related Tips or deployment stories you would like to share?

    Yes, I have a primary Italian blog ( and an English blog ( Both have specific categories related to the cloud. Cloud category for the Italian blog is here, and the cloud category for the English blog is here. You might be interested in this blog post about the Platform Ready solution.

    Speaking from your experience, what words of advice do you have for new MVP’s?

    Never forget the NDA. Never forget the code of conduct. Continue in sharing your passion and enjoy the great connections with peers and Microsoft employees that the MVP Award allows. Connecting with people is the greatest benefit!

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  • 05/02/12--10:38: Friday Five: May 4, 2012
  • May the 4th be with you!  This week's post cover everything from Outlook and Forefront to Big Data and C++.  Enjoy!


    Big Data: The Billable Project Angle

    By Visual Basic MVP Andrew Brust | @andrewbrust

    Tellago CEO Jesus Rodriguez discusses the consulting project opportunities in Big Data and shines a light on his favorite Big Data technologies and companies.


    How to Protect TMG with DPM (Part 1)

    By Forefront MVP Lionel Leperlier | @liontux

    Lionel walks us through securing a Forefront TMG server with Microsoft System Center Data Protection Manager (DPM) 2010.


    Send an Email when Outlook Reminders Fire

    By Outlook MVP Diane Poremsky@dicot

    Diane’s post highlights a macro that gives users another option who want to compose a message and schedule it for sending later.


    Creating a DirectX XAML Control Using C++/CX

    By Silverlight MVP Morten Nielsen | @dotMorten

    Morten shows us how to create a DirectX XAML control using C++ instead of just C# and VB.NET.


    Modifying Tables Online – Part 1: Migration Strategy

    By SQL Server MVP Michael J Swart | @mjswart

    Michael describes a way to modify the definition of very large tables while keeping the table available for other queries. Some table changes are already online operations. But offline changes need extra work to keep the table available. Michael explores one way to do that in this first part of five-post series.

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    Editor's Note: The following MVP Monday post is by Office 365 MVP David Greve


    Did you setup Exchange Hybrid with Exchange 2010 SP2 and are ready to change your MX record? If so, follow this blog to help improve your MX record change experience. If you did not use the SP2 wizard, then this blog will generally not apply to your configuration.

    Using the SP2 wizard greatly simplifies the process to integrate with Office 365. However, by simplifying the process, it now became a bit more challenging to make a MX record change, redirecting mail from on-premise to Office 365 Forefront Online Protection for Exchange (FOPE.) FOPE is essentially the gateway for all your mail entering and leaving Office 365.

    The challenge with the SP2 Hybrid Wizard is that it creates connectors that you cannot easily edit, as shown in the below image. (Edit is grayed out)


    Since you cannot edit the auto created connectors for the Hybrid configuration, you cannot modify the “Sender Domains.” The “Sender Domains” is set to *.*, which is in conflict with any other inbound connector your try to create. The reason why this is important is that you need to create another connector to receive inbound Internet mail with *.* as the “Sender Domains.” You cannot create another connector due to this conflicting connector address in the “Sender Domains.” If you try to create an inbound connector, you will receive the following error when you try to enforce (enable) it: “The connector could not be enforced to all domains because of the following reasons: One or more domains have a conflicting connector associated…”


    Don’t bother trying to flip your MX record at this point, you will find that you will receive an NDR, indicating you cannot relay to FOPE. This is because that inbound Hybrid connector is taking priority over any other “like” connectors.

    The simplest path at this point is to stop using the auto-created inbound Hybrid connector and create your own new Hybrid connector, followed by an inbound Internet mail connector. To do so, first “+Enforce”, then “-Release” the “Hybrid Mail Flow Inbound Connector.” This will stop the connector from being used/ taking priority. Second, copy the existing settings of the “Hybrid Mail Flow Inbound Connector” and create a new connector, but only changing the “Sender Domains”. Instead of adding “*.*” for the “Sender Domains”, change it to all of the domains that you will be communicating with between on-premise Exchange and Exchange Online. In our example below, I’ve just added a single domain that’s being used between on-premise and Exchange Online for the Hybrid configuration. If you miss a domain an internal user may be sending with, you may get NDRs in Hybrid communications.


    Once the new connector has been created and matches the existing connector, except for “Sender Domains”, now only “+Enfoce” the new connector. The old connector can just be ignored at this point. Validate mail flow still works between on-premise and Office 365.

    Third, now that you have replaced the Hybrid connector with one specific for your email domains, you are ready to create an inbound Internet mail connector. To do so, simply add a new connector with a similar configuration to the image below.


    Key items to note are that the “Sender Domains” is set to *.*, there are no specific inbound IPs and all the necessary filtering is in place for standard inbound mail. Once the connector is created, now “+Enforce” it. If you replaced the Hybrid connector properly, you should not receive any errors, once you enforce it. (Like the “The connector could not be enforced to all domains because of the following reasons: One or more domains have a conflicting connector associated…” error.)

    At this point, I would give it about 24 hours for FOPE to replicate before you make any MX record changes. When ready, locate the MX record address in the Office 365 Admin page, under domains.


    Update your MX record and start to validate inbound Internet mail flow works, while sending to Office 365 and the email domains you updated your MX record for.


    About the Author


    David Greve is an Office 365 Solutions Delivery Director for Perficient, a Microsoft MVP in Office 365, and an author for an Office 365 Exchange migration book. He has over 15 years of consulting experience in the IT industry, designing and implementing Microsoft Solutions ranging from small to enterprise environments. He is the author of the upcoming book Microsoft Office 365: Exchange Online Implementation and Migration. Currently David is working on designing and developing Microsoft Cloud Computing (Office 365) solutions, with a focus on Exchange, Lync, and SharePoint as well as strategic migration planning in complex business environments. More articles from David can be found on his new blog

    MVP Mondays

    The MVP Monday Series is created by Melissa Travers. In this series we work to provide readers with a guest post from an MVP every Monday. Melissa is a Community Program Manager for Dynamics, Excel, Office 365, Platforms and SharePoint in the United States. She has been working with MVPs since her early days as Microsoft Exchange Support Engineer when MVPs would answer all the questions in the old newsgroups before she could get to them.

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    How long have you been an MVP?

    Since January 2011

    How did you first start in community?

    I got started by using online forums, and later on started my own blog.

    Which technical community or communities are you most active in (where can people find you)? Provide links if necessary

    My blog ( and Twitter (@JanEgilRing), in addition to the Norwegian user group Microsoft Technology User Group (

    What’s the best technical tip you have today for implementing a cloud deployment?

    In large environments there is a huge benefit in leveraging automation, specifically Windows PowerShell and System Center Orchestrator if your private cloud is based on Microsoft products.

    When considering using the cloud, what do you tell people if they aren’t sure about moving to the cloud?

    The key points to think about, as well as a few useful links, are provided in this TechNet Wiki article, to get started:

    Do you have a blog/website link to Cloud related Tips or deployment stories you would like to share?

    Yes, this Reference Architecture for Private Cloud is a useful resource:

    Speaking from your experience, what words of advice do you have for new MVPs?

    Be active in the MVP Community, which is an extremely helpful group of people. Also be sure to come to the MVP Summit if you can: it`s a great opportunity to meet fellow MVPs as well as the product groups.

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    The new MVP Award Web site is going live this month and promises to offer a fresh view of this exemplary technical community. Built on Microsoft SharePoint, the new site is highly flexible, so it can better reflect the dynamic and global nature of the MVP community. It will be published in eleven languages and deliver current local news and events. And you’ll be able stay on top of all things MVP through a full range of social media feeds.

    You’ll also have a chance to get to know members of the MVP community. Each month, the MVP Award Web site will spotlight the contributions and accomplishments of an MVP and there will be a community section for highlighting MVP videos and podcasts.

    It’s inspired by Microsoft’s Metro design—


    You can get a sneak peek now by watching this video!

    Watch the video here.

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    Recently, we’ve highlighted quite a number of blog posts from MVPs within the Americas, so we thought this week might be a great time to highlight some of the great insight offered by our MVPs from around the world.


    1. Preserving Input Sequence Order when Aggregating Debatched Messages

    By BizTalk MVP Maxime Labelle

    Maxime walks us through the steps for maintaining a sequence order when aggregating debatched messages within BizTalk.


    2. How to Access the Input Control’s Data at Server Side During Client Callback : A Useful Trick

    By ASP.NET/IIS.NET MVP Brij Mishra | @brij_bhushan

    Brij shows us how to best leverage client callback in accessing the input control's data server side.


    3. How to add Web Service in VS 11

    By Visual C# MVP Ming Man Chan

    The .NET 4.5 framework does not have a web service template.  Ming shows us how to gain access to this in his video post.


    4. Order of Evaluation in CALCULATE Parameters

    By SQL Server MVP Marco Russo | @marcorus

    DAX is the new language used by PowerPoint and Analysis Services and contains the functions known as CALCULATE and CALCULATETABLE.  Marco shows us how to master these powerful functions.

    5. Retrieving Old File Versions Through Code

    By SharePoint Server MVP Adis Jugo | @adisjugo

    Adis shows us how to retrieve old file versions using just a little coding.

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    Editor's Note: The following MVP Monday post is by Office 365 MVP J. Peter Bruzzese

    Even after years of availability, the Unified Messaging role still holds a mystery to it. Many IT admins have shied away from it in many cases. Perhaps there are simply aspects to its design and deployment that, if explained a bit better, would open minds to its further deployment in the enterprise.

    As a result we’ve compiled a list of 10 design and deployment tips that is by no means exhaustive, nor is it technically overwhelming, to help get you feeling more comfortable about the Unified Messaging role and get it rolled out within your environment.

    Tip 1: Make sure you are aware and company decision makers are aware of all the great features to Unified Messaging.

    Unified Messaging provides a means for replacing your existing voicemail solution through one that is already integrated with Exchange, providing for a universal Inbox. UM in Exchange 2010 is the second iteration of the product (introduced in 2007) with constant advancements to its feature-set. Features like Outlook Voice Access (OVA), Voice Mail Preview, Call Answering Rules, Play-on-Phone, Message Waiting Indicators and more, all make this less a decision of “Why?” and more a decision of “Why haven’t we done it sooner?!” It’s imperative that both you, as the IT admin, and your decision makers understand the built-in value to deploying Unified Messaging.

    Link: For a full list of benefits:

    Tip 2: It’s time to learn a little telephony. And time to retain a telephony expert.

    One of the reasons some administrators have shied away from UM is that it immediately takes them out of their IP comfort zone and into the world of PSTN (public switched telephone networks), trunk lines, hunt groups, and PBX lingo. Packet switched to circuit switched thinking is a whole new world. Don’t feel you have to master every last piece of it. Rather, make sure you have a telephony expert or team of experts to assist you with careful analysis of your telephony infrastructure. Rely on the expertise you already have at your disposal with your existing telephony advisor or reach out for a new one, preferably one with UM experience.

    Link: UM terminology:

    Tip 3: There are only two ways to get UM integrated with your PSTN.

    Narrowing down how much you need to know, it’s helpful if you can find pieces to the puzzle that are easy to remember, like the fact that there are only two ways to connect UM to your PSTN (shown in Figure 1). If you have a legacy PBX you might be able to keep it in the mix for a UM deployment depending on the type of PBX and if it is supported, however, you will need to integrate a VoIP Gateway to make it work with UM. However, if the legacy PBX isn’t going to work out or if you are starting from scratch and need to decide on new infrastructure than you will want to go with an IP-PBX. The goal here is to connect your PSTN to your internal packet-switched network that UM is on.


    Figure 1: Two options for integration.

    Tip 4: Utilize the Telephony Advisor for Exchange 2010

    If you do decide to integrate your existing telephony system with UM than you will need to know what legacy PBXs are supported. And if you find out that your system isn’t supported and now need to pick up an IP Gateway or an IP-PBX you will want to pick one that is supported by Microsoft as well. Not to worry, there is an online telephony advisor that provides information to help narrow your choices.

    Link: The Telephony Advisor

    Tip 5: You need to know how to plan out your topology based on your existing layout.

    You have options and it’s important to know what you can and cannot do if you plan on deploying UM in a multi-site environment. First of all, you have to have both the Mailbox role and Hub Transport role in the same AD site as the UM server. This may have you thinking that you need to make sure these roles are in each site with the UM servers and this is true if you plan on putting a UM server in each site. You can, but you don’t have to. You can add an IP-Gateway to each site that has a PBX (or add an IP-PBX to each site) and then place the UM servers in your primary site to keep the UM server(s) centralized. One item to watch for this to work is the latency. You need to make sure the roundtrip time between the IP Gateways and UM server is not more than 300 milliseconds. Of course, if that does happen to be a problem then you are better putting a UM server in the sites that cannot overcome the latency issue.

    Link: UM server topologies:

    Tip 6: It’s ok to virtualize the UM role. But there are caveats to be aware of.

    In May 2011 the restrictions on virtualizing the UM role were lifted for Exchange 2010 SP1 and later. So you can indeed virtualize the UM role however there are a couple of things you should know. First of all you cannot install any other roles with the UM role if you want to have Microsoft support. The VM can only contain the UM role. It’s not that it won’t work with other roles installed; it simply isn’t under the support policy in place. In addition, the virtualized machine must have at least four CPU cores and at least 16 GB of RAM.

    Link: The Exchange Team announcement

    Tip 7: Recovering the UM role isn’t a nightmare, but make sure you have custom prompts backed up!

    The UM server is all about the service and the worker process. It’s not like the Mailbox server that has databases and serious data retained within. In fact, because UM dial plans, policies, attendants and such are all part of Active Directory you don’t have to stress too much if you lose your UM server. You can get a box back up and running with the setup /m:RecoverServer and you should be back in business. However, custom prompts and audio files, as well as grammar configuration files should be backed up to ensure a full restoration. Those elements are not saved in AD so you have to have them ready for a restore.

    Tip 8: Availability and load balancing of the UM role requires more than just UM planning.

    Like all other server roles, if you want to have the UM role more highly available and load balanced you will need to have more than one. You can add multiple servers to the same dial plan which allows you to round-robin the calls coming in from the IP Gateway, which provides load balancing. But remember the UM server is handling a service and worker process, which can be replaced by another UM server, but what you don’t want to forget is that there are many other elements needed to ensure high availability. The Mailbox server, the Hub Transport server, a domain controller, all of these can also be failing points for UM that you need to firm up and ensure are redundant. Your IP Gateway or IP-PBX can be another point of failure. So depending on how resilient you wish UM to be you need to be fully aware of the many elements that have to be considered.


    Tip 9: Know thy language packs. They aren’t all the same.

    Language packs provide the ability for the Exchange UM server to speak additional languages and recognize different languages, possibly even transcribing the voicemail left. When a language pack supports the full package of features it will include the following: pre-recorded prompts, grammar files, text-to-speech translation, automatic speech recognition and Voice Mail Preview. Unfortunately only a few language packs support all features. Some language packs have Voice Mail Preview while others do not. It’s important to know what you can offer persons without your company.

    Links: Client language support for UM

    Download language packs for Exchange 2010 SP2

    Tip 10: Know the value of multiple auto attendants.

    For some who set up Unified Messaging and get it up and running within their organization, they may stick with just the standard Auto Attendant. But there is so much you can do with those Auto Attendants. For example, you can set up the default attendant and have that as the voice-enabled attendant but set up a DTMF (dual tone multi-frequency) attendant which is for those persons who already know that they are going to have problems with the voice-enabled one. So persons can dial it directly or, should they call the voice-enabled one and have difficulty with being understood the DTMF attendant can be used. Another option with multiple attendants is with language packs so that you can have callers choose another language and have them switched over to an Auto Attendant for their language. So don’t just stop with one Auto Attendant if you can see the value of more within your organization.

    In conclusion, the value of the Unified Messaging role is based first on your understanding of the rich feature-set that it will bring your organization. These 10 tips only provide a shot-gun approach to different aspects of the design and deployment side to the UM role. Once you decide to go forward with Unified Messaging you will then need to learn more about the actual configuration involved. We’ll save that discussion for a future time.

    About the Author:

    J. Peter Bruzzese has an extensive record in consulting with companies like Goldman Sachs, Solomon Smith Barney, CommVault Systems, and Microsoft, to name a few. J. Peter is the co-founder of ClipTraining, provider of the ClipTraining LMS and ClipTraining Library, which is designed to assist users in learning more about Windows and Office. (

    MVP Mondays

    The MVP Monday Series is created by Melissa Travers. In this series we work to provide readers with a guest post from an MVP every Monday. Melissa is a Community Program Manager for Dynamics, Excel, Office 365, Platforms and SharePoint in the United States. She has been working with MVPs since her early days as Microsoft Exchange Support Engineer when MVPs would answer all the questions in the old newsgroups before she could get to them.

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    How long have you been an MVP?

    1 year

    How did you first start in community?

    Have been working on MS technologies for 12 years

    Which technical community or communities are you most active in (where can people find you)? Provide links if necessary

    Personal Blog:

    Twitter: @bsoulier

    What’s the best technical tip you have today for implementing a cloud deployment?

    Building an STS (Secure Token Service) in the cloud and using it with Access Control Service (article series, 2 out of 4 written already)

    When considering using the cloud, what do you tell people if they aren’t sure about moving to the cloud?

    Cloud is the next big thing for exposing and scaling services over to other companies and to the web; the move is now so don’t miss it.

    Do you have a blog/website link to Cloud related Tips or deployment stories you would like to share? contains all of my Azure related posts

    Speaking from your experience, what words of advice do you have for new MVPs?

    MVP is all about loving technology and sharing this enthusiasm, do go ahead and share!

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    Two new books on Microsoft’s enterprise search solution, FAST, have hit the stands with MVPs as authors.

    Dutch SharePoint MVP Gustavo Velez brought us Lightning FAST Enterprise Searches in SharePoint 2010, which offers a 360-degree view of FAST and insight into how to design, install, configure and customize a FAST search implementation. Because search is intimately related to human linguistics and how people organize information, Gustavo pays special attention to how the internal algorithms can be interpreted from an information technology perspective, not from a purely technical point of view. Gustavo also writes for many of the leading technical magazines in English, Dutch and Spanish.

    SharePoint MVP Mikael Svenson from Norway co-authored Working with Microsoft FAST Search Server 2010 for SharePoint, which demonstrates how to deliver advanced intranet search capabilities and build custom, search-driven applications. Grounded in real-world examples, this book is designed to help SharePoint architects or developers configure and program the FAST search server for different search scenarios.

    Congratulations to both authors!

    clip_image001 clip_image002

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    1. System Center 2012: Tighter integration between private cloud components

    By System Center Cloud and Datacenter Management  MVP John Joyner | @john_joyner

    The article covers how to setup the integration between the components and how to manually implement PRO Tips for host groups.


    2. Groups and Categories in MS Project Server 2010–Part 1

    By Microsoft Project MVP Nenad Trajkovski | @ntrajkovski

    Nenad showcases groups and categories within Microsoft Project Server 2010, in the first of a multi-part series.


    3. Shim and InstanceBehavior fallthrough to isolate part of the SUT

    By Visual Studio ALM MVP Gian Maria Ricci | @alkampfer

    Gian delves deeper into the new Shim library in Visual Studio 2011.


    4. Using and abusing dynamic parameters

    By Powershell MVP Bartosz Bielawski | @bielawb

    Bartosz shares a “creative” way of abusing dynamic parameters in PowerShell.


    5. Managing Configuration Manager 2012 Security Scopes with PowerShell

    By System Center Configuration Manager MVP Kaido Järvemets | @kaidja

    Kaido shows us how to manage ConfigMgr 2012 Security Scopes with PowerShell.

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    Editor's Note: The following MVP Monday post is by Excel MVP Zack Barresse


    Embedding Excel Services on your Website


    Have you ever read a Microsoft Excel help topic and wished you could work with its examples right there in that topic?  Have you mulled over pictures or descriptions of solutions, but had a hard time understanding them or implementing them?  Did you know if you have a Windows Live ID that you also get a free version of Microsoft Excel you can use in a web browser, as well as one for Word, PowerPoint and OneNote?  Most people do not.  If you've been using Hotmail for a while now, you may have heard about Office Live Workspaces or SkyDrive (Live Workspaces was basically absorbed into SkyDrive).  With SkyDrive, everyone has a 7GB online “cloud” storage limit for free.  In addition to the free storage space, you have access to these online versions of Office programs, with which you can not only read these files but edit and even create them.   In this article I'm going to focus on the Excel Web App, and its Share feature.

    What is the point of sharing your Excel file(s) from SkyDrive?  Well, you can "embed" a file from your SkyDrive folder on a web page and even make it interactive for a user.  That's right; people will be able to work with your data online, meaning they can sort, filter, and even change the data on the web page. But rest assured that your data on SkyDrive can't be changed by anyone.  How can this be helpful  you might ask?  It's simple; for showing examples, creating live reports or sharing information.  For example, you want to show a loan calculator and what the payments would be, allowing your users to enter their own loan amount and terms.  To do this on a website, you'd probably have to use JavaScript.  Now you can do it with Excel!  Want to see what a loan payment would be with a lower interest rate, or a larger down payment?  No problem; let your users test out Excel's worksheet functions (like PMT, RATE, or PV) with your data as the variables, and they will see instant results!

    In this article I will take you through how to embed your own Excel worksheet on a web page and how to make it interactive.  Before we get started, you need to know that the default script generated for you by Excel Web App is in HTML format, specifically an “iframe” control.  There's also a JavaScript version that gives you even more flexibility. Your site would need to allow this type of scripting in order to be viewed properly.  If you're unsure, contact your host administrator or technical support.

    Believe it or not this has been out for a few years now.  I wrote an article on this a couple of years ago but it got lost amongst the many junk, err, files I have.  So I decided to start with a clean slate and just write a new one.   In fact, this was written in the Word Web App!

    Create an Excel file in SkyDrive


    When you're at your Windows Live Home screen ( you will see a link to SkyDrive at the top, as shown circled in red in this picture:


    You can click on it or hover your mouse for more options.  While hovering your mouse over it you'll see you have the ability to navigate to different folders, as well as create new files, as seen in the picture below.  For the purposes of this article we're going to click on the New Excel workbook link.


    Once you click on New (filetype) you will be prompted for a file name.  Enter whatever you like.   For the sample file I named it, ExcelServices TEST.  All files are created as the XLSX file type.


    Once you get the name entered you should now be in familiar territory - Excel!  It looks very similar to the actual full application.  You can now start creating your workbook.  For the file I am using  a simple loan payment.  The file looks like the following:



    As you can see, it is Excel.  You can enter formulas as you normally would, and you have several formatting options.

    Any Benefits?


    Microsoft has worked very hard to continue the same user experience for their users on the web.  There are some benefits and drawbacks to this method.


    • ·         Always available (with internet connection)
    • ·         Work is always saved
    • ·         Work is always in the same place
    • ·         Internet site is run on securely (https)
    • ·         No need for you to install additional software on your computer
    • ·         No need to install updates, patches or service packs
    • ·         Open straight into Excel if you want more functionality
    • ·         All updates are applied by Microsoft
    • ·         Because there's no need for large software releases, updates are immediately applied (at least monthly)
    • ·         Collaboration made easy
    • ·         Embed to website


    • ·         Internet connection needed
    • ·         Somewhat scaled back functionality
    • ·         No VBA (Visual Basic for Applications, i.e. macros)
    • ·         No shapes
    • ·         No data validation

    Some common functionality you currently have (and more planned to be added):

    • ·         Worksheet functions
    • ·         Worksheet formatting
    • ·         Charts
    • ·         Tables
    • ·         Inserting/Deleting
    • ·         Hyperlinks


    You can use these features if they're already in your source workbook on SkyDrive:


    • ·         Sorting
    • ·         Filtering
    • ·         Sparklines
    • ·         Slicers

    So while there is a lot you can do in the embedded worksheet, there are some things you can't do as well.  Luckily, the majority of things done in Excel are available on the web.  This is perfect for the high school or college student - those on a budget and might not be able to afford to purchase a full Office suite or application.  Save your money, no need for Google docs, no need for OpenOffice - you have Office for free!

    Look And Feel


    The Excel web version makes use of the ribbon just as with the full version, so it should look familiar.  Note that Excel Web App looks very much like Office 2010 style.  You will notice a few things right from the start.  The file name you entered will show prominently at the top of your browser/file.    You will also notice a Share menu button at the right end of the Home tab.



    I'll get to that in a minute.   First let me explain how I set up my data, a very quick example on how to calculate a payment amount based on some variables.

    For this example I'm going to use the PMT() function.  It's syntax is as follows:

    =PMT( rate, nper, pv, [fv], [type] )                         

    Calculates the payment for a loan based on constant payments and a constant interest rate

    Rate:  Required. The interest rate for the loan.

    Nper:  Required. The total number of payments for the loan.

    Pv:  Required. The present value, or the total amount that a series of future payments is worth now; also known as the principal.

    Fv:  Optional. The future value, or a cash balance you want to attain after the last payment is made.  If fv is omitted, it is assumed to be 0 (zero), that is, the future value of a  loan is 0.

    Type:  Optional. The number 0 (zero) or 1 and indicates when payments are due.

    As a quick note on this function, if you are going to be looking at monthly payments, which we are in this example, you'll need to use months as the nper as well as divide the rate by 12.  This is how I have my sample file:

    A1 houses interest rate of 5%

    A2 houses number of years (life of loan), in this case 10

    A3 houses number of months (calculated), in this case a formula of =A2*12

    A4 houses total amount loaned, in this case $25000

    A5 houses the PMT() function

    Some quick notes about this information:  A1 must be formatted as a percentage.  We are going to look at monthly payments, so instead of multiplying the years in the function itself, I put this in another cell.  We will still need to divide the rate by 12, but I left it as a separate cell so it could be changed in our live preview.

    The function looks as follows (in A5):


    You'll notice the minus sign right before the A4 reference.  This is because as a payment it is considered a debit, thus a negative number.  For viewing purposes I want to show it as a positive number, so I reverse the sign on it.  If viewing in a ledger you will most likely see it as a negative value.

    In my sample file I have highlighted the cells by color according to calculated cells versus input cells.  The blue cells are input cells, whereas the green cells are calculated cells.

    Embed To Website or Blog


    Now with all this in mind, I want to publish this to my website, embed it on a page, then let the users change the values to see what the formula does, and I want it all to do so live and with interactivity.   For you to embed this it will need to be in a publicly shared folder.  By default it will only give you rights, so you need to change it to public, which you can do when viewing the folder/location of your Excel file.

    Let's jump right into it.  If you click this Share button, you will see a menu with two options: Embed or Share.


    For the purposes of this article we are going to click Embed.  This will bring up a dialog box where you can set your options.   This is what you will see immediately:


    If you click Cancel then the dialog box will go away and nothing will happen (Duh.)  Click Generate to bring up the dialog box to set your embedding options.


    As you can see there are six major areas to look at (large green text).

    What to show:  By default it will be the Entire Workbook, meaning if you have data on multiple sheets, the users will be able to navigate to them.   You can link formulas across worksheets as well.

    Appearance:  General viewing options, check and uncheck to show/hide what parts of the worksheet you want to show/hide.

    Interaction:   This is where it starts to get interesting!  Want users to sort or filter your data?  Want people to change cell values and formulas?  Set it here!  You can also change the starting cell.

    Dimensions:   I generally don't change this, but if you have a larger spreadsheet you want to show, instead of making the users click and drag the scroll bar, set it here.  Changes can be seen in real-time.  The largest you can go is 700x900.

    Embed code:   This is where you get the code.  It’s in HTML by default, but you can get the javascript version if you'd like.   Copy the code in the textbox.  This is what you'll paste on your website or blog, and that's how easy it is!

    Preview:   See what it looks like.  If you change the dimensions you can click the View actual size link.

    As Simple As Copy & Paste


    It literally is that simple.  Copy the embed code, paste on your website.  Voila.  Excel file embedded on your website.  Simple!!

    For my example file I went with only showing range A1:B5, to let users be interactive with it, kept it default size, and start with A5 selected.  This is the iframe embed code:

    <iframe width="402" height="346" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" src="!416&ak=t%3d0%26s%3d0%26v%3d!AAevM213int_PBI&kip=1&wdAllowInteractivity=False&AllowTyping=True&ActiveCell='Sheet1'!A5&wdHideGridlines=True&wdHideHeaders=True&wdDownloadButton=True"></iframe>

    Feel free to use this code and then try out your own.

    Other Resources


    Here are some great examples of what it can look like on your website:

    'Five Very Useful Functions For Working With Text' by Ken Puls:

    More blog posts by Ken Puls regarding Excel Services:

    'Excel On The Web - Another Spreadsheet in the Cloud' by Gregory Ropp:

    'Introduction to Excel Web Apps' by Microsoft:

    'Getting started with Office Web Apps' by Microsoft:

    'Introduction to Excel Services and Excel Web Access' by Microsoft:

    'Share your spreadsheets on the Web ' by John Walkenbach:  (NOT Excel Services, but another option, mostly for older versions of Excel - 2000 and later)

    Office Web Apps Blog by Microsoft:

    'Differences between using a workbook in the browser and in Excel' by Microsoft:

    Author's Bio


    About MVP Mondays

    Zack Barresse is a firefighter and paramedic in Oregon.  Currently he holds the rank of Captain and serves as the Training Officer of his department.  He taught himself Excel after seeking help in the online help forums and started offering help himself.  He can be found hanging around websites such as,,,,,, among others.  Zack was awarded the prestigious Microsoft MVP award for Excel in October of 2005 and has received it each subsequent year.  He is married to his high school sweetheart and has 5 children.  In his spare time Zack likes hunting, fishing, camping, playing Xbox and swimming. 

    The MVP Monday Series is created by Melissa Travers. In this series we work to provide readers with a guest post from an MVP every Monday. Melissa is a Community Program Manager for Dynamics, Excel, Office 365, Platforms and SharePoint in the United States. She has been working with MVPs since her early days as Microsoft Exchange Support Engineer when MVPs would answer all the questions in the old newsgroups before she could get to them.


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    How long have you been an MVP?

    I was in the first group of Hungarian MVPs in 2004.

    How did you first start in community?

    At the dawn of .NET in 2001, Microsoft Hungary organized several developer events, and they asked our team at the Technical University of Budapest to provide experts for technical sessions.

    Which technical community or communities are you most active in (where can people find you)? Provide links if necessary

    People can find me in the Hungarian devPortal forums (, on my blog (, and in several Facebook groups.

    What’s the best technical tip you have today for implementing a cloud deployment?

    Prepare for scalability. Even if you create a small website, you should prepare your architecture to be quickly deployable and stateless. You can never know when your application instances will be restarted or moved to another server in the cloud. If you plan for multiple instances from the ground-up, you will survive these situations, otherwise you will probably have to heavily refactor your code when you are faced with these challenges.

    When considering using the Cloud, what do you tell people if they aren’t sure about moving to the Cloud?

    Your application is important for your business, and that’s why you do it after all. Can you provide the technical and staffing conditions for operating such an important application on the expected professional level? Do you have a sysadmin with all the tools and skills who can operate your app with nearly zero downtime? Or do you know at least how to get and qualify one? If the answer is no, then you’d better go to the cloud. You will sleep better.

    Do you have a blog/website link to Cloud related Tips or deployment stories you would like to share?

    I primarily blogging about ASP.NET, and I also touch Azure and other cloud related issues on

    Speaking from your experience, what words of advice do you have for new MVPs?

    Congratulations for being an MVP and welcome to the group! After learning the secret handshake please keep on sharing your real world experiences and help others.

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    Editor's Note:  The following post is by Community Program Manager, Simran Chaudhry

    May 4th 2012 marked the 7th Canadian MVP Open Day, held at the Canadian Microsoft Headquarters in Mississauga, Ontario. The event boasted the largest attendance of any Open Day event in Canada with 100 MVPs participating. Attendees were treated to a variety of Microsoft sessions including: Windows 8 Futures, DPE State of the Nation, Technical Breakouts, Xbox Futures and Social Media: Building Your Brand Online.


    Throughout the day-long event, MVPs battled to write the most creative tweet in hopes of winning a Samsung Focus Windows Phone AND a Kinect Device. ASP.NET/IIS MVP, Joel Hebert, took the prize with the following tweet:


    It wasn’t all hard work and tech talk though. MVPs and Microsoft teams were treated to a night of bowling and beverages.

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    Editor's Note: Due to the Memorial Day holiday in the US we'd like to pause and celebrate one of our most popular guest posts from the past quarter. The following is a re-post of guest post PowerPoint MVPs Luc Sanders and Glenna Shaw on Jan. 23, 2012.

    When PowerPoint was first released in 1990, the educational community immediately realized the benefits of using it as a learning tool. And more than 20 years later it’s still going strong as the medium of choice for educators worldwide. This is in large part because, as the world of education delivery has changed from the classroom to virtual, PowerPoint has continued to keep pace with changes in technology and the area of interactive online tutorials is no exception. While there are a plethora of third party offerings to put your presentations on the web, for those who like their options integrated with PowerPoint, it’s hard to beat using SkyDrive.

    The first thing you’ll want to do is make sure you have a SkyDrive account. It’s easy and free and explained here. With your SkyDrive account you get a whopping 25 GB of free cloud space and the ability to post and share files with whomever, whenever you want. Use the Explore Windows Live Center to learn all about the features.

    Once you have your SkyDrive account, it’s time to create your tutorial. You have two options, use the PowerPoint Web App directly on your SkyDrive or use your desktop version of PowerPoint and upload the presentation to SkyDrive later. Each method has its advantages and disadvantages. If you use the Web App, you’re insured the presentation will run exactly as you’ve designed it but you won’t be able to add animations and other features that run in SkyDrive but aren’t available for editing in the browser. If you use the desktop version of PowerPoint some features won’t run in SkyDrive so you’ll want to make sure you don’t use them when designing your presentation. Specifically, transitions are all changed to a fade transition, animations are “smoothed out” in the SkyDrive viewer so they may appear a little different, Audio/Video/VB is not supported and Loop until ESC doesn’t work. On the plus side, Hyperlinks, most Action Settings and Animation Triggers do work so you can still incorporate a lot of interactivity in your presentation. Decide how you want to handle navigation before you create your tutorial before you start because it will make a difference to how you chose to share your presentation later. Your options are to add your own navigation within the presentation or use the navigation that’s automatically included with the SkyDrive reader.

    Setting Permissions on SkyDrive

    Before you start creating your tutorial you need to decide who is your audience and know how to set the permissions on SkyDrive. The new enhancements to SkyDrive allow you to set the permissions directly on a file, but if you plan to post several tutorials for the same audience you may want to create a folder and set the permissions there. All files you save to your folder will then inherit the permissions of the folder and you won’t need to set them separately. See the Explore Windows Live Center for instructions on how to create a folder and set or change permissions for a file or folder.

    Using the PowerPoint Web App

    The images below show how to create and edit a presentation using the PowerPoint Web App on the Flemish version of SkyDrive. Even if you don’t speak Flemish, the images are easy to follow and serve to demonstrate the worldwide availability of SkyDrive.

    Upload from PowerPoint 2010

    You’ve created your presentation in PowerPoint and now you want to upload it to your SkyDrive. The image below shows how to save your presentation to a public folder on SkyDrive directly from PowerPoint 2010. If you’re using PowerPoint 2003/2007 you’ll need to upload the file separately into SkyDrive.

    You can learn more about saving files to SkyDrive and editing in the PowerPoint Web App at Introduction to the PowerPoint Web App.

    Once you’ve saved your presentation, make sure the permissions are set correctly for your intended audience.

    Sharing Your Tutorials

    You’ve created and saved your tutorial, set the correct permissions for your intended audience and now you’re ready to get the word out. SkyDrive gives you a number of options for sharing your presentation and directions for each are provided on the Explore Windows Live Center. However, each of these options will automatically link to the Reader view of your presentation. This is fine if it’s your preferred method of display, but if you’ve built in your own navigation for your tutorial you’ll probably prefer the full screen view. To get the link to the full screen view, simply click the menu item to Start Slide Show and copy the link from there. You’d then share this link with your audience. In the example shown below the navigation was created with the ActivePrez add-in from GMark making it a better candidate for the full screen view since all navigation is included in the presentation itself.

    One of the coolest new features for presentations is the ability to embed them in a web page. Directions for embedding presentations are provided here. The image below shows the Gestalt of Slides tutorial embedded on the Visualology.Net blog.


    PowerPoint is a stellar tool for creating interactive tutorials and, although there are many options available, SkyDrive provides a new perfect vehicle for publishing and sharing your tutorials online.

    Author Bios

    Luc Sanders has been a teacher/instructor for over 25 years in the Flemish Public Employment Service (VDAB). His ultimate goal is to provide the best possible assistance to every jobseeker in their search for an appropriate job. He teaches word processing and presentation software to jobseekers and corporate users.

    Glenna Shaw is a Most Valued Professional (MVP) for PowerPoint and the owner of the PPT Magic Web site and the Visualology blog. She is a Project Management Professional (PMP) and holds certificates in Accessible Information Technology, Graphic Design, Cloud Computing and Professional Technical Writing.

    MVP Mondays

    The MVP Monday Series is created by Melissa Travers. In this series we work to provide readers with a guest post from an MVP every Monday. Melissa is a Community Program Manager for Dynamics, Excel, Office 365, Platforms and SharePoint in the United States. She has been working with MVPs since her early days as Microsoft Exchange Support Engineer when MVPs would answer all the questions in the old newsgroups before she could get to them

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    1. How long have you been an MVP?

    Since October 2011

    2. How did you first start in community?

    I started by sharing my thoughts, projects and knowledge on my personal tech blog.

    3. Which technical community or communities are you most active in? 

    Personal tech blogs (,, Microsoft Windows Embedded Forums, TTG (Torino Technologies Group) local Italian community (; AVNET Embedded Italian support

    4. What’s the best technical tip you have today for implementing a cloud deployment?

    To host a website/CMS, use Windows Azure Accelerator for Umbraco + Umbraco Accelerator Lite to deploy Umbraco CMS installations on      Windows Azure

    5. When considering using the cloud, what do you tell people if they aren’t sure about moving to the cloud?

    I tell them that when moving to the cloud, they can focus on growing their business, leaving scalability, performance, downtime issues, storage limits, security management to the cloud platform.

    6. Do you have a blog/website link to cloud related Tips or deployment stories you would like to share?

    7. Speaking from your experience, what words of advice do you have for new MVPs?

    I would tell them to continue to do what they already do with greater passion, sharing their experiences and knowledge and catch all the great opportunities being an MVP brings to them.

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