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    Editor’s note: The following post was written by ASP.NET MVP Lohith Nagaraj

     

    Detecting Network Connection in Windows Store Apps

     

    Overview:

     

    If you developing a Windows Store Apps, it’s a possible likelihood that you rely on some sort of service to either get data or store data. This means that you will probably at the mercy of the Internet connectivity on the device. As a best practice you are supposed to make sure the device is connected to Internet and if not gracefully handle the situation. In this blog post we will take a look at how to achieve this

    Accessing Network Information:

    Windows API for Windows Store Apps provide NetworkInformation class under Windows.Networking.Connectivitynamespace.  NetworkInformationclass, is a sealed class and provides access to network connection information on the local machine. As any other class, this provides the following methods for use:

    ·         GetConnectionProfiles– List of profiles for connections (active or otherwise) on the local machine

    ·         GetHostNames– List of host names associated with local machine

    ·         GetInternetConnectionProfile– Connection profile associated with the internet connection currently used on machine

    ·         GetLanIndentifiers– Array of LAN identifiers

    ·         GetProxyConfigurationAsync– Proxy configuration for connection

    ·         GetSortedEndPointPairs– Sorted list of EndpointPair objects

    So detecting whether we have Internet connection or not is a 2 step process. They are:

    1.      Use NetworkInformation.GetInternetConnectionProfile to retrieve the connection profile

    2.      Use the ConnectionProfile to retrieve the network connectivity level i.e. Internet Access or Local Access or Constrained Internet Access

    We will go through above steps one by one

    1.      Getting Internet Connection Profile:

    First step in detecting internet connectivity is to get the connection profile. We will use the   NetworkInformationclass, GetInternetConnectionProfile method to get the profile. The signature of the method is shown below:

     


    public static ConnectionProfile GetInternetConnectionProfile()

     

    This method will get the connection profile associated with the Internet connection currently used by the local machine. When invoked, this method will return an instance of ConnectionProfile. It doesn’t take any parameter. Here is the code to use this method:


    ConnectionProfile InternetConnectionProfile =

                        NetworkInformation.GetInternetConnectionProfile(); 

    2.     Network Connectivity Level from Connection Profile

    In this step we look at what is ConnectionProfile and how does it provide network connectivity level. ConnectionProfile class represents a single network connection established on a device. This class will help us to determine the current connectivity level, track data usage or identify network adapter used to maintain connection. This is also a sealed class and contains many methods to help us with the current connection. We are interested in a particular method named GetNetworkConnectivityLevel. It does not take any input and returns a enum of type NetworkConnectivityLevel. Here is the method signature of GetNetworkConnectivityLevel:



    public NetworkConnectivityLevel GetNetworkConnectivityLevel()

     

    NetworkConnectivityLevel is a enum which provides information on the level of connectivity we have i.e. No connection, local access, internet access or constrained internet access. Here is the code snippet of this enum decompiled from the metadata:

     

     


    public enum NetworkConnectivityLevel

        {

            // Summary:

            //     No connectivity.

            None = 0,

           //

            // Summary:

            //     Local network access only.

            LocalAccess = 1,

           //

            // Summary:

            //     Limited internet access. This value indicates captive portal

    connectivity,

            //     where local access to a web portal is provided, but access to

    the Internet

            //     requires that specific credentials are provided via the portal.

    This level

            //     of connectivity is generally encountered when using connections

    hosted in

            //     public locations (e.g. coffee shops and book stores).

            ConstrainedInternetAccess = 2,

           //

            // Summary:

            //     Local and Internet access.

            InternetAccess = 3,

      }

     

     As you can see, this enum will let us know if we have internet connection or not.

     

    As a practice, I have created a small Boolean function and named it as “ConnectedToInternet” – this will return a Boolean i.e. true if connected to internet else false. And then I call it every time I need to make an outbound call. Here is the code snippet for this scenario:

     

     

    private bool ConnectedToInternet()

    {

               ConnectionProfile InternetConnectionProfile =

                        NetworkInformation.GetInternetConnectionProfile();

     

                if (InternetConnectionProfile == null)

                {

                    return false;

                }

     

               var level =

    InternetConnectionProfile.GetNetworkConnectivityLevel();

     

                return level == NetworkConnectivityLevel.InternetAccess;

    }



    private async void GetData(object sender, RoutedEventArgs e)

    {

                if (!ConnectedToInternet())

                {

                    await new MessageDialog("Not connected to Internet, check your   

    connection",

                        "Currency Converter").ShowAsync();

                    return;

                }

               //Your logic goes here

    }

          Summary:

    Through this post, I just wanted to touch upon the fact that network detection is a best practice and improves the user experience in your app. In order to detect if the internet connectivity is available or not we saw how we can make use of the windows networking connectivity namespace and with just 2 steps perform the necessary check. Hope this post was useful and will help you out in your endeavors with store apps. Till next time, happy coding.

     

    About the author

    me_new

    Lohith has a decade of industry experience primarily in service based companies. He is well versed with Windows and Web based application development using .NET platform. Currently Lohith works in the capacity of Developer Evangelist for Telerik and takes care of evangelism in South India. He is also an active member and one of the leads for Bangalore DotNet User Group. He is an active speaker in local communities. He enjoys listening to Bryan Adams and watching Friends any time. Follow him on Twitter

    About 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, formerly known as MVP Lead, for Messaging and Collaboration (Exchange, Lync, Office 365 and SharePoint) and Microsoft Dynamics in the US. She began her career at Microsoft as an Exchange Support Engineer and has been working with the technical community in some capacity for almost a decade. In her spare time she enjoys going to the gym, shopping for handbags, watching period and fantasy dramas, and spending time with her children and miniature Dachshund. Melissa lives in North Carolina and works out of the Microsoft Charlotte office.


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    How do you find the next generation of passionate, community oriented, technology leaders? The Microsoft Community Rising Star began its search among 10 universities in Taiwan where over 800 students were interviewed to qualify for 10 teams to compete for the title.

    clip_image001MVPs Demo Fan, How Lin, Aska Su, Terry Chuang, Ouch Liu, Sky Chang, Topcat Yen, Kuo-Wei Lin, Bill Chung, Andy Chen and Lingo Chiang volunteered to share their knowledge of Microsoft technologies as well as their passion for community by mentoring each of the teams.

    Student teams were required to effectively demonstrate different aspects of  Windows 8 apps as well as Windows Azure and Internet Explorer 10.

    Knowledge and demonstration of their assigned Windows 8 apps was not the only factor in determining the winning team. As part of the competition, students hosted a Windows 8 Facebook page, wrote blog posts, created video tips and engaged with technical communities. In just three weeks, the teams received nearly 4,000 Facebook likes and wrote 50 technology blog posts.

    You can follow each of the teams’ efforts on their Facebook Fan pages

    Team name

    Facebook fan URL

    Follow IT

    https://www.facebook.com/followit888

    Win8app guide

    https://www.facebook.com/win8guide

    I'm Coding

    https://www.facebook.com/WiinNews

    W8

    https://www.facebook.com/Windows8Wolf8

    J.A.W

    https://www.facebook.com/touchwin8

    Look at Me

    https://www.facebook.com/LookatMe530

    M.F.S

    https://www.facebook.com/MFStarWorld

    WAD

    http://facebook.com/WAdsQA

    T.G.G

    http://www.facebook.com/Win8ar

    T.G.T

    https://www.facebook.com/Win8App


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  • 04/05/13--14:21: Friday Five - April 5, 2013
  • 1. Code Snippets

    By Visual C# MVP Bonnie DeWitt

    2. Using MSFT Uncertified Play To DLNA Devices with W8 Modern UI Apps

    By Windows Entertainment and Connected Home MVP Barb Bowman -

    3. SkyDrive Security

    By Consumer Security MVP Corrine Chorney

    4. Using jQuery to POST [FromBody] parameters to Web API

    By ASP.NET/IIS MVP David Ward

    5. FORTRAN-Compatible Dynamic Objects in C#

    By Client App Dev MVP Ian Griffiths


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    Editor’s note: The following post was written by Exchange Server MVP Glen Scales

     5 new lesser known operations in Exchange Web Services on Exchange 2013 and how to use them

     

    In this blog post I’m going to look at 5 of the lesser known new Exchange Web Services Operations in Exchange 2013. As with most of the new features in 2013 these new operations build on top of the EWS foundation from 2007 and 2010 and allows the easier programmatic manipulation of the Mailbox data.

    1.     Getting the User Photo from Exchange via EWS

    EWS in 2013 now has two methods you can use to Get User photos, there is a normal SOAP based EWS operation called GetUserPhoto and there is also a REST-based end point. The REST based operation can be useful for non EWS applications where you just want to make use of the user Photo. To use this REST-based end point to access the photo you just need the SMTP Address of the user and the size of the user photo you want. The sizes that can requested are

    Size Code

    Notes

    HR48x48

    If you request HR48x48 then the Active Directory thumbnail is returned

    HR64x64

     

    HR96x96

     

    HR120x120

     

    HR240x240

     

    HR360x360

     

    HR432x432

     

    HR504x504

     

    HR648x648

     


    If you request a size that is not available the largest available size will be returned if no picture is available the active directory thumbnail gets returned.

    Managed API Sample – While there are no methods in the EWS Managed API to access the GetUserPhoto operation you can still use the Autodiscover Class to find the ExternalPhotoURL and then use any of the regualr.NET Web Request classes such as the WebClient Class to access the REST endpoint. The following is a PowerShell sample that shows how to do this

     

     

    $MailboxName="fsmith@domain.onmicrosoft.com"

    $PhotoSize="HR64x64"

     

    Add-Type-Path"C:\Program Files\Microsoft\Exchange\Web Services\2.0\Microsoft.Exchange.WebServices.dll"

     

    functionAutoDiscoverPhotoURL{

           param (

                  $EmailAddress="$( throw 'Email is a mandatory Parameter' )",

                         $Credentials="$( throw 'Credentials is a mandatory Parameter' )"

                   )

           process{

                  $version= [Microsoft.Exchange.WebServices.Data.ExchangeVersion]::Exchange2013

                  $adService=New-Object

    Microsoft.Exchange.WebServices.Autodiscover.AutodiscoverService($version);

                  #This Example does an Autodiscover against Exchange Online

                 $uri=[system.URI] ("https://autodiscover-

    s.outlook.com/autodiscover/autodiscover.svc")

                  $adService.Url =$uri 

                  $creds=New-Object

    System.Net.NetworkCredential($Credentials.UserName.ToString(),$Credentials.GetNetworkCredentia

    l().password.ToString()) 

                 $adService.Credentials=$creds

                 $adService.EnableScpLookup=$false;

                  $adService.RedirectionUrlValidationCallback= {$true}

                  $adService.PreAuthenticate=$true;

                 $UserSettings=new-object

    Microsoft.Exchange.WebServices.Autodiscover.UserSettingName[] 1

                  $UserSettings[0] =

    [Microsoft.Exchange.WebServices.Autodiscover.UserSettingName]::ExternalPhotosUrl

                  $adResponse=$adService.GetUserSettings($MailboxName, $UserSettings)

                  $PhotoURI=

    $adResponse.Settings[[Microsoft.Exchange.WebServices.Autodiscover.UserSettingName]::ExternalPh

    otosUrl]

                  return$PhotoURI.ToString()

           }

    }

    #Example Use

    $pscreds= (Get-Credential)

    $PhotoURL=AutoDiscoverPhotoURL-EmailAddress$MailboxName -Credentials $pscreds

    $PhotoURL=$PhotoURL+"/GetUserPhoto?email="+$MailboxName+"&size="+$PhotoSize;

    $wbClient=new-objectSystem.Net.WebClient

    $wbClient.Credentials=New-ObjectSystem.Net.NetworkCredential($pscreds.UserName.ToString(),$pscreds.GetNetworkCredential().password.ToString())

    #Download photo to a file

    $wbClient.DownloadFile($PhotoURL,"c:\Temp\UsrPhoto.jpg");

    #Get photo as a ByteArray

    $photoBytes=$wbClient.DownloadData($PhotoURL);

     

    2.     – How to Archive an Item using the ArchiveItem  Operation in EWS

    Personal Archives is a feature that was introduced in Exchange 2010 and again improved on in Exchange 2013. The ArchiveItem Operation is aimed at giving you the ability to move items from your Primary Mailbox to your Personal Archive. For example this operation can be used to selectively Archive Messages from the Inbox folder based on a particular Search criteria. The following sample will Archive messages that are older than 1 year to the Archive Store while maintaining the folder hierarchy.

     

    $queryTime= (Get-Date).AddYears(-1)

    $AQSString= "System.Message.DateReceived:<"+$queryTime.ToString("MM/dd/yyyy")  

    # Bind to the Inbox Folder

    $folderid=new-objectMicrosoft.Exchange.WebServices.Data.FolderId([Microsoft.Exchange.WebServices.Data.WellKnownFolderName]::Inbox,$MailboxName)  

    $Inbox=[Microsoft.Exchange.WebServices.Data.Folder]::Bind($service,$folderid)

    $ivItemView=  New-ObjectMicrosoft.Exchange.WebServices.Data.ItemView(1000)   

    $fiItems=$null

    $type=("System.Collections.Generic.List"+'`'+"1")-as"Type"

    $type=$type.MakeGenericType("Microsoft.Exchange.WebServices.Data.ItemId"-as"Type")

    $archiveItems= [Activator]::CreateInstance($type) 

    do{   

        $fiItems=$service.FindItems($Inbox.Id,$AQSString,$ivItemView)   

        #[Void]$service.LoadPropertiesForItems($fiItems,$psPropset) 

        foreach($Itemin$fiItems.Items){

                  $archiveItems.Add($Item.Id)      

           }

       

        $ivItemView.Offset+=$fiItems.Items.Count   

    }while($fiItems.MoreAvailable-eq$true)

    $type= ("System.Collections.Generic.List"+'`'+"1") -as"Type"

    $type=$type.MakeGenericType("Microsoft.Exchange.WebServices.Data.ItemId"-as"Type")

    $batchArchive= [Activator]::CreateInstance($type)

    foreach($itItemIDin$archiveItems){

           $batchArchive.add($itItemID)

          if($batchArchive.Count-eq 100){

                  $service.ArchiveItems($batchArchive,[Microsoft.Exchange.WebServices.Data.WellKnownFold

    erName]::Inbox)

                  $batchArchive.clear()

           }

    }

    if($batchArchive.Count-gt 0){

           $service.ArchiveItems($batchArchive,[Microsoft.Exchange.WebServices.Data.WellKnownFold

    erName]::Inbox)

          $batchArchive.clear()

    }

     

    3.     Mark all the messages in a folder Read using the MarkAllAsRead Operation in EWS

      Everybody knows the pain of having to mark a lot of messages read after coming back from a holiday. This new operation in EWS makes it easy to do this for all messages within a particular folder (In previous versions you would have had to find the messages that where unread and then modify each message individually). In the EWS Managed API to use this operation you can take advantage of two new methods that have been added to the folder class MarkAllItemsAsRead and MarkAllItemsAsUnread. For example here is how you can mark all the Unread Messages in the Inbox folder as Read (the Boolean parameter in the method tells Exchange whether to suppress Read Recipients or not).

     

     

      # Bind to the Inbox Folder

    $folderid=new-objectMicrosoft.Exchange.WebServices.Data.FolderId([Microsoft.Exchange.WebServices.Data.WellKnownFolderName]::Inbox,$MailboxName)  

    $Inbox=[Microsoft.Exchange.WebServices.Data.Folder]::Bind($service,$folderid)

    "Number of Messages Unread : "+$Inbox.UnreadCount

    $Inbox.MarkAllItemsAsRead($false)

     

    4.     Marking messages as Junk Email

    Another new Operation that has been added to EWS is the ability to Mark and UnMark messages as JunkEmail and move these messages to and from the Junk Email folder. This Operation does two separate things when you use it

    ·         Moves a messages To or From the Junk Email Folder

    ·         Add or Removes the sender of the Messages you’re marking or unmarking as Junk Email to the blocked sender list of that Mailbox.

    To use this operation you first need to get the ItemIds of the Items you want to Mark or UnMark as Junk Email. This is typically done in EWS using the FindItem Operation and then filtering on a particular Item property. To control what the MarkAsJunk operation does in the EWS Managed API the MarkAsJunk method has two parameters IsJunk and MoveItem. The following table lists the combinations and actions for these parameters

    Folder

    IsJunk

    MoveItem

    Action

    Inbox/Any

    True

    True

    Item will be moved to the Junk email folder and email sender added to Blocked Senders List of the Mailbox

    Inbox /Any

    True

    False

    The Sender of the Email is added to the Blocked Senders List

    JunkEmail

    False

    True

    Item will be moved to the Inbox folder and email Sender will be removed from the Blocked Senders List of the Mailbox

    JunkEmail/Any

    False

    False

    The Sender of the Email will be removed from the Blocked Senders list of the Mailbox

     

    In this example Messages that have NewLetter in the Subject are marked as JunkEmail and moved to the JunkEmail Folder using the MarkAsJunk operation.

     

    # Bind to the Inbox Folder

    $folderid=new-objectMicrosoft.Exchange.WebServices.Data.FolderId([Microsoft.Exchange.WebServices.Data.WellKnownFolderName]::Inbox,$MailboxName)  

    $Inbox=[Microsoft.Exchange.WebServices.Data.Folder]::Bind($service,$folderid)

    #Define ItemView to retrive just 1000 Items   

    $ivItemView=  New-ObjectMicrosoft.Exchange.WebServices.Data.ItemView(1000)   

    $fiItems=$null   

    $type= ("System.Collections.Generic.List"+'`'+"1") -as"Type"

    $type=$type.MakeGenericType("Microsoft.Exchange.WebServices.Data.ItemId"-as"Type")

    $JunkItems= [Activator]::CreateInstance($type) 

     

    do{   

        $fiItems=$service.FindItems($Inbox.Id,$ivItemView)   

        #[Void]$service.LoadPropertiesForItems($fiItems,$psPropset) 

       foreach($Itemin$fiItems.Items){ 

              if($Item.Subject-ne$null){        

                        if($Item.Subject.Contains("newsletter")){

                               $JunkItems.Add($Item.Id)

                         }   

                  }

        }   

        $ivItemView.Offset+=$fiItems.Items.Count   

    }while($fiItems.MoreAvailable-eq$true)

    $service.MarkAsJunk($JunkItems,$true,$true);

     


     

    5.     Using UserRetentionPolicyTags

    While it is possible in Exchange 2010 to use UserRetentionPolicyTags in EWS it did require that you define and use the raw extended properties. In 2013 in the EWS using the UserRetentionPolicyTags is made easier through the integration of these tags into the FolderClass and also the GetUserRetentionPolicyTags operation which can be used to get all the user RetentionPolicyTags and their associated settings. For example here is how to create a new folder and set the RetentionPolicyTag on that Folder to a UserRetentionPolicyTag called “1 Month Delete”.

     


     

    $getRTResp=$service.GetUserRetentionPolicyTags();

    foreach ($rtTagin$getRTResp.RetentionPolicyTags) {

        if ($rtTag.DisplayName-eq"1 Month Delete")

        {

                  $NewFolder=new-objectMicrosoft.Exchange.WebServices.Data.Folder($service) 

                  $NewFolder.DisplayName="My New Folder12345" 

                  $NewFolder.FolderClass="IPF.Note"

                  $NewFolder.PolicyTag=New-Object

    Microsoft.Exchange.WebServices.Data.PolicyTag($true,$rtTag.RetentionId)

                  $NewFolder.Save($folderid) 

        } 

    }

     

     

    About the author

    photogs

    Glen Scales is a freelance software developer and engineer who specializes in Microsoft Exchange APIs used to create customized solutions for a range of clients and industries, particularly in the realm of cloud-based services within messaging environments. He has been an Exchange MVP since 2004, contributing regularly to the Exchange development forums on TechNet and creating and sharing open source code libraries and scripts on his blog (http://gsexdev.blogspot.com) and twitter @glenscales.

    About 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, formerly known as MVP Lead, for Messaging and Collaboration (Exchange, Lync, Office 365 and SharePoint) and Microsoft Dynamics in the US. She began her career at Microsoft as an Exchange Support Engineer and has been working with the technical community in some capacity for almost a decade. In her spare time she enjoys going to the gym, shopping for handbags, watching period and fantasy dramas, and spending time with her children and miniature Dachshund. Melissa lives in North Carolina and works out of the Microsoft Charlotte office.


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  • 04/12/13--14:51: Friday Five - April 12, 2013
  • 0 0

    Editor’s note: The following post was written by PowerShell MVP Jan Egil Ring

     

    Windows PowerShell has become a key skillset for IT Professionals, as we can see based on the massive amount of PowerShell support in the latest release of the Windows operating system. In this article, we are going to look at a new feature in the latest version of Windows PowerShell that shipped with Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012. There are many new enhancements in PowerShell 3.0. The purpose of this article is to show one of them, which will make it easier to get started with PowerShell.

     

    One of the concepts which is difficult to understand when learning PowerShell is the use of the $_ automatic variable.

     

    For example, consider that we are using Get-Service to retrieve all the services on a computer. If we want to filter out only services that are not running, we can use the Where-Object cmdlet.

     

    Get-Service|Where-Object-FilterScript{$_.Status-eq"Stopped"}

     

    The –FilterScript parameter is positional, meaning we do not need to specify the parameter if we pass the filter script block as the first parameter. This is the most common approach:

     

     

    Get-Service|Where-Object {$_.Status -eq"Stopped"}

     

    This syntax is not very easy to understand and remember, but there are enhancements in PowerShell 3.0 to make this easier. One of the enhancements is the new automatic variable called $PSItem. As with most things in PowerShell, the best place to look for documentation is the built-in help system. Run the following to bring a help windows for the about_Automatic_Variables topic:

     

     

    Get-Helpabout_Automatic_Variables-ShowWindow

     

    Type “psitem” in the Find box to highlight all text containing this word:

     

     

    As we can see, $PSItem is the same as $_. The goal with the introduction of the $PSItem variable is making the code containing the “current object in the pipeline” easier to read and understand.

    Now we are going to use the exact same example as above, replacing $_ with $PSItem:

     

     

    Get-Service|Where-Object {$PSItem.Status -eq"Stopped"}

     

    Another enhancement in terms of efficiency and readability is the new simplified syntax for Where-Object and Foreach-Object. The new syntax makes it possible to mitigate the curly brackets and the $_/$PSItem variable:


     

     

    Get-Service|Where-ObjectStatus-eq"Stopped"

     

    Note that one caveat regarding the simplified syntax is the limitation to one property. This means we still need to use the old syntax when filtering more than one property:

     

    Get-Service|Where-Object {$PSItem.Status -eq"Stopped"-and$PSItem.DisplayName-like"*Windows*"}

     

     

    For a new PowerShell user, it should be easier to understand what the $PSItem is referring to, compared to the old $_.propertyname syntax.

    The $PSItem can also be used in other scenarios where we need to reference the current object in the pipeline, for example when using Select-Object to rename a property. This is an example using the old syntax:


     

     

    Get-Service|Select-Object-PropertyName,@{Name="ServiceState";Expression={$_.Status}}

     

    In PowerShell 3.0, we can simply replace $_ with $PSItem to make it more readable:

     


     

    Get-Service|Select-Object-PropertyName,@{Name="ServiceState";Expression={$PSItem.Status}}

     

    Since $PSItem is not available in previous versions of PowerShell, a good practice is to use the#requires –version 3statement if using the variable in a script.

    In conclusion, with the introduction of the new $PSItem automatic variable, as well as the simplified syntax for Where-Object and Foreach-Object, we are provided with better readability and efficiency.

     

    Resources

    What's New in Windows PowerShell 3.0

    Windows Management Framework 3.0 (Includes Windows PowerShell 3.0, WMI, WinRM, Management OData IIS Extension, and Server Manager CIM Provider for down-level operating systems.)

    Windows PowerShell 3.0 and Server Manager Quick Reference Guides

     

    About the author

    Jan Egil Ring works as a Lead Architect on the Infrastructure Team at Crayon, Norway.

    He mainly works with Microsoft server-products, and has a strong passion for Windows PowerShell. In
    addition to being a consultant, he is a Microsoft Certified Trainer.

    He has obtained several certifications such as MCSE: Server Infrastructure and MCSE: Private Cloud.He is also amultiple-year recipient of the Microsoft Most Valuable Professional Award for
    his contributions in the Windows PowerShell technical community.

    Website               Twitter                 LinkedIn

    About MVP Monday

    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, formerly known as MVP Lead, for Messaging and Collaboration (Exchange, Lync, Office 365 and SharePoint) and Microsoft Dynamics in the US. She began her career at Microsoft as an Exchange Support Engineer and has been working with the technical community in some capacity for almost a decade. In her spare time she enjoys going to the gym, shopping for handbags, watching period and fantasy dramas, and spending time with her children and miniature Dachshund. Melissa lives in North Carolina and works out of the Microsoft Charlotte office.

     


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    Editor’s Note:  The following post was written by Microsoft Community Program Manager JP Clementi

    Over 1,500 people attended the 2013 MVP Virtual Conference which focused on providing solutions to real world problems utilizing Microsoft technologies and products.  The three-day virtual conference boasted 49 breakout sessions and over 55 hours of recorded technical content all of which was provided free of charge to attendees.

    imageMVPs were crucial to the design and execution of the conference from the beginning.  Upon identifying a need in the community for this type of event, MVPs in Brazil rallied together to design and deliver a conference that contained current and relevant content for consumer and technical attendees.  

    “It was a great opportunity for us to offer up to date technical content to the participants, and by engaging in a roundtable session, offer the opportunity to exchange experience about real world scenarios and answer participants’ questions,” said System Center Cloud and Database Management MVP Marcelo Sincic

    The MVP Virtual Conference not only delivered presentations highlighting products and technologies, it also focused on designing sessions with real world scenarios.  Nine different topics were chosen and each session organized and delivered to provide solutions for problems facing today’s consumer and technology experts.  The nine topics were:

    • Consumerization of IT
    • Application Lifecycle Management
    • Enterprise Security
    • Software and Application Development
    • Interoperability in Development and Infrastructure
    • BI, Big Data and Database Management
    • Cloud Computing
    • Productivity, Collaboration and Unified Communication

    image 

    One ALM breakout session was recorded live at Microsoft Brazil HQ and has been published by the largest, independent Windows websites in Brazil.

    “I can only thank Microsoft and all MVPs who supported this event. I was very happy to know the online format of the event was a success. May this be the first of many and see you at the MVP Virtual Conference 2014,” said Visual C# MVP Rogério Moraes.

    As a commitment to keeping high-level content alive, the event was fully recorded and is currently being edited.  It will be published in an official and open Microsoft channel for further free distribution.


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    Editor’s Note: In partnership with Microsoft Press, MVPs have been contributing to an ongoing guest series on their official team blog. Today’s article is from Office 365 MVP Kelsey Epps which is the 26th in the series

    Exchange 2007 Cut Over Migration to the NEW Office 365

    A cut over migration is the simplest way to get all your existing email into Office 365. As the name implies, it’s a cutover from one service to another. Cutover migrations are supported for Exchange 2003, 2007 and 2010; for organizations with fewer than 1000 mailboxes. The setup and process is straight forward and nothing complicated. With any successful migration, some planning and testing of existing infrastructure is invaluable. Make sure that you plan and test the migration prior to trying to implement.

    PLANNING

    Before we can attempt the migration, we need to know what we are going. Microsoft has done a great job of providing good quality information for administrators to use, to plan the migration to Office 365. I always use the Exchange Deployment Assistant as a guide for all my migrations. This site is up to date and will cover most of all the migrations scenarios to Office 365

    1. Open the Exchange Deployment Assistant site
    1. Once the site is launched, you are presented three options. Since I am doing a simple cutover migration from Exchange Server 2007, I am going to use the Cloud Only option
    1. Click Cloud Only
    1. You are now asked a series of questions on end state goals and existing setup
    1. Answer all the questions

    1. Click the Next arrow
    1. The Exchange Deployment Assistant will generate a step by step guide for you to follow. Make sure to read and understand what you are doing.

    Continue reading here for full article.

    About the author

    kelsey

    Kelsey has been working in IT for the past 15 years, with a focus on Microsoft technologies. He currently works for Hewlett Packard in a group called the Enterprise Microsoft Support Centre, which supports all HP client teams with Microsoft technologies. Kelsey also owns and runs his own consulting company called Concepps Group. Concepps Group focuses on helping businesses make the jump into the Office 365 cloud. Kelsey was recently awarded with the Office 365 MVP, in part for his successful Office 365 Technical Support BLOG.  He spends his free time with his family; wife Joleen and two boys (Carter – 4 and Nolan – 2).  Follow him on Twitter

    About MVP Monday

    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, formerly known as MVP Lead, for Messaging and Collaboration (Exchange, Lync, Office 365 and SharePoint) and Microsoft Dynamics in the US. She began her career at Microsoft as an Exchange Support Engineer and has been working with the technical community in some capacity for almost a decade. In her spare time she enjoys going to the gym, shopping for handbags, watching period and fantasy dramas, and spending time with her children and miniature Dachshund. Melissa lives in North Carolina and works out of the Microsoft Charlotte office.


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    MVPs and the Windows Azure community are coming together Saturday, April 27 for an exciting and unique event, the Global Windows Azure Bootcamp.  Nearly 100 bootcamps in over 30 different counties are scheduled to take place on the same day.  An estimated 7,000 people will participate in the FREE event.   You can sign up and find a list of technological prerequisites and other information on the Bootcamp website.  We caught up with one of the organizers of this event, Windows Azure MVP Maarten Balliauw.  You can hear what he had to say along with Windows Azure Senior Product Manager Mark Brown.

     (Please visit the site to view this video)


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  • 04/26/13--13:49: Friday Five - April 26, 2013
  • 0 0

    Editor’s Note: In partnership with Microsoft Press, MVPs have been contributing to an ongoing guest series on their official team blog. Today’s article is from Office 365 MVP Sean McNeill which is the 27th in the series

    Data Loss Prevention (DLP) in Microsoft Exchange Server 2013 and Office 365

    Background

    Corporate Data Loss has become a major issue for almost every company. If a company has not suffered from Data Loss, either through an external malicious attack, employee error, or even worse employee deliberate action; most are very aware of consequences of a Data Loss. These consequences include such things as fines, lost trust from customers/clients, payment of credit monitoring services, and many other items that could severely impact a company’s bottom line or worse, its future.

    McAfee has written a White Paper Title, Data Loss by the Numbers, where they have analyzed data from the Open Security Foundation’s Data Loss Database. The White paper records such items as the below list of high profile Data Loss examples:

    clip_image002

    The White Paper also reveals a striking chart (shown below) that shows the types of breaches (Data Losses) and records compromised by the breaches:

    clip_image004

    As you can see above, while just over half of the breaches were from External, the Malicious Insider and Accidental Insider combined percentages nearly reaches half! This explains that having a perimeter security, firewalls, Intrusion detection, etc. is not only important, but it is also just as crucial to prevent employees from either maliciously or accidentally contributing to a Data Loss.

    Exchange 2013 Data Loss Prevention (DLP)

    With the release of Exchange 2013 for on-premises and the new Office 365 (Wave 15, based on the 2013 product sets), Microsoft has now included DLP into the core of the Server and Service. With this release, companies can put safeguards in place to prevent Data Loss via email messages.

    Continue reading full article here

     

    About the author

    SeanMcNeill

    Sean McNeill is a Cloud Services Specialist with Catapult Systems. Sean has over 15 years of professional experience with the last 11 in Microsoft Infrastructure technologies. His primary areas of expertise are Windows Server, Microsoft Active Directory, DNS, Exchange, PowerShell and virtualization with Hyper-V. Sean’s role with Catapult makes him responsible for all things Office 365. Sean has done numerous Microsoft Infrastructure assessments, Active Directory domain consolidations and migrations and Exchange 200x to Exchange 2010 migrations. He has worked with Microsoft Online services over the past four years with BPOS and now Office 365. Clients that Sean has worked with range from small 50 seat organizations to large companies with over 10,000 seats worldwide. Sean currently holds two MCITP certifications and six MCTS certifications. Sean was awarded as an Office 365 MVP by Microsoft on July 1, 2012.

    About MVP Monday

    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, formerly known as MVP Lead, for Messaging and Collaboration (Exchange, Lync, Office 365 and SharePoint) and Microsoft Dynamics in the US. She began her career at Microsoft as an Exchange Support Engineer and has been working with the technical community in some capacity for almost a decade. In her spare time she enjoys going to the gym, shopping for handbags, watching period and fantasy dramas, and spending time with her children and miniature Dachshund. Melissa lives in North Carolina and works out of the Microsoft Charlotte office.


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  • 05/02/13--15:50: New Features in Outlook.com
  • Xbox MVP William Devereux chats with Outlook.com Marketing Manager Galileo Vieira about the new Outlook.com

     

    (Please visit the site to view this video)


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  • 05/03/13--14:03: Friday Five - May 3, 2013
  • 1. TFS Live app for Windows Phone

    By Visual Studio ALM MVP Jeff Bramwell - @jbramwell

    2. Setting up Enterprise Resource for Managing your Test VM Environment

    By Project MVP Michael Wharton -

    3. Pasting a Formulas Static Value in Cell Below

    By Excel MVP Tom Urtis - @TomUrtis

    4. Understanding Hyper-V Error Messages

    By Virtual Machine MVP Aidan Finn - @joe_elway

    5. Loading the partial views using Ajax for Beginners

    By ASP.NET/IIS MVP Brij Mishra -


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    PowerPoint 2013: Visualizations

    Part 1: Creating Data Infographics with Shapes

    We’ve all sat through presentations that contain slide after slide of charts and graphs.  The chart may be well designed and clearly display the data, but still, all it’s displaying is the data in relational context. Either the speaker or the audience or both are required to perform the thought processes to turn that information into something meaningful.

    In the hierarchy of knowledge, data moves to wisdom in three steps:image

     

    ·         From data to information by applying context 

    ·         From information to knowledge through analysis

    ·         From knowledge to wisdom through action

    While charts apply relational context to your data, your audience is still required to perform the analysis of what they are seeing.  Consider the following scenario: A car lot has 30% red cars, 20% blue cars and 50% yellow cars.  In the last year, blue cars account for 50% of sales, red cars 30% and yellow cars 20%. In a typical presentation this data might be displayed like this:

    image  image

     

    While the data is accurate, this display of the information requires a lot of work on the viewer’s part to draw conclusions.  In other words, turn the information into knowledge.  They need to bounce back and forth between the charts comparing the data multiple times.

     


     

    You could significantly improve the display of the information by simply combining them into a column chart.  However, you’ll lose your color context in order to display the two series clearly. If you switch your data rows/columns in order to keep the color context, the comparison isn’t much better than the pie charts.

    image  image

    Prudent use of Infographics allows us to not only put the data in context but, through the use of the familiar, display some level of analysis that the audience can grasp in a glance.  Rather than use traditional charts, by combining familiar car shapes and dollar images, we can display the data in a format that allows the audience to quickly analyze the information and make informed decisions for action (wisdom).


     

     

    This Infographic immediately tells the viewer:

    image·         You’re understocked on blue cars by 30%

    ·         You’re overstocked on yellow cars by 30%

    ·         You’ve got the right amount of red cars

     

     

     

     

     

     

    The viewer can easily determine the actions needed:

    ·         Stock 30% more blue cars

    ·         Take actions to increase sales of yellow cars

    There are a six easy steps to create your own data infographics using shapes in PowerPoint 2013:

     

     

    1.      Find your graphics.  In the example above, I simply inserted some clip art images and then ungrouped them to remove the parts I didn’t want.  I then regrouped them and changed the colors to fit my information.  If you cannot find a graphic, you can easily create your own in PowerPoint 2013 using the improved Merge Shapes feature on the Contextual Drawing Tools tab.  You can learn how to merge shapes by reading this Office.com article.  I also suggest checking out fellow MVP Julie Terberg’s article on Custom Shapes Made Easier with PowerPoint 2010. Although it is an earlier version of PowerPoint, she does a great job of walking you through the steps to create your own custom shape.  If you don’t have the time or tolerance to create your own graphics, I recommend Get My Graphic.  Other stock image companies are great for pictures and design, but Get My Graphic has an amazing library for infographics and the graphics are easily customized to meet your needs.

    image

    2.      Figure out your ratios.  In my example, it was pretty easy for me to use one car and one dollar to represent 10%, but real data is rarely that cleanly divided.  If you don’t need to be exact and general values are ok, by all means do round up/down to make it easier to figure out your ratios.  If however, you need to display more accurate values, check out MVP Dave Paradi’s Proportional Shape Comparison Diagram Calculation Tool. Yes, that’s a mouthful, but it does perfectly describe exactly what the tool does.  While you may not choose to display your elements laid out as Dave has, use the tool to determine the sizes you need for your objects.  If you find you need to display only a portion of a shape, you have two choices: save the shape as an image and crop it to size or use two colors on your shape and set one of the colors as your background color. See the next step for color coding.

    image= 60%

    3.      Determine your color coding.  In my example I used red, blue, yellow and green as my colors. This might be an issue for persons who are red/green color blind since red and green look like the same color for them.  However, in my example, it’s the dollar signs that are green and the cars are red, clearly differentiating the information by shape as well as color.  Additionally I was able to use a single color for each of my objects, but you may find you need to display your object with two or more colors to accurately represent your data.  See this Office.com article for applying gradients to shapes. And MVP Echo Swinford has an excellent tutorial on Creating Gradients in PowerPoint 2007.  Again, although it’s about an earlier version of PowerPoint, the gradient interface is essentially the same and Echo gives the best explanation on how to use it.

    image= 30% blue, 70% red

    4.      Determine placement of your shapes.  Arrange your shapes so that they’ll clearly display the information but retain their familiarity for the viewer.  In my example, I chose to use the dollar bills as a “road” metaphor for the cars.  If I had stacked the bills next to the cars it wouldn’t have been as effective. I did toy with arranging them all in a straight line but, while it looked cool, the data wasn’t as clear as each set of cars/dollars arranged vertically.  Smart Guides, introduced in PowerPoint 2010, make it easier than ever to align shapes.  Read this PowerPoint 2013: Smarter Guides article to learn how much better they are in PowerPoint 2013 and how to use them.

    image

    5.      Determine your background and slide placement.  You want to be very careful with this step.  You can easily obscure your information if your background is too busy.  Your background should enhance and add context to your infographic as opposed to obscuring the information.  Since most slide backgrounds are determined by your template, you’ll want to choose your template carefully or make your own.  If you regularly create presentations, you should seriously consider getting the book:Building PowerPoint Templates Step by Step with the Experts.  Placement on the slide is also important.  As you can see in my example, I placed the primary infographic in the lower right quadrant.  In most cases this is the weakest position on a slide.  The upper right and center areas are the strongest positions on a slide for most languages because they are read left to right, top to bottom.  I overcome this constraint through the use of vivid colors on my primary infographic and duller colors on my background graphics.  When viewing the slide, your eye is immediately drawn to the infographic of the brightly colored cars.

    image

    6.      Finally, follow the KISS principle.  KISS stands for Keep It Simple, Stupid.  Avoid over-cluttering your slides with text and elements that add no value.  You want your audience to absorb the information at a glance, not have to visually wade through a bunch of junk to find it.

    So that concludes this part on Visualizations: Creating Data Infographics with Shapes.  In part 2 I’ll cover how to create Data Infographics by modifying charts and graphs.

     

    About the author

    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 Knowledge Management, Accessible InformationTechnology, Graphic Design, Cloud Computing and Professional TechnicalWriting.  Follow her on Twitter.

     

    About MVP Monday

     

     

    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, formerly known as MVP Lead, for Messaging and Collaboration (Exchange, Lync, Office 365 and SharePoint) and Microsoft Dynamics in the US. She began her career at Microsoft as an Exchange Support Engineer and has been working with the technical community in some capacity for almost a decade. In her spare time she enjoys going to the gym, shopping for handbags, watching period and fantasy dramas, and spending time with her children and miniature Dachshund. Melissa lives in North Carolina and works out of the Microsoft Charlotte office.

     

     

     

     

     


     


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  • 05/10/13--09:43: Friday Five - May 10, 2013
  • 1. How to turn ON/OFF the Microsoft Two-Step Verification?

    By Silverlight MVP Kunal Chowdhury - @kunal2383

    2. Windows Phone 8 navigation part 2-routing, route details, tombstoning-and testing

    By Windows Phone Development MVP Joost van Schaik - @LocalJoost

    3. Clash of the Clouds Follow-up

    By Windows Azure MVP Bill Wilder - @codingoutloud

    4. Hyper-V Recovery Manager on Windows Azure: Game changer in DR architecture

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

    5. PowerPivot Workbook Size Optimizer #powerpivot #tabular

    By SQL Server MVP Marco Russo - @marco_russo


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    Editor’s note: The following post was written by PowerPoint MVP Glenna Shaw

    PowerPoint 2013: Visualizations

    Part 2: Creating Data Infographics with Charts and Graphs

    In Part 1 of this series, we discussed creating data infographics using shapes. In this part we’ll take the next step and use the features of PowerPoint 2013’s charting tools to create more detailed infographics. This series of articles assumes you are already familiar with creating and modifying charts in PowerPoint 2013. It also assumes you know how to format, group, combine and align shapes and have read part 1 of this series.

    There are four primary techniques for changing charts to infographics in PowerPoint 2013:

    1. Put shapes on top of an existing chart. In this scenario, Shady Sam wants to include a slide showing quarterly sales for all cars for the past calendar year. In a typical presentation this would be displayed as a line chart. While accurate, it’s rather boring and the information doesn’t readily stand out to the audience since there’s little familiar context. We can improve the audience’s ability to easily consume the information by simply adding car shapes at the data points, removing the vertical axis and adding data labels. This immediately tells the audience the sales are about cars and shows only the values of interest in direct relation to their points on the timeline road. Notice I’m using orange cars in this instance. This is to avoid confusion with the slides from the previous article where we covered annual sales by car color. We can also make the chart much more legible by removing the slide title and using the chart title, resizing the chart and increasing the size of the text. To create your chart:

    a. Use these values to create a line chart.

     

    Sales

    1st Qtr

    $1,564,000.00

    2nd Qtr

    $1,005,000.00

    3rd Qtr

    $1,128,000.00

    4th Qtr

    $1,605,000.00

    b. Adjust to layout shown.

    c. Add car graphics at each data point.

    image

    image

    2. Use images for the fill of chart elements. While we’ve significantly improved the plain line chart, we still don’t have a good contextual element for the monetary values. We could place the dollar images directly on top of the graph, but there’s a better and more accurate method. Follow these steps:

    a. Add another data series with the same values and label it dollars.

    b. Change the chart type to a Combo Chart with the dollar series as a clustered column chart.

    image

    image

    c. We now have a combo chart that looks like cars sitting on top of columns. Select the column data series by clicking on the columns and change the fill to the image of a dollar.

    d. Change the fill from stretch to stack,

    e. Adjust the gap width of the series to make it the same width as the cars,

    f. Delete the extra data labels and

    g. Center the car shapes over the columns of dollar bills.

    image

    image

    We’ve now added the monetary contextual element, but the line no longer looks like a road. Instead the cars appear to be stuck on top of the columns of money and are connected by cables. We’ve lost the feeling of movement and the context of time. To remedy this:

    h. Once again change the chart type to a combo chart.

    i. Change the sales series to an area chart.

    j. Finally, change the fill for the area data series to a light gray.

    image

    image

    We’ve regained the sense of movement and the viewers can easily see that Shady Sam’s has a significant drop in car sales during the spring and summer months.

    3. Adding elements on a chart background. This is very similar to adding shapes on top of a chart except, in this instance, we hide all the data series graphics and replace it with elements we create. For this scenario, Shady Sam (bless his heart) has decided he wants to see if there is any relationship between the local air quality index and hybrid car sales by quarter. Typically this would be graphed using a cluster or bubble chart. However, unless you’re a data geek, this is also a relatively hard chart to interpret. You can easily see there’s a trend, but you really have to do a bit of mental gymnastics to see that the higher the hybrid car sales, the lower the air quality index (a good thing) and you completely lose the context of time. Even using a line chart or combo chart, the information just isn’t readily grasped.

    image

    image

    To clearly display the relationship between the elements, perform the following steps:

    a. Convert the air quality index into percentages. To accomplish this we add all our values together and then divide each value by the total to get the percentage for that value.

    b. Choose your images. For my example, I’m choosing smoke stacks to represent air quality and the green leaf car image I took apart to create my other car images in part 1.

    c. Make the graph a blank canvas by setting the fill and line color for all our data series to No Fill and No Line.

    d. Go to fellow MVP Dave Paradi’s Proportional Shape Comparison Diagram Calculation Tool.

    e. Calculate the appropriate size for each of the quarterly elements and put them on top of the blank chart.

    f. Remove the word index from the title in favor of the more easily understood Air Quality.

    image

    image

    We now have a graph that shows us the direct relationship between air quality and hybrid car sales by quarter. Once again, we can readily see that car sales (even for hybrid cars) are lower during the spring and summer months and also that air quality is relationally poorer during those same months.

    4. Use images as chart element backgrounds. So far we’ve effectively used shapes and graphical images for our infographics but for a more realistic interpretation we might want to use photographic images. You can easily use a photograph for the fill of elements of your graph like the background, the plot area or the data series elements such as bars, columns or area elements. You’ll just want to make sure to keep the aspect ratio of your photograph by adjusting the fill offsets otherwise your pictures will look distorted. For this example, we’re going to have the picture span the width of all the data series while still showing the individual series elements. To do this we’ll go back to the blank background column chart for the air quality index and make a few adjustments.

    a. Change the fill for the air quality index series to Vary colors by point.

    b. Adjust the gap width to zero so all the columns are touching.

    c. Insert rectangle shapes on top of each of the data series columns.

    d. Resize the shapes to be the same size as the series columns.

    e. Fill each rectangle with a different shade of gray and set it at 75% transparency.

    f. Apply a 5% soft edge to each rectangle.

    g. Group the rectangles to be one shape (to enhance the smog effect).

    h. Check the box in the format shape pane to maintain aspect ratio.

    image

    image

    i. Change the chart’s data series back to no fill.

    j. Copy/paste a duplicate of our transparent columns.

    k. Ungroup the duplicate copy of our columns.

    l. Merge the rectangles to become one custom shape.

    m. Fill the newly created shape with a picture that’s in context with the data. For this example I’ve used a smoggy picture with a lot of cars.

    n. Apply a 10 % soft edge to the custom shape.

    o. Assemble the infographics by placing the custom shape on top of the chart background,

    p. Place the transparent rectangles on top of the custom shape and

    q. Place the hybrid cars on top of that.

    To easily reorder the elements on your slide, click the home tab and click the selection pane in the editing group. I’ve used an image from the internet for my hybrid car and used the background removal tool to eliminate the background. I’ve also applied a gradient fill to the plot area of the chart to further emphasize the difference between the smog and blue sky. If you’re using images from the internet as I have, be sure to follow copyright laws. As you can see I’ve made sure to credit my photo sources in the lower right corner of the slide.

    image

    image

    The result is a very polished and realistic infographic showing the air quality to hybrid car sales relationship.

    This concludes part 2 of the series on Visualizations: Creating Data Infographics with Charts and Graphs. In part 3 we’ll discuss using SmartArt and Marketplace Apps to create infographics.

    About the author

     

    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 Knowledge Management, Accessible InformationTechnology, Graphic Design, Cloud Computing and Professional TechnicalWriting.  Follow her on Twitter.

     

    About MVP Monday

     

    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, formerly known as MVP Lead, for Messaging and Collaboration (Exchange, Lync, Office 365 and SharePoint) and Microsoft Dynamics in the US. She began her career at Microsoft as an Exchange Support Engineer and has been working with the technical community in some capacity for almost a decade. In her spare time she enjoys going to the gym, shopping for handbags, watching period and fantasy dramas, and spending time with her children and miniature Dachshund. Melissa lives in North Carolina and works out of the Microsoft Charlotte office.

     


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  • 05/09/13--14:02: Windows 8 Super Hackathon
  • MVPs from around the world gathered in Belgium to judge and participate in the Windows 8 Super Hackathon. Nearly 200 developers amassed to test their skills building Winhackathondows 8 and Windows Phone 8 applications. A small group of MVPs were asked to participate as judges for the event.

    The hackathon coding ran for approximately 16 hours, from 08:08 in the morning until 23:30 at night. An estimated 40% of the attendees were students, many of whom also attended TechDays a few weeks earlier.

    The event was captured heavily by national press, including newspapers (De Tijd (Belgium's first business & economic journal), Het Laatste Nieuws, Het Belang van Limburg), radio (Radio 2), and other periodicals (DataNews (Dutch), Solutions Magazine (French).

    The Windows 8 Super Hackathon also generated a great deal of social buzz, with over 400 tweets in a day by 86 contributors using the hashtag #superhack .

    3 winners were selected by our jury, based on app completion and several quality criteria including app pitch, app potential in the Store and cloud connection:

    1st place went to the Fit Beast app, a management interface for your Fit Bit device, developed by Denis Huvelle and his colleagues.

    2nd place was awarded to Finds, an app that helps you discover places to eat, drink, enjoy nature, find a party, etc. in Flanders, which was developed by a team of students (Team 6tiict), led by Tom Dupont.

    The 3rd place winner was Ataxx! , a classic board game in the style of Reversi and Go, built by Peter Van Weert.

    Congratulations to the winners and all the participants! If you're inspired to create a Windows app, take a look at the Windows App portal and look for future hackathons in your area.


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  • 05/16/13--12:33: Friday Five - May 17, 2013
  • 1. Using Bit Fields in C#

    By Visual C# MVP Filip Ekberg - @fekberg

    2. Top 5 Tips & Tricks for Surviving TechEd 2013

    By Silverlight MVP Michael Crump - @mbcrump

    3. Comments and Descriptions in DAX

    By SQL Server MVP Chris Webb - @technitrain

    4. Method Overloading in WCF: WCF Interview Series #1

    By Microsoft Integration MVP Dhananjay Kumar - @debug_mode

    5. Bug Check 0116: VIDEO_TDR_ERROR Troubleshooting Tips

    By Windows Expert-IT Pro MVP Shyam Sasindran - @Captain_MVP


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    Editor’s Note:The following post was written by PowerPoint MVP Glenna Shaw.


    PowerPoint 2013: Visualizations

    Part 3: Creating Infographics with SmartArt and Apps for Office

    In the previous two parts of this series, we discussed creating infographics specifically from data.  But infographics is not only about numerical data.  By definition, infographics is the graphical representation of information.  Information can include words, sentences, images, etc. as well as numbers.  SmartArt is specifically designed to create infographics by changing text into pictorial representations of concepts.  In this part of the series we’ll discuss elevating standard SmartArt to create unique and effective infographics.  We’ll also discuss some of the new apps that are available for Office 2013 and how you can take advantage of them to create some great infographics.  This article assumes you already know how to create and modify SmartArt.  It also assumes you’ve read all previous parts of this series.

    Shady Sam has decided he’s going to offer some great financing options for hybrid cars.  These are the loan options depending on the buyer’s qualifications:

    5 Year 4 Year 3 Year
        • 3%     • 2%     • 0%
        • 4%     • 3%     • 1%

     

    In a typical presentation, you might see a SmartArt hierarchy list used to display this information.  This is leaps and bounds better than a bulleted list but once again, we find a graphic with incomplete context.  There is no ready indicator that these financing options are for hybrid cars only.  It doesn’t make the jump from information to knowledge.  We can easily improve on this SmartArt by simply changing it to a radial list and, staying consistent, use the leaf car as the fill for the main image.  As you can see, it’s a good start, but it still needs some work.

    powerpoint1 image

    To complete this SmartArt transformation, take the following steps:

    1. Click on the largest shape and change it to a rectangle shape.
    2. Rotate the picture by flipping it horizontally.
    3. Change the color to green.

    We now have a complete infographic for the sales team meeting presentation.  However, this is also knowledge we want to share with prospective buyers.  And for that purpose we want an even more polished look to our infographic.  Perform these steps to improve the infographic even more:

    1. Change the leaf car fill to the same image you used for your hybrid car on the Air Quality – Hybrid Car Sales chart.
    2. Adjust the fill offsets and the size of your SmartArt rectangle until the aspect ratio is correct and the size is proportional with the rest of the graphic.
    3. Decrease the size of the percentage text to be slightly smaller than the loan text. 

    image image 

    We now have effective infographics for both the sales team meeting and for marketing to customers.

    SmartArt is one of the best tools for creating infographics but, new in Office 2013, we have some exciting offerings in Apps for Office in the Microsoft Office Store.  To see what Apps are available:

    1. In PowerPoint 2013, click Insert.
    2. Click Apps for Office in the Apps group.
    3. Click See All.
    4. Click Featured Apps in the Apps for Office dialog window.

    pp5 pp6

    The featured apps that work with PowerPoint are listed.  Enter Pro Word Cloud (free app) in the search box and then install the app in PowerPoint 2013.  Learn more about Managing Apps for Office here.  To create a Word Cloud graphic:

    1. Enter a lot of relevant words.
    2. Select the words (don’t skip this step).
    3. Click Insert, Apps for Office, Pro Word Cloud.
    4. Choose your Word Cloud options in the Pro Word Cloud pane.
    5. Click Create Word Cloud.
    6. Right click and Copy/Paste the Word Cloud onto your slide or save the Word Cloud as an image and insert it.
    7. Use PowerPoint 2013’s picture tools to edit the image as desired.

    pp7 pp8

    We now have a fun Word Cloud infographic.  We can also use some of the visualization apps for Excel even though they’re not available for PowerPoint.  Just select the visualization created in Excel and copy/paste as an image into PowerPoint 2013.  I’ve shown the Gauge App and the Geographic Heat Map in my example above.

    This completes part 3 of the series on Visualizations: Creating Infographics with SmartArt and Apps for Office.  In part 4 we’ll be adding motion to infographics.


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  • 05/24/13--13:45: Friday Five – May 24, 2013

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