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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 Visual Studio ALM MVP Ridi Ferdiana

    Abstract

    Windows 8 provides you a good opportunity to create your local market. This activity can be done by creating useful and unique Windows Store application. In this article, it provides you an eight tips to sell your software in Windows Store. This tips is intended to individual developer who want to sell their application to the Store. By reading this article, an individual can build and sell a good and appealing product by leaving a common mistake that happens in many individual developer.

    Tips 1. Starting from simple and “long tail” software solution

    Have you heard about long tail opportunity by Chris Anderson? In Windows 8, Long tail means an application that has an opportunity to be used by many people. Long tail is about the market of your software. Long tail is about how you create a huge market from daily use of many consumer application. It’s easy to say but you should try it by “testing the water”. “Testing the water” is deploying your free application to the market and see the result. Here are the walkthrough to do this tips:

    1. Visiting Windows store and see what great application there. You can do that by seeing top free category. Figure 1 shows you that many high rating application is a consumer application.

    2. Download the software, try a little bit and shape your simple and unique idea. You can do this step iteratively and pick an application that you interested most.

    3. Please note, that a good and high rating software is different for each country. If you want to see a top free in another country, just changes your local region to the another country that you wish.

    4. It’s your “water test”, so be sure to create as simple as possible Windows store apps. I recommend you to build a software based on blank template in Visual Studio 2012. One page application will do!

    5. It’s is your decision to build the free one or directly with the paid one. If you believe your tail market, go build the paid one without “test the water”

    image

    Figure 1 Top Free Application as your main idea gateway

    Tips 2 Giving Reasonable Price for Your Solution

    Price is about how fast you need to get your ROI (Return of Investment). Giving a high price means you just need less download to cover your ROI? However, giving a high price means your customer need further consideration before he buys your application. Reasonable price is about giving a best buck for their money. In Windows Store, many good and casual application sell in $2.99-$4.99. If you see a further, you can see simple application can be tagged as low as $1.49. So how about your software? Here are the tips:

    1. If you did “testing water” and release your free application. You can see how much your application is downloaded. For example, I released my application in November 1, 2012. In November 30, 2012 my free software is downloaded 3000 times. It means the software has 100 times daily. 100 daily download is great! But it is free application, people don’t need further consideration when download your application. The statistic just shows a market opportunity of your application. If you see >100 download you can start build a similar software with a good price and off course better features.

    2. As shown in Figure 2, Microsoft give you wide variety of your software price starting $1.49 to $999.99. Pick a good price by considering your investment. For example, if you spent $1000 to build the software and you pick $1.49 for your software, you will get 1$ for each download (there are rule 70% for you and 30% for Store). Therefore, you need 1000 download to get your ROI.

    3. Give a good price, look at similar application and put your application price by considering it. Make your potential consumer never think the price when buy your application.

    image

    Figure 2 Pick a price tier is about your ROI and Future Revenue

    Tips 3 Reaching the entire world by using plain English

    This is the simplest tip in this article. The point is to select all markets as a target of your application. Figure 3 shows how you do that in the Developer dashboard.

    image

    Figure 3 Get better visibility by selecting the entire markets

    In return, you should create your application with English language and others language that you want to support. A good advice is just use plain English and you are ready to go to reach the markets. You can set the language via Package Manifest in Visual Studio. Figure 4 shows the Package App Manifest in Visual Studio. I recommend you to always recheck the language in Package Manifest by switching to the code view (just right click in Package App Manifest and select view code).

    image

    Figure 4 Package app manifest in Visual Studio

    Tips 4 Rich Keywords for better visibility

    Keywords are your key in Windows Store search. Adding a proper keywords will help your customer to get your application based on their need. Windows Store provides you to put seven keywords and you should use wisely. Figure 5 shows you a dialog to put keyword. Here are the tips.

    1. Use noun, try to avoid verb if possible. Keyword like ‘travel’ is better than ‘go’,

    2. Put similarity. If you have a word about your app, try to find alternative word. For example, if you have a keyword “Finance” you can use other keyword like “Money” or “Wallet”

    3. Adding a brand. If you are creating an application that based on popular application you can use that name, of course with their permission.

    image

    Figure 5 Keywords in Windows Store

    Tips 5 Use the power of Screenshot

    Screenshot is just like your application cover. Great screenshot will give you better opportunity to get the customer. Screenshot is vital for your application. Here are the tips:

    1. Never manipulate the image, use just simulator to do the screenshot

    2. Upload more than 3 images and describe it wisely

    3. Never upload alike screenshot, present your screenshot as your unique value

    image

    Figure 6 Screenshot as a cover off your application

    Tips 6 Never Neglecting the Promotional Image

    If you want your application in a store highlight, my advice is to prepare promotional images. Figure 7 shows that you should create promotional image in four different shape. Create at least one, but I recommend you to create four.

    image

    Figure 7 Promotional Image as your added value

    Tips 7 Reducing your solution size

    When a customer download your application, they should get the best value of their money. Don’t make them disappointed because your application is take longer to download. In this case, efficiency take a serious consideration. Efficiency is not about only about your codes but also about your files. If you build your application based on a Visual Studio Template (like Grid Template), you should aware that some of files is not used. For example, the old icon, the old codes, or the others assets. Visual Studio doesn’t tell you about the unused resources so it is your job to solve it. Here are the tips

    1. Visual Studio 2012 has a great template and efficient code samples. Therefore, less of the codes will be unused. The assets like image and icon is mostly unused since you build your own logo. Be sure to remove old logo, splash screen, and others unused assets

    2. Reducing the graphics size. PNG can be compressed in several ways. For example you can reduce the quality or color depth. The free application like Paint.NET or Expression Design works great for this.

    3. Removing the unused references. For example, you play around with an ads library for Windows 8 and you add the references for it. In the next day you decide not to use it. Visual studio 2012 doesn’t detect that, so it is your job to remove it manually.

    Tips 8 the Application Lifecycle Management Tasks

    Application lifecycle management (ALM) is not only about the Team Foundation Server (TFS) but it also about the software engineering discipline. When you sell your application to the international market, it will take longer than you submit it for specific country. ALM teach us to create efficient development process through define, develop, and operate steps. The point is how you create a release plan for each of your application. Here are the tips:

    1. Define you scope application

    a. Query a lot about the application keywords that you plan to build.

    b. Download or buy the existing app and find your unique value for your application

    c. Composing a team at least one developer and one designer.

    d. Planning your application, do a shared vision and create the user stories with your designer or developer

    e. Reserved your application name in Windows store

    f. Choosing whether using HTML5 or C#. Both of them have different productivity angle and it’s different from one team to the others.

    g. Kick of the project, and make sure to hit the date. Choose a good date for your customer such as winter season, holiday season, or a black Friday.

    h. Set a good price for your customer.

    2. Develop your application

    a. Setting up the development infrastructure such as TFS, SQL Azure, and others.

    b. Developing your application assets. Such as logo, wide logo, notification toast logo, splash screen, and of course a good UX for your application.

    c. Building your prototype in one project iteration.

    d. Testing your prototype to the potential user, build a list of feedback log.

    e. Develop your application, be sure to pass Windows Application Certification Kit (WACK)

    f. Do the unit test, do the user acceptance test. Be sure to deliver less bug in first version of your application.

    3. Operate your application

    a. Fulfill the tax profile as complete as possible.

    b. Submit your application to the Windows Store when your tax profile is approved

    c. Download and buy your own application when it’s already in the store. Play with your application ask yourself is good or not.

    d. Use your application dashboard in Windows Store to see the rating and heard what your customer said in their review.

    e. Revise your application and make your customer happy.

    About The Author

    Ridi is a lecturer and researcher in Universitas Gadjah Mada Indonesia. He finished doctoral degree in Software Engineering (ALM) focusing in Agile methodology. Since 2007, He has several Microsoft certifications such as MCTS, MCPD, MCITP, and MCT. As an Microsoft MVP, Ridi loves to write his thought at blog.ridilabs.net or tweet on his twitter at @ridife. You can reach Ridi through ridi@mvps.org

    image

    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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  • 05/31/13--10:40: Friday Five–May 31, 2013
  • 1. Aggregating the Result of an MDX Calculation Using Scoped Assignments

    By SQL Server MVP Chris Webb – @Technitrain

    2. Releasing “ASP.NET Web Forms with Web API Application” Project Template

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

    3. Surface Pro as My Main Computer/Tablet

    By Visual Studio ALM MVP Jeff Bramwell – @jbramwell

    4. Swart's Ten Percent Rule

    By SQL Server MVP Michael J. Swart– @MJSwart

    5. Workaround for selecting the last vertex of a Windows Phone MapPolyline

    By Windows Phone Development MVP Joost von Schaik – @LocalJoost


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

    PowerPoint 2013: Visualizations

    Part 4: Infographics in Motion with Animations, Transitions, Interactivity and Screen Zoom

    In the first three parts of this series we covered the creation of infographics. This part shows you how to use PowerPoint 2013 features to add motion and movement to your infographics. This article assumes you are familiar with adding and modifying animations and transitions in PowerPoint as well as PowerPoint’s linking and action setting features. This article also assumes you’ve read all previous parts of this series and know how to do the techniques covered there.

    Our long ago ancestors had to worry about many things, chief among them not getting eaten. Consequently, we are hard-wired to pay attention to motion. Magicians depend on this trait by using motion to redirect their audience’s attention where they want it to be instead of watching the hand performing the trick. Presenters can do the same through the use of motion, directing the audience’s attention exactly where they want it to be. Motion can enhance and add context to an infographic and, like a magic trick, add interest for your audience.

    PowerPoint 2013 offers four methods for adding motion to infographics:

    1. Add animations to your infographics. For this scenario, we’ll use the Sales per Quarter per Million chart we created in part 2 of this series. We’ll animate the car to drive along the top of the hill of money.

    a. Delete all but the first car graphic. All animations are added in sequence to the remaining car graphic.

    b. Add a fly in from left animation with a .5 second duration and start on click.

    c. Add a spin animation set to 15° clockwise, .5 second duration, start after previous.

    d. Add a motion path from the top of the first column going to the second column, 2 second duration, start after previous, leave smooth start and stop settings at the default.

    e. Add a spin animation set to 15° counterclockwise, .5 second duration, start after previous.

    f. Repeat steps c – e for the remaining columns, making adjustments to the spin and motion path animations as appropriate.

    image

    image

    The car will now drive along the top of the columns, effectively acting as a pointer for each quarter. You can view and/or download a copy of this slide from my skydrive.

    Note, the context of this infographic has changed with the addition of motion. The static version encourages the viewer to observe the infographic as a whole which immediately draws the conclusion of sales being lower in spring and summer and higher in fall and winter. The animated version causes the viewer to pay attention to the details of each quarter. They’ll come to the same conclusion but it takes longer and isn’t as immediately recognizable. Before animating your infographics consider carefully how it can change the context and make sure to use the method that best meets the needs of the speaker.

    Also note, animating charts in PowerPoint can be difficult. You can make some adjustments for animating objects individually within the chart, but the chart elements always remain sequencial with each other. If I had wanted to animate the columns of money to appear one by one as the car reached them, it isn’t possible by animating the chart. If you want to make theses type of complex chart animations, you may find it easier to draw your elements and place them on a blank chart background as discussed in part 2 of this series.

    2. Add transitions to infographics. PowerPoint 2013 has enhanced the 3-D and dynamic transitions introduced in PowerPoint 2010. When used in moderation these transitions can provide a big impact. For example, Shady Sam is very excited about the new financing options for hybrid cars and he wants to reveal them in a big way to his sales team. We can accommodate this by:

    a. Insert a blank slide before our financing options slide.

    b. Insert an image of curtains and resize it to cover the entire slide.

    c. Set transition to curtains and check the box for Advance Slide After 00:00:00

    image

    image

    When we click to advance the slideshow the curtains will draw back revealing the new financing options to the sales team. Dynamic content transitions are applied only to the content of the slide rather than the entire slide allowing you to achieve some pretty amazing motion effects. If you have 4 – 6 data infographics in a row, you could set them all to use the same background, place them all in the same location on the slide and use the rotate transition. This will make the infographics appear to rotate as if they’re on the sides of a cube. You can learn more about how to use dynamic content transitions here. And a big nod to the PowerPoint team for adding the page turn transition and removing the bounce from the pan transition in PowerPoint 2013!

    3. Add interactivity to infographics. Infographics are frequently used as elements of a dashboard. And a desirable feature of a dashboard is the ability to drill down for details. In this example, we’ll set up the Sales by Quarter by Millions chart to drill down to Sales by Color by Thousands for each quarter.

    a. Add a slide with a bar chart with these values

     

    Blue

    Red

    Yellow

    1st Qtr

    $821,000.00

    $511,000.00

    $232,000.00

    b. Use Select Data to reorder your series so that yellow is first and blue is last.

    c. Change the fills for each of the bar series to blue car image, red car image and yellow car image (covered in part 2).

    d. Reverse the horizontal axis.

    e. Delete the horizontal axis.

    f. Add data labels.

    g. Move the slide to the end of the slideshow.

    h. Hide the slide.

    i. Create a Custom Show called 1st Qtr Sales by Color

    j. Add the slide you just created to the Custom Show.

    k. Change the cars on the Sales per Quarter by Millions slide to a gradient fill using Blue, Red, Yellow.

    l. Click to the select the body shape inside the first car group (you can’t apply a link to a group).

    m. Hyperlink the body shape to the custom show and check the box for show and return.

    image

    image

    We now have an infographic that allows us to drill down for details. When we click on the car for the first quarter the infographic for Sales by Color is displayed. When we click again we return to the original infographic. This is the advantage of using a custom show for your hyperlinks and hiding the slide ensures it only appears when you click to show the custom show. On a dashboard we would repeat this process for all four quarters. To learn more about creating interactive dashboards in PowerPoint, see this article.

    4. Zoom in to infographics. New in PowerPoint 2013 is the ability to zoom into a section of a slide. This is a terrific feature to use when you’re wanting to highlight a particular part of an infographic. You can also toggle back and forth between presenter view without being connected to a projector. For my example I’ll use a map of the Top Ten States for Hybrid Car Sales. Since Shady Sam’s is located in Charlotte, NC he would like to show that North Carolina is one of the top ten states. You can practice with any slide.

    a. Click Slideshow tab, check box for Use Presenter View.

    b. Click Start Slide Show, From Current Slide.

    c. Right click, select Show Presenter View.

    d. Click on the Magnifying glass under the main slide.

    e. Move the pointer and click where you’d like to zoom to.

    f. Right click to zoom back out.

    g. Right click, select Hide Presenter View.

    h. Hover your mouse in the lower left corner of the slide.

    i. Click on the Magnifying glass under the main slide.

    j. Move the pointer and click where you’d like to zoom to.

    k. Right click to zoom back out.

    image

    image

     

    With PowerPoint 2013’s new zoom feature the presenter has total control for showcasing any infograph elements in a slick and effective way.

    A Word of Caution: Too much of a good thing is never truer than when talking about adding motion to a presentation whether you’re using infographics or not. Just as we’re hard-wired to pay attention to motion, we’re also hard-wired to ignore repetitive motion since it typically means there’s no danger. If you use too much motion you’ll lose all the benefits of using motion in the first place. A good rule of thumb is to only add motion when you want to draw attention to something or to periodically recapture the audience’s attention.

    This concludes part 4 of the series on Visualizations: Infographics in Motion with Animations, Transitions, Interactivity and Screen Zoom. We’ll conclude the series in part 5 by combining infographics to create a flyer.

    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 Information Technology, Graphic Design, Cloud Computing and Professional Technical Writing.  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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    Community Program Managers (CPMs) for the MVP program at Microsoft act as the first points of contact: overseeing, promoting and encouraging the involvement and accomplishments of our MVPs. Several CPMs explained what they found most rewarding and challenging about working with the MVPs:

    “My favorite part of working with MVPs is being able to successfully empower them in their communities,” explains Kari Finn, a CPM in the United States. “My biggest challenge is that I wish I was able to be out in the community more than I am. I can’t attend every MVP event, so sometimes I wish I had more face time with my MVPs. I look forward to Summit specifically for that face-to-face interaction opportunity.”

    Canadian CPM Simran Chaudhry adds, “The most rewarding thing about being an CPM for me is being able to soak in the passion of my MVPs. I have learned so much from them, most importantly, selflessness and the sheer drive to help others.”

    For most CPMs, the relationship they forge with MVPs is highly rewarding and personal. Dora Chan, US CPM, says: “I love working with industry experts who are able to find the time for community leadership outside of their day jobs.  Building these relationships with industry leaders and experts helps me feel like a part of the community.”

    When asked to explain what makes the MVP community unique, Lilian Quek, a CPM in Southeast Asia comments, “They are more than ready to share their expertise and passion for Microsoft technologies with the community. It's that 'X-factor' in them that differentiates them from the norm, and this is also why they are being awarded and recognized as the elites in the community.”

    Simon Tien, a CPM based in Redmond, Washington, states, “I enjoy the passion of MVPs and their willingness to share knowledge and expertise purely for recognition and not for financial gain. It’s a very authentic community experience.

    From CPM to Regional Manager

    clip_image001

    The role of CPM often leads to greater leadership opportunities within the MVP Award program. After nine years serving as the CPM for Italy and Central and Eastern Europe, Alessandro Teglia has been promoted to the role of Regional Manager for the MVP Award Program in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA).

    “I’ve loved communities and MVPs for many years, being first a CPM for Italy and slowly increasing my responsibilities over Central and Eastern Europe. This gave me the opportunity to walk through and guide the strategy, awareness and engagement of the MVP Award Program with the many local Microsoft team members we have in those countries, including those in the Central and Eastern Europe headquarters located in Munich,” comments Teglia.

    He adds, “Leading the EMEA team and being the region’s ‘MVP ambassador’ is truly an honor and a responsibility that gets me so excited and thrilled.”

    In order to maximize the experience as an MVP, Teglia advises, “Being a Microsoft MVP is a tremendous opportunity, for you as a person and for your professional life. You can experience some of the things you never thought about, getting engaged in projects and opportunities you never even knew about, seeing places you’ve never reached in your life. It will help you to grow as a person and it’s up to you to decide to get involved or not. My suggestion? Be involved and get ready for a wonderful journey!”
    Alessandro encourages for those aspiring to become an MVP, “Start engaging with the local communities, whether it’s an online or an offline community. Gather with other people in user groups, in meet-ups, connect with them and with MVPs and start engaging in technical and social conversations,” he suggests, “I’m sure at some point you will be noticed for your technical skills and your passion to support others!”

    CPMs Yulia Belyanina and Cristina Gonzalez Herrero will support Teglia and the EMEA team: Yulia, who is an experienced manager of the Russia and CIS region, will be overseeing CEE as a whole; while Cristina, currently managing Spain and Portugal, will also be responsible for Italy.

    Congratulations to Alessandro Teglia and thanks to all the CPMs for your continued hard work!


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  • 06/04/13--10:44: TechEd 2013 - Day 1 Summary
  • Editor’s note:  The following blog post was written by Windows Azure MVP Herve Roggero

    As it turns out, Day 1 of Microsoft TechEd 2013 in New Orleans was a great success. The organization itself is of course top notch. And the keynote delivered: lots of major news announced, including some interesting details on the Microsoft Azure platform. In summary, we are no longer charged when stopping a Virtual Machine (it used to be that in order avoiding being charged we had to delete the Virtual Machine – well… no longer). Also, the billing model is now a per minute charge increment (instead of per hour). Also, MSDN subscribers have a heavily discounted rate and a credit on the Azure Services used. And last but not least, MSDN licenses can now officially be used in Azure for Dev/Test scenarios (which was not authorized previously). The details around these Azure changes can be found here, on Scott Guthrie’s (@scottgu) page.

    Another important announcement was made as well: Windows Azure BizTalk Services (WABS) is now available in public preview. That’s right!!! BizTalk in a Platform as a Service offering… that’s really cool because it not only offers a new hosted model for BizTalk, but because it demonstrates Microsoft’s commitment to this platform. To find out more about the newly published BizTalk service preview, visit this page.

    Many other announcements were made, including the upcoming availability of System Center 2012 R2 and Window Server 2012 R2. And not to forget SQL Server 2014, with its significant performance improvements that come from the use of an in-memory relational engine. More information about SQL Server 2014 can be found here.

    In summary, this was a big day! Lots of announcements and cool features. I am now looking forward to some of the drilldown sessions around these technologies.


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  • 06/07/13--09:57: Friday Five-June 7, 2013
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    In the first four parts of this series we covered how to create infographics using existing, enhanced and new features in PowerPoint 2013. In this, the final article in the series, we’ll discuss how to combine the infographics we created to tell a cohesive story. We’ll also cover a few more techniques not previously mentioned. This article assumes you’ve read the previous articles and know how to use the techniques covered in them. It also assumes you know how to use PowerPoint’s features for backgrounds and pictures.

     

    imageLet’s return to the hierarchy of knowledge and see how successful we were in using infographics to move the data to wisdom. To recap, data moves to wisdom in three steps:

    · From data to information by applying context

    · From information to knowledge through analysis

    · From knowledge to wisdom through action

     

    From the previous infographics, Shady Sam’s sales team has gained this valuable knowledge:

    · They are overstocked on yellow cars

    · They are understocked on blue cars

    · They have the correct amount of red cars

    · Sales lag in the spring and summer months

    · They are located in one of the top ten states for hybrid car sales

    · They have great financing options for hybrid cars

    · Smog is higher in their area during the spring and summer

    · Fewer hybrid cars are sold in the spring and summer

     

    Using this knowledge, the team decides on these goals and actions (wisdom):

    · Sell more yellow cars

    · Stock more blue cars (dependent on lowering stock of yellow cars)

    · Sell more cars in the spring and summer

    · Sell more hybrid cars in the spring and summer

    With these goals in mind, the sales team has decided to have a sales event running from spring through summer. They’re going to offer 20% off all yellow cars with 0% financing. They’re also going to promote hybrid car sales with the special financing options. They’ve decided on two slogans to promote their sales event: Drive the Sunshine Event and The Summer of the Hybrid. They would like to have a flyer to promote their sale. This flyer should tell the story of their sales event in a manner to entice customers to come and buy their cars.

    We’ll begin by creating a background. Since these will be printed flyers, a color background may mean a higher cost for printing. This is something to keep in mind when designing a printed product. You can see any of your PowerPoint slides in black and white by clicking on the View tab and clicking Black and White in the Color/Grayscale group. This is an exceptionally useful feature when designing for print. Shady Sam wants the flyer to be very colorful and is ok with the extra cost, so we’ll use color for the background. Since the flyer is covering two distinct time periods, we’ll use a gradient of green and blue to create the background to represent the two different seasons.

    clip_image002

    We’ll also include some stock pictures as the background for the headline. I chose a picture with a field of yellow flowers and cherry blossoms on a hill to represent spring and two lounge chairs at the beach to represent summer. I then cropped the pictures and aligned them side by side.

    clip_image004

    This creates a nice feeling for both spring and summer, but there is a very clear delineation between the two pictures. By rotating the picture on the left horizontally, a cohesive line is created where the hill flows into the surf and the flowers flow into the beach. This gives an increased sense of movement and transition from spring to summer. You may use these same pictures or choose different pictures or a single picture or no picture for your headline background.

    clip_image006

    So are backgrounds and pictures infographics? In this example, yes. They clearly work together to tell the viewer that this flyer is about spring and summer.

    Shady Sam has chosen the headline: Shady Sam’s Spring and Summer Sale. We’ll place the text right on top of the background and apply some formatting to make it look nice. We’ll also use the ampersand instead of the word and. In this instance it’s very effective because all the words begin with S and the ampersand is very similar in appearance. People are predisposed to like similarity and this is an instance where we can capitalize on that.

    clip_image008

    Now it’s just a matter of adding the infographics and any additional elements to the slide. Because the slide is divided between spring and summer, I’ve chosen to arrange my elements in a mirrored layout. I’ve included the infographics we created for the hybrid cars financing options, the chart for air quality – hybrid car sales and the Office Apps gauge and word cloud. I’ve also created a new infographic for the yellow car sales using the SmartArt vertical circle list and customized it to look similar to a sun. I’ve added a yellow convertible image for balance and clarity of the sale. The remaining elements are text elements with the slogans and the contact information.

    clip_image002[4]

    Notice that the layout is not perfectly symmetrical. Symmetry is a beautiful thing and we, as humans, find it most attractive. But a little asymmetry can add interest to a product. As with everything else, moderation is key. You should experiment with your own infographics and layouts, using color or not.

    This concludes this series on PowerPoint 2013 Visualizations: Infographics. I hope you’ve found it helpful and informative. You can download the PowerPoint file I used to create all the infographics you’ve seen in this series from my Visualology SkyDrive. Except where noted all images used are from Office Online.

    About the author

    Glenna Shaw is a Most Valued Professional (MVP) for PowerPoint and the owner of the PPT Magic Web siteand the Visualology blog. She is a Project Management Professional (PMP)
    and holds certificates in Knowledge Management, Accessible Information Technology, Graphic Design, Cloud Computing and Professional Technical Writing.  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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    Editor’s note:  The following blog post was written by Silverlight MVP Chris Klug

    Ok, so I have just been at my first TechEd keynote on the northern hemisphere and probably my 50th keynote all in all…and to be honest, it doesn’t get that much better… And by that, I don’t mean that keynotes don’t get better than the one I just saw. I mean that they don’t get better with time… Ler

    In this case, it was pretty uneventful. A lot of IT-Pro stuff, which is to be expected at TechEd, but also a bit of Dev-Div stuff from Scott Gu. So even if most of it was out of my interest zone, there were a few cool things. Such as the announcement of pricing changes on Azure, as well as changes in licensing for using MSDN licenses in Azure for dev/test.

    The biggest announcement being that shut down instances in Azure will not be charged in the future, and charging will be done per minute instead of per hour. So this makes for a great dev/test platform that won’t rack up too much cost as one can shut down instances when not in use, without having to delete them and thus cause long startup times…

    Ok, that was about all I could get out of the keynote… Sorry if it wasn’t a lot, but at least it was something…

    Next up on my personal schedule is to run off to the Microsoft Solution Experience stand and answer questions about Windows 8 development…


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  • 06/14/13--09:40: Friday Five–June 14, 2013
  • 1. Simple Validation with MVVM for Windows Store apps

    By Silverlight MVP Jeremy Likness – @jeremylikness

    2. Demystifying Microsoft’s Git Offering

    By Visual Studio ALM MVP Jeff Bramwell – @jbramwell

    3. TechEd 2013: A tale of two Surfaces and a fire sale

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

    4. Spooling in SQL execution plans

    By  SQL Server MVP Rob Farley – @rob_farley

    5. Office 365 Wave 15 Pilot Migrations

    By Office365 MVP Sean McNeill – @s_mcneill


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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 System MVP Stephanie Krieger which is the 28th in the series

    From Macros to Apps: Automating Office 2013

    Millions of people use Microsoft Office to create nearly as many types of content. But one thing holds true for just about all of us: whatever we need to do with Office—regardless of how much experience we have doing it—we always want ways to do it faster or easier.

    So, in this post, we’ll look at two timesaving, simplifying, and downright horizon-expanding features—one brand new and one that’s not new at all. This post is all about automating the tasks you need (or want) to do with Office and maybe those you didn’t know you could do. We’ll look at a longtime favorite tool of mine—recording and writing macros—and one great, new idea that’s not just for your smartphone anymore: apps.

    Reintroducing a true classic: get to know macros

    A macro is a set of actions that you can name and save for easy access. Yes, technically a macro is programming—but please don’t let that stop you from reading on. You don’t have to be a programmer to use them.

    For example, say that you’re creating a report in Word that will contain dozens of tables you’re pasting in from other sources. Each time you add a new table, you have to take several steps—such as clearing the existing formatting and applying a table style. If you record a macro while taking those steps in one table, you can then apply all of those steps to each subsequent table with just a click.

    If you want to take that one step further to save far more time, learn a bit about how to edit and write your own macros and then edit that macro to apply those steps to every table in your document at once (or even just to tables that meet specific criteria).

    In Word, Excel, Visio, and Project, you can record macros without ever seeing a single line of code. Or, if you learn just a bit about the language behind macros, you can also edit and write your own macros in those programs as well as in PowerPoint, Outlook, Access, and Publisher.

    Note: Even though you can’t record macros in Outlook, you can automate many repetitive tasks easily using the really cool Quick Steps feature, which is not a programming language. Click here for more info on creating Quick Steps.

    Exploring built-in features first

    Each time a new version of Office is released, regardless of how many new and cool features it brings, one question I always hear more than most is how to save time on repetitive tasks. But the answer is often not new at all. Sometimes, it’s an existing feature that’s designed to save time and improve results, and it might be much easier than you think. For example:

    · Use a paragraph style in Word to save and reuse a collection of formatting attributes and apply them to text with one click.

    · Customize a slide layout in PowerPoint to automatically size and position content consistently across multiple slides.

    · Convert a range to a table in Excel for shortcuts such as built-in sort and filter tools or the ability to add a formula to an entire column of data at once.

    · Use the Replace feature in Word or Excel to replace formatting.

    · Convert a bulleted list in PowerPoint to a SmartArt diagram.

    I love macros and can’t recommend strongly enough that almost any experienced Microsoft Office user can benefit from knowing a little bit about them, even if it’s just using the macro recorders. But the simplest method is usually the best way to go about any task in Office, and this is no exception. So, if there is a built-in feature to do what you need, it might be faster and easier than trying to do it with any type of code. But for tasks that don’t have a built-in feature to offer as a solution, the answer is often to record or write a macro.

    To help you get started with macros in Office 2013, I’m not going to give you the basic steps you can get from many other places. Instead, let’s take a look at some tips to save you time and help you feel like a pro from the get-go.

    Continue here to read the full article

     

    About the author

    StephKrieger

    Stephanie Krieger is a Microsoft Office MVP and the author of three books on advanced Microsoft Office content creation and extensibility. As a professional document consultant, she specializes in developing custom solutions for Microsoft Office content and teaches clients to build great content by helping them understand how Microsoft Office programs “think.”

    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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    Windows Expert-IT Pro MVP Elias Mereb and Windows Azure MVP Herve Roggero offer their impressions of TechEd North America 2013 in two exclusive interviews on the event floor.   

     

    TechEd NA 2013: Elias Mereb

    TechEd NA 2013: Herve Roggero

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  • 06/21/13--10:20: Friday Five-June 21, 2013
  • 0 0

    Editor’s note: The following post was written by PowerPoint MVP Geetesh Bajaj

    Most presenters just cram their slides with text – you may have seen such slides often, characterized by so much text that they look like a Word document repurposed as a slide – or even worse, it may appear as someone just copied tons of data from an Excel sheet and put in on a single slide! Of course, each of the slides would receive awards for competing in a “Fill-up-your-slide” contest.

    OK, there’s no such contest – yet there are entrants for such contests everywhere. So the question that needs to be asked is why do presenters assume that their slides need so much text? There are several answers – and most of these get repeated each time I ask this question in my training sessions:

    1. Presenters are scared – yes, this is another form of stage fear. All that text on the slides keeps them reassured that there’s something they can hold on to in case they stumble. You must have seen many such presenters – typically these are the ones who look at their slides and read aloud to their audiences.

    2. Presenters expect questions – this happens mainly in internal presentations where a presenter may expect some questions from their boss or other superiors. To combat these questions, they keep all sorts of supporting content available on their slides.

    3. Presenters are not prepared – most presenters seldom practice. Or some presenters never create their own slides – someone else made it for them, and although they did want to study these slides before the actual presentation, they either had no time to do so or they just procrastinated until there was no time left!

    Now before we proceed, this article is about a cool PowerPoint feature that can help all presenters who are in a soup because of the reasons we just discussed. However, presenters who are confident, well versed in their subjects, and prepared can also use this cool feature – that will make them awesome presenters!

    This cool feature is called Presenter View, and it allows two different views to be shown in your laptop and the projected display – let us just call these Displays 1 and 2. Remember that we will use the terms Display 1 and Display 2 for the rest of this tutorial.

    Typically Display 2 is either projected or connected to a large TV – and your audience sees this view. All they can see is full screen slides typical of PowerPoint’s Slide Show view – as shown in the sample slide you see towards the right half in Figure 1.

    image

    Figure 1: Dual display is not duplicated

    Display 1 on the other hand shows PowerPoint’s Presenter View, as shown towards the left half in Figure 1. In PowerPoint 2013, the options available in this view have been completely revamped:

    In previous versions of PowerPoint, you had to turn on this view manually – but PowerPoint 2013 auto detects if you have two displays available, and then turns on Presenter view.
    Having said so, it’s still a great idea to ascertain whether Presenter View shows up on your laptop (Display 1) or projector (Display 2). In case it shows up on the wrong display, you can swap both displays – follow these steps:

    1. In Presenter view, select the Display Settings option in the toolbar at the top (see Figure 2).

    2. This brings up a small menu – choose the Swap Presenter View and Slide Show option (see Figure 2, again).

    image

    Figure 2: Swap your displays

    If you are connected to only a single display and still want to emulate Presenter View, you can now do that from within Slide Show view. Place your cursor over the navigation icons on the bottom left area of the projected slide, as shown in Figure 3, below. Click the last icon to bring up a contextual menu -- choose the Show Presenter View option in this menu (see Figure 3 again).

    image 

    Figure 3: Notice the contextual menu with the Show Presenter View option

    Now that you have explored how you can bring up Presenter View, let us explore all the options available within this view, including the new options that allow you to zoom onto a specific part of your slide – or even pan across the slide area. Additionally, you now also have dedicated Pause, Resume and Restart buttons that provide you with a better control over your presentation timings.

    Look at Figure 4, below – this shows a typical Presenter View screen.

    image

    Figure 4: Presenter View

    Each of the individual elements in Presenter View is marked with a number in Figure 4, above -- and explained below.

    1. Toolbar: Here you find three options:

    a. Show Taskbar: This lets you see your Window taskbar. One click will make your taskbar available, and another will hide it again – so, this is a toggle option. This can be a useful option if you need to access any of your open applications. For example, you may have an Excel sheet open that you want to show to your audience – clicking this option will let you easily access the Excel sheet via the Windows taskbar.

    b. Display Settings: Clicking this option brings up the menu shown earlier (see Figure 2). The topmost Swap Presenter and Slide Show option swaps your displays. You can also choose the Duplicate Slide Show option – this duplicates what you see on both displays – in effect, you no longer see Presenter View even though you are using two displays, as shown in Figure 5, below. You end up with Slide Show views on both your displays (compare with Figure 1).

    image


    Figure 5: Two instances of Slide Show view, and no Presenter view
    Note: If you are only using a single display, these options will not be available.

    c. End Slide Show: Exits your presentation.

    2. Timer: This area shows the time elapsed since your Slide Show started. PowerPoint 2013 introduces two extra buttons for Pause/Resume and Restart.

    3. Slide Preview: This shows a smaller preview of the slide that’s shown in Slide Show view on Display 2.

    4. Next Slide: Provides a preview of your next slide so that you know what’s coming up next.

    5. Note: Displays notes (if there are any) for the current slide.

    6. Extra Controls: These five controls are placed below the Slide Preview (see Figure 6).

    image

    Figure 6: Controls, explained from left to right

    a. Pen and Laser Pointer tools: Click on this button to bring up a menu that lets you choose a pen or highlighter to annotate your slides – or even a mock laser pointer.

    b. See All Slides: Shows your entire slide deck (see Figure 7) – only you see this view, and your audience continues seeing Slide Show view with one slide. You can choose any slide you want to show on Display 2 to your audience. This option quickly lets you get from your active slide to any other slide in your presentation.
    image

    Figure 7: All your slides

    c. Zoom into the slide: Zoom on a part of your slide and then pan around.

    d. Black or Un-black Slide Show: A toggle that lets you turn your Display 2 completely black so that the audience no longer sees any slides. Click again to un-black the screen.

    e. More Slide Show Options: Bring up a drop-down list with several options that will help you manipulate your presentation’s delivery better.

    7. Navigation: The Previous and Next buttons let you navigate back and forth your slides. The thin bar in between shows the progress of your slides on a live thermometer style strip, along with the slide number of the active slide.

    8. Make Notes Larger or Smaller: These two buttons make the text in your Notes area larger or smaller.

    Presenter View is one of those options in PowerPoint that you really won’t miss unless you play with it – thereafter, you will want to use it all the time because the level of control that this amazing option provides can help any presenter be more capable and confident.

    However, this is one of those PowerPoint features that needs a fair amount of practice – so first play with this view alone or when you have a few friends or colleagues in the audience. Once you are more comfortable with Presenter View, you can then use it to present like a pro in front of a larger audience or even a smaller audience that may comprise your superiors, investors, or even complete strangers!

    About the author

    clip_image002

    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.

    Geetesh believes that any PowerPoint presentation is a sum of its elements--these elements include abstract elements like concept, color, interactivity, and navigation--and also slide elements like shapes, graphics, charts, text, sound, video, and animation. He explains how these elements work together in his best-selling book Cutting Edge PowerPoint for Dummies--the book has several five-star ratings on Amazon.com. He has also authored three subsequent books on PowerPoint 2007 for Windows, and two on Microsoft Office for Mac.

    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 blog post was written by Visual C# MVP David Giard

    Last week, I was doubly fortunate. First, because I had the opportunity to attend my second Tech Ed. Although I attend a lot of conferences, the large, commercial conferences tend to be out of my price range. But more importantly, I was fortunate to be invited to speak at Tech Ed this year. This was by far the largest in-person event at which I have ever spoken and it was a great experience!

    I arrived in New Orleans Saturday night and had dinner with Richard Campbell and Tibi Covaci - two of the smartest people I know.

    Saturday morning, I woke up early and took a bus with a bunch of volunteers to a New Orleans neighborhood still recovering from the devastation of Hurricane Katrina 8 years ago. Tech Ed partnered with several local charities to invite a busload of attendees to help build houses in this neighborhood. You can read more about the event here.

    A morning pounding nails left me exhausted but a hot bath later I was ready to attend the INETA Meet and Greet - a chance for those in the developer community to connect with one another. It was also a great chance for me to catch up with others on the INETA Board of Directors, an amazing group of people who put a lot of effort into making the developer community better.

    My presentation was scheduled for Monday afternoon, so I spent most of the morning preparing for it. The topic was "Effective Data Visualization" - a talk I have given many times in the past. I was nervous but the presentation went well and the 70 minutes flew by. Over 200 people attended the session and several people approached me afterward to tell me how much they enjoyed the talk and what they learned. Microsoft Evangelist Brady Gaster was kind enough to sit in my session and provide some valuable feedback on my presentation skills. You can watch a recording of my presentation here.

    At Tech Ed last year in New Orleans, I won "Speaker Idol" - a competition among those who have never presented at Tech Ed before. Carl Franklin and Richard Campbell of .NET Rocks fame host the contest in which each contestant must deliver a 5-minute presentation, followed by critiquing by a panel of 4 judges. A heat takes place each day during lunch and the finals are held on the last day of Tech Ed. As last year's Speaker Idol champion, I was asked to be a judge this year. The quality of the competition was amazing this year and I was excited to see Jeff Fritz - whom I met at last year's Speaker Idol - finish as runner-up this year. The champion was Jessica Devita, who gave an excellent presentation on Office 365 Migrations. I had a blast judging this event and I'm grateful I was asked to do so.

    One advantage this conference has is the number of people on the Microsoft product teams who attend and make themselves available. One section of the trade show floor is designated "Ask the Experts" where Microsoft employees and industry experts make themselves available to answer questions of attendees. I took advantage of this opportunity, getting answers to my question about how to configure startup options for Lync (the menu is hidden until you click the 'Gear' icon); and my question about how to configure DNS to point to my Azure Web Site without prefacing the URL with "www" (I need to add the URL to the "MANAGE DOMAINS" list in the Azure portal).

    On Wednesday, I volunteered to work one of the Ask the Experts area and I answered a number of questions about Visual Studio.

    Tech Ed features over 700 sessions, which can be a bit overwhelming. I managed to catch a few of these - some in person and some via recordings. My notes are at the end of this article. I'll likely be watching some more videos during the coming weeks. They are available at http://channel9.msdn.com/Events/TechEd/NorthAmerica/2013#fbid=-b30gJBZH1s

    Even without Tech Ed, a few days in New Orleans is a pleasant experience. The hotel (Loews) was great; I explored the French Quarter in the evenings; Thanks to Becky Isserman, I experienced my first Beignet (at Cafe du Monde); I attended a number of parties thrown by sponsors; I had dinner with many old and new friends, including Mihai Tataran, Mark Minasi, Brent Stineman, Dustin Campbell, Chris Woodruff, and too many others to list here; I ate too much excellent spicy food; and I walked so much that my feet ached by the time I left.

    The only downside was that I had to leave a day early to attend my son's high school graduation, so I missed the closing party at the Louisiana Super Dome that featured a concert by Tina Turner.

    All in all, Tech Ed was an amazing experience and I hope to be invited to speak again next year.

    Photos of Tech Ed

    IMG_4682-M[1]IMG_4671-M[1]


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    Windows Expert Consumer MVP Michel Martin has released a Windows 8 app entitled “Video Training Windows 8,” a set of video tutorials on Windows 8.

    He was inspired to create this app in response to frequently asked questions from his students in the classroom.

    Screenshot.65221.1000000

    “My app "Video Training Windows 8" is a global answer to my students.  When teaching Windows 8, the same questions are asked again and again. That gave me inspiration to create a new app, answering all those questions in short videos, easy to understand and easy to reproduce. That's how I started creating apps for Windows 8. At the moment, 16 of my apps are available in the Store and I have 8 new apps almost ready to release.”

    In regards to his MVP experience, he stated, “I've been a happy Windows Consumer Expert MVP for 9 years. Every year, it's great to meet my peers at Seattle and network with them on Windows. Hope to be a MVP for ten more years!”

     

     

    Screenshot.65221.1000001

    If you were a Windows 7, Vista or XP user, this app will show you everything you need to know in order to use Windows 8 efficiently. Discover Modern UI, the new Windows 8 interface, talismans, touch gestures and keyboard shortcuts you need to know. Learn to juggle effectively between Modern UI and the desktop, to reorganize the Start Screen, to install new apps, to synchronize your data via SkyDrive and many other things. Two versions of Internet Explorer are included in Windows 8. Discover and learn their characteristics in order to get the maximum use from both of them. Learn to use Photo Gallery, Movie Maker and VLC to effectively assist Windows when dealing with multimedia. Finally, learn Windows 8 advanced features: history files, libraries, updating and resetting a computer, etc.

     

    10390

    Michel Martin is a French Windows Expert Consumer MVP since 2004, author of more than 300 paper books, essentially on Microsoft technologies, owner of Mediaforma, a French Video Training blog and publishing center, teacher on Web 2.0 technologies, and author of many Windows 8 apps both in French and English.


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  • 06/27/13--09:55: Build 2013 Keynote
  • Editor’s note:  The following blog post was written by Virtual Machine MVP Aidan Finn

    Steve Ballmer

    An estimated 60,000 watching via webcast.  They’re going to show lots of Windows 8.1, Windows Phone, and Windows Azure.

    Windows 8.1 Preview is out now on http://preview.windows.com.  You can do an online update or you can download the ISOs.  I just saw that MSDN has the ISO downloads and one for .NET 4.5.1 Preview.

    Steve Ballmer shows some Windows Phone handsets.  They are going to show small tablets.  MSBuild attendees are getting the Acer 8” tablet.  More are on the way.  Ballmer “wouldn’t call them PCs”.

    He admits that most PCs last XMas didn’t have the touch that was emphasized in Windows 8.  Since then, touch has become the norm.  True enough, for mobile devices, for most brands.  Some Asian brands have still been slow to catch up.  Hmm, Windows 8 customers on touch devices are “happier than Windows 8 customers on non touch devices” and “even happier than Windows 7 customers”.

    He talks up the hybrid device.  That’s what I use … great for work and play.

    He then talks about apps.  To be honest, apps are improving.  The quality of games is up too.  Facebook are bringing out a Windows 8x app.  The NFL is bringing out a fantasy app for Windows 8.  That’s a huge international market.  Tesco (UK version of Wallmart) have an app too.

    Microsoft “pushed boldly in Windows 8” and desktop application users told Microsoft to “refine the blend” (in his coffee terms).

    He reminds us that the Start Button (not menu) is back.  You can choose to boot to desktop.  You can quickly get to your apps.  There are more multitasking options with how apps share screen space.

    Bing is built into Windows rather than being an app.  It’s there for devs to build on, just like Google is in Android (for the DoJ and EU Commission Smile).

    Julie Larson Green

    She starts the demo on an Acer.  First up … Nook … Ouch, Barnes and Noble.  Twitter looks decent in portrait mode … Oh, it was designed for this form factor apparently.  Oh nice feature, swiping on the space bar seems to autocomplete or something.  Now we can slide up on the top qwerty row to enter numbers.  Very nice – others will copy this.

    The Mail app now includes social features, e.g. Facebook updates.  It appears (it is a demo) that you can easily delete a common selection of junk mail with a swipe.

    Search can bring results from everywhere using Bing.  No need to explicitly select a Bing app.  In the demo, finds a restaurant, maps it, selects it, and can book a table.  A search of a band finds loads of info, and can quickly start playing music via a completely redesigned XBox music.  Redesigned for playing instead of the previous searching emphasis.  Goes to a regular music webpage.  Lists all the bands of a festival.  Shares via charms to the Music app.  The Music apps creates a playlist from the band list on the site.  Very impressive example of app contracts.

    The Start Screen is more customizable.  You can now get to All Programs by swiping up in the Start Screen.  You can sort the apps, e.g. by date installed.

    I looked away, I think I saw JLG swipe a screen without touching.  The Start Screen tiles smoothly appear on your desktop wallpaper, reinforcing the Start Menu “plus” functionality.

    We get a demo of 50/50 snapping of apps.  The split can be any size you want by sliding the splitter.  You can right-click on a link to open a new window … now it’s 3 apps on screen!  Apps on more than one screen at once.  Was surprised this wasn’t on Windows 8 tbh.

    A preview version of PowerPoint running on Windows RT.  Browses SkyDrive to get a file (default location).  Smooth transitions and video on Windows RT.  This is a PowerPoint app.

    “Windows 8.1 is Windows 8 refined” appears to be the mantra.

    Antoine Leblond.

    Boring developer stuff.  Am going into hibernation for a while.

    The Windows Store is updated to make it easier for people to find and download/buy apps.  Apps are now updated automatically.  Thank God!  The spotlight rotates.  Lots more apps are on the main screen via better use of space.  Your app history/ratings are used to prepare “Apps for you”.  The screenshots are bigger.  Related apps are shown in the description info.  You can change categories, etc by swiping from the top.

    Hmm, the app bar seems to allow much more controls now.

    Each monitor can have it’s own scaling factor to make the most of the space.  This is done by Windows and has no app requirement.

    Tiled resources is a programmable page table for graphics acceleration.  In other words, be able to render huge objects that don’t fit into the memory of your GPU.  Games can run with unprecedented level of detail.  They show a video of an object with 9 GB of data on a retail DX11 GPU.  They zoom in, and you can see the rivet detail of a glider in flight.  This feature is also in Xbox One apparently.

    A 3D printer is appearing in MSFT stores soon.  Another one coming to Staples for under $1300.  Out comes a Lego Mindstorms robot.  He uses a Windows tablet to communicate with a tablet in the robot.  The on-robot tablet controls the robot by USB interface.

    The crazy 3200 * 1800 Samsung something something something ultrabook with Haswell processor is shown.  It gets 12 hours from a single charge allegedly.  The Lenovo Helix convertible is next.  Acer Aspire P3 (1.74 lbs) with Core i5 CPU with a detachable protective cover keyboard.  A sub $400 touch Acer laptop with dual core AMD CPU.

    JLG Comes Out With Surface Pro

    And there’s the 2nd giveaway … Surface Pro with Windows 8.1 Preview and Visual Studio Preview.

    And the webcast fails because it “has not yet started”.

    And that is that.


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  • 06/28/13--10:48: Friday Five-June 28, 2013
  • 0 0

    Today, 1000 exemplary community leaders around the world were notified that they have received the MVP Award! These individuals were chosen because they have demonstrated their deep commitment to helping others make the most of their technology, voluntarily sharing their passion and real-world knowledge of Microsoft products with the community.

    While there are more than 100 million social and technical community members, only a small portion are selected to be recognized as MVPs. Each year, around 4,000 MVPs are honored. They are nominated by Microsoft, other community individuals, or in some cases themselves. Candidates are rigorously evaluated for their technical expertise, community leadership, and voluntary community contributions for the previous year. They come from more than 90 countries, speak over 40 different languages, and are awarded in more than 90 Microsoft technologies. Together, they answer more than 10 million questions a year!

    MVPs are recognized each quarter for this annual award, which continues to grow and evolve to reflect the development of Microsoft technologies.

    Congratulations to the new MVPs, and welcome back to renewed MVPs. We are very excited to recognize your amazing accomplishments!


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    Editor’s note: The following post was written by Excel MVP Ben Currier

    PivotTables have certainly become one of the most powerful ways to quickly and easily transform data into information. Yet there are still many Excel users who, for one reason or another, find themselves avoiding PivotTables. Well, Microsoft has made a lot of strides over the years to introduce new functionality and options to make PivotTables easier and more intuitive to use. With Excel 2013, Microsoft has introduced many new PivotTable features, including the new Excel Data Model which takes PivotTables to a whole new level!

    Turning Data into Information

    One of the limitations of PivotTables has been the fact that you could only use information from one data table, requiring any additional information to be added into the table in order to be included in the PivotTable. In many instances, you won’t have a lot of control over the format of the initial data or the fields provided, especially when this is pulled into Excel from some other software. For example, you may have Travel Expenses for employees that you’ve extracted from your accounting system that looks something like this:

    clip_image001

    This is a perfectly fine range of data, and you could certainly make a PivotTable based off of it, but there are a few issues. Unless you’re very familiar with your company’s internal coding, the ‘Dept Code’ and the ‘Employee Type’ fields likely won’t provide you with too much information. Especially if the output is being provided to someone without extensive systems knowledge, you’ll need to convert these codes into understandable values to provide the most clear and coherent information (see Figure 1-2 below for the related lookup ranges).

    clip_image002

    In prior versions of Excel, you would likely use a VLOOKUP function (or some other convoluted method) to add additional columns to bring in the associated Department or Employee Level. Doing this introduces more room for error (based on the quality of the formula), and is a strain on calculation speed and memory.

    With the introduction of the Excel Data Model, you can create relationships between columns of related information in separate tables. Using this new functionality, we can bring in the related Department/Employee information by adding the related Dept Code and Employee Type tables to our Data Model. This is a very simplistic usage of the Data Model, but there are many additional ways you can utilize it to your advantage (especially when incorporating PowerPivot/PowerView).

    How to Create an Excel Data Model

    Now I’ll walk you through the process of taking our Employee Travel Expenses and creating a data model with the relevant ranges.

    First, you must convert your data ranges to tables. To do this, simply highlight the range you want to convert, go to the Insert tab, and click on Table:

    clip_image003

    Once you’ve converted all three ranges to Tables, you can change the name of each Table so that you can easily identify them by going to the Design tab once you have a table selected (I’ve named them: ExpenseTable, DeptTable, EmployeeTable):

    clip_image004

    Now we will add all three of our tables to the Data Model by going to Connections under the Data tab, and clicking Add to the Data Model:

    clip_image006

    Making a PivotTable using your Data Model

    After adding these tables, you will now see ThisWorkbookDataModel, which can be now be used to create our PivotTable! Go to the Insert tab, and choose PivotTable. Then choose the option ‘Use an external data source’ which allows you to choose our Data Model as the connection:

    clip_image007

    Once you’ve selected the Data Model as your data source for the PivotTable, you should be able to see all of your tables in the field list. Also, notice the sleek new look of PivotTables in Excel 2013, including that little box with the gear logo in the top right which allows for many different views/options to be changed quickly and easily:

    clip_image008

    Now, we can start adding fields from each table to one of the PivotTable sections below. When we add information from more than one table, Excel will prompt us to create a relationship. If I want to see the Employee Expenses by Employee Level, I will need to create a relationship between the Employee Type found in both of the tables.

    clip_image009

    And once you click OK, you’re ready to rock! As you can see above, I’ve already added the Employee Level for the Columns, with the Employee Name in the Rows, and their Expense Amount in the Values section. Therefore, I should get a nice PivotTable that shows me the breakdown of expense spending across Employee Levels (with a little bit of additional changes to make it look prettier):

    clip_image010

    Feel free to play around and see which other ways you can slice and dice the data once you add in the Dept Code relationship. Of course, this is only a simple example of how you can use the Data Model. It becomes much more powerful if you have multiple tables with lots of data, and can even include connections to other workbooks or data sources (like Access for example). Once the setup of the Data Model and relationships are complete, you can slice and dice your data very quickly and easily without having to use complicated in-between formulas. Hope you’ve enjoyed the lesson!

    About the author

    Ben Currier

    Ben Currier has been working in Financial Planning and Analysis over the past 10 years. He also teaches an on-going free online Excel course at Excel Exposure with video tutorials and lessons, which aims to help people to improve their Excel skills.  He is excited about the emerging trends in online education and loves the thought of quality, free, and accessible educational information available for anyone who wants to improve their knowledge and abilities.

    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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