Goodbye OCS, hello Lync!

Posted in Lync, Microsoft, OCS by Tony C on September 14, 2010


As a long time user and fan of Office Communications Server, although I might be biased as it’s my day job, it’s great to see that we can now use the new name.  Here’s the new naming convention which is very straightforward…just say Lync!

2007 Release
2010 Release

Family Microsoft Office Communications Microsoft Lync
The server Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 R2 Microsoft Lync Server 2010
The client Microsoft Office Communicator 2007 R2 Microsoft Lync 2010
The service Microsoft Office Communications Online Microsoft Lync Online
The web client Microsoft Office Communicator Web Access Microsoft Lync Web App


They product team have also made available the Release Candidate so you can try it out.  Just click the banner.



Project Natal

Posted in Microsoft, Project Natal, Xbox by Tony C on January 8, 2010

A while ago I saw Peter Molyneux demo Natal and I was frankly stunned by the possibilities not just for gaming but how we interact with hardware in general.  With the annual gadget sheep dip at CES going on at the moment it’s bound to get an airing.

World Wide Telescope

Posted in astronomy, Microsoft, World Wide Telescope by Tony C on March 4, 2008

Now and again you stumble across something that makes you go <insert superlative of choice>.   The World Wide Telescope does just that and you don’t even have to an interest in astronomy to see how genius it is.  The client will be available for download soon…

It even made Scoble cry.

I have the prefect face for radio…here’s the proof

Posted in Academy Mobile, Microsoft, Podcasting by Tony C on February 12, 2008

I’m always being told I have the prefect fact for radio and here ladies and gentlemen is the proof, not that any of you who know me needed any.  It’s me and a few other podcasters sat talking about podcasting at MS UK HQ in Reading.  There’s a whole series of vids on YouTube too.

Microsoft Roundtable stars in CSI:NY

Posted in CSI, Microsoft, New York, Roundtable by Tony C on February 11, 2008

I was watching CSI: New York last night and spotted two MS Roundtable devices on a conference table.  Props to the UC guys for the product placement, Roundtables after all are very cool desktop video conferencing devices but maybe someone should tell the CSI chaps they only need to have one in the room.

Reports of death are greatly exaggerated

Posted in Apple, Microsoft by Tony C on April 10, 2007

Nothing like a bit of flame bait to get the blogsphere talking, especially if it contains the word Microsoft, and at first glance it’s difficult to see Paul Graham’s piece as anything else.   You might as well claim IBM is dead or Oracle or BT, so you’d be forgiven for thinking ‘dead’ in the Y Generation’s  dictionary actually means ‘trendy’ or ‘ not Web 2.0 bubble approved’.  Despite the provocative headline claiming ‘Microsoft is Dead’ it wasn’t actually not what Paul was saying, surprise, surprise, but that startups and VCs not longer have to include MS in their thinking.  In fact so misconstrued does Paul feel that he’s felt the need to pen/type a second piece to clarify his position. 

Fellow ‘Softie Steve Clayton has blogged already about this and I have a few ideas of my own although some do concur with Steve’s.

I agree about Google, they are a tough competitor and lead the way with search no question.  Microsoft has a lot of catching up to do.

The server vs client app question has been around the block more than once, I was at Lotus when IBM spend a huge amount of money developing and pushing Network Computing with eSuite (anyone remember that?) but no one was convinced and many still aren’t.  Steve mentioned security and connectivity as two reasons for server side apps not cutting it and I’d like to add two more, trust and privacy. 

Broadband isn’t broad enough for many applications or reliable or ubiquitous enough.  One day…maybe…and for the foreseeable future the ability to do stuff disconnected from the Internet is a given, nay a blessing.

Jeff Ventura agrees with Paul Graham’s assertion that Apple, particularly OSX, has been key in ‘the downfall’ and this is where I think both are flat wrong.  You’d have to be a fan of Columbian Marching Powder to think that OSX’s 4% marketshare vs Windows 96% marks some kind victory for Cupertino, in fact many of the Apple Acolytes don’t want OSX to become more popular because it’ll make it a target for hackers (oh yes it will) and nothing destroys the cache of being a member of a tight knit community than going mainstream.  Also Apple’s turn around is due to the iPod not OSX and the truth that dare not speak it’s name is that Windows is the most popular OS to plug an iPod into not OSX.

Windows Mobile 6

Posted in Microsoft, Mobile Phones, Tech, Uncategorized, Windows Mobile by Tony C on February 13, 2007

Mobile 6A few of you might know that I work in the part of MS Towers that looks after Windows Mobile and on Monday the latest version of the OS for handhelds was announced at 3GSM in Barcelona.  For the past few months I’ve been asked a handful of times a day “What’s new in Mobile 6?”, “When will the new devices with WM6 be available?” and of course “Whats new for developers?” and at last I can answer all of these and some others too.

My fellow Windows Mobile aficionado Jason Langridge covers the new features, with pictures, in some detail on his blog but some of the highlights include Message Smartfiltering, HTML support, Storage Card Encryption, Enforcement and Wipe, lots of Calendering enhancements making it feel as Outlook as possible, lots of cool Windows Live support, improvements to Mobile Office to take advantage of smaller screens and a ton of great UI enhancements.   For developers there’s an updated SDK which you can install straight into Visual Studio, a new emulator and a lengthy list changes to make application development, testing and deployment even easier.  There is a great doc on MSDN which covers all of this.

As for devices you can expect to see them begin to find their way in retail stores or from operators when the weather begins to get better.  That’s the early summer if you missed it!

Why Charlie Brooker hates Macs

Posted in Apple, Microsoft, Tech by Tony C on February 6, 2007

I quote this verbatim as it’s funny as well as being insightful.

I hate Macs

Charlie Brooker
Monday February 5, 2007
The Guardian

Unless you have been walking around with your eyes closed, and your head encased in a block of concrete, with a blindfold tied round it, in the dark – unless you have been doing that, you surely can’t have failed to notice the current Apple Macintosh campaign starring David Mitchell and Robert Webb, which has taken over magazines, newspapers and the internet in a series of brutal coordinated attacks aimed at causing massive loss of resistance. While I don’t have anything against shameless promotion per se (after all, within these very brackets I’m promoting my own BBC4 show, which starts tonight at 10pm), there is something infuriating about this particular blitz. In the ads, Webb plays a Mac while Mitchell adopts the mantle of a PC. We know this because they say so right at the start of the ad.“Hello, I’m a Mac,” says Webb. “And I’m a PC,” adds Mitchell. They then perform a small comic vignette aimed at highlighting the differences between the two computers. So in one, the PC has a “nasty virus” that makes him sneeze like a plague victim; in another, he keeps freezing up and having to reboot. This is a subtle way of saying PCs are unreliable. Mitchell, incidentally, is wearing a nerdy, conservative suit throughout, while Webb is dressed in laid-back contemporary casual wear. This is a subtle way of saying Macs are cool. The ads are adapted from a near-identical American campaign – the only difference is the use of Mitchell and Webb. They are a logical choice in one sense (everyone likes them), but a curious choice in another, since they are best known for the television series Peep Show – probably the best sitcom of the past five years – in which Mitchell plays a repressed, neurotic underdog, and Webb plays a selfish, self-regarding poseur. So when you see the ads, you think, “PCs are a bit rubbish yet ultimately lovable, whereas Macs are just smug, preening tossers.” In other words, it is a devastatingly accurate campaign. I hate Macs. I have always hated Macs. I hate people who use Macs. I even hate people who don’t use Macs but sometimes wish they did. Macs are glorified Fisher-Price activity centres for adults; computers for scaredy cats too nervous to learn how proper computers work; computers for people who earnestly believe in feng shui. PCs are the ramshackle computers of the people. You can build your own from scratch, then customise it into oblivion. Sometimes you have to slap it to make it work properly, just like the Tardis (Doctor Who, incidentally, would definitely use a PC). PCs have charm; Macs ooze pretension. When I sit down to use a Mac, the first thing I think is, “I hate Macs”, and then I think, “Why has this rubbish aspirational ornament only got one mouse button?” Losing that second mouse button feels like losing a limb. If the ads were really honest, Webb would be standing there with one arm, struggling to open a packet of peanuts while Mitchell effortlessly tore his apart with both hands. But then, if the ads were really honest, Webb would be dressed in unbelievably po-faced avant-garde clothing with a gigantic glowing apple on his back. And instead of conducting a proper conversation, he would be repeatedly congratulating himself for looking so cool, and banging on about how he was going to use his new laptop to write a novel, without ever getting round to doing it, like a mediocre idiot.

Cue 10 years of nasal bleating from Mac-likers who profess to like Macs not because they are fashionable, but because “they are just better”. Mac owners often sneer that kind of defence back at you when you mock their silly, posturing contraptions, because in doing so, you have inadvertently put your finger on the dark fear haunting their feeble, quivering soul – that in some sense, they are a superficial semi-person assembled from packaging; an infinitely sad, second-rate replicant who doesn’t really know what they are doing here, but feels vaguely significant and creative each time they gaze at their sleek designer machine. And the more deftly constructed and wittily argued their defence, the more terrified and wounded they secretly are. Aside from crowing about sartorial differences, the adverts also make a big deal about PCs being associated with “work stuff” (Boo! Offices! Boo!), as opposed to Macs, which are apparently better at “fun stuff”. How insecure is that? And how inaccurate? Better at “fun stuff”, my arse. The only way to have fun with a Mac is to poke its insufferable owner in the eye. For proof, stroll into any decent games shop and cast your eye over the exhaustive range of cutting-edge computer games available exclusively for the PC, then compare that with the sort of rubbish you get on the Mac. Myst, the most pompous and boring videogame of all time, a plodding, dismal “adventure” in which you wandered around solving tedious puzzles in a rubbish magic kingdom apparently modelled on pretentious album covers, originated on the Mac in 1993. That same year, the first shoot-’em-up game, Doom, was released on the PC. This tells you all you will ever need to know about the Mac’s relationship with “fun”. Ultimately the campaign’s biggest flaw is that it perpetuates the notion that consumers somehow “define themselves” with the technology they choose. If you truly believe you need to pick a mobile phone that “says something” about your personality, don’t bother. You don’t have a personality. A mental illness, maybe – but not a personality. Of course, that hasn’t stopped me slagging off Mac owners, with a series of sweeping generalisations, for the past 900 words, but that is what the ads do to PCs. Besides, that’s what we PC owners are like – unreliable, idiosyncratic and gleefully unfair. And if you’ll excuse me now, I feel an unexpected crash coming.

Windows Home Server

Posted in Home Server, Microsoft, Tech by Tony C on January 9, 2007

HP MediaSmart ServerWith CES now well under way and the blogsphere hanging on to every announcement it’s good to see Windows Home Server finally make a public apperance, there have been comments and hushed remarks about this at least as long as I’ve been as MS Towers, interestingly the HP MediaSmart Server in the picture is almost exactly how I imagined the box might look like.  OK without the blue bars or the HP logo but you get the idea.

Of course lots of people have been doing this kind of thing for sometime but it’s interesting to see it now productised and sold as an appliance.  As it’s designed to be placed out of sight it doesn’t come with a keyboard or monitor but is accessed via a web based console from any PC, or Mac hopefully, in the house.  It won’t be long I suspect before we see a whole range of these from various hardware vendors and I’m going to start clearing space this weekend!