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September 29, 2009

Win 7 Network adapter problem

If you are following my blabberings on Win 7, you will notice that most of things have worked fine for me so far, except for Office Communicator 2005 that I wrote about here. Another thing that I found not working correctly is the network adapter's ability to detect and connect back to network post hibernation. I found many instances of similar issues logged on the forums.

I even tried ensuring that the adapters are set to not power off, but that didn't help. The issue is specifically visible when I switch network post hibernation, i.e. say I was using LAN before getting into hibernation and post resume tried to join a wireless network. I am using a Dell XPS M1330 laptop  and have even asked my Dell vendor to check for any updated drivers, but none so far.

Are you also facing this issue? What worked for you? In my case, reboot is the only option as of now.

September 24, 2009

Windows 8

Having worked on MS platform all these years, I am well aware that while we get on to understanding and using any new releases, MS is usually well underway planning and development of next version. With self having just got onto Win 7, it wasn't a big surprise to see information on Windows 8 already being available. Check here and here.

September 14, 2009

Win 7 shuts down quickly

Another aspect of Win 7 that I noticed while using it for this past couple of week is the shutdown time. I haven't measured it explicitly but based on causual observation it does shuts down much faster than Vista. Boot time somehow doesn't seem to have changed much.

I did find this comparison on forums though and these are pretty much in line with my experience. How about your experience?

Win 7 and Office Communicator 2005

I have talked about few of my experiences with Win 7 so far here, here and here. In general the experience so far has been good and applications either work as is or by setting the compatibility mode appropriately.

However with Office Communicator 2005 there is an issue in desktop andapplication sharing. OC 2005 uses Netmeeting as the underlying mechanism for sharing and Netmeeting isn't supported Vista onwards. The OC 2005 planning and deployment guide also only lists OSs till XP as supported and Vista and Win 7 aren't. There was a hotfix released later by MS to support Netmeeting on Vista, but this isn't supported on Win 7.

So with Win 7 you can use OC 2005 for chatting, but can't do desktop and application sharing. You need to either upgrade to OCS 2007 and OC 2007 or use other tools like Live Meeting etc.

September 4, 2009

Part 3: Handling Virtual Sessions

In Part 1, I talked about general presentation skills and in Part 2, I talked about specifically why presentations should be uploaded when handling live meeting sessions.

In this part, I will talk a bit more on virtual sessions like live meeting or any other tool or just audio sessions.

Unlike class room or face to face presentations, virtual sessions need to be managed a bit different and often people fail to realize some basic guidelines. Here are they

1. Since you can't see the audience (unless using video conference) being able to gauge the audience mood becomes difficult and hence you need to possibly interrupt your speaking at regular intervals to let audience ask questions.

2. The voice quality and clarity will play a significant roll in ensuring that the presentation is well received. At least as the speaker try to be as close to the microphone so that you can be heard loud and clear.

3. Talk a bit slowly to ensure people are able to follow what you are speaking.

4. When navigating between slides, call out the slide number or title to ensure that audience can follow along. This isn't necessary if you are using tools like live meeting where everyone is seeing the presentation as you control it. But it may happen that people are locally running the presentations and then this becomes important.

5. Pay attention to your audio input as well. I have seen many cases where the speaker goes on and on, while the audience may be trying to interrupt to ask questions. This can upset the audience and either they will lose interest or worst still will disconnect and leave.

6. You may want to, in the interest of covering all the material, not allow questions in between. In such a case, always announce this upfront and possibly put the audio bridge in lecture/silent mode.

7. Many audio bridges announce people's names as they join in. Since there are always late joiners, you may want to switch off the announcement feature so that those joining late don't interrupt the audio line. This obviously depends on type of call and how many people are expected to join in.

8. At the start of the session, you can plan to take a poll to check all can hear the audio line clearly. Just asking on the line may not work, as someone who isn't able to hear, can obviously not hear you asking, if the line is working or not, as well.  

9. Upload presentation to live meeting server if doing this via live meeting as mentioned in Part 2. Also if you have to show demo and possibly run local applications, you may want to plan on sharing on those applications. This however needs you be careful. As you switch between your local applications, you must make sure that they are shared and are the currently selected ones. Additionally when switching back to presentation post demo, again don't forget to share the presentation. These steps are necessary if you haven't shared your desktop.

10. Note that based on bandwidth, the screen refresh on the audience could be slow hence you may want to do things slowly and also keep asking people on what they are seeing. Another option is to use a parallel machine and connect that as regular participant to the virtual session and check that for screen status.

These are pretty much main points that I can think of. If you have more suggestions, do write back.

September 2, 2009

Win 7 - more reactions

Some days back I had written about my Win 7 RTM migration and about my experiences with the issues Naveen had faced. In this blog, I will capture some of the things that I noticed and most of them are those that I liked.

You will surely find lot of details about new features on Win 7. Via this entry I am only capturing the things that I noticed and have started to like.

1. The initial look i.e. Windows booting (with a cute animation) and login screen was very pleasing to the eye. The default background also looks good.

2. The background supports a concept of series of images that will run as slide show and some very cool new images are available.

3. The action center is very useful. Post my anti-virus setup, I immediatly got notified about updates for the anti-virus not happening. The issue was fixed as I have already mentioned in my earlier blog.  

4. Win 7 continues to have UAC. One good part of it now, is that it disables some obvious mistakes that one can commit. You can no longer just right click on C:\ or C:\Windows and create new files. The option just doesn't appears. The only available option is to create a new folder. If you disable UAC, this behavior obviously changes and you can then do the things the routine way. This did catch me by surprise initially. With UAC enabled, you will have to do something like, open notepad, write your text file and then do a save as into C:\Windows folder.

5. Another very interesting feature as seen in the figure below is the progress bar that is seen right in the taskbar buttons itself. I was doing some file copy operations and the explorer button in the taskbar shows the percentage (you should be able to notice the green colored bar roughly till midway in the button) 

progressbar.png

6. Win 7 also seems to have done away with the quick launch concept and instead introduced the idea of pinning applications to taskbar. There are interesting features related to this.

  • The applications that are pinned appear as normal icons on the taskbar, while those that aren't and are opened explicitly, appear are 3D buttons
  • The pinned applications if opened, also start to appear as 3D buttons, thus distinguising between only pinned applications and those that are pinned but also running currently.
  • Another point visible in the figure above, is the additional buttons behind the IE (1) and Explorer (2) buttons. These indicate the number of additional such application windows open and happens when you group similar task bar buttons options enabled
  • By default Win 7 doesn't displays the labels also for the applications, thus saving on space on taskbar.

7. While these pinned buttons works pretty much like quickly launch, it offers few additional benefits that I noticed.

  • On right clicking pinned buttons, they show the "Frequent" list. So for Browser it is frequently visited sites, for explorer it is frequently visited folders etc.
  • Since applications opened using pinned buttons aren't additionally added to taskbar (like it used to happen with quick launch), it saves space on the taskbar.

8. The pinning however has a little side effect also that I found a bit difficult. I cannot open multiple applications using pinned buttons by just a click. I need to right click and select suitable option. See figure below that shows this for the IE button. If an instance of IE is already running, I will have to right click and then select IE again to open a new window.

options.png

9. The thumbnail effect for taskbar buttons on mouse hover introduced with Vista is still available and with a smooth animation as you move across buttons. This animation is only noticeable if you have only single instances running.

10. If there are multiple instances of an application running and you have the group similar taskbar buttons option checked, as you hover over the button, you will see the thumbnails for all instances and can then select the appropriate instance. Of all that instances the one currently in foreground (if any) is highlighted with a different color for easy identification.

11. In continuation to previous point, as you move between the thumbnails of different instances, or different applications, the one on which you are currently hovering is brought to the front and other windows are made transparent with only their edges visible. This helps easily identify the right window.

12. Windows that need attention like Calendar alerts from Outlook cause the taskbar button to get highlighted.

13. Another interesting feature is that if you shake any particular window a bit, all other windows are minimized.  

14. So much for various explorer/taskbar related features. Interestingly the Shutdown option is now available directly on the start button. You can click on the arrow next to it to get additional options like log off, restart etc, but shutting down is a click faster now.

15. There is a small rectangle right on the edge of the taskbar besides the system tray. Clicking this minimizes all windows and takes you to the desktop. And if you hover over it, you can easily take a peek at your desktop, as it makes all other windows transparent

16. Finally, gadgets no longer need Sidebar and can be directly dropped on the desktop.

These are by no means all the interesting features that Win 7 has added, but just those that I have noticed in my few days with Win 7. I will share more as I explorer Win 7 more.

September 1, 2009

Win 7 - Multiple default printers

Sometime last year I had mentioned about the problem I had faced with Word, where it used to display "Word has stopped working". Many people reverted back with same issues. The good news is that with Win 7, this issue won't be seen.

With Win 7, you can now specify different default printers based on your current network. See the figure below that shows how this can be configured.

win7printer.png

The earlier problem with Word was happening due to the specific printer not being available. Since I can now configure different default printers based on the network I am on, the issue of not finding printer will not arise.

The issue of printer could possibly also get addressed with Office 2010 as well. I had played around a bit with Office 2010, but more with Outlook 2010. What ever little I used this technology preview bits, I didn't see this printer related problem.

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