Saturday, 10 July 2004

A simple online web service allows you to take a Word-HTML file and clean it up quite a bit. Nifty:

"This is intended for fairly basic styled text documents; there is no support for notes, sectioning, ‘widow’ and ‘orphan’ control, etc. Typographic quotes, proper dashes and other special characters, if they exist, will be converted to HTML entities to increase their portability among browsers and platforms. Links, tables and image references should come through fine. Everything else is stripped."

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Office 2003 | Tech
Saturday, 10 July 2004 10:21:57 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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From KC Lemson's weblog, a solution to a frequently asked SharePoint question:

Publish a web part on your sharepoint site that can be dynamically consumed inline by other sites

The Exchange team uses sharepoint portal server for a lot of things, such as storing & tracking documents & lists & whatnot. As the release manager, I own the site that has the master schedule on it. There are other teams that used to have a schedule listed separately on their own sites. I wanted them to consume my web part rather than repeating the content, so that if/when the schedule changes, they don't need to update theirs (or worse yet, leave it stale and confuse someone).

Linking to my web part is one option, but that's not inline in their sites, so it's not as nice of an interface. Exporting my web part as a template for them to import will only give them a copy of it at that point in time.

Thankfully, MVP & sharepoint guru Sig clued me in on how to do this. My site is http://mysharepointserver/sites/site1. I have a web part that I want to expose inline in http://mysharepointserver/sites/site2's content. Here's how the manager of site2 can do this:

1. Open up site2 in frontpage 2003. Make sure you have the default.aspx open in the page view.
2. On the task pane, choose “Find Datasource“ (click the down arrow near the top of the task pane to see it)
3. Enter the URL
http://mysharepointserver/sites/site1 and the name of the web part you want to reference
4. Drag/drop the result to the desired location on your site and save changes

It works wonderfully. Thanks so much, Sig!

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SharePoint | Tech
Saturday, 10 July 2004 10:12:08 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Friday, 09 July 2004

Every now and then you find something on the Internet that simply captures your attention. You're not sure why, it just does...

WINDOWS SYMPHONY - Made entirely of Windows default sound effects.  Its pretty cool, actually!

(by way of Jeff Basham at

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Humor | Random Stuff
Friday, 09 July 2004 22:45:07 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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Omar posts about new Portable Media Center devices available for pre-order on

Creative Labs 20 GB Zen Portable Media Center

Samsung Yepp YH-999 20 GB Portable Media Center

Very nice. Time to do some research and get on the list for one of these. The Media Center Experience is about to take off in a big way. Both can store up to 80 hours of video, be that TV, movies or home movies, over 10,000 songs and up to 100,000 photos. See a demo of what there are all about here.

Windows Mobile-based Portable Media Centers are handheld entertainment devices that make it easy to store and play recorded TV, movies, home videos, music and photos transferred from a PC with Windows XP. You can watch and listen to your favorite entertainment anytime and anywhere – in the palm of your hand or through a TV or stereo. It’s simple to sync your music, video and pictures from your PC with Windows Media Player 10, and fast and easy to find the entertainment you want to play on your device. Portable Media Centers also support Windows Media Audio and Video plus other leading file formats, so you can choose from a wide range of music, videos and pictures.”

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Mobile | Tech | Windows Media Technology
Friday, 09 July 2004 19:33:58 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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Microsoft embraced blogging and open discussion some time ago. Now not only do they allow/encourage their employees to blog about their work and express their own opinions, they've moved all the greatness that is Microsoft-employee-blogging right onto their corporate web site. And they've completely embraced RSS as a delivery mechanism. Practically all their community content is available in RSS feeds. Nice.

From Microsoft's Community site:

We just launched the Microsoft Community Blogs Portal, a searchable listing of blogs by Microsoft employees, categorized by product or technology topic. The project also makes it easier for pages across to publish lists of relevant blogs and posts from those blogs.

This project was intended to answer one of the key pieces of feedback we get from customers about our blogging efforts to date. As people posted in response to Scoble's question about Microsoft blogs, it’s sometimes hard to find blogs about a particular technology or product that we make, even on a site like which only has full time Microsoft employees blogging. Our answer to that is to ask our bloggers to categorize their RSS feeds (and to indicate whether they’re writing for a technical audience or a more general readership). The blog portal then makes those blogs available for consumption.

The project also provides ways for blog content to be automatically incorporated into pages on We’ve already been doing this, in a proof of concept way, on MSDN in the developer centers, but the process has been very manual. This should make it much easier for all our site managers to incorporate blogs.

A nice side effect of the project is the ability to search across all of the registered RSS feeds. So if you aren’t able to find something using regular search but you think one of our bloggers might have written about it, you can search across all the registered posts from the portal.

Oh yeah, about RSS. A second project which launched yesterday, called Smart Components 2.0, also allows these contextually relevant lists of posts and blogs to be re-published via RSS. What’s that mean? In a nutshell, every one of the blog recent posts components contains a white on orange RSS badge linking to an RSS feed that is scoped to the same content set as the component. The one on the blog portal has an RSS feed of the fifty most recent posts from all registered Microsoft blogs. If I’m on the Exchange community site, there will now be an RSS feed that aggregates posts from registered bloggers who write about Exchange. And we aren’t just RSS-enabling blog content. With the new code that we deployed yesterday, all sorts of smart components on our sites, including lists of newsgroup content, upcoming chats and webcasts, knowledge base articles, and security bulletins now emit RSS.

Finally, what we shipped yesterday was a portal and a toolbox for our site managers to incorporate these features into their sites. We’ll point to uses of the new components as they go live and spread Microsoft blogs and RSS across We’ll also write specifics about some of the other new features in the Smart Components 2.0 release.

(Bonus: there are some interesting hidden features in the blog portal.)

ADDED 7/11/04: It's definitely worth noting that despite the “revolutionary” apearance (to some) of Microsoft suddenly being “open,” that's not really the case. I have always been able to talk in depth with many people at Microsoft about the things that I do in my line of work, and they have always been quite open and helpful - both in terms of providing me information I need, and in terms of collecting information from me in order to make sure they're building relevant products.

Josh Allen has a similar opinion:

People at Microsoft blog because they tend to be open, independent, and communicative; not the other way 'round.  Blogs do provide evidence that Microsoft is just a bunch of normal people like any other company; but the blogging isn't the cause of this normalcy -- it's just a new way to communicate that reality.

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Blogging | RSS Stuff | Tech
Friday, 09 July 2004 19:29:14 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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 Thursday, 08 July 2004

Oregon Senator Gordon Smith, whose son Garrett committed suicide last year, presented a youth suicide prevention bill in the US Senate today. It passed this evening. The senator made a tearful speech on the floor that brought back some awfully painful memories for me. I have supported this bill since it was first written a few months ago.

I have a personal connection and interest in this bill. My son Brian took his own life four years ago. He was 15. While the months and years since then have been very hard for those of us left behind, our pain cannot be measured against what he must have been feeling. Depression is not an illness that people need die from. Suicide is a terrible and permanent solution to a temporary problem.

Suicide is the third leading cause of death among young people. It is often detectable and preventable. This bill, should it become law - and it should become law - will fund prevention and risk detection programs that will save lives. Young lives. It's important.

Please give this your support. Please tell Senator Smith "thank you" for championing an important bill during a time in his life that I know is wrought with emotional pain.

To Senator Smith - Thank you very much for what you're doing. I'm right there with you.

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Personal Stories
Thursday, 08 July 2004 22:49:58 (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)
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