Scott Hanselman

How to Collaborate with Remote Employees with Office Communicator 2007 R2

October 6, '09 Comments [13] Posted in Microsoft | Remote Work | Tools
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18737888 (1) Our business administrator emailed me just now:

Can you please send me instructions on how team members can share their desktop with you while they are presenting?  I may want to include this in my meeting requests for them.

This is our #1 challenge as remote employees - the 10 to 15 minutes of messing around with technology at the beginning of the meeting so we can really engage. I'm writing this post so I can point people to it when I setup meetings internally at Microsoft.

LiveMeeting is great, but sometimes it feels like a hassle. It's that tiny hassle that can keep you, as the local person, from setting it up, and it's the Remote Employee really suffers. However, if you've got Office Communicator, doing remote collaboration takes literally seconds to setup. Please, love your remote employees.

Here's a brief (Microsoft-centric) How-To that covers your options:

  • How to Share Your Desktop to People with Office Communicator 2007 R2
    • And include Video
  • How to Share Your Desktop to Remote People who don't have Office Communicator

How to Share Your Desktop to People with Office Communicator 2007 R2

There's a number of ways, so pick the right one for you. When you're just talking to less than 16 people or so (not an unreasonable number and fairly typical) just:

  • Double-click on one person's name in Office Communicator to start a chat.
  • image
  • Drag other people you want into that first chat window.
  • Click the Share button.
    image
    Note: If you have multiple monitors and you just want to share one, click the down arrow to the right and select the monitor you want to share.

And, to include Video...

imageIf you've got a webcam plugged in, you can click the video icon at any time to add video to the conversation. If you don't have a webcam, but you are in a room with a Microsoft Roundtable, just plugin the Roundtable before you start the chat. Then you'll be able to share video. The Roundtable will take care of showing the current speaker.


How to Share Your Desktop to Remote People who don't have Office Communicator

Sometimes you might want to share your desktop to up to 15 people where some don't have Office Communicator, either because they are external to the company or they're at home, etc. You can always use SharedView to share your desktop.

You install SharedView easily here and it won't mess up your machine. SharedView has an advantage over other sharing systems as it allows each attendee their own mouse pointer with their name over it. This makes it easy for folks to say "I mean this..." while simultaneously pointing.

As the presenter, after running SharedView you:

  • Click the large menu ball in the upper-left then "Start a Session." You'll want to log in with a Windows Live ID (Passport) .
    image
  • You can copy/paste the invitation instructions and email them to your attendees, OR even easier: Just tell your attendees your Windows Live ID and ask them to sign in, then "Join a Session" and enter the presenter/host's Live ID.
  • As the presenter, click "Share"...
    image 
    then scroll all the way to the bottom and select Share Entire Desktop then Press Start.
    image

The big gun is always Live Meeting, but it's really not necessary for most day to day meetings when the collaboration tools are built into Office Communicator.

Hope this helps.

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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Review: Mimo Monitors - iMo Pivot

October 6, '09 Comments [24] Posted in Reviews | Tools
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image NOTE: This review was written using the DisplayLink 5.2.20937 Drivers on Windows 7 x64 RTM. Be sure to scroll to the bottom in their forums, as that's where the new stuff is.

I switched to three monitors over two years ago and I can't go back. I replaced those CRTs with LCDs a year later when I rebuilt my home office and added a fourth monitor. I moved that fourth monitor over to my Mame Arcade Cabinet later and have been using a 24" and two 22"s ever since.

However, then Twitter happened and darnit, I need another monitor. Maybe, hm, a tiny monitor. I could watch videos, Hulu, run Zune and all sorts of things. But is it cheap? Does it work? Can you run a monitor over USB? Let's see. 

The Big Idea

IMG_0722

The idea is that the iMo Pivot is a 7" 700x480 portable monitor that uses USB as its buss. It works on XP, Vista and Windows 7, as well as Intel-based Mac OS X. It has drivers for all including 64-bit.

There's also a touch screen version, but I bought the $129.99 Pivot version without a touch screen. It can stand horizontally or vertically (hence, iMo Pivot) or it can be removed and stand up like a picture frame with a metal support.

I put mine underneath my 24" 16:9 monitor and while it's slightly dimmer (it has a 400:1 contrast ratio and 350 cd/m2) it's not a distracting difference against my bright Dell.

It's a real monitor and shows up as an extra one (number 3 below) in your Control Panel.

image

Twitter or Email Screen

imageYou could take Outlook and fold up the folders/calendars/toolbars and have a nice tidy place for your Email. Again, you've got 800x480 to work within.

Also, you can use this as your Twitter screen, putting your timeline either on the web or using TweetDeck or bDule.

Debug Windows

Sometimes you just need a place to put your Watch Window. ;) While Visual Studio 2008 doesn't have the explicit support for Multiple Monitors like Visual Studio 2010, you CAN take your toolboxes and toolbars and move them over to your second monitor.

Music Monitor

ZuneiMoAn interesting app that this is perfect for, although there were a few visual glitches is the Zune software. This little 800x480 monitor is a great place to park the Zune software and let it entertain you while you work, without using one of your larger monitors. Unfortunately, something about the Zune visualization being so "heavy" it causes the monitor to sometimes switch into a Video Optimized view. I only saw this with the Zune software and only once or twice, but the idea appears that you can set the iMo to favor framerate over clarity, so it'll switch seamlessly to 400x240 (basically big dots) when there's a LOT of fast pixels moving. Again, don't freak out, I don't think this is a big deal and I only saw it a few times. Also, you can CHOOSE to turn this on or off with their software driver.

Video Screen

It works great for Hulu (sorry folks outside the US) and YouTube videos. There is an "optimized for video" option, but I haven't had to use it. More on that option below.

I had no problem dragging an episode of Family Guy down onto the monitor, even using Hulu Desktop, and it worked seamlessly with minimal problem. It was smooth and watchable to the IMG_0723point where I was genuinely surprised it was all happening over USB.

I could totally see using this to watch DVDs or little things in the background while writing, well, blog posts like this.

Conclusion

Frankly, this is an amazing piece of hardware. It's $130 and it works exactly as advertised. I'm looking forward to taking it with me to conferences an using it as a countdown timer for my laptop while on stage! It'll be perfect as a second monitor in Hotel Rooms when I'm away from my "command center." This is a fantastic little monitor and I'm happy I bought it.

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About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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Hanselminutes Podcast 182 - The History and Future of Web Standards with Molly Holzschlag from molly.com

October 2, '09 Comments [12] Posted in ASP.NET | ASP.NET MVC | Internationalization | Open Source | Podcast
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photo My one-hundred-and-eighty-second podcast is up. Scott's in Mexico this week and he's sitting down with Molly Holzschlag. Molly is a well-known Web standards advocate, instructor, and author and currently works for Opera as an evangelist. She explains the history of HTML, SGML and XML and we chat about where we think the web is headed.

Molly is on Twitter, and at http://www.molly.com.

Subscribe: Subscribe to Hanselminutes Subscribe to my Podcast in iTunes

Download: MP3 Full Show

Do also remember the complete archives are always up and they have PDF Transcripts, a little known feature that show up a few weeks after each show.

Telerik is our sponsor for this show.

Check out their UI Suite of controls for ASP.NET. It's very hardcore stuff. One of the things I appreciate aboutTelerik is their commitment to completeness. For example, they have a page about their Right-to-Left support while some vendors have zero support, or don't bother testing. They also are committed to XHTML compliance and publish their roadmap. It's nice when your controls vendor is very transparent.

As I've said before this show comes to you with the audio expertise and stewardship of Carl Franklin. The name comes from Travis Illig, but the goal of the show is simple. Avoid wasting the listener's time. (and make the commute less boring)

Enjoy. Who knows what'll happen in the next show?

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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Hanselminutes Podcast 181 - Monomania - Mono, MonoTouch, MonoSpace, and MonoVS with Joseph Hill and Scott Bellware

September 25, '09 Comments [6] Posted in Mono | Open Source | Podcast | Programming
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monotouch logoMy one-hundred-and-eighty-first podcast is up. Scott chats with Mono Product Manager Joseph Hill and Monospace conference organizer and continuous learner Scott Bellware about the state of Mono. Is Mono competition or diversity? How hard are cross platform apps? Can you really write apps for your iPhone in C#? Where can you learn more about Mono?

I thought that a discussion around a new Open Source Foundation should be produced as an "Open Source Conference Call." We had nearly 100 people call in and dozens had their voices heard. If you like this format, let me know! Also, follow me on Twitter as that's where these kinds of things are organized!

Subscribe: Subscribe to Hanselminutes Subscribe to my Podcast in iTunes

Download: MP3 Full Show

Do also remember the complete archives are always up and they have PDF Transcripts, a little known feature that show up a few weeks after each show.

Telerik is our sponsor for this show.

Check out their UI Suite of controls for ASP.NET. It's very hardcore stuff. One of the things I appreciate about Telerik is their commitment to completeness. For example, they have a page about their Right-to-Left support while some vendors have zero support, or don't bother testing. They also are committed to XHTML compliance and publish their roadmap. It's nice when your controls vendor is very transparent.

As I've said before this show comes to you with the audio expertise and stewardship of Carl Franklin. The name comes from Travis Illig, but the goal of the show is simple. Avoid wasting the listener's time. (and make the commute less boring)

Enjoy. Who knows what'll happen in the next show?

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

facebook twitter subscribe
About   Newsletter
Sponsored By
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MultiBrowser or CrossBrowser Testing and deconstructing Microsoft Expression Web SuperPreview

September 23, '09 Comments [22] Posted in ASP.NET | Microsoft | Programming | Tools
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Cross-browser testing is a hassle. Most of the time you can follow standards and get a decent looking website working cross browser, but there's always variations. All browsers have their quirks and older IEs have more than their fair share.

As I see it, there's basically three main pillars of cross-browser testing:

  Pros Cons
Breadth
ScreenShot Service
Gets you screenshots of your site on a million browsers and platforms No interaction with the browsers, no way to debug interactions.
Depth - Interaction
Virtual Machines
You really get to see how your site looks and works on many browsers. You have to maintain a bunch of Virtual Machines, or a be aware lot of browser installations.
Depth - Look and Feel
SuperPreview
Lets you see what DOM elements align to what on screen No interaction with the browsers, no way to debug interactions.

Here's what's good and bad about each:

Breadth - Covering all Bases with a Screenshot Service

imageHow does the site look across the big few browsers? What about the little several-dozen? You never know when someone running Iceweasel 2.0 or Kazehakase 0.5 is going to show up and complain.

I've used online tools like BrowserShots to basically run by website through several dozen browsers before and send me screenshots of how they all look. These are services that typically run a farm of virtual machines that are setup a hit your site with a few dozens different versions of browsers, then they give you screenshots.

This is really cool stuff, and very powerful, but it's tedious and takes time. It's not exactly "make change, hit reload."

image

Still, it's a tool in the toolbox.

Depth - Interacting with Many Browsers or Virtual Machines

You can always install a bunch of browsers, and everyone does this anyway. For IE6, IE7 or different versions of Windows, you can run Virtual Machines.

ASIDE: A lot of people don't know that you can download five different virtual machines for Application Compatibility testing and run them in Virtual PC for free.
This download page contains different VPC images, depending on what you want to test. You can get:
- IE6 on Windows XP SP3
- IE7 on Windows XP SP3
- IE8 on Windows XP SP3
- IE7 on Windows Vista
- IE8 on Windows Vista

Here's IE6 running in Windows XP under a Virtual PC on my Windows 7 installation:

Windows XP Mode - Windows Virtual PC

Looks like my header doesn't show up in IE6! That's not good. I wonder why?

Depth - Look and Feel with SuperPreview

Expression Web SuperPreview (and the Free SuperPreview IE - 18megs) is a tool that makes it easy compare designs in multiple browsers side-by-side. You can also compare the site in the browser against a Photoshop comp. The thing that I think makes SuperPreview different from the other techniques and a useful tool for my toolbox is its depth inspection and quick iteration of comparisons.

Microsoft Expression Web 3 SuperPreview (3)

Above, see how my site looks wrong in IE6? I can fire up SuperPreview and put Firefox 3.5 on the left and IE6 (or 7, or 8) on the right:

Microsoft Expression Web 3 SuperPreview

I can roll over the element in question and I get details synchronized between the two panes.

Fixing an IE6 Problem

I can see there are some differences in size (note the red numbers in the lower left corner of the IE6 site) and also the kind of obvious fact that my blog's header totally doesn't show up on IE6. It's not visible, but I can see in the DOM that it IS there. Looks like the problem is the CSS background-url, not the element itself.

If I'm really detail oriented, I can even overlay the two browsers 'onion skin' style and see compare element positioning in a unique way.

Microsoft Expression Web 3 SuperPreview (2)

It seems I'm using a PNG as a background-image in my CSS and this technical is too amazingly 2002 for IE6. While I certainly don't want to encourage IE6 usage, if there's something simple I can do to at least make sure people see my header, I'll do it.

There's a great Open Source (MIT Licensed) JavaScript file called "DD_belatedPNG" that I can use to fix a lot of IE6's PNG image issues. This enables the use of PNGs for things like background-image in CSS. I'll add this hack to my main template.

<!--[if IE 6]>
<script src="http://www.hanselman.com/blog/themes/TheRightStuff2/css/hacks/DD_belatedPNG_0.0.8a.js"></script>
<script>
/* EXAMPLE */
DD_belatedPNG.fix('#header');
</script>
<![endif]-->

Now, I'll refresh the SuperPreview in one click. I'll also turn on "Lights Out Highlighting Mode" to better see how this one element looks.

Looks like I nailed it. From a positioning perspective, I'm off by a few pixels, but I've just made my site nicer for my IE6 (*cough* upgrade *cough*) visitors.

Microsoft Expression Web 3 SuperPreview (4)

The SuperPreview team has said that they recognize the important of supporting other browsers like Chrome and Safari as well as other platforms like OS X. They are planning a cloud service to do Safari on OS X rendering, and I assume it'll look like just another browser to SuperPreview and give you all the same details and information! Take a look at the screenshot on their site. There's a section under the local browsers that says "Remote Browsers." The plural "Browsers" is a good hint to me that they've got some cool plans. Maybe they'll say something in the comments.

(Disclaimer: I don't know the SuperPreview Team and I don't work for them.)

WARNING OBSCURE STUFF ONLY I CARE ABOUT HERE: How does it work?

Well, note the disclaimer above. I'm just a dude with notepad.exe. That said, let's figure this out. If I go to the Help Menu, then Send Feedback, then click Create Attachment, I see this dialog, showing me the location of a zip file:

image

Anytime there's a ZIP file going somewhere, I'm there to unzip it and find out what's up. What's this? A "View Attachment" button? I love these guys already.

Looking inside the zip shows me a settings.xml that looks like just some serialized settings data, but it also shows a bunch of stuff like this, which makes me wonder if I could get my own plugins in there. (Probably not, but I can dream, right? And also mention that an SDK would be nice...more on that in a few sentences. ;) )

<PropertyBag Key="browserie6" Type="Microsoft.Expression.Web.PageAnalysis.Preview.Actions.PreviewPageActionDescriptor,Microsoft.Expression.Web.PageAnalysis.Preview, Version=3.0.0.0, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=31bf3856ad364e35">
<KeyValuePair Key="AssemblyName" Value="Microsoft.Expression.Web.PageAnalysis.Preview.InternetExplorer, Version=3.0.0.0, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=31bf3856ad364e35" />
<KeyValuePair Key="TypeName" Value="Microsoft.Expression.Web.PageAnalysis.Preview.InternetExplorer.InternetExplorerUriCommand" />
<KeyValuePair Key="Endpoint" Value="C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Expression\Web 3\pipsone.exe" />
<KeyValuePair Key="ActivationContext" Value="OutOfProcess" Type="Microsoft.Expression.Web.PageAnalysis.Core.Actions.InvocationModel" />
<KeyValuePair Key="Id" Value="browserie6" />
<KeyValuePair Key="FileName" Value="iexplore.exe" />
<KeyValuePair Key="BrowserName" Value="Internet Explorer" />
<KeyValuePair Key="BrowserVersion" Value="6.0" Type="System.Version" />
<KeyValuePair Key="Enabled" Value="True" Type="System.Boolean" />
<KeyValuePair Key="InternetExplorerUriCommand.HostedModule" Value="hostedie6.dll" />
<KeyValuePair Key="InternetExplorerUriCommand.InternetExplorerVersion" Value="IE6" />
</PropertyBag>

ImageOK, so they've got a nice plugin model. Note the "ActivationContext" Out of Process...they're controlling browsers, sometimes out of process.

Looks like there's a Microsoft.Expression.Web.PageAnalysis.Sdk file, and some interfaces in there. Cool that there's an SDK that they are using themselves for their analyses.

I notice also that there's a "HostedIE6.dll" which is unmanaged code. Looks like they've got a version of IE6 that's along for the ride. Awesome, that explains that.

There's folders with data for each browser involved in the analysis. Inside each is a file that shows a screenshot of the COMPLETE page as a very tall PNG. See the IE6 one at right.

Each browser "preview run" has a settings file of its own with details about if JavaScript was enabled, etc, but that's not the interesting part. The magic appears to be a serialized version of the browser DOM with a "pixel map" of all the locations of each DOM element.

This is what's giving me that rich exploration UI where I can hover over DOM elements and see things synchronized between four windows, two previews and two markup.

Of course, this isn't supposed to be Human Readable, as it's a serialization format, but here's the general idea:

<DetachedDomNode TagName="div" id="header" X="26" Y="22" Width="971" Height="80" HasLayout="true" Position="relative" style="behavior: none; zoom: 1; position: relative">
<DetachedDomNode TagName="div" id="syndicateheader" X="860" Y="46" Width="123" Height="32" HasLayout="true">
<DetachedDomNode TagName="a" class="rssLinkStyle" X="860" Y="46" Width="32" Height="32" HasLayout="false" href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/ScottHanselman">
<DetachedDomNode TagName="img" class="rssLinkImageStyle" X="860" Y="46" Width="32" Height="32" HasLayout="true" alt="RSS 2.0 via Feed" href="http://www.hanselman.com/blog/images/feed-button-32x32.png" src="http://www.hanselman.com/blog/images/feed-button-32x32.png" />
</DetachedDomNode>
<DetachedDomNode TagName="a" X="895" Y="49" Width="88" Height="26" HasLayout="false" href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/ScottHanselman">
<DetachedDomNode TagName="img" X="895" Y="49" Width="88" Height="26" HasLayout="true" href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~fc/ScottHanselman?bg=FF6600&amp;fg=FFFFFF&amp;anim=1" src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~fc/ScottHanselman?bg=FF6600&amp;fg=FFFFFF&amp;anim=1" style="border-top-width: 0px; border-left-width: 0px; border-bottom-width: 0px; border-right-width: 0px" />
</DetachedDomNode>
</DetachedDomNode>
<DetachedDomNode TagName="h1" X="40" Y="36" Width="943" Height="32" HasLayout="false">
<DetachedDomNode TagName="a" X="40" Y="36" Width="533" Height="32" HasLayout="false" href="http://www.hanselman.com/blog/" />
</DetachedDomNode>
<DetachedDomNode TagName="div" class="description" X="40" Y="68" Width="943" Height="20" HasLayout="false" />
</DetachedDomNode>

I love this stuff. Very clever. I look forward to see the next steps from the SuperPreview team.

Where do I get it?

Microsoft ExpressionThere are two versions of SuperPreview right now. First there's the full version you get with Expression Web (which includes Web, SuperPreview, Design 4 and Encoder 3), then there's the Free Internet Explorer only version, it's 18 megs and you can download it here.

Expression Web SuperPreview can render in IE6, IE7 and IE8 and it won't mess up your computer.

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About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in any way.