Video – Microsoft Conference Call

I sit on a lot of conference calls and Live Meetings with Microsoft. Now you know what’s happening in ‘the snap’ before the conference:

Bet you’ll never look at being on hold before a conference call the same way again 😉

Props: Thanks to ‘grandpa’ (Grey Lancaster) for the link!

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MVP Profile – Now With Monkeys

Well, it’s been almost two weeks since I got the news of the SBS-MVP award for 2008 (my first).  Yeah, I was shocked too.

It’s been pretty cool so far, with lots, and lots, and LOTS of email to read. They call it ‘The Firehose’. And they’re not kidding.

In fact, here is a video of what it’s like to be a new MVP:

Seriously, I do wonder how folks keep up with this level information flow.

Anyway, tonight I got the credentials to finally upload my MVP profile.  There’s no HTML or fanciness allowed, just plain text. Hopefully the Microsoft folks have a good sense of humor and won’t veto my content.  Also, if you speak Portuguese,  I could use some help with the grammar. KTHX. 🙂

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Download – Office Mobile 6.1 Misadventures

Chris, scooped me on this today, but my post has became a tragedy involving crushed hopes and dreams for mo-bettah Office 2007 love on my WM5 PPC. I hope you fare better and have a smooth upgrade.  Me? Notsomuch.

Title: Microsoft Office Mobile 6.1
Subtitle: Upgrade for Microsoft Office 2007 file formats
File Name: OfficeMobile_Licensed_0409_US.msi
Version: 6.1
Date Published: 11/28/2007
Language: English
Download Size: 12.7 MB
Download URL: Click here or here

Office Mobile 6.1 is an upgrade to Office Mobile applications on Windows Mobile. The new upgrade supports the new Office 2007 file formats. It’s a free download, but see * note below.


  • WM Operating Systems: Windows Mobile 5.0, Windows Mobile 6
  • ActiveSync 4.5 (on Windows 2000/XP/2003); Windows Mobile Device Center (on Windows Vista)
  • At least 6 MB of Available Storage on your device or storage card
  • *Note: This free upgrade works only for WM5 and WM6 devices that have an earlier version of Office Mobile. If your PocketPC, Smartphone or Windows Mobile powered device does not have Office Mobile applications, this upgrade will not work for you.

    That said, you can purchase the full version of Office Mobile 6.1 online for $49.95 at Handango.

Installation Instructions:
(Your mileage may vary – if you’re thinking about upgrading a device that isn’t new, read on.)

  1. Download the file and save it to your computer.
  2. Connect your device to your computer and make sure ActiveSync 4.5 or Windows Mobile Device Center is running.
  3. Double-click the OfficeMobile_Licensed_0409_US.msi, choose Run, then click Next.
  4. Accept the license agreement, click Next.
  5. Then watch the installation puke out if your device is too old (like mine).

Error message: Office Mobile 6.1 is not compatible with Windows Mobile 5.0 powered devices running builds earlier than 14847.

To check the build number of your Windows Mobile powered device, go to Settings, click System, and then click About.



hx2795_large DENIAL
OK, so I didn’t think this device was that old. I got it last year. It’s an iPAQ hx2795, it’s got a fingerprint reader, bluetooth, wifi, rubberized kung foo grip on the sides, 4GB SD card in the slot and 2 more in holster loaded w/ multimedia goodies. It’s plenty fast enough. And it’s been great for lots of stuff, like:

  • Watching ‘Tommy Boy’ on a plane while the 3 year old in 16F kicks the back of my seat from Detroit to Seattle. 
  • It kept me sane through a 2-hour queue (thank you United Airlines Customer Disservice counter) and a 12-hour flight delay (thank you O’Hare) which turned into a canceled ticket & a 3-hour bus ride.
    Benchwarmers, Monty Python’s Holy Grail & Chicken Little saw me through.
  • A 6-hour flight delay (thank you Cleveland). Oh, and will somebody please buy CLE a mop?! I’ve seen cleaner busses (see above).
    Fantastic 4, Hitchhiker’s Guide to Galaxy & Ice Age, I owe you.
  • Louisville (SDF), you have your very own SD card, so I won’t even go there.
  • In short, I LOVE my Pocket PC. For work, for movies, for MP3, for Tetris, for Daily Text & BubbleBreaker. 

Please don’t be too old!  You’re not even 2 yet!  I’ll buy you an 8 GB SD card, OK??  I check System / Settings / About / and sure enough, Build 14366.1.0.1.  Gaaa! 

Weezer sang it best: “Say It Ain’t So” (musical interlude while I chill)


Calmer now, I’m digging into this.  Found the update page for the hx2000 series on HP’s site. Downloaded the BIOS update, tried to flash the BIOS…

….and I bricked it.  Sour times.

Vista WMDC tanked in the middle of the BIOS flash.  I jumped back over to Chris on IM (he’s been providing moral support throughout this ‘upgrade’).
HFB asked if I followed the Robot Horde’s Best Practice to Applying ROM Updates to Windows Mobile Devices. I didn’t do the 3rd party backup, but did everything else right. Per Chris:


Duly noted. My gift to you, gentle reader.

An internet search brought up the following method to un-brick an iPAQ:

If a user is attempting to update the BIOS or FIRMWARE of their iPAQ and the power goes out, or they accidentally turn-off their iPAQ, when then attempt to restart the iPAQ, it will only get to a white-screen, where it then sits forever.
Both soft and hard-resets do not appear to clear the trouble in most cases.

Hopefully you will never need to use this step-by-step process.
I have confirmed with Nathan at HP Technical Support that this is their approved recovery process:

1.) Go to the Master Index of BIOS, FIRMWARE, & DRIVER Updates,
2.) Select the appropriate hyperlink for your model.
3.) Download the most recent BIOS version SoftPAQ (SP) for your Model of iPAQ.
4.) Press the POWER + iTASK + CONTACTS + RESET buttons at the same time so as to enter the FLASH Mode
5.) Make sure your USB connection to the Cradle is hooked-up.
6.) Place your iPAQ in the USB Cradle.
7.) Stop the MS ActiveSync session on your HOST PC: CTRL-ALT-DELETE > TASK MANAGER > PROCESSES.
8.) Hilight WESCOMM.EXE and select “End Process” button.
9.) Run the file you downloaded from HP in step 3.
10.) The iPAQ should now begin Flashing the iPAQ’s ROM BIOS.

This should work for most every iPAQ model, however, we cannot guarantee this will succeed at restoring your iPAQ to a usable state.

After the near-impossible iPAQ 4-finger salute & some fiddling… cowbell!


…and there was much rejoicing!  🙂

To repeat a quote I heard at SMB Nation two years ago, “All I know about the bleeding edge is – that’s where people bleed.”  It might have been Erik Simpson, can’t remember really. But it hits home tonight.

And because I never learn my lesson, I’m going to try again this weekend (only from an XP machine this time).  Because I’m nothing if not persistent. Woo-hoo!!

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Video – Seam Carving and Liquid Rescale

Seam carving is one of those new technologies that you have to see to understand.  I’ve heard this called “content-aware image resizing”, “retargeting” “rescaling”, etc., and those names fall flat. 

You really need to see this – it’s just too cool to even try to describe:

Pretty nice, eh? Wanna try it yourself?

Here are 3 examples of what you can easily do with GIMP and the Liquid Rescale plug-in.

EXAMPLE 1 – Reduce Overall 25% – Mythbusters

Before (500×375 pixels)


During (showing the Liquid Rescale plug-in)


After (375×281) –  look at how much white space we lost on the top and sides of the picture. But the aspect ratio remained the same, even though Adam is a little thinner in the after picture:


That doesn’t look significant, but look how much picture we would have lost to conventional cropping using Microsoft Office Picture Manager (the hands would be gone completely):


EXAMPLE 2 – Reduce Width Only by 25% – Seagull in Seattle

Before (2272×1074)


After (1074×1074) -25% width


After v2 (2840×1278) +25% width, -25% height


Note: These pictures were not rescale or cropped – it’s a ‘retarget’.

EXAMPLE 3 – Reduce Height Only by 25% – Susanne & Vlad

Before (1024×768)


After (1024×576) -25% height


Once again, not a crop… yada yada… you get the idea.  It’s lots of fun. Enjoy!

Dr. Codec 🙂

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Geek Squad Employee Busted

Usually, technology and convergence of digital devices are wonderful things.  But when a Best Buy Geek Squad employee abuses technology to *allegedly* use his cell phone to video record a female customer showering in their own home, that’s disgusting.  Just imagine if that was your wife or sister – it’s unbelievable! 

Best Buy does background & credit history checks before they hire people.  Yet with over 90,000 employees, there are obviously some rotten apples in the bunch.  How many other bad apples are out there (at GS & other companies).  Have you done background checks on your employees?

I’ve got to wonder what the backlash and ramifications for everyone in the SMB market will be.  It seems like industry regulations for IT can’t be far behind.

One thing is for sure, this dude will never be a “Sleeper“, and that’s a good thing.

Source:  Gizmodo

(I use the word ‘allegedly’ for legal purposes.)

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Schoolhouse Rock Meets WGA

supergeekChris doesn’t call me Doctor Codec for nothing – I LOVE playing with video and audio, especially when it’s of the Geek flavor. 

Today I found this video (run time 5:00) on the Microsoft Software Piracy Protection website, and it just smacked of Schoolhouse Rock, sans music, so I had to share it with everyone. 

It’s quirky and a little bit ‘Hey Arnold’ but it’s also very memorable and does an excellent job of reinforcing that Microsoft Volume Licensing is for UPGRADES ONLY – not naked PCs or home-built systems.  I don’t know why people don’t understand that licensing limitation this day and age, but hopefully this will help spread the word.


There is also a new series of videos called “Genuine Fact Files“.  They’re well done in a comic book / Dick Tracy / Geek Noir format:

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No Geek Left Behind – Episode 005

After SMB Nation wrapped up, geeks from around the globe split up and went their separate ways.  Some went back to the hotel to relax, some had to catch a plane, and others went to parties, etc.  But nearly a dozen geeks hung out together for a special behind-the-scenes tour arranged by Allen Miller and the Seattle Aquarium staff and management.  So if you were one of the SBSers invited on the tour and weren’t able to attend, you totally missed out on a fantastic time!

Here’s the roster of attendees:

On with the show… (And be sure to turn up your speakers because the dialog on this tour was as good as the pictures – seriously! 🙂

Title: No Geek Left Behind – Episode 005
Subject: Seattle Aquarium Geek Tour
Run time: 19 minutes 40 seconds


Pocket PC Version: WMV 27.5 MB (208×160)
Windows Version: WMV 35.1 MB (320×240)
Mac version: MOV 79.8 MB (320×240)

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No Geek Left Behind – Episode 003

Episode 003 gets a touch of class with a brief voice over intro from our favorite UK SMB girl across the pond, Susanne Dansey. (Thanks Susanne!) And after that high point, everthing pretty much goes down hill. 😉

But seriously, 003 is a video tour inside the Microsoft Across America (MSAM) Technology Truck / Bus / RV / whatever you want to call it. I hosted the MSAM truck for an event last fall and took some time in the afternoon to chat up Mike Voorhees, the Technology Specialist onboard.  Mike was kind enough to give us the nickle tour and to endure my stupid jokes about socks in the RV attic and Microsoft BOB. 

And even though the video talks about only Certified and Gold Partners getting the truck, Microsoft Small Business Specialists can get it too (talk to your PAM).  Case in point, Jon Been at Beechtree IT Solutions (a Microsoft Small Business Specialist) is hosting the Microsoft Truck in New Albany, Indiana on 14 September 2006.  It’s one of the brand new trucks, even bigger than before.  I’ll be there too, so come check it out! 

On to the video..

Title:  No Geek Left Behind – Episode 003
Subject:  The Magic Bus (MSAM Truck)
Run time:  16 minutes 48 seconds

Pocket PC version:  WMV 22.2 MB (208×160)
Windows version: WMV 29.1 MB (320×240)
Mac version: MOV 36.2 MB (320×240)

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No Geek Left Behind – Now in WMV format

As promised in Episode 1, I’m making the NoGeekLeftBehind video blog available in WMV format for your Windows viewing pleasure.  There is a regular Windows WMV version for your Windows Media Player, and a smaller size for Pocket PCs.

Thanks to some new compression tools the file size is smaller too (*WAY* smaller).  I chopped the Apple QuickTime version from 48 MB down to 10.5 MB, and it still looks smooth. It’s all in the software kids 😉  Video links below:

Title: No Geek Left Behind – Episode 002
Subject:  September 2006 Microsoft SBS Partner Group Tour
Run time:  4 minutes 41 seconds

NoGeekLeftBehind Video Blog - Now in WMV format! 

Pocket PC version: WMV 5.8 MB (208×160)
Windows version: WMV 7.4 MB (320×240)
Mac version: MOV 10.5 MB (320×240)

Gavin, let me know if that Pocket PC version works on your sweet new Motorola Q phone!


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No Geek Left Behind – Episode 2

No Geek Left Behind – Episode 2 is born! 
September 2006 Microsoft SBS Partner Group Tour 

As you already know from previous posts on this blog, the FREE tour will hit 13 cities next month.  And our little video gives you a nice visual overview of the locations with a light touch of humor.

No video blog has ever done humor better than RocketBoom 1.0.  But in Amanda Congdon’s absence I’ve switched to Sunny in San Diego for my non-technical RB-ish vlog fix.

And for you low-bandwidth / non-QuickTime-havin’ flunkies out there, we do have a version of Episode 2 on YouTube, though it’s doing some funky Kung-Foo lip sync stuff, so I’m not going to post the URL to it just yet.  (I may do a VideoEgg embedded video player).  Anyway, enjoy!

No Geek Left Behind - Episode 2

Title: No Geek Left Behind – Episode 2
Subject:  September 2006 Microsoft SBS Partner Group Tour
Run time:  4 minutes 41 seconds
Screen size:  320×240
File size: 48.2 MB
Format: Quicktime

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