Wednesday, February 24, 2010

A New Outlook on Social Networking?

Published by Sunbelt Software FORUMS | RSS | MY PROFILE | PRIVACY  

Vol. 2, # 8 - Feb 25, 2010 - Issue # 24 
 A New Outlook on Social Networking?

  1. Editor's Corner
    • A New Outlook on Social Networking?
    • Follow-up: MWC and the "other" Windows 7 (Phone)
    • Quotes of the Week
  2. Cool Tools
  3. News, Hints, Tips and Tricks
    • Free download makes Explorer remember window size and position
    • Silverlight to be the platform for Windows Phone 7 applications?
    • Windows 7 gets 59 new Language Interface Packs
    • The Windows 7 Memory Usage Story gets Stranger
  4. How to: Using the New Windows 7 Features
    • How to change the default folder icon in Windows 7
  5. Windows 7 and Vista Security
    • Survey says ... most believe Windows 7 offers better security
  6. Question Corner
    • How do I share folders with a Vista computer?
  7. Windows 7 Configuration and Troubleshooting
    • Connectivity problems with Vista/Windows 7 computers on some wi-fi hotspots
    • Windows Features dialog box is empty
  8. Fav Links
    • This Week's Links We Like. Tips, Hints And Fun Stuff
  9. Product of the Week
    • Classic Menu For Word 2007

Kiss Your Antivirus Bloatware Goodbye

We asked users of antivirus products what they didn't like about their AV software. They told us they are resource hogs and slowed their computer down. They told us that scan times took way too long, and that the AV software nagged them. In short, old-style AV software takes too much Memory and CPU. Time to switch to VIPRE! It gives you malware protection that combines antivirus, antispyware, anti-rootkit and other technologies into a seamless, tightly-integrated product.

Even if you run "free" antivirus software, it hijacks 20% of your PC, so it's really not free at all! Get VIPRE now and see how fast your PC can really be:

Editor's Corner

A New Outlook on Social Networking?

For a very long time, probably from the beginning of the Internet through the early 2000s, email was the "killer app" - the one that most of us depended on most to communicate with business colleagues, friends and relatives. For many of us, it has remained so, but among younger folks, not so much.

I run the Outlook 2010 beta on my Windows 7 Ultimate workstation and it's the application that's always open and that I go to constantly throughout the day. But many of my family members who are in their teens and twenties don't even have email clients installed - they just have webmail accounts - and rarely ever check their email boxes. It's not that they aren't tech-centric; they're very much so. But to them, email is an "old fashioned" means of communication. They view it somewhat as my generation viewed the telegraph machine.

Okay, maybe it's not quite that bad. They do use email when they have to; for example, to communicate with us "old folks." But they prefer different venues when communicating with each other. Text messaging is popular, but with most cell phone plans, it does come with a cost - either on a per-message basis or an extra charge for a fixed or unlimited number of text messages per month. I've noticed that many of my young friends (and quite a few older people, as well) have started using social networking sites as their primary means of getting in touch with others.

Now when one of those young friends wants to contact me, he typically doesn't send me an email message; he sends me a message through Facebook. That's not how I use Facebook - I log on to see status updates and rarely ever click on the Messages link. Luckily, that doesn't matter - because I have Facebook set up to send the messages to my email address, so his messages are right there in my Outlook inbox with my regular email messages.

But that's just one small way in which email and social networking are beginning to converge. I have a Twitter account that I use mostly to post announcements of my new articles and blog posts and links to interesting professional articles by others that I run across. I also like to post that information to my main social networking sites, Facebook and LinkedIn. But it's a bit of a hassle to make three separate, identical posts - even with copy and paste functionality. So I installed a small application that causes any post I make to Twitter to also show up as a status update on my Facebook page. There are actually several ways to do that; you can find out about the options in this article titled Twitter to Facebook: 5 Ways to Post to Both at

Cross-posting your tweets to LinkedIn is even easier; you can do it directly from your Twitter or LinkedIn page. In your Twitter settings, this shows up on the Connections tab. From your LinkedIn site, you can do it by clicking More ... | Application Directory and scrolling down to the Tweets application.

After you link the three sites this way, anything that you "tweet" will show up on both of the other sites, saving you time and effort. But what if you don't want to have to go to the Twitter web page to do it? Because my online life is still centered around email, I like to do as much as I can from within Outlook. So I use a little Outlook add-in called Twinbox that integrates a Twitter client into Outlook. You can tweet from Outlook and you can also receive tweets from those you follow in Outlook. You can do it all without ever cracking open a web browser - and this lets you manage and search your tweets the same way you do with your email messages. One of the features I like most is the ability to create a shortened URL in your tweets (using by simply clicking a button. It's a free download at

In addition to all these third-party apps and add-ins, Microsoft is now working to make Outlook more social networking-friendly from the get-go. With Outlook 2010, there is a pane (called the People Pane) at the bottom of each email message that shows the name and a photo (if you have one selected for that person in your Contacts list) of everyone involved in the thread. Clicking on the name or picture doesn't get you much right now, but by the time Office 2010 comes out, there are big plans to have this feature integrated with a number of social networking sites through various plug-ins.

In fact, Microsoft released a beta version of the first plug-in, for LinkedIn, just recently. You can use it with Outlook 2003 or 2007 as well as 2010, but with the previous versions you'll need to first download and install the Outlook Social Connector software. You can find out more about the Outlook Social Connector here:

One big caveat: If you're using the Outlook 2010 beta, you first have to uninstall the version of Outlook Social Connector that comes with it because that version isn't compatible with the LinkedIn plug-in. You do that through Control Panel | Programs and Features, and you have to reboot to finish the process. Then you download and install this version of OSC:

Unfortunately, it only comes in 32 bit at the moment, so if you're running 64 bit Outlook 2010, it appears you're out of luck. I couldn't install it on my primary desktop for that reason, but I did install it on my laptop, which was running 32 bit Office. If you're using 32 bit Outlook, you can download the LinkedIn plug-in beta here:

You'll need to exit and reopen Outlook after installing the plug-in. When you reopen the program, a dialog box will pop up, showing LinkedIn as an available social network provider. You'll then need to enter your LinkedIn credentials, and you can click the Settings button to choose whether you want your contacts to be updated without prompting (which is the default) or not and whether to automatically delete activity items from the feed folder after a specified number of days (30 is the default). Click the Connect button and Outlook will connect to LinkedIn.

Once you have the Social Connector and plug-in installed and configured, things get interesting. Now that People Pane underneath the preview pane will fill up with information. When you click on an email, and then click on the name or photo of a person in the People Pane, you'll see a list of email messages, attachments, RSS feeds, appointments and LinkedIn status updates associated with that person. You can also filter those items to show mail only, status updates only, etc. Very cool.

One drawback is that the People Pane does take up quite a bit of space, especially on a small laptop screen. You can drag it to resize it, or you can turn it off or minimize it via Outlook's View menu. This is also where you go if you want to change the account settings for a social network provider.

At the moment, LinkedIn is the only available provider, but Microsoft has said there will plug-ins for Facebook and MySpace soon, too. And they've already released the SDK for OSC, so programmers can create more plug-ins. What if you're just not into social networking at all? Even if email is still your only communications method, the OSC is still valuable, because it shows you all the emails from a person in the People Pane. No more searching through your entire Inbox to find a previous message from someone. It could do away with - or at least reduce - the need to make rules and filter messages into folders according to sender.

In addition to the People Pane, the LinkedIn plug-in adds a new Contacts folder. When you click Contacts in the left pane of Outlook 2010, you see a list of Contacts folders in the new left pane. Click the one labeled LinkedIn and you'll see all of the contacts that Outlook pulled from LinkedIn. That's handy, too. The contact page created for each shows photo, name, job title, email address (as provided on LinkedIn), web page and other information from the person's LinkedIn profile. This means you don't have to bother adding your LinkedIn contacts to your regular Outlook contact list the old fashioned way (note, though, that the folder won't be available on other computers that don't have the OSC and LinkedIn plug-in installed).

There is an alternative to OSC: the Xobni Outlook add-in. It provides similar functionality and already connects to Facebook and Twitter in addition to LinkedIn. Another advantage of Xobni is that it lets you post social network updates from within Outlook, not just see others' updates. Unfortunately, it hasn't been updated for Outlook 2010 but you can have it installed on Outlook 2003 or 2007 along with the OSC. You can get it here:

What do you think about the convergence of email and social networking? Have you tried any of the social connectors? Would you? What features would you like to see in an email/social networking solution? Is it a moot point for you because you no longer use email anyway? Do you trust the social networking sites (in terms of both security and reliability) as a primary means of sending messages? We invite you to discuss this topic in our forum at

Follow-up: MWC and the "other" Windows 7 (Phone)

In last week's editorial, I discussed what happened at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona - even though I didn't get to go. Luckily, the wonders of the web brought the action to me. And the web also brings me comments from our readers who weighed in on the subject.

Tom (Griminal) wants a phone that's just a phone - but I would think that, as a gamer, he might find himself interested in the new Xbox integration in Windows Phone 7 series. Riperush had a long wish list for his next phone. He noted that he was only aware of one phone, the Palm Pre, that supports multiple Exchange accounts. I do know that the Droid also supports multiple Exchange accounts, as well. A workaround for some phones, if one of the Exchange servers supports IMAP, is to set up one of the accounts as an IMAP account.

There is also a registry edit for Windows Mobile 6 phones that will allow you to synchronize with two Exchange mailboxes, but this isn't supported by Microsoft:

And reportedly you can sync multiple Exchange accounts on an iPhone if the phone has been "jailbroken." You can read about that here:

Charles P. mentioned that the HTC HD2 is supposed to include a wi-fi router application that works in place of tethering. There are quite a few phones out now that do this; my son's Nokia has that feature. There is also a software solution for Symbian S60 and Windows Mobile 6.0 or higher phones with wi-fi capability that will let you turn them into "walking hotspots" so you can connect your laptop and use the phone's 3G connection to access the Internet:

Here's another, similar product:

There's lots of excitement in the mobile phone space now and it's likely we'll be seeing more important developments in the near future. Meanwhile, thank you to all who participated in this discussion.

'Til next week,
Deb Shinder, Editor

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Quotes of the Week

"Don't confuse fame with success. Madonna is one; Helen Keller is the other." - Erma Bombeck

"Formula for success: Rise early, work hard, strike oil." - J. Paul Getty

"A successful man is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks that others have thrown at him." - David Brinkley

Kiss Your Antivirus Bloatware Goodbye

We asked users of antivirus products what they didn't like about their AV software. They told us they are resource hogs and slowed their computer down. They told us that scan times took way too long, and that the AV software nagged them. In short, old-style AV software takes too much Memory and CPU. Time to switch to VIPRE! It gives you malware protection that combines antivirus, antispyware, anti-rootkit and other technologies into a seamless, tightly-integrated product.

Even if you run "free" antivirus software, it hijacks 20% of your PC, so it's really not free at all! Get VIPRE now and see how fast your PC can really be:

Cool Tools


Do you have programs you just can't seem to get rid of? Uninstaller! 2010 "ALL New" Version Just Released:

Moving to Windows 7 is Easy! PCMover moves programs, files, and settings from your old PC to your new PC.

Search for a driver and you get a ton of Driver Software offers instead. But how do you know which one is good? Try Driver Genius 9.0. Free scan.

Billing address autofill, secure password storage, all automatic and safe. Not a little toolbar utility. Huge time saver!

Get your speed back! Advanced Vista Optimizer will tweak Vista for Max performance. Easy to use:

News, Hints, Tips and Tricks

Free download makes Explorer remember window size and position

A common Windows 7 annoyance for some users is the way the OS "forgets" the window size and position of Windows Explorer. This little free application makes Win7 remember its previous size and position. You can also set it to remember a specified number of recently used folders. Check it out here:

Silverlight to be the platform for Windows Phone 7 applications?

We got a glimpse of what's to come in the next generation of Windows phones at the World Mobile Congress in Barcelona, which I discussed in last week's editorial. We expect to find out more at MIX, Microsoft's annual web and media development conference that will take place in Las Vegas from March 15 to 17. Meanwhile, there's plenty of speculation going around, especially in regard to the role of Silverlight, Microsoft's media technology that competes with Adobe's Flash. Read more here:

Windows 7 gets 59 new Language Interface Packs

Whatever language you speak, there is a good chance that you'll be able to use Windows 7 and Office 2010 in your native language. Microsoft is making 59 new Language Interface Packs (LIPs) available for their newest operating system and Office suite. That's good news for people all over the world:

The Windows 7 Memory Usage Story gets Stranger

A week or so ago, a blogger supposedly named Craig Barth, CTO of Devil Mountain Software, published a post claiming that 8 out of 10 Windows 7 computers were seeing all their RAM used up. This was counter to what I and many others have seen with Windows 7. When an Ars Technica writer tested the software used, he found that it wasn't measuring memory usage accurately because it didn't account for SuperFetch caching.

In other words, it was all much ado about nothing, but the story about Win7 using up all your memory was picked up and quickly disseminated around the web as if it were the gospel truth. Now it has come out that "Craig Barth" was really a writer/editor named Randall Kennedy, who has since been fired by InfoWorld. Wow.

How to: Using the New Windows 7 Features

How to change the default folder icon in Windows 7

Don't like the dull yellow folder icon that represents folders in Windows 7? If you prefer to use a prettier, custom icon for your folders, here's how:
  1. Log on as an administrator.
  2. Click Start and in the Search box, type regedit and press Enter.
  3. At the UAC prompt, click Yes.
  4. In the left pane of the registry editor, navigate to: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer
  5. Right click Explorer in the left pane and click New | Key
  6. Name the new key Shell Icons and press Enter
  7. Double click Shell Icons and in the right pane, right click an empty space.
  8. Click New | String Value.
  9. Name the new string value 3 and press Enter.
  10. Right click the new value 3 and click Modify.
  11. In the Edit String dialog box, type the full path to the custom icon that you want to use as the default folder icon, and click OK (Note: this must be a 256x256 pixel .ico file).
  12. Close the registry editor.
  13. You'll need to log off and log back on to apply the change. The change will be in effect for all users.
If you should want to go back to the old default folder icon, just delete the registry value named 3.

Windows 7 and Vista Security

Survey says ... most believe Windows 7 offers better security

The 2010 State of Enterprise Security Survey - Global Data report compiled by Applied Research for Symantec showed some interesting responses. One of the 120 questions on the survey asked if Windows 7 offers improved security in comparison with previous versions of Windows, and fully 72% of respondents said yes. Although only 9% had already deployed Windows 7, around 70% were considering or planning to do so. Read more here:

Question Corner

How do I share folders with a Vista computer?

I have my old computer that runs Vista and my new computer that runs Windows 7. They're on the same wireless home network. I read about how to use a Homegroup but I think it only works with all Windows 7 machines. So how do I share my stuff between my Windows 7 and Vista computers? Thanks. - Sari L.

You're correct that only Windows 7 supports Homegroups. But it's not difficult to get your Windows 7 and Vista systems talking to each other. First, both need to belong to the same workgroup. You set this up in Control Panel | System on both machines. Be sure the Windows 7 computer is set to use either the home or work network location (not public). Make sure the Vista computer is set to use the private network location. This is found in the Network and Sharing Center.

Make sure Network Discovery and file sharing are turned on. You can select password protected sharing for more security, or disable it to make sharing easier. If it's on, you'll have to enter a user name and password whenever you access a shared folder on the Vista computer.

Next, share a file or folder. Right click the folder, click Properties and click the Sharing tab. Click Advanced Sharing and check the box to "Share this folder." Give it a share name and click the Permissions button if you don't want to share it with everyone (the default). Here you can add or remove users or groups and select the level of access you want to give to each. Here is a tutorial that shows you how to use advanced sharing:

To access the shared folder, in Windows Explorer scroll down in the left pane to Network. In the right pane, you should see the other computer on the network. Double click the computer name and you should be able to access its shared folders. If password protection is turned on, enter the username preceded by the name of the computer you're accessing and a backslash, like this: Computername\username.

Hope this helps!

Windows 7 Configuration and Troubleshooting

Connectivity problems with Vista/Windows 7 computers on some wi-fi hotspots

If you find yourself having problems- dropped connections or poor performance - when connecting to certain wireless hotspots with your Vista or Windows 7 laptop computer that's running on battery power, it might be because the wi-fi hotspot is using an access point or router that doesn't support the 802.11 power save protocol. The solution is to either connect your laptop to AC power or change the default power saving plan. For instructions on how to do the latter and more information about this issue, see KB article 928152 at

Windows Features dialog box is empty

If you try to turn Windows features on or off and find that the list of features in the Windows Features dialog box is empty, you might then discover that you can't install any software updates. You may also experience an error message (0x80073712) when trying to install an update using the Windows Update web site. There are a couple of methods that you can use to resolve this problem. Find out what they are in KB article 931712 at

Fav Links

This Week's Links We Like. Tips, Hints And Fun Stuff

Disclaimer: VistaNews does not assume and cannot be responsible for any liability related to you clicking any of these linked Web sites.

Product of the Week

Classic Menu For Word 2007

Replaces Word 2007 Ribbon With Familiar Office 2003 Menu

How many times have you freaked out trying to find your feature options using the Microsoft Office 2007 Tool Bar Ribbon? Where is that familiar menu item now hiding? My blood pressure spikes whenever I have to find an old familiar frequently used feature like edit message. This amazing add-in allows you to completely replace the Word 2007 Tool Bar permanently (or temporarily). Once you turn it on you'll probably never go back. Definitely a "Must Have" utility for Office 2007 Users. Download the free evaluation now and try it yourself.

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