Ferrari powered by Sharepoint

ms_casestudies_logo[1] I noticed that the Sharepoint case study for Ferrari today, posted at the end of July – link here. The case study includes a cool video hosted in a nice Silverlight player – looks really slick and well worth a look, especially if you’re one of the Tifosi or just  like Ferrari road cars.

On a related note, if you’re a fan, check out one of the best car-related ads I think I’ve ever seen – Shell host a high-quality streaming version of it on their site:


The noise of the flat-12 F312B driving through Hong Kong makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up every time I’ve watched it…

Pinpoint a Microsoft Partner

This site has had something of a quiet launch – I first saw it a couple of weeks ago and was really impressed – it’s called Pinpoint and is a new take on the question, “How do I find a good Microsoft partner?”


Simply enter a search (a name of a known partner, or any element of the technology or solution you’re interested in), and a location, and you’ll see results shown on a map, with a list of matches below.

What’s interesting is the ability to review partners or solutions – so if and when this site gets a bit more use, we should see not just a linear list of partners who have the skills, but the ability to  see who gets the best reviews (a bit like on Tripadvisor or Amazon). If you’ve had a good (or bad!) experience with any Microsoft partner, please add a review – it might help someone else to choose the right solution partner for them.

If you work for a Microsoft partner, make sure you’re listed on here with some sensible detail – one of the guys in my team, Matt aka virtualboy, was showing this site to a partner only the other day. Top of the list of results came their main competitor… You have to be in it, to win it, as they say… Make sure you have your products & services listed!

Pinpoint is now linked from the Microsoft UK homepage, via the “Experts” page at, which also has more detail about the different types of partner and why you may need their services and help.

Mapping with Bing

As a follow on to the Bing post from the other day, I was talking with a guy who’d spent some years working in the Microsoft mapping team in Redmond – he’d talked about the progress the company had made in online mapping technology and the challenges associated with it.


One of the latter was the brand – didn’t drip off the tongue quite as well as, say, Google Maps or Multimap etc. Well, the Bing team has registered a whole bunch of domains which could make it easier to jump straight to the content you want – eg, bingtravel, bingnews, bingimages, bingvideos etc etc.

TIP: If you use Internet Explorer, just type the name (eg bingmaps) into the address bar, and press CTRL & Enter. IE automatically inserts the http://www. and the .com/ bits for you, and takes you there. No more clicking on the “Go” button …

I Bing; do u Bing 2?

It might take a while before you “bing” someone before going out on a date with them, or you “bing” a question out onto the internet… stranger things have happened though. I hear stories of people visiting every day, just to see what the picture of the day is. IMHO, that’s so much cooler than a plan white page and 10pt Arial.


When Microsoft first announced “Bing” a few weeks ago, it was the first step in delivering a relatively fresh take on how people want to use search online. Dr Qi Lu, brain-the-size-of-a-planet president of the MS Online Services group and a recent hire from Yahoo, talks about “user intent” as being the key to unlocking a great online experience – in other words, not simply answering the question but trying to understand what the user actually wanted to say.

I’ve seen some people use search online and since they don’t really understand how query languages work (or can’t easily express themselves in accurate yet concise terms), they don’t get the best out of the current crop of search engines. By trying out really simple searches, Bing seems to be a lot better than Google, which might appeal to the less sophisticated user. IT people probably know how to search the web properly, and therefore will get similar results sets. As an example, try these randomly picked terms:

BBC News BBC News
U2 concert U2 concert
Weather tomorrow Weather tomorrow
Kate Bush Kate Bush
Pizza recipe Pizza recipe

Hands up – the results I used on Bing were from the US version… Bing in the UK hasn’t yet got all the functionality that’s in the US site, though further improvements are coming – check out Bing’s US English site, or look at the Tour for an idea. As for the table above – I honestly spent a while thinking up the kinds of things people might search for, and none of what I came up with looked like it was any better in Google than Bing. Sometimes it was notably better the other way round.

Try yourself: look at the top search terms from Google or from Bing, and try the same search in both. You might even try BlackDog to do the search side by side.

When I was in Atlanta the other week, I went into an Apple store for a sniff around and was amused to see a Macbook Air showing a Bing search results page… was that just because 12,000 Microsoft people were in town, or are the general public starting to question the default search provider in Safari?

Safari on the Mac has, like IE on a PC, a search box in the top right. Unlike IE, you can’t choose your search provider however – Google is hard-coded in there, unless you download the Glims plugin. See GrinGod’s blog article for more details.

Office Web Apps complement, not replace, Office

The Office 2010 announcement a couple of weeks ago, (publicly) lifted the lid on the Office Web Applications, either as a set of web-based Office apps that a customer could host on their own metal (and expose to the outside world, perhaps), or as something that you’d be able to get online from others. Microsoft’s own “Office Live” workspaces will use Office WebApps, for example.


It’s easy to think that moving to an online-based set of productivity applications would be an either/or decision – like today, you could choose to do either Office (as a client side set of apps) OR Google docs (as an online variant).

Maybe Office WebApps will blur that distinction a good bit. As an illustration, I was in an interesting talk last week, where the speaker asked:

Who in here uses Outlook Web Access?

(everyone’s hand goes up – well it was a Microsoft audience, so no surprises there)

OK, who now uses Outlook *less* because they also use OWA?

Literally, not a single hand went up.

So, for business use, you could think of Office WebApps as a way of interacting with the same documents, the same data, that you would if you were inside your company and using Office applications on a PC, but instead you’re at home or you’re at someone else’s machine, or maybe you just want to share your document with someone from outside the company. WebApps are promised with every version of Office, too, as is OneNote – finally making OneNote available to everyone, not just Professional or Student users.

More info on the Office Web Applications blog.