Connecting Technology and Business.

​Use tables for page layouts

Tables are organizers. They look great and they're simple to manage. You can use them to hold text, graphics, or other tables. They can simplify even the most complex layouts. In fact, tables are one of the most powerful and flexible features available for your Word documents. 


Tip: When you use a table to organize a complex page layout, it’s easy to remove table borders so that the table structure isn’t visible.


  • To quickly remove borders (and any other formatting) from the table structure, apply the Table Normal style. To do this, click in the table and then press CTRL+SHIFT+S to open the Apply Styles pane. In the Style Name box, type Table Normal, and then press ENTER.
  • If you don’t like the changes that this style makes, press CTRL+Z to undo the action. Then, on the Table Tools Design tab, in the Table Styles group, find the Borders list where you can change or remove borders without affecting other table formatting.
  • If you still see borders after taking either of these steps, you may be viewing table gridlines, which are there only as guides and are not printed. To turn this feature off, on the Table Tools Layout tab, click View Gridlines.

Create better documents with Document Themes

​The Microsoft Office 2007 introduced an important new feature that makes it easier than ever to create the right look for your documents and to coordinate all of your Microsoft Office documents almost instantly.

A theme is a coordinated set of fonts, colors, and graphic effects that you can apply to your entire document with just a click. The same themes are available to your Microsoft Word documents, Microsoft PowerPoint presentations, Microsoft Excel workbooks, and even your Microsoft Outlook email messages, so it’s easy to create your own personal or business branding throughout all of your documents.


Three versions of the same page: It took just one click to apply a theme that changed the fonts, colors, and graphic effects for this page. Shown from left to right are Office (default), Couture, and Slipstream themes.
When you use a theme in your document, you automatically get fonts, color, and graphic effects that go together, and you can format text and graphics with just a few clicks, as you’ll see later in this article.
  • Find many built-in themes in the Themes gallery on the Page Layout tab, in the Themes group. Just point to options to preview that theme in your documents.
  • You can also mix and match theme colors, fonts, and effects to quickly create your own look. Select separate theme color, theme font, and theme effect sets from their respective galleries on the Page Layout tab 
Tip: If you change the theme in your document and nothing appears to change, you may not have created the document by using theme-ready formatting. When you start with a new Word 2010 or Word 2007 document, theme-ready formatting is automatic in built-in styles and Microsoft Office graphics such as SmartArt graphics, charts, and shapes.

Storage Virtualization

Virtual storage defined 

There is a fundamental difference between a resource that uses virtualization internally, versus something that provides a set of virtual interfaces. This point of confusion is often exploited by vendors obscuring whether or not a resource delivers virtualization. As an example, all modern operating systems use virtualization, but only hypervisors such as VMware, Hyper-V and Xen deliver virtualized computing. Similarly, nearly all enterprise storage systems utilize virtualization, but only a few products provide virtualized storage.
Without allowing the use of any storage system and any network connectivity, storage virtualization does not imply “virtualized storage.” In order to deliver the type of virtualization required for highly flexible cloud services and ITaaS, virtual storage must provide standard, virtual interfaces, supporting multiple storage vendors’ products.
Benefits of virtual storage
Some of the high-level benefits of using virtual storage (rather than storage with virtualization) include:
--Improved efficiency through greater storage utilization
--Standardized management of storage, providing decreased operational expenses
--Storage product inter-changeability, providing lower capital expenses
How virtual storage works
Virtualization is an abstraction that provides a simple consistent interface for a potentially complicated system. By providing a consistent interface, it frees both the engineers designing systems, and users from being tied to any one specific implementation.
Most commonly, virtualization is implemented through a mapping table that provides access to resources. The use of mapping tables is the reason why 64-bit addresses, or even larger, are required. In order to keep track of the billions or trillions of resources, a large address space is needed. In order to overcome limitations of grouping, and the size or granularity of resource access, it is also common to use multiple levels of mapping or indirection.
With the advent of thin provisioning, multiple point in time copies of volumes and multi-terabyte disk drives, many vendors have found it necessary to employ three levels of mapping.
Implementation approaches:
Symmetric: This method is commonly known as “in-band.” With this approach, all I/O moves through the virtualization layer. The mapping table is also managed and maintained on the devices providing the in-band virtualization.
Asymmetric: This method is also commonly referred to as “out-of-band.” In this implementation, the data and meta-data are handled differently. The mapping table, or meta-data about where data actually resides, is loaded into each host accessing the storage.
Hybrid: There is still another hybrid approach, known as “split-path.” This method is still an asymmetric approach, although the I/O mapping does occur somewhat “in-band.” The split-path method is typically used with a storage network switch, which contains the virtualization layer or mapping table. Although the I/Os do flow directly in the path and through the storage networking switch, the management and administration occur out-of-band. For this reason, the approach is known as “split-path.” The most common example of this approach was EMC’s Invista product. LSI’s SVM (also sold as HP’s SVSP) also uses this method.
Where virtual storage occurs
Host based: This was one of the first methods of providing virtual storage. This method delivers more than just virtualized storage, because it uses the hosts’ ability to connect to multiple storage systems from different vendors to provide a common way of managing and allocating resources.
The term most often used for this class of products is a “volume manager,” which manages volumes or LUNs on a host system. Several operating systems have basic volume managers included, such as HP-UX, AIX, z/OS, Solaris, Linux and Windows. Third-party volume manager products are also available such as Symantec’s Veritas) Volume Manager.
Network based: As implied by the name, this approach places the virtualization within the data path between the host and the storage system. With the advent of storage networks, the network-based approach to delivering virtualized storage has become popular. One issue that plagued early versions of these products was the lack of advanced software protection capabilities.
There have been several popular and successful products in this category, most notably IBM’s SAN Volume Controller (SVC) and NetApp’s V-Series, as well as products from vendors such as DataCore, FalconStor, LSI StoreAge and others. Another recent offering, though only for virtualized server environments, is EMC’s VPLEX[1].
Storage system: This approach is somewhat similar to network-based virtualization. Storage networking connections such as Fibre Channel and IP are used to connect third-party storage to the primary storage system that is providing the virtualization. This method has the advantage that existing data protection and storage management tools may be extended to support the external, virtualized storage. The Hitachi USP storage platform is the most complete and successful example of this model to date.
The new data center required to deliver ITaaS and cloud computing requires virtualized components at its foundation. Without virtualized computing, networking and storage, administrators will be unable to meet the dynamic demands of their customers without over-provisioning, over-charging, or both.
The success of virtualized computing is now seen by nearly everyone as a transformational event. However, without virtualized networking and storage, data centers will continue to operate inefficiently. The next wave of transformation begins with the use of virtualized storage.
- Russ Fellows - a senior analyst with the Evaluator Group

Customize your Tasks view in Outlook

​In Outlook Tasks, you can find your tasks and view their status at a glance. Choosing the appropriate view saves time. For example, you can prioritize the items that are most critical on your list without scrolling through all the other tasks that are still marked as incomplete. Or if you prefer to tackle the task that needs to be completed first or sort your tasks by project or client name, the options in Tasks can help you organize your tasks the way that works best for you and the project at hand.

To find the task view that works best for you, in Outlook 2010, in the Navigation pane, on the left side of the window, click Tasks. On the Ribbon, click the View tab, and then, in the Current View group, click Change View.
For a basic view of your tasks and main details, click Simple List. In this view, you see columns for Task Subject, Due Date, Categories, In Folder, and Sort by: Flag Status.
Simple List view Outlook 2010 gives you a list of basic tasks and details.
For a view of your tasks that shows more details, click the View tab, click Change View, and then click Detailed. Additional columns appear, including Status, Due Date, % Complete, and more.
In addition to changing the view, you can easily sort your task list in various ways. Here’s how:
On the View tab, in the Arrangement group, click the sorting method you want to use: Start Date, Due Date, Categories, Type, Importance, Assignment Folder, and Modified Date. When you click the method you want to use, your list of task items is automatically reorganized. Try different options until you find one that works best for your tasks.
You can further customize any of the views to suit your needs exactly. For example, open your task list in Detailed view, as described earlier in this article. In the Current View group, click View Settings. The Advanced View Settings: Detailed dialog box appears.
The Advanced View Settings dialog box gives you more choices for modifying the Tasks view
The Advanced View Settings dialog box is available for each view. You can use it to add or remove categories, set filtering parameters, and even adjust type size and font.
To reset a Tasks view that you’ve customized back to its original settings, click the View tab, click Reset View, and then, when the dialog box asks you if you’re sure you want to reset the view, click Yes.


Experiment with different options. If you don’t like the way your tasks appear, you can always reset the view to the default settings or choose a new one. The trick is to decide which view helps you streamline your tasks so that you aren't digging for information. Create unique views that provide the information you need. This is your chance to personalize Outlook to meet your goals.
-S E Slack in Microsoft at Work 

The Birth of Cloud Computing

In the last 10 years we have been moving towards the consumption of technology in the same way we use gas or electricity. A few names were put forward for this model: Utility Computing, Grid Computing, Cloud Computing and to a certain extent even outsourcing or hosting. All of these mean more or less the same thing, however;

Utility and grid aren’t new terms and have been in use for many years
Outsourcing became a dirty word in the late 1990’s when many businesses failed to realise the perceived benefits and went through a period of insourcing.
Hosting has been delivered successfully for many years from renting rack space in someone else’s Data Centre (Co-Location). Or having a vendor providing a server for a businesses use (e.g. virtual or physical web servers) with the business paying a monthly or annual fee for the service
So is Cloud simply a rebranding of what we already have? To a certain extent it is exactly that, a reinvention of what we already and have used for many years. However there is more than just one element to a Cloud solution.

In the beginning…

To many the first real use of computers in business were the huge Mainframes that powered the world’s largest businesses in the 60’s and 70’s. Mainframe technology can actually trace its roots back to WWII and the ENIGMA code breaking machine, widely regarded as the first ever super-computer. So why are Mainframes so important to the understanding of Cloud? The answer becomes quite apparent; nearly every component that a Cloud service requires existed in the computing environments of the late 60’s and early 70’s!

What is a Mainframe?

Mainframes can be described very simply as a core group of required components:
ƒƒ CPU (the processor that is the thinking part of a computer)
ƒƒ Memory (where calculations and results are kept when in use)
ƒƒ Storage (long term storage of files and documents, originally to large tape reels, now primarily disks)
ƒƒ Network (allowing a computer to talk to another one)
ƒƒ Operating System (the chief program that tells all the components how to work together)
ƒƒ Programs (individual pieces of software designed to perform a certain task)
So what has changed over the years? Arguably very little. All those components used then are still requirements now. They are just faster, cheaper, and far more widely available than ever before.

The problem with Mainframes...

Size - Many took up entire floors just to be able to run the monthly accounts.
Cost - If your business had anything much more sophisticated than an electronic typewriter you would have had to invest a massive amount of money even for basic functionality.
Complexity - Not by modern day standards, but you needed experienced and costly engineers to run, maintain and even worse, repair them.

How were they used at the time?

Now to the interesting part! Due to the size, cost, complexity and overhead many office buildings or campuses had a single Mainframe but then shared out the computing power to the tenant businesses. Let’s put that another way, you shared computing resources with other businesses upon a single platform, paid a percentage towards the costs and had IT services delivered to your office and users with no upfront investment or associated cost of building your own infrastructure. Sound familiar?

Virtualisation was born

By the late 60’s it just seemed crazy to have all this computing power dedicated to running a solitary program, especially when loading the program could take many hours. A new idea was developed where a Kernel program was built onto the Mainframe hardware first. The Kernel’s job was to talk to each of the programs and book a time slot for each one to take turns using the computing resources, thus ensuring the best possible use of the hardware. This was imaginatively called time sharing. That Kernel is what we would now call a Hypervisor, which is the basic component of a virtual environment. In the early 1970’s IBM coined the phrase ‘Virtual Machine’ and also ‘Virtualisation’.

Why did we move away from Mainframes?

All those massive mainframes running all those programs could never be sustainable, so it was deemed a better idea to have a smaller computer that could happily run a program or two for a business and sit in a cupboard or under a desk, thus the modern day server was born.

The problem with modern day servers...

Roll forward through the years and we have new problems, those single box servers have multiplied. All of a sudden we need big costly rooms that get filled up with more and more servers, each running a new program, each requiring costly expertise to run, repair and deliver to the business the key applications it needs to function in modern times.
A solution to this problem becomes clear, wouldn’t it be a fantastic idea to build one big computer that replaces all the smaller servers, virtualise it and just worry about that one physical piece of hardware? In essence, virtualisation returns us to the days of the mainframe and we have gone full circle.

Is Cloud virtualisation?

There is much talk, and indeed incorrect statements that Cloud is virtualisation and vice versa. So is Virtualisation an exciting and new technology? Is it a ground breaking solution to business problems? Or is it in fact a 40 year old solution that has been in constant use by many globally and is currently enjoying new prominence over the last ten years?  Modern virtualisation technologies are far more advanced and with many more features than those of decades past, and at best form a part of a cloud solution.  Something that needs to be made clear though, is that you do not have to have any form of virtualisation to build a Cloud solution, it is a simple component. What is true however is that virtual technologies are just cheaper, faster and far more widely available now than ever before.
- Stuart James - Cloud - It is not a nebulous concept - a Whitepaper

Ten Quick Tips in Word 2010 to boost your productivity

Open Word really fast

  • Press the Windows Key+R, type winword, and then press Enter.

Use a template from Office.com

  • On the File tab, click New, and then under Office.com Templates, choose a template.

Convert text into a table

  • Select several lines of text. On the Insert tab, click Table, and then click Convert Text to Table.

Make a bulleted list more interesting

  • Select your bulleted list.
  • Press CTRL+X.
  • On the Insert tab, click SmartArt.
  • Choose a layout, and then click OK.
  • After the SmartArt is inserted, select all of the bullets in the text pane on the left.
  • Press CTRL+V.

Crop a picture to a shape

  1. Select the picture or pictures that you want to crop to a specific shape.
  2. Under Picture Tools, on the Format tab, in the Size group, click the arrow under Crop.
  3. Click Crop to Shape and then click the shape you want to crop to.

Put documents on SkyDrive

  1. Go to http://office.live.com and obtain a Windows Live ID, if you don’t have one already.
  2. After you have a Windows Live ID, go to http://office.live.com.
  3. Click Add files and then upload documents from your computer.

Find and replace text

  1. On the Home tab, Replace.
  2. Type what you want to find in the Find what box
  3. Type what you want to replace it with in the Replace with box
  4. Click Replace All.

Tips for selecting things

  • To select a word, double click.
  • To select a paragraph, triple click.
  • Place your cursor in the left margin. Click once for a line, double click to select all lines in a paragraph.

Show or hide the ribbon

  • CTRL+F1

Use the Quick Access Toolbar

  • Right-click a button, and then click Add to Quick Access Toolbar.