Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Things I wish the Windows Phone would have

- An easy way to share contacts between 2 Windows Phones

Unbelievable, but there is no easy way to just send a contact info from my phone directly to my wife's phone. It is possible, but the solution I found is too complicated, requires computer use and having Office installed: from my mail account on Exchange (where my contacts are saved), send a mail to my wife's accout on Hotmail and attach the contact's info. On a computer, install Outlook with Outlook Hotmail Connector, then follow the steps in Importing contacts from PC article to copy the contact info in the Hotmail contacts of the other account. The phone will sync it from here automatically. There is also a caveat, that Office wants to store by default the contacts in the "Last, First" name format, so if you want them appearing on the phone correctly you'd have to make sure they are saved in the "First Last" format....

- An easy way to publish/share a video recorded with the phone

For pictures, the phone knows how to upload the pictures automatically on SkyDrive or Facebook. However, for videos there isn't a similar way. Why?!?
There is also a Youtube application from Microsoft, but this also doesn't seem to allow uploading a video I just recorded...
Now if I understand correctly, I can import the video on the PC after I'll install the Zune software (which btw, doesn't install on Windows 2008 R2 Server), and I can share it from there, but why do I have to use a PC and install software for this simple task?

If these things will annoy me too much I may end up writing an application to solve the problem (or some other developers may beat me to it).

But I'm hoping the version 2 of the Windows Phone software that will come early next year will help solve these simple tasks. This is functionality that should be directly supported by the phone, and should not require installing 3rd party applications, using a computer or install other software there (paid or free) :-(

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Enabling Aero Glass or Windows 7 Basic theme in Remote Desktop Connection to a Windows Server 2008

By default, remote desktop connections to a Windows Server 2008 get Windows Classic theme. Enabling Aero or Windows 7 Basic theme requires a couple of steps, and here are the relevant settings (for next time I'll have to do this again)

On server:
1) Add the Desktop Experience feature from the Server Manager.

2) Set the Themes service to autostart, and start the Themes service.
3) Enable the “Allow desktop composition for remote desktop sessions” policy from gpedit.
The policy path is “ComputerConfiguration\AdministrativeTemplates\WindowsComponents\Remote Desktop Services\Remote Desktop Session Host\Remote Session Environment”
4) Enable 32bpp for RDP connections - In Server Manager, go to “Remote Desktop Session Host Configuration” under “Remote Desktop Services” role, right-click on the connection to bring up “RDP-Tcp Properties”, uncheck “Limit Maximum Color Depth” from “Remote Desktop Session Host Configuration.”

More details on the steps above here:

5) Since the defaul theme is Classic and can't be changed from Display Properties while connecting through RD, you need to force Aero as a default theme. Again use gpedit, under User Configuration\Administrative Templates\Control Panel\Personalization\Force a specific visual style or force Windows Classic, set it to Enabled and type in the Path to Theme file "%windir%\Resources\Themes\Aero\aero.msstyles".

More details on this here:

On the client machine:
1)  In Mstsc's options, the color depth of the remote session must be set to 32-bit
2) “Desktop composition” must be enabled on the Experience tab
(If the above are not set, the Windows 7 Basic theme will be used instead of Aero)

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Easily recording video of an application behavior

At times, when you encounter a bug in an application and want to report it to the manufacturer (e.g. when reporting bugs to Microsoft on Connect), it may help to attach a video demonstrating the problem when you reproduce it.

An easy and free way to capture such video is to use Office Labs Community Clips recorder. The video recorder can be downloaded directly from Clips

When installed and started, the Community Clips application displays an icon in the system tray where recording can be started/stopped.

After stopping the recording, the captured video can be re-played, saved locally as wmv file,  or sent via email.