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Dot Net Mafia

Group site for developer blogs dealing with (usually) .NET, SharePoint 2013, SharePoint 2010, Office 365, SharePoint Online, and other Microsoft products, as well as some discussion of general programming related concepts.

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Corey Roth [MVP]

A SharePoint MVP bringing you the latest time saving tips for SharePoint 2013, Office 365 / SharePoint Online and Visual Studio 2013.
  • Using Office Preview for Windows 10 with Office 365

    The new touch-friendly Office Preview apps for Windows 10 (aka Office Universal Apps for Windows 10) have native support for connecting to your personal OneDrive as well as Office 365.  When you first install the apps, they will take over your file associations.  When opening any of the desktop applications in Office 2013, you’ll see this right away as it prompts you to restore file associations.

    PowerPointPreviewFileAssociationsWarning

    Since you can associate Office documents with the new Word Preview, Excel Preview, and PowerPoint Preview apps, that means we can use them to open documents in Office 365.  That means if you choose the option “Edit in PowerPoint” like in the example below, it will open with PowerPoint Preview.

    PowerPointPreviewOWAOpenInPowerPoint

    Windows 10 will open PowerPoint Preview for you and start opening the document from Office 365.

    PowerPointPreviewOpenDocumentOneDriveForBusiness

    Be warned, that opening documents from Office 365 takes a considerable amount of time.  This issue could be isolated to the tenant I was using though.

    PowerPointPreviewOpenFromOffice365

    If you haven’t added your Office 365 account to the Office Preview Apps for Windows 10 yet, you will be prompted for credentials when you first connect.

    PowerPointPreviewNoCredentials

    Now you can edit your document as normal.  Remember, that the Save button is gone now and your changes will be updated automatically as you type.

    One thing I discovered in this process is that the apps do not support SharePoint 2007 (don’t ask me why I know).  I haven’t tried SharePoint 2010 yet, but I suspect it will work.  If you do try it, leave a comment and let us know how it went.

  • Office Universal Apps for Windows 10 - Who needs a Save button?

    Today, Microsoft released their Office Universal apps for Windows 10 Technical Preview.  That’s a long way of saying that touch-friendly Modern Applications (formerly known as Metro and Windows Store apps) finally exist for Windows tablets.  I’ve had the pleasure of using the apps throughout the day.  I wrote an entire technical specification in Word Preview today and things worked well.  However, the biggest change for me is the lack of the “Save” button.  It simply isn’t there. 

    ExcelPreviewNoSaveButton

    For those of you familiar with Office Online (formerly known as Office Web Apps), this paradigm is nothing new.  Saves just happen auto-magically.

    ExcelOnlineNoSaveButton

    I’ve found myself really having trouble adjusting to it.  I am used to typing a sentence or two and reaching for Ctrl+S to save my document.  That simply isn’t necessary any more.  Your changes will automatically be saved as you type.  Where you need to be careful is if you are editing a document directly from OneDrive and you are on a slow or latent connection.  Sometimes it takes a while for those updates to be pushed up to OneDrive.  This makes me fearful on what happens when you are offline or if you have network connectivity issues while you are working on a document.  This will require more testing on my part.

    Another aspect I find a little bit difficult for the consumer to master is when creating new files.  Whenever you create a new document in Word, it will automatically name the document Document (1).  It automatically creates this file in your default save location.  It will increment the document number if you have already created a document already too.  That means whenever you start a new document, it creates a physical file somewhere even before you save.  This is different than Office for the desktop where the copy is held in a temporary location until you hit save for the first time.  To choose a filename for the document, you either need to choose Save as or you can click on the filename at the top of the app.

    WordPreviewChangeFilename

    I guess this works, but it’s definitely different than what we are used to.  If you are going to try out these preview Office apps, be sure and proceed with caution.  The last thing you want to do is lose half a document just because of some pre-release issue.

  • A quick look at Universal Office Apps for Windows 10 (Touch)

    Since the release of Windows 8, we have all ben wondering when we would see a touch-optimized Office experience.  We saw apps delivered to both iOS and Android first, but still nothing for Windows other than Office 2013 for desktop.  All of that changes today as Microsoft has release previews of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint as Universal Apps for Windows 10.  If you are not familiar with the term Universal app yet, this is a single app that can run on Windows 10 desktops, tablets, and phones.  Support for Xbox One has even been pledged but there hasn’t been any updates on that in quite some time.  These look just like existing apps for Windows 8.1 formerly known as Metro, Windows Store, and now Modern Applications in Windows 10.

    You’ll need to be running the latest public build (9926) of Windows 10 to try these preview out.  The original blog post had links to Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.  However, they have been removed for the moment.  However, I still have the links to Word and Excel handy.  These links only worked for me in Internet Explorer.  If you try them on a Windows 8.1 computer, you won’t see the “Get” button nor will you be redirected to the Windows Store to download the app.  The blog posts says you can do a search from the new Windows Store (Beta) app, but I haven’t had it work yet.  This is typical though when a new app is released to the store.

    After you have installed the apps, launch them from your start menu or by asking Cortana.  We’ll start with Excel Preview.  Notice, Excel Preview listed as a Modern Application where Excel 2013 is a Desktop Application.

    W10b9926SearchExcel

    When each Office Preview app starts, it will show you a quick three-step tutorial on how to get started specifically highlighting touch features.  Here, you learn how to move columns by touch.

    ExcelPreviewStartup1

    You can add rows and columns with a tap.

    ExcelPreviewStartup2

    Here, you have the option to join the customer experience improvement program.

    ExcelPreviewStartup3

    Once you start the app, you’ll see a familiar screen with templates that you can use to get started.  It will automatically pull in your recent files that you have used on OneDrive.

    ExcelPreviewOpenFile

    Be sure and click on the Accounts button to add your Office 365 account if you have one.  Unfortunately, you have to do this in each app separately.

    ExcelPreviewAddAccount

    You’ll then be able to see a list of all your apps across OneDrive for Personal and Business use like you see in this example from Word Preview

    WordOpenLocations

    If we create a new document, we’ll see a new touch friendly Excel.  The buttons and icons are spaced a part to make them each to touch with your finger.

    ExcelPreviewNewDocument

    One feature I really like is the light bulb icon.  Clicking this will allow you to search for functionality that you can’t find in the ribbon.  For example, if I wanted to insert a chart, it gives me the options right there by typing the word “Chart”.

    ExcelPreviewLightbulb

    Excel should be able to open many of your existing spreadsheets as well.  Although, I found that Excel Preview crashes quite a bit more than the other Office Preview apps.  Some of my spreadsheets it just refused to open.  That’s to be expected though.  Excel spreadsheets can get complicated quickly and this is a preview product.

    ExcelPreviewDocument

    Some spreadsheets are out-right not supported.  If you are pulling data from a SharePoint list or using PowerView, it will display an error message telling you why.  I’m not surprised this doesn’t work but maybe it will some day in the future.

    ExcelPreviewCantOpenFileSharePointError

    For desktop users of Office 2013, the biggest change you will have to adjust to is that you can only have one file open at a time.  Now before you start bashing Universal apps on Windows 10, keep in mind that the Office apps on iOS and Android have this same restriction.

    I’ve been pretty excited to see the launch of Office for Windows 10.  We’ll cover Word Preview and PowerPoint Preview in an upcoming article.  While you may not use these apps on your Surface Pro 3 in desktop mode.   I think these apps will do great when the device is running in Tablet mode.  If you have been thinking about running Windows 10 on your device, be sure and check out my review on IT Unity.

  • Configuring Information Rights Management (IRM) on a document library in Office 365

    Last year, I wrote a post on how to get started using Information Rights Management in Office 365.  That post covered what you need to get started as well as how to enable IRM at an individual file level.  This post is a follow-up to that one and covers how to configure IRM on a document library.

    If you haven’t enabled Rights Management in your Office 365 subscription, you’ll need to do that first.  My previous post can walk you through the steps.  You’ll find Rights Management under Service Settings now on the administration site.  Once IRM is configured on you subscription, go to the document library and view the Library Settings.  From there, click the Information Rights Management link.  When you configure IRM for the first time on a library, it will prompt you for a policy name and description.  This message here will be visible to users when viewing the document.

    IRMDocumentLibraryConfigureDefault

    Click the SHOW OPTIONS link to view the settings we can configure on the document library.

    IRMDocumentLibraryAdvancedSettings

    You have quite a bit of flexibility to configure what users can do to your files from here.  However, you don’t quite have the level of granularity on permissions that you do when configuring Rights Management from within Office.  In the first section, you can prevent users from allowing documents that don’t support IRM.  For example, if you upload an XML file (at least I am pretty sure you can’t do IRM on that), the file upload will be blocked. 

    You can also turn IRM after a period of time.  This setting is good if you know that the documents are only sensitive for a period of time.  For example, maybe an acquisition is occurring on a certain date and then the documents are no longer sensitive.

    You can also prevent users from viewing the documents in the browser.  You may have various reasons for why you would want to do this.  It’s not enabled by default, but you can turn it on.  When you do have it enabled, the Document Preview panel will not show in the document library and clicking on the document opens it directly in Office.

    IRMDocumentLibraryOWADisabled

    If you do allow your users to view documents in the browser, they will get an error message when using the document preview functionality.  However, they can still view the document in the browser using Office Online (formerly Office Web Apps) when clicking on the OPEN link.

    IRMDocumentLibraryPreviewDenied

    In the Configure document access rights section you can prevent users from printing the document.  This simply disables the print dialog inside Office.  Users could still find ways to get around this if they tried hard enough.  Remember that the settings in this section affect viewers and not users with full control permissions.

    You can also set how long the user’s rights are valid before they expire on the document.  This setting is important.  If a user downloads the document and copies it to a flash drive, he or she will be prompted once to get rights to the document.  Now, if the user left the company but still had the file they won’t be able to open it once the rights expire.  You just need to pick the number of days before the license expires.  The higher the value, the less often the user has to login to get rights again.  However, if the value is too small, you may annoy the user by prompting them more often to get rights.

    In the set group protection and credentials settings, you can specify how often users must verify their credentials.  You can also specify a security group where users are allowed to share the documents with other members of the group.  This is completely different from the security settings on the document library.  For example, a user might not have access to the document library, but they received a file from it on a flash drive.  If the user is in the security group you specify here, he or she will be able to open the file.

    Once you have configured, IRM on your document library you can test it.  Clicking on the document will show it in Office Online.  The message you configured for the policy at the top.

    IRMDocumentLibraryOfficeOnlineWithMessage

    When you click on OPEN IN WORD, we’ll see the document with additional settings in the tool tip.  Since I have full control of the document library, I have permissions to edit the rights management policy from within Word using the Change Settings button.

    IRMDocumentLibraryWordMessage

    To really verify functionality, we will want to login with another user account.  In my example, I logged in with a user that has Viewer permissions.

    IRMDocumentLibraryWordMessageViewOnly

    Clicking View Permissions, I can see what permissions the user has exactly.  It also tells you when your permissions expire.

    IRMDocumentLibraryWordPermissionsView

    When you look at the back stage in Office, you’ll see that many of the links are disabled such as Print

    IRMDocumentLibraryBackStagePermissionsDenied

    If your expiration date is getting near, you’ll see a message inside Office notifying you.

    IRMDocumentLibraryExpiration

    The settings for Information Rights Management have matured quite a bit since SharePoint 2010.  You have a lot more control of what you can specify as defaults in your document library.

    IRMDocumentLibrary2010Mode

    Information Rights Management is a great feature in Office 365 and easy to set up.  I find it is still highly under utilized by most organizations.

  • Querying Office Delve Boards with JavaScript and REST

    The new functionality of Office Delve, Boards, just came out recently.  As a developer, you might be thinking how can I access this data in my own applications.  This post will help you get started.  These queries use the new Graph Query Language (GQL) syntax of Office Graph.  As the GQL reference link points out you should be warned that these APIs are highly subject to change and should not be used in production applications.  The queries we are using today were determined by examining the REST API calls from the pages inside Delve.  They may work now, but they may not work in the future.

    Querying the boards a user is following

    First, we want to determine which boards a user is following.  We want to return the same data that we see in the left navigation of Delve.

    DelveBoardList

    It appears Delve makes use of a new “protocol handler” like technology that has it’s own URL syntax.  These URLs look like TAG://PUBLIC.  To get the list of boards a user is following, we issue the following query:

    TAG://PUBLIC/?NAME=*

    However, we also have to include some Properties in our REST query to get the data we need.  In particular interest is the new GQL action number 1050 that you use on the me actor.  Here is what the entire REST query looks like.   I recommend limiting the SelectProperties that you returnThe important ones are Title, Path, and DocId.

    https://<tenant>.sharepoint.com/_api/search/query?QueryText='Path:"TAG://PUBLIC/?NAME=*"'&Properties='IncludeExternalContent:true,GraphQuery:actor(me\,action\:1050),GraphRankingModel:action\:1050\,weight\:1\,edgeFunc\:time\,mergeFunc\:max'&SelectProperties='Title,Path,DocId'

    Try typing it in the browser of your tenant. 

    DelveBoardFollowedXml

    Looking at the individual results, you’ll see the name of the board, it’s path and the DocId.   The Title contains the name of the board in all caps.  The Path we can use to query items that have been tagged. The DocId actually refers to an ActorId that we’ll use later.

    Querying the items tagged to a board

    When you visit a board’s page in Delve, it actually issues two queries to get the items that have been tagged to the board.  First, it issues a query using the path we saw above.  It does this to get the ActorId which is stored in the DocId property.  It then uses that ActorId in a second query to get the actual items that have been tagged to the board.  If you already know the ActorId, you can obviously skip the first step to retrieve it.

    To get the ActorId, we issue a query using the path on the TAG URL with the name in all caps following the NAME parameter.  This is just like what we saw in the results above.  Here is what the REST query looks like.  We are only interested in the DocId property so we specify that in the SelectProperties.

    https://<tenant>.sharepoint.com/_api/search/query?QueryText='Path="TAG://PUBLIC/?NAME=<board name>"'&Properties='IncludeExternalContent:true'&SelectProperties='DocId'

    Now let’s write some JavaScript code to retrieve this value.  In my example, we’re going to retrieve the ActorId for the Marketing board in a SharePoint-hosted app.  Make sure you request the Search permission in your AppManifest.xml.  I have URL encoded the URL.  This just uses a simple call with $.ajax.  I’ve left out the use of deferreds to keep it simple. 

    $(document).ready(function () {

        var queryUrl = _spPageContextInfo.webAbsoluteUrl + '/_api/search/query?' +

            'QueryText=%27Path%3D"TAG%3A%2F%2FPUBLIC%2F%3FNAME%3DMARKETING"%27&Properties=%27IncludeExternalContent:true%27&SelectProperties=%27DocId%27';

     

     

        $.ajax({ url: queryUrl, method: "GET", headers: { "Accept": "application/json; odata=verbose" }, success: onQuerySuccess, error: onQueryError });

     

    });

    In our onQuerySuccess function, we will retrieve the value of the ActorId.  Remember it is stored in the DocId managed property.  The data of search results is buried in multiple objects, so you have to go through quite a bit to get to it.  For more information on querying search with JavaScript and REST, see this code sample on MSDN Code.

    function onQuerySuccess(data) {

        var results = data.d.query.PrimaryQueryResult.RelevantResults.Table.Rows.results;

     

        var actorId;

        $.each(results[0].Cells.results, function () {

            if (this.Key == 'DocId')

                actorId = this.Value;

        });

     

        $("#actorId").html(actorId);

    }

    Now, that we have the ActorId, we can issue the query to get the item associated with the board.  In the simplest form, you issue a query with QueryText of * (everything).  You then issue a GraphQuery using the ActorId and the undocumented ActionId of 1045.  However, if you want the query to match exactly what is on the Board page, you need a few additional exclusions.  These exclusions specifically remove content hidden from Delve as well as only show specific file extensions.  Here is what the REST URL looks like.

    https://<tenant>.sharepoint.com/_api/search/query?QueryText='* AND ((NOT HideFromDelve:True) AND (FileExtension:doc OR FileExtension:docx OR FileExtension:ppt OR FileExtension:pptx OR FileExtension:xls OR FileExtension:xlsx OR FileExtension:pdf OR ContentTypeId:0x010100F3754F12A9B6490D9622A01FE9D8F012*))'&Properties='GraphQuery:actor(<actorId>\,action\:1045),GraphRankingModel:action\:1045\,weight\:1\,edgeFunc\:time\,mergeFunc\:max,IncludeExternalContent:true'

    When it comes to the JavaScript, we simply replace out the ActorId  Again we encode the URL.

    var boardQueryUrl = _spPageContextInfo.webAbsoluteUrl + '/_api/search/query?' +

        "QueryText='* AND ((NOT HideFromDelve:True) AND " +

        "(FileExtension:doc OR FileExtension:docx OR FileExtension:ppt OR FileExtension:pptx OR FileExtension:xls OR FileExtension:xlsx OR FileExtension:pdf OR ContentTypeId:0x010100F3754F12A9B6490D9622A01FE9D8F012*))'" +

        "&Properties='GraphQuery:actor(" + actorId + "%5C%2Caction%5C%3A1045),GraphRankingModel%3Aaction%5C%3A1045%5C%2Cweight%5C%3A1%5C%2CedgeFunc%5C%3Atime%5C%2CmergeFunc%5C%3Amax,IncludeExternalContent:true'";

     

    $.ajax({ url: boardQueryUrl, method: "GET", headers: { "Accept": "application/json; odata=verbose" }, success: onQuerySuccess2, error: onQueryError });

    Now, in our success function, I simply return the results as a table by iterating through all of the rows and cells of the results.  The first loop prints out the column names and the second one writes out each row.

    function onQuerySuccess2(data) {

        var results = data.d.query.PrimaryQueryResult.RelevantResults.Table.Rows.results;

     

        $("#results").append('<table>');

     

        $("#results").append('<tr>');

        $.each(results[0].Cells.results, function () {

            $("#results").append('<th>' + this.Key + '</th>');

        });

        $("#results").append('</tr>');

     

        $.each(results, function () {

            $("#results").append('<tr>');

            $.each(this.Cells.results, function () {

                $("#results").append('<td>' + this.Value + '</td>');

            });

            $("#results").append('</tr>');

        });

     

        $("#results").append('</table>');

    }

    Here’s what my results look like in my SharePoint-hosted app.

    DelveBoardResults

    Comparing it to the original page in Delve for the boards, you will notice the results are the same.

    DelveBoardMarketing

    If you are interested in developing with Boards in Office Delve, I hope you have found this post helpful.  This information hasn’t really been documented so it’s highly subject to change.  Try it out and let me know what you come up with.

    Follow me on twitter: @coreyroth

  • A quick look at Boards in Office Delve

    Updated: January 9th, 2015

    You might have heard today that the new Boards (aka Pinterest) feature for Office Delve was released to First Release customers of Office 365.  I was lucky enough to have it show up already in a few of my tenants, so I thought I would share my initial experience. 

    When you open Delve now, you’ll notice a new icon that says Add to board

    DelvreBoardNoTag

    Clicking on the icon will allow you to type the name of a new board or select an existing one. 

    DelveBoardNewBoardName

    Once you have tagged your document, it will show underneath the document for all users.  Items tagged to boards are visible to all users.  However, the results are still security trimmed like everything else.  That means if Sara pins something to Acquisitions, but Alex doesn’t have permission to it, Alex won’t see it.

    DelveBoardItemTagged

    Clicking on the tag will take you a page with other items tagged.  When you first visit any board’s page, you will automatically be “following” it.  I suspect this makes the board show up in your list of boards in the navigation of Office Delve. 

    DelveBoardPage1

    When you click the Send a link button, it will open your mail client with a link to the board’s page in Delve.

     DelveBoardSendEmail

    If you look at the URL, you will notice a new query string parameter, b, with the board’s name.

    DelveBoardUrl

    Items can also belong to multiple boards.

    DelveBoardMultipleTags

    After we have added some items to boards, here is what a typical page might look like.

    DelveBoardHome

    You can remove an item from a board by right-clicking on the tag and choosing Remove from boards.

    DelveBoardRemoveTag

    New features tend to roll out over time in First Release, so one feature that is notably missing is the list of boards I am following.  It should be above the People list.  I suspect this will show up soon, and I’ll update my post with details when it arrives.

    DelveBoardNoList

    My understanding is that your list of boards updates every two hours or so.  After checking Delve later, the list of boards I am following now shows up.  If you unfollow a board, it will still show in this list until the cache clears.  If you create a new board, it won’t show up in this list until then either.

    DelveBoardList

    The concept of removing and managing boards has been a hot topic on Yammer this week.  If you are interested in the topic be sure and follow this thread.

    Delve Boards are an interesting new way of tagging documents.  It lets users organize things in logical buckets that make sense to them.  Now you might be wondering if this ties into anything like Managed Metadata Enterprise Keywords and unfortunately the answer is no.  The new system is disconnected from that.  I think users will like it though.  As an administrator though, it might be a while before you can do any maintenance of the boards.  I don’t think you need to worry about that too much though yet.  The whole purpose of this is that the tagging is end user driven and easy for the users.

  • Is Sling TV a good choice for cord-cutters?

    Updated 2/4/2015: Read my full Sling TV product review on IT Unity.

    Dish Network announced at CES this week a new Internet-based TV service called Sling TV for $20 / month.  This new service, scheduled to launch in the first quarter of 2015, will allow those without a traditional cable / satellite TV package to get the following 12 cable TV channels:

    • ESPN
    • ESPN2
    • TNT
    • TBS
    • Food Network
    • HGTV
    • Travel Channel
    • Adult Swim
    • Cartoon Network
    • Disney Channel
    • ABC Family
    • CNN

    Most specifically in this list are ESPN and TNT.  As an avid NBA fan, watching primetime games can’t be done without a traditional cable package.  With NBA League Pass these games are blacked out during primetime.  This is a great option for college sports as well.  I’ll be curious to see if your Sling TV subscription includes rights with WatchESPN.com.  As someone who watches sports, this offering looks appealing.

    Sling TV will be available on most of the popular streaming devices such as Amazon Fire TV, Google, Roku, and the Xbox One.  Most notably missing from this list if the Apple TV.

    Is this a step in the right direction though?

    Absolutely not.  This is more of the same from TV providers just a new medium.  It still doesn’t give us the a la carte pricing that we want.  It just gives us smaller and more manageable packages (not a bad thing for sure).  I’m still happy to see more options out there for those who don’t want a traditional TV package. 

    I also think the pricing is a little high for what a cord-cutter is willing to spend.  Part of what is driving that cost up is the including of ESPN which costs a provider more than $6 a user in fees.  Keep in mind, our bill is already starting to add back up with our multitude of services we have such as Netflix, Hulu Plus and CBS All Access.

    Even though it’s a small bundle, it still suffers from the same problem as the larger bundles.  I personally only need sports programming.  While some other people may only need kids programming.  Don’t make me get both.

    If you don’t watch sports, I would say there is no reason to ever pick this package up as a cord-cutter unless you just want programming from the Food Network or the Disney Channel.  Those with younger kids, I could certainly see the appeal though.  Until the content offering for sports improves online, I could see myself subscribing to this for a few months during the year.  The nice thing is there isn’t a contract to lock you in.

    The TV industry is having to shift this year thanks to the large number of streaming services coming to market.  Already we have seen CBS and HBO offering an online-only offering and I suspect a few more networks will have offering by the end of the year.  I think 2015 will be a good year for cord-cutters.

    Read more about Sling TV on their site.

    Follow me on twitter: @coreyroth

  • MVP Award Program Blog Cross Post: Cord-Cutting with the Xbox One

    clip_image002

    Originally posted on the MVP Award Program Blog on December 8th, 2014.

    In the last year or so I have proudly referred to myself as a “cord-cutter”. I’ve dropped my cable / satellite subscription in favor of streaming services and an over-the-air antenna. When it comes to streaming, of course the XBOX ONE excels with services such as Xbox Video, Netflix, Hulu, Vudu, NBA TV and Amazon. How is that any different than any of the many streaming devices out there such as Roku, Amazon FireTV, Chromecast and more though? From a standpoint of streaming alone, there really isn’t much difference. One place that really sets Xbox One apart though is its TV functionality via HDMI pass-through and OneGuide. This allows you to watch TV while still using other Xbox One apps at the same time with Snap mode. A great feature when you want to play a game but still keep an eye on the score of the game. I wanted to make use of with over-the-air TV, but I found that there wasn’t a lot of information out there on it to date.

    clip_image004

    Setting up over-the-air TV

    When first looking at this feature, it is 100% clear that this feature is designed for those with a cable or satellite box. That’s not me. When setting up Xbox One, it allows you to set up the device relatively easily to control your cable or satellite box. To do this though you will either need an Xbox with a Kinect sensor or an inexpensive IR transmitter cable. Personally I went with the IR transmitter cable because using a Kinect in my media room would be quite difficult because I keep all of my electronics in a closet. Shop around for these cables because they tend to range in price quite a bit.

    Using this IR transmitter, you simply run a cable from your XBOX to the location of the IR receiver port on your various electronics. They make transmitters with multiple emitters so you can control your TV, tuners, and even your receiver all from one able.

    Now you might be wondering, how to use the Xbox One with an over-the-air antenna since you aren’t using a cable box? The answer is actually to acquire a simple over-the-air antenna tuner box. These run in price between $30 and $50 USD and can usually be found at your local electronics retailer or Amazon. I personally went with the HomeWorx HW-150PVR and recommend it because it actually works with the Xbox One. The box has an HDMI out which you can plug into the A/V HDMI input port of your Xbox One.

    My first over-the-air tuner box was not supported. The Xbox One supports many brands, but be warned that some of the tuners are from brands you have never heard of. The Xbox One simply doesn’t support them all. I’ve looked for a supported list on the Internet but I haven’t seen one to date.

    When you find a tuner you like, you will plug in an over-the-air antenna into the RF IN port. I have a few indoor antennas, but I’ve had pretty good success with this RCA Amplified TV Antenna. Where you live and various other factors will affect the number of channels you receive. I happen to live within line of sight of a number of broadcast TV towers so I can receive more than 60 channels. Most you likely won’t care about. The important thing for me was to get the major networks so I could watch live events like football and basketball.

    When you first launch OneGuide, it will walk you through setting up the device with your electronics. Part of the process is to find you TV, tuner, and audio receiver and test whether or not the Xbox One can control them. If your Kinect can broadcast the IR signals to your devices or if you have positioned your IR transmitter in the right place on your devices, it should be able to successfully power them off, change the volume, and change the channel. If it doesn’t work, you likely don’t have the transmitter or Kinect positioned right.

    Watching over-the-air TV

    Once everything is configured, you can tell Xbox One that you are using over-the-air TV. It does a pretty good job of pulling down all of the channels in your area. However, you may find that things are missing or it shows you channels you can’t receive. The listing probably won’t match up perfectly but it will probably cover the core network channels which are probably the ones you are looking for anyways. When you select a channel through the OneGuide, it will send the remote control commands to choose that channel. I find it to be a bit slow mainly because of how fast the tuner responds. It’s slightly annoying but no fault of the Xbox One. You can flip quickly through channels using the up and down buttons on the remote. If you don’t have a remote yet, don’t worry. You can use your Xbox One Controller. Just press the X button to launch OneGuide and press the A button to select a channel.

    clip_image006

    Many of the over-the-air tuners also support plugging in USB flash drives and hard drives. These can be used to add DVR-like functionality allowing you to record shows and pause live TV. If you select a show in OneGuide, it will even set up a recording for you but your mileage may vary. If you expect the experience to be as streamlined as what you get with a cable or satellite DVR, you may be disappointed. The recordings have cryptic filenames on the DVR and pausing live TV actually takes 10 – 15 seconds for it to pause it. There’s no way to get to the DVR functionality using the Xbox One controller or remote either. It’s better than nothing though.

    For those of you in Europe, you may have already heard about the Xbox One Digital TV Tuner. This simple USB device takes the signal from an over-the-air antenna and allows you to use the storage on your Xbox One as a DVR. I’d love to see this make its way to the United States.

    I’ve cut the cord and I haven’t looked back for a second. It used to be hard being a cord cutter, but it’s getting easier every year. Just recently, CBS announced an online service to watch live TV. They don’t have an Xbox One app yet, but I hope we see it soon along with other broadcasters. Occasionally, I wish I had a way to watch ESPN, but I have been able to get by without so far. As a recap, if you are a cord cutter and are considering the Xbox One, remember:

    · You need a Kinect or an IR transmitter cable

    · You need a supported over-the-air HD tuner with HDMI output

    · You need an over-the-air antenna

    · Apps aren’t available for some streaming services yet

    If you are thinking about cutting the cord and using your Xbox One, I hope this guide was useful. Be sure and refer to Set up live TV with your Xbox One for more details on getting started.

    Although, Corey Roth has mentioned products in this article, they are not an endorsement by him or Microsoft. They are simply products he has experience with and they have worked for him. Your experience may vary.

    Posted Dec 30 2014, 02:55 PM by CoreyRoth with no comments
    Filed under:
  • Adding a domain registered through GoDaddy to Office 365

    In working on one of my upcoming articles, I captured the steps to activate a domain registered through GoDaddy.com to your Office 365 subscription.  This will serve as a reference to that article when it comes out.  Since Microsoft and GoDaddy have a partnership, adding a domain is incredibly simple.  A wizard walks you through the process of confirming that you own the domain name.  It will even update DNS records for you automatically.

    Start by going to your Office 365 admin center and click on the DOMAINS link.  Click the Add domain link to get started.

    SyncDomainList

    When you click Add domain, it takes you to a screen that explains the steps to you.  Click Start step 1 to get started.

    SyncDomainGettingStartedStep1

    Next, we need to enter the name of our domain. 

    SyncConfirmDomainInput

    Office 365 will detect that your domain has been registered through GoDaddy.  When you click Confim ownership, it will then prompt you to sign in with your GoDaddy account.  Enter your credentials to continue.

    SyncConfirmDomainGoDaddyLogin

    As an alternative you can always perform the steps manually but it may take several days to complete as you wait for DNS entries to propagate.

    Next, you will need to grant Office 365 permission to modify your domain.  Click the Accept button.

    SyncConfirmDomainGoDaddyAuthorize

    Finally Office 365 will confirm that you own the domain name.

    SyncConfirmDomainComplete

    When you finish, Office 365 will prompt you about how you want to add users from this domain.  For today’s article, we’ll just skip this step.

    SyncDomainAddUsers

    This will then mark off Step 2 as complete.  Click Start step 3 to specify its purpose and configure DNS entries.

    SyncAddDomainStep2

    On this screen, you’ll choose whether you want to use this domain with Exchange and Lync.  Select the appropriate checkboxes and click Next.

    SyncDomainPurpose

    Normally this would mean creating DNS entries manually for things like your MX record, but Office 365 will configure all of your DNS entries at GoDaddy for you.  Click Set up records to proceed.

    SyncDomainRecordSetUpGoDaddy

    When it completes, you will get a confirmation screen with the records it configured for you.

    SyncDomainSetupComplete

    At this point you are done.  You may need to wait for some DNS entries to propagate but you can soon use all that Office 365 has to provide with your newly added domain.

  • A quick way to get to list settings in SharePoint-hosted apps

    If you are a developer working with the SharePoint app model and have deployed a list, you might have noticed that the list settings button is missing from the ribbon.

    SharePointAppListRibbonNoListSettings

    Now, you typically probably don’t want to adjust list settings inside an app through the UI.  However, it’s not uncommon that you want to look at your list settings in the development process to confirm you did everything right.  For example, maybe you want to check the permissions on the list. 

    If you know the List Id, you can always just go directly to ListEdit.aspx, but I find that’s a lot of work.  Instead, I found the easiest way is go to active the LIST ribbon and then click Modify View.

    SharePointAppListRibbonModifyView

    That will take you to a page where you can edit a view.  However, it also gives you a breadcrumb back to Settings.

    SharePointAppModifyListViewSettingsBreadcrumb

    You’ll now be on your list settings page.

    SharePointAppListSettings2

    This is a great way to manually set permissions on your list when needed.  You can also adjust a number of other settings.  Just be warned that some settings don’t work such as Information Management Policy Settings.  You will get a 500 error when you do that.

    This is a simple tip but maybe some of you developers out there will find it useful.

  • Windows 10 Technical Preview on the Surface Pro 3: two months later

    I’ve been running Windows 10 Technical Preview since it came out on October 1st.  We’re now on our third build (Build 9879) so I thought I would share my experience so far on my Surface Pro 3.  With Windows 10, they have given us access to builds earlier than we used to get in the past.  As a result, you are going to get to deal with different challenges with each build.  That’s just what you get when installing on an early release.  We expect that though.

    Dealing with issues (bugs)

    When you decide to run any beta operating system, you need to decide if the potential issues are too much of an annoyance for you to get work done.  I am running this on my primary device (my Surface Pro 3).  Sometimes the issues can be a pain, but nothing has been a showstopper yet.

    In the first build, we had to deal with issues such as mouse wheel scrolling not working on external monitors.  That’s been fixed.  Now the most common issue is explorer.exe crashes.  When this happens, applications in the task bar may not show an icon properly.  Be warned, it will also cause the clock to get “stuck in time”.  I found myself being late once or twice because of that.  KB3020114 is supposed to fix this issue though.  If you haven’t installed it yet, you can also mitigate this issue some by reverting back to the Start screen instead of the Start menu.  You can do this by right-clicking on the taskbar and choosing Properties.  Then click on the Start Menu tab and uncheck Use the Start menu instead of the Start screen.

    Windows10ReenableStartScreen

    If you use any Windows Store (metro) apps, you will notice a few issues as well.  In build 9879, any time an app gets minimized (or you lock your device), it will stop running.  This causes streaming apps such as Xbox Music or iHeartRADIO to stop streaming. 

    Another issue with Windows Store apps is that they will all crash at once.  You’ll find that all of them simply have stopped running.  There is a process named Application Frame Host which powers all of your Windows Store apps to run in windowed mode.  When this process dies, so does your Windows Store apps.  When this happens you simply restart the application.

    Windows 10 Features to adjust to

    Windows 10 adds the ability to runs Windows Store apps in windowed mode.  This sounds great in theory, but I find myself constantly adjusting the windows sizes as they are never right.  This especially applies when you drag them onto secondary monitors.  When you drag them over, display scaling messes it up when you try to snap them in one continuous action from the primary monitor to the secondary.  This means you’ll have to snap the application again.  I then often find myself resizing the application two or three more times to get it to snap just right. 

    I am not a fan of the new Start menu at all.  The titles have no sense of arrangement and they are just all jumbled together.  This leads me to go back to the original Windows 8.1 style Start screen.  I know I am probably one of the few people on the planet though that prefer it though.

    Selecting a WiFi network has a new touch friendly menu.  This allows you to connect but getting to advanced network settings from here is tough.

    Windows10WifiSettings

    OneDrive (consumer) has also changed as I mentioned in my last article.  It changes the way synchronization happens.  For the most part I think it probably works better now but occasionally I still have issues.

    Surface Pro 3 specific issues

    The Surface Pen works in Windows 10 just fine.  However, the ability to wake the device up while it is sleeping by pressing the button currently does not.  I didn’t find myself using that feature very often though as cool as it is.

    I have had a lot of issues with the device waking up and running instead of going into connected standby mode with Build 9879.  I have pulled my Surface out of my bag to find it running hot more than once.  I honestly don’t think connected standby works at all right now so I have started shutting the device down when I want to make sure it doesn’t come on.

    Battery life is also considerably less with Windows 10.  I’ve found that this happens every time I run a beta operating system though. 

    Should you install it?

    Unless you are just dying to see the new features, I would probably not install Build 9879 on your Surface Pro 3.  None of the issues are absolute deal breakers, but they can be annoying at times.  However, they aren’t so bad that I am considering going back to Windows 8.1.  I am just going to hold out until the next build.  Microsoft has announced a Windows 10 event on January 21st, so I would guess we’ll see something around then.

    If you do decide to proceed with the install you can get it by joining the Windows Insider Program.  Be sure to read the Before you Install link and have backed up your data or have it in the cloud somewhere.

    - @coreyroth on twitter

  • Querying Office 365 Groups with Search

    I have been working with the new Office 365 Groups feature a little bit and I wanted to see how I could surface them from a regular SharePoint Online site.  In my example today, I have created two public groups and three private groups.

    GroupList

    My first thought was to use Search.  Ultimately, I knew the file storage behind groups was powered by a site collection.  I just need to figure out which WebTemplate was being used.  You can see the name of the site collection fairly easily by looking at one of the documents in search.  It’s simply stored at /sites/<GroupID>.  You can see your Group ID when creating the group initially.

    CreateGroupWithGroupId

    Using the REST API, we can then just assemble the URL with /_api/web onto the existing URL such as https://tenant.sharepoint.com/sites/GroupID/_api/web.  Looking through these results I found out that the WebTemplate for the site is simply named GROUP.  Now that we have this, we can query search using the WebTemplate managed property.  The query we want is simply:

    WebTemplate:GROUP

    You can type this directly into the keyword textbox in your Search Center.

    GroupsInSearchCenter

    Now wait a minute.  I am in five groups but it’s only showing me two.  After doing some research and some additional queries, I discovered that no matter what I did, search could never find private groups or the documents within them.  I am not sure if this is a bug or it is intentional, but as of right now you can only see public Groups with search.  Still this might be valuable to you, so you could always use this query inside the Content Search web part.

    GroupsInContentSearch

    I am hoping that we can query private groups as well in the future, but it’s still nice to be able to query your groups if you use a lot of public ones.

  • Troubleshooting “There was an error during the operation” when deploying SharePoint Apps with Visual Studio

    When working with SharePoint Apps in Visual Studio 2013, you might receive the following error during deployment.

    App installation encountered the following errors:
      
      @"Error 1
            CorrelationId: c423d0af-c32b-4702-8be3-a3c1a4b3010e
            ErrorDetail: There was an error during the operation.
            ErrorType: Configuration
            ErrorTypeName: Configuration
            ExceptionMessage: RestrictAssociationToId - ListId Lists/ListName
            Source: Common
            SourceName: Common App Deployment
    Error occurred in deployment step 'Install app for SharePoint': Failed to install app for SharePoint. Please see the output window for details.

    VisualStudioErrorWorkflow

    Although there are a number of causes for this, I find that these are typically related to dependencies in your Feature Manager.  Take a look at mine below.

    VisualStudio2013FeatureManager

    As you can see for some reason, my list is not included in the package.  Although this example is simple, it’s not uncommon when you start dealing with multiple features and lists.  The specific ExceptionMessage trictAssociationToId - ListId Lists/ListName is because I have a workflow associated with the list, but the list is not getting deployed.  Once I add the list back to the feature, the issue goes away.

    If you start receiving errors like this go back and look at your feature manager and make sure everything in your project is getting deployed in the order you want.

  • A look at the OneDrive updates in Windows 10 Technical Preview

    The second update to the Windows 10 Technical Preview (Build 9879) came out today and there are a lot of exciting updated.  Today’s release in particular had a large number of changes in how OneDrive worked.  The way you sync files has changes and I am thinking this is going to lead us to a more reliable sync experience. 

    Sync Changes

    After you login for the first time, you will see a new prompt for OneDrive.  Clicking on it will allow you to select which folders you would like to sync.  If your OneDrive is massive like mine, then you understand the importance of selective sync. 

    Windows10UpdateOneDrivce

    Select the folders that you want to sync and OneDrive will start doing it’s thing.  However, if you were running a previous build of Windows and had files synced already there will be a few peculiarities.  If you don’t select the folder here but you still have it on your PC, then you will get a notice after a while that there are some sync issues.

    Windows10U2OneDriveConflicts

    This notice instructs you to delete the folder on your local PC if you want it to fix itself.   This does in fact fix the issue.  Just delete the folder and the error goes away.   However, you may not want to do this if you aren’t sure things are synced back up to the cloud.  Instead if you decide you want to sync the folder in question, go back and choose it in the OneDrive settings.  To do this, you’ll find a new icon in your taskbar.  Click on it, go to Settings –> Choose Folders.  Here you can pick the folders you want to sync like you did.

    Be careful here people!  Don’t ruin your day by accidently losing a folder in OneDrive.  Make sure your files are where you think they are.  I haven’t had any issues, but you can see where there is plenty of room for error here as we make this transition.

    According to the Windows Blog, people really struggled with what files were synced and what were not.   For this reason, the direction is to not show any folder on the file system that has not been synced.  Therefore there may be folders in the cloud, that you cannot see unless you go to the OneDrive web site.  I’m not sure if I like this change or not.  They’ve added some nice enhancements to the shell (which I’ll cover shortly) and that means you cannot take advantage of these unless you have the files synced to your file system.

    Progress Updates

    When OneDrive is doing something, it’s actually easy to tell.  First, you’ll see a moving bar undeneath the cloud icon.  Even better though is if you hover over it, it will tell you how many files it is syncing and how large they are.  This is a great improvement!

    Windows10U2OneDriveInAction

    Shell Changes

    If you take a look at OneDrive on the file system, you’ll notice slightly different icons to indicate which folders are sycned and which one have issues.  You’ll notice a lot of mine have the red icon because I have the folder present but I am not syncing the file.

    Windows10OneDriveFileExplorer

    Right clicking on the folder, I can see in the context menu that my only option is to View Sync Problems.

    Windows10U2OneDriveSyncProblems

    However, when you click on a folder that you have synced, you get a few more options.

    Windows10U2OneDriveContextLinks

    The first menu item is Share a OneDrive link.  Be careful with this one!  This will share whatever folder you have highlighted anonymously.  It will share the folder immediately anonymously and put the link in your clipboard. 

    Windows10U2ShareOneDriveLink

    If you want to control what you share and what permissions, then be sure and use the More OneDrive sharing options link.  This will take you to OneDrive.com where you can fine-tune the permissions.

    Lastly, the View on OneDrive.com link will open a web browser with a link directly to your document or folder.  I think these will be useful improvements when using explorer to view your synced files.

    New Settings

    There are some new settings in the OneDrive app.  Available by right clicking on the icon in your task bar and choosing settings.  One of the most exciting settings that you will find here is the setting Let me use OneDrive to fetch any of my files on this PC.

    Windows10U2OneDriveSettings

    This setting disappeared from Windows 8.1 and I am glad it is back.  It lets you access any file on your PC through the OneDrive web site.  Just look for the list of PCs available in the navigation.  Clicking on it the first time will prompt you for a security check.  I assume it is supposed to send a text message to your phone like other checks but this time it just let me right in.

    Windows10U2OneDrivePCFilesSecurityCheck

    Once you continue, you will be able to see the files on your computer and access them.  This is great when you forgot to put a file in OneDrive.

    Windows10U2OneDrivePCFiles

    Buried in the settings, on the Performance tab, you will also find a new setting Improve upload speed by uploading files in batches.

    OneDriveSettingsPerformance

    This leads me to believe that they have made improvements in how file syncing occurs.  I’ve selected in and I am going to see how performance goes, but it does warn you that it uses significantly more bandwidth.

     

    I’m pretty excited about this latest round in improvements in OneDrive.  If you are running the latest build of Windows 10 Technical Preview, give it a try.  Just be careful so that you don’t accidently lose something.

    Follow me on twitter: @coreyroth

  • First look at Windows 10 Technical Preview on the Surface Pro 3

    With the new of the release of Windows 10 Technical Preview, I was quick to download it and try it out.  Despite all of the warning about only using this on a secondary PC, I went ahead and installed it any way on my favorite device the Surface Pro 3.  I have a long standing history of installing beta operating systems on computers I shouldn’t, so why should this one be any different. :)  The nice thing about Windows 10 installer is that it will let you install on existing Windows 8.1 installations.  You can even do other things in the background while it is installing (although it tells you not too).  I let it install over lunch and things are looking good so far.  Here are some of the highlights and answers to questions you might have.

    Do I have to reinstall everything?

    No.  You are able to upgrade from Windows 8.1 Pro to Windows 10 Enterprise without any issues (at least I didn’t have any).  You will have the option to keep files, apps, and settings.  This means you aren’t doing a clean install.  All of your applications and files will still be there when you have upgraded.

    How long does it take?

    The installation takes about half an hour.  The installer looks similar to the Windows 8.1 installer. 

    Windows10Install1

    You will reboot a few times during the process.

    Windows10Install2

    After the install you will need to choose a Wireless network and type in the password for your account.  Once you get booted up, everything should look similar and all of your programs will still be there.

    Getting started

    Microsoft has included a link on the desktop to the Windows Preview web site which has a series of links to help get you started.  I recommend taking a look as it has some useful information about the new features.

    Windows10GettingStartedLink

    Does everything still work?

    It appears to.  All of my devices are installed correctly in the device manager. 

    Windows10SurfaceDeviceManager

    I tried a number of programs including desktop programs like Office and Windows Store apps such as Mail and Flipboard. 

    Windows10WithApps

    Everything seems to run just fine.  Touch input still works and so does the Surface Pen.

    The new Start Menu

    I’m not sure what to think of the new start menu. 

    Windows10StartMenu

    It’s goal is to combine the best of both worlds between desktop and touch.  It combines a traditional desktop start menu with tiles from the start screen.  I find it works great for desktop, but in touch it doesn’t really make sense.  Some of the icons are hard to touch.  It’s not terrible but I think it can be better.  You’ll even notice that the Power button is easy to find.

    Clicking on the All Apps button shows you a list of all installed applications that reminds me very much of the Windows XP start menu.

    StartMenuApps

    If you were one of the few that liked the Start Screen, you can turn it back on.  In the Start Menu, type Navigation Properties and click on the Start Menu tab.

    Windows10ReenableStartScreen

    Once you select this, you will be prompted to close all applications and logout. 

    Windows10ChangeStartSettings

    When you log back in, the start menu will be back.  It looks exactly like it did in Windows 8.1.

    Taskbar Changes

    The taskbar has a few new icons next to the familiar Windows icon. 

    Windows10TaskbarNewIcons

    The first icon allows you to search.  Clicking it will show you a list of trending searches.

    Windows10SearchButton

    It doesn’t just search the Internet though.  It will show you your own apps and matching documents in addition to results from the Internet.

    Windows10SearchLocal

    The next icon is your app switcher.  It will show you all of the applications you have open whether they are desktop apps or Windows store apps.  You can flip between applications here or even close them.  It comes up by pressing Alt+Tab or Windows+Tab as well. 

    Windows10TaskSwitcher

    The app switcher also gives you the ability to add an additional virtual desktop.  A lot of operating systems have had this for while so this is a welcome addition to Windows.  This gives you the ability to have different sets of apps running on each desktop.  This can be nice to keep things less cluttered.

    Finally the last icon is our new Windows Explorer.  You’ll notice a new section called Frequent Folders and Frequent Files.  This will help you jump quickly to files that you have worked with recently.

    ExplorerRecentFiles

    Windows Store Apps in Windows Mode

    This makes a lot of sense for desktop users.  For touch users, I’m not so sure.  Everything resizes just fine.  However, I miss being able to dock apps like Skype and iHeartRadio to a nice narrow bar at the side of the screen.  You can still do it, but it takes a lot more effort.  Also the familiar “Swipe-down” motion appears to be gone (even when the app is running in full screen mode).  Now, you have to click on the elipsis (…) in the taskbar and choose App Commands.  It seems to take a lot more effort since that menu appears to be geared towards desktop users.

    Windows10AppCommandMenu

    Can I still run Windows Store apps in full screen mode?

    Yes, by clicking the Full Screen menu item in the menu above.  However, I found that none of the gestures work when the apps is running in full screen such as swiping down.  For example, you can’t swipe down and drag to dock the window to the side of the screen.  Swiping in from the left side while in full screen mode now brings up the app switcher.

    What has remained the same?

    Surprisingly a lot.  Microsoft has pointed out that none of the new consumer features are in this preview.  This release is focused on the Enterprise.  Lots of things remain the same including the Settings screen, logging in, the charms menu, and the issues with DPI scaling and multi-monitors.  That means your Lync window is still going to be massive when you drag it onto your second screen.

    How stable is it?

    It’s hard to tell yet.  I have put my computer to sleep with the power button once or twice and I have found that the device has rebooted.  Maybe it’s just installing updates, I don’t know.  It’s too soon to tell.

    One new feature is the Preview Builds in Update and Recovery in PC Settings.  Here you can configure how your PC looks for new builds of the Technical Preview.

    Should you install it?

    Only if you are willing to accept the risks of installing a beta operations system.  Just because it worked for me (so far), doesn’t mean you won’t have issues.  Microsoft recommends installing on a secondary device.  Be sure and save a copy of your recovery drive before you install it.  This will let you revert back to your previous operating system should you have issues.

    If you have any feedback for the Windows product team, just open your start menu and type Windows Feedback.  This will launch an app that allows you to report issues.  In fact it feels a lot like user voice in a lot of ways.  I think this is a great way to express your thoughts about the new operating system.

    So far Windows 10 Technical Preview runs fairly well on the Surface Pro 3.  In fact you really won’t notice that many changes using it aside from the start menu and the Windows Store apps running in windowed mode.  I’ll post updates as I use it for and let you know of any issues.

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