I’m a-Live!

by Shijaz Abdulla on 30.12.2008 at 16:14

The hosting company that hosts my website over at www.shijaz.com was upgrading their servers, and they wanted me to make some DNS changes so that I can point to the new servers.

I considered this a good opportunity to make use of Windows Live, the free hosting services from Microsoft. It rocks!

To make use of this service, you need to register a internet domain name, and then create an account at domains.live.com. This basically involves making some DNS changes. If you want to login to Hotmail (now Windows Live Mail) and send out & receive email using you@yourdomain.com email address, you just need to making your MX record point to Hotmail. You get a free 500 GB mailbox! The tasks mentioned in the website are easy to follow.

You can also "brand" Hotmail so that it looks like your own stuff. Here’s what I did with mine:

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I also installed the Outlook Connector on my PC, which lets me access my email using Outlook, and synchronize my email, calendar and contacts – just like Outlook Anywhere/RPC over HTTP!

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If you create an optional SRV record on your domain, you can even login to Windows Live Messenger using you@yourdomain.com as the sign-in name.

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Software + Services: MS Office apps on web browsers. What next?

by Shijaz Abdulla on 29.10.2008 at 08:35

Microsoft has announced that the next version of Microsoft Office will include applications that can be worked off a web browser. Microsoft is said to have confirmed that these applications will work on non-Microsoft web browsers like Safari and Firefox.

This initiative is consistent with Microsoft’s "Software + Services" vision. Software plus Services is Microsoft’s take on the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) market.

From Wikipedia:

Software as a service (SaaS, typically pronounced ‘sass’) is a model of software deployment where an application is hosted as a service provided to customers across the Internet. By eliminating the need to install and run the application on the customer’s own computer, SaaS alleviates the customer’s burden of software maintenance, ongoing operation, and support.

With Microsoft services like Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, and CRM 4.0, organizations big and small now have more choices in how they access and manage enterprise-class software – from entirely Web-based, to entirely on-premise solutions, and anywhere in between.

Having a variety of solutions to choose from gives customers the mobility and flexibility they need to meet constantly evolving business needs. To meet this demand, Microsoft is heading towards a hybrid strategy of "Software plus Services", the goal of which is to empower customers and partners with richer applications, more choices, and greater opportunity through a combination of on-premise software, partner-hosted software, and Microsoft-hosted software.

The web-based Office applications will be light-weight versions of Word, Excel, Powerpoint and OneNote. These apps can be accessed anywhere using a web browser from a PC or via a downloadable application on a mobile phone.