A couple of days ago, Microsoft mistakenly posted information about the upcoming Windows Phone 8.1 Update 1 release on the Windows Phone OEM portal. The information was available to the broad public but the mistake was noticed relatively fast and Microsoft reacted by moving it to the part of the site accessible only by OEMs. Nevertheless, the information leaked and we have an insight into what's coming with the next update.
Nokia Lumia 630 with Windows Phone 8.1
Start screen folders
Plans for this feature are already known for some time. We knew it won't make it to the Windows Phone 8.1 but that it will make it to the subsequent update. You'll be able to create Start screen folders by moving a tile over another tile. Until now, we had an app from Nokia with similar functionality.
Additional resolution support
With Update 1, OEMs will be able to add a couple of new screen resolutions:
- 800 x 1280 (upscaled from 768 x 1280)
- 960 x 540 (upscaled from 720p)
Unfortunately, OEMs are still limited to max. 1080p.
Support for bigger devices
Windows Phone 8.1 brought a support for 6" devices. Update 1 will bring a support for 7" devices. Now, I am personally thinking of this as a further step in a direction of unifying Windows OSes, specially Windows Phone and RT. One thing is for sure, you won't be seeing me holding a 7" brick on my ear anytime soon :)
Smart case support
OEMs will be able to support smart covers like HTC Dot View (http://www.htc.com/us/accessories/htc-dot-view/) via a new API. This will bring more customization options to the Windows Phone platform.
Store live tile
Until now, Store tile was static. No plans to make it bigger as the medium size; however, when it's set to the medium size, Store tile will be a live tile.
Cortana support for in-car systems
I think Cortana is pretty handy and I use it from time to time via Bluetooth. Yes, it can look pretty strange talking to your digital assistant but there are some situations where she is pretty useful. One of those situations is when you're driving. With Windows Phone 8.1 you are able to use Cortana via in-car Bluetooth only when she initiates a communication (e.g. incoming SMS). There was no way to initiate a communication with Cortana without playing with your phone, which is not a smartest idea when driving. Update 1 will bring a phone entry you can "dial" from your in-car system and start chatting with Cortana, without a need to touch your phone.
Windows Phone 8.1 introduced automatic updates for apps. You can turn them on or off or decide if the automatic updates will be available only when connected to a non-metered network. With Update 1, OEMs will be able to hide this option.
Now, this is an interesting one. With Update 1, proximity sensor will be a hard requirement. Funny thing though is that Nokia Lumia 630 (as the first Windows Phone 8.1 device) is coming without a proximity sensor. Does this mean that Lumia 630 users won't get Update 1? Well, as a Lumia 630 user, I surely hope the opposite. Let's see.
In addition to VoIP capabilities of Windows Phone 8.0, Windows Phone 8.1 Update 1 will bring Voice over LTE support. For more information about VoLTE, read articles like Why Your Phone Is Suddenly Making Clearer Calls http://time.com/110319/att-tmobile-volte/
Update 1 introduces support for the Network Time Protocol (NTP) which will allow time sync with the servers on the internet. Although phone networks already broadcast time, I personally had some funny issues with them, resulting in incorrect time settings.
A couple of days ago, Lumia 530 was announced. What intrigued me is the fact that it comes with 4 GB storage. When I look at the storage in Lumia 630, I see that the OS files take more than 3 GB space. I was wondering how Microsoft is going to pull off a device with 4 GB storage. OS compression may be the answer, and I guess that Lumia 530 will come with Update 1.
With every release, OS bits are more optimized, so I expect performance improvements with this release as well.
What about availability? I expect the Update 1 to be available as a Developer Preview sometime in August. It is hard to tell if it will be available as an public update until end of year; it is still mostly up to the carriers when they will test and approve the update for their devices.
And, hopefully, that nasty Passport bug will be fixed as well…
In my last post about external sharing with Office 365 we covered options, possibilities and limitations of Office 365 in terms of the sharing content with external users. Now when we know what we can and can't do, let's see how to set up external sharing. This article will cover setting up SharePoint Online for the sharing content with external users. To mention this again, for SharePoint Online, we have following types of external users:
Microsoft Office 365 user (different tenant)
Microsoft Account (formerly: Windows Live ID)
Anonymous users (accessing individual documents via guest link)
External sharing is a "feature" which must be enabled on the site collection level first. To do so, open the Office 365 Admin console, click on the Admin link in the top navigation bar and click SharePoint. This will take you to the SharePoint Admin center.
Sharing content with users with Office 365 account or Microsoft Account
To share content with users with Office 365 account or Microsoft Account, select the site collection from the site collection list in the SharePoint Admin center and click Sharing button in the ribbon:
action will open sharing settings for the site collection:
You can define which users are you going to allow your site collection admins to share the content with. Please note that, althoug there is an option to share the content with anonymous users, it is completely useless here. It is grayed out and you can't select it. To be honest, it surprised me as well because this worked last time I checked. If this is something temporarily or not, I don't know, honestly. Luckily there is another way to allow sharing via guest link and we will cover it later. UPDATE: it works again so you can go ahead and activate sharing invitations and anonymous guest links here as well.
Select Allow external users who accept sharing invitations and sign in as authenticated users option, click Save and wait for a couple of minutes.
Now, open the site collection you just configured to allow the external sharing and click Share:
will be presented with the dialog for assigning permissions. Now type in the
Office 365 ID or Microsoft Account ID in the first box and type in a personal
message in the second box (optional). Now, contrary to the claims on the
official Office 365 how-to sites that sharing with any e-mail address works, it
does not. You will have to put Office 365 ID or Microsoft Account ID in here.
Period. If this is going to be fixed in the future, I don't know.
When you click Share, a mail will be sent out to the person you want to share the content with. Now, let's see what happens on the other side.
External user receives an e-mail with the link to the shared site:
This link contains an ID which is unique to the invitation you sent out. When the user click on the link, Office 365 presents following choice:
On this page, the user has a possibility to choose an identity provider. First one is, obviously, Microsoft Account, and second one refers to the Office 365 ID. When the user makes a selection, an appropriate login form will be presented. After the successfull login, the user can access the site contents.
You can use similiar procedure to share folders or individual files with external users:
note that, when you share individual files or folders, this will break the
permission inheritance on these objects. This means, that permission set for
these objects won't include any changes made on the parent object (e.g.
permission changes on the site they belong to).
Sharing content with anonymous users via guest link
As earlier pointed out, Microsoft blocked the possibility to share the content with anonymous users via guest link from the SharePoint Admin center. To share content with anonymous users, go to Office 365 Admin center and click external sharing on the left bar. This will open external sharing options:
We will cover this in detail in the last article in the series. For now, simply click on sites, select the site collection you want to change settings for and select Allow sharing via anonymous guest links for your sites and documents. Click Save to save the changes:
When sharing documents, you will have now an option called Get a link. You can use this option to generate a guest link for the distribution:
Please note that you can only share individual documents with anonymous users by using this procedure. This procedure won't allow you to share document libraries, folders or sites with anonymous users.
This concludes the second part of the series. In the next article, we will cover the Exchange Online sharing options.
Really, Microsoft? Come on!
Windows Phone 8.1 introduced support for the iPhone / iOS Passbook files. I was really glad to see this because this was something I was really jealous about on iFruit users. It was introduced with the Developer Preview and it was carried along to the RTM.
But, a couple of days ago, I installed an update for Windows Phone 8.1. Just for the record, I'm running now 8.10.12397.895 bits. I install updates because they do tend to fix stuff and bring new functionalities. But, as it turns out, they tend to break stuff as well (oh no, really?!).
At the first, I haven't realize that there are any issues with the update. And to be honest, since I got my first Windows Phone (November 2010), I never, ever had any issues with any update. But as I checked in for a flight tomorrow and wanted to add a Passbook file to the Wallet, I got a message that I need an app for the .pkpass file. Now, I can't add new Passbook files but I can open ones which are already present in the Wallet, so it seems that only file association is broken and the functionality is still there!
I hope this will get fixed in the next update. Stay tuned, I'll update the article as soon as I get a new info on this topic.
... and welcome the monthly updates!
Yes, that's right. Instead of releasing SharePoint CUs every two months, the product group decided to release them every month instead. Yay! The first in the row is the July 2014 CU. Here are the download links:
- KB 2882999 - SharePoint Foundation 2013 July 2014 CU
- KB 2882989 - SharePoint Server 2013 July 2014 CU
- KB 2882990 - SharePoint Server 2013 with Project Server July 2014 CU
- KB 2883003 - Office Web Apps Server 2013 July 2014 CU (not available at the moment)
- Outta luck here, only security updates are released once in a while ;)
Please be aware that for SharePoint 2013, you will need your farm to be on the SharePoint Server 2013 SP1 or March 2013 PU patch level. For SharePoint 2010, it is recommended to have Service Pack 2 installed prior installing July 2014 CU.
Is this a good or a bad news? Well, by my personal oppinion, it is always a good thing to get things fixed as soon as possible. However, as earlier, I would recommend deploying a Cumulative Update ONLY if it fixes an issue you are experiencing within your farm. Cumulative Updates are not as tested as Service Packs and may fix one thing or another but may also break some things in the process. So, be careful there. If you do not experience any issues, just stick to the last Service Pack.
Part 1: Introduction <- you are here :)
Part 2: How to share SharePoint content with external users?
In today's world of dynamic workplaces and dynamic projects, we are faced with a lot of challenges. We are working with various people in various teams, sometimes within our own departments only but most of the time involving people working for other departments and, not so rare, people from different companies, like partners, customers and independent consultants. I was on all of these sides and I can tell you one thing, identity managemet was always a kind of a trouble. Big companies have identity management processes and procedures in place; however, there are a lot of small or mid-sized companies which had to work around this one way or another. Example would be to build completely independent "extranet" SharePoint farm, supported by completely independent "extranet" Active Directory which would then lead to double accounts for internal users and, sometimes, a real nightmare in a realm of the user account management.
Now, Office 365 offers something that helps sorting out this whole mess - support for the external accounts. External account support isn't something new - it is around for a while. For instance, we could set up our on-premise SharePoint to support Facebook users or Microsoft Accounts (Live IDs) but this was rather uncommon scenario. Mostly because not much people believed in or trusted those external providers. If this is a valid view, well, I would say that's a matter of oppinion and everyone will probably have its own so I won't discuss it here. The fact is - there is a support for allowing external users to access the part of your data and services you choose and in the way you choose… So, let's crack on…
What is an external user?
So, what is an external user? According to the Office 365 definition, an external user is someone outside of your organization who can access your SharePoint Online sites and documents but does not have a license for your SharePoint Online or Microsoft Office 365 subscription. External users are not employees, onsite contractors, or onsite agents for you or your affiliates. Technically speaking, it is simply the user which does not have an account registered in your Office 365, and therefore Windows Azure Active Directory, tenant. Also, mentioned definition is related to SharePoint Online only. Both Exchange and Lync have mechanisms of sharing data with external users and we will cover them as well.
Now, what types of external access do we have? Let's see:
- Microsoft Office 365 user (different tenant)
- Microsoft Account (formerly: Windows Live ID)
- Anonymous users (accessing individual documents via guest link)
- Sharing calendar contents via public URL
- Exchange federation
- Federation with external domains
- Public IM connectivity
What can be shared with external users?
You can share sites and documents with external users in SharePoint Online by sending an invitation link. An invitation link can be sent to the Microsoft Account or Office 365 account e-mail address. Only a Site Owner or the user with full control permissions can share the content with external users.
For Exchange Online, a calender can be shared with external users via public URL. When sharing via public URL, users can decide which level of information should be shared and if any information at all should be published via public URL. Choices are:
Calendar free/busy information with time only
Calendar free/busy information with time, subject, and location
All calendar appointment information, including time, subject, location, and title
If sharing via public URL is not secure enough, an Exchange federation trust can be built. However, this is a bigger topic and won't be covered with this article.
Lync Online users can communicate with following type of users:
Lync Online users from other Office 365 tenants
Lync on-premises users (through federation setup)
Guest users via Lync Web Access
What does not work for external users?
Of course, not everything what works for a full-fledged Office 365 user will work for an external user. Reasons for this have partly technical and infrastructural background and partly licensing background. Functionality limited by the technical background are probably going to be to sorted out in the future. As I don't want to spread speculations, I won't differ both of these, if I don't have to.
Following features are not available to the external users:
Create their own personal sites (what used to be referred to as My Sites), edit their profile, change their photo, or see aggregated tasks.
External users don’t get their own OneDrive for Business document library.
Be an administrator for a site collection
See the company-wide newsfeed
Add storage to the overall tenant storage pool
Access the Search Center or execute searches against “everything.”
Access site mailboxes
PowerBI features such as Power View, Power Pivot, Quick Explore, or Timeline Slicer.
Excel Services features, including Calculated Measures and Calculated Members, decoupled Pivot Tables and PivotCharts, Field List and field support, filter enhancements, search filters.
SharePoint Online data connection libraries
Following features are not available for the external users:
Following features are not available for the Skype users:
IM or audio conversations with three or more people
Desktop and program sharing
Now, that's it for the first article in the series. In following articles we will cover configuration steps for sharing the content via SharePoint Online, Exchange Online and Lync Online.
Disclaimer: Information contained within this article represents my own oppinions and is a result of personal experiences with the hardware and software. Some images in this article are copyrighted by Nokia / Microsoft Mobile Oy.
Update: Offline maps can be stored on the SD card. Look at the Storage section for the updated information.
After a unfortunate series of events which led me to loose my Lumia 520 phone in Barcelona earlier this year, I needed to get a new one. Luckily, Lumia 630 just came to market at that time in Germany. Lumia 520 was a great phone for a price - you just don't get more smartphone for 99 €. However, I had to carry two phones all the time - a business phone (Lumia 1020) and a private phone (Lumia 520). Although it was unfortunate to loose a phone, now I am a kind of happy it happened.
Nokia Lumia 630. Image © Nokia / Microsoft Mobile Oy
Nokia Lumia 630 is a first Windows Phone which features double SIM and for me personally, it is a killer feature. Let's take a look on main specs:
- CPU: Snapdragon 400, Quad-core 1.2GHz
- Display: 4,5 " FWVGA (854 x 480), Gorilla Corning Glass 3 ClearBlack, IPS LCD
- RAM: 512 MB
- Storage: 8 GB, extensible via microSD card (up to 128 GB)
- Camera: 5 MP, without flashlight
- Battery capacity: 1830 mAh
- Maximum talk time (UMTS/3G): 13,1 hours
- SIM card type: micro SIM
- Dual SIM: yes
- Operating System: Windows Phone 8.1
- Firmware: Nokia Cyan
Detailed technical specifications can be found under
If you expected to see a lot of things delivered in Nokia Lumia 630 package, I have to dissapoint you. The package is rather small and contains only following:
- Nokia Lumia 630 phone
- Nokia AC-20E (750 mA) charger
- Quick start guide
Nokia Lumia 630 package
Headphones are not delivered with the phone so you will need to buy them separately. Fortunately, original Nokia Headset WH-208 (the one delivered with Lumia 1020) costs around 10 € on Amazon: http://www.amazon.de/Original-Nokia-Headset-Ohrh%C3%B6rer-Kopfh%C3%B6rer/dp/B00B3TWVJ0/ref=sr_1_3
Now a bit about my personal impressions. First of all, it is a really nice looking phone. It features soft keys so when it is turned off it kinda reminds of an iPhone. I personally don't see it as a drawback but I did have a mixed feelings for a day or two. I bought a black one but the cover itself can be changed (and obtained separately in different colors, currently running at a price of 15 € per cover on Amazon or eBay).
Nokia Lumia 630. Image © Nokia / Microsoft Mobile Oy
Nokia Lumia 630 is a first smartphone which runs on Windows Phone 8.1 operating system. Some of great new features of the new operating system are:
- Notification / Action center
- Cortana (personal voice assistant, currently available only in US)
- Word flow keyboard
- Support for a much wider range of hardware (Qualcomm reference design)
- Better support for SD cards
- Better support for enterprise use cases (encryption, S/MIME, VPN, etc)
- Start screen wallpaper
- Improved battery saver
- Improved calendar
- Improved Store
I won't be detailing much about Windows Phone 8.1 at this point. You can read a great OS review on Engadget in article Windows Phone 8.1 review: Microsoft's mobile OS finally feels whole http://www.engadget.com/2014/04/14/windows-phone-8-1/
Lumia 630 rocks Snapdragon 400, a quad core CPU running at 1.2 GHz. And that's something that you can immediately notice. It is a huge difference as compared to Lumia 520 which is running on Snapdragon S4, a dual core 1 GHz CPU. User experience was good on Lumia 520 but some apps were a bit slower. I haven't notice any lags or performance problems on Lumia 630, although I use it very intensively.
At first I had my concerns about devices with 512 MB RAM. By using Lumia 520 and now Lumia 630 I realized that almost all apps are running on the device. All About Windows Phone, a community website formed around Microsoft’s mobile OS, has done a bit of digging recently and they have tracked how many Windows Phone apps are incompatible with 512MB devices. And numbers are encouraging - of 150,000 apps in the Windows Phone 8 Store and out of those, only 331 are incompatible with low-end handsets. That means a 99.76% compatibility rate (as of July 19th, 2013).
Moving on to the storage. Lumia 630 comes with 8 GB of storage. Luckily, this can be extended via a microSD card. Currently, the largest one on the market is SanDisk Ultra microSDXC 128GB and it is confirmed to be working with Lumia 630 by Nokia itself. I am using SanDisk Ultra microSDHC 32GB Class 10 card and I am perfectly satisfied with it. Windows Phone 8 uses SD cards for storing pictures and music. Windows Phone 8.1 brought a capability of moving apps and app data to the SD card which is a great improvement. A couple of apps do not support this. You will get notified about that during the installation and the app will be installed on the phone storage instead. The only thing about storage I am currently missing is inability to store maps on the SD card as well. However, this is not an OS limitation but a Nokia Here Drive+ / Here Maps limitation. I hope this will be fixed in one of the future updates. You won't be able to move the offline maps to the storage card without a little help. Nokia developed an app called Lumia storage check which can be used to define the storage location for the maps. The app itself can't move maps from phone to SD card so basically, if you already downloaded maps to your phone, you will have to delete them, change maps storage location by using Lumia storage check app and download the maps again. You can find the app here or by using the following QR code:
Nokia Here Drive+ was available on with Windows Phone 8 only on the selected number of the Nokia Lumia models (read: high-end). All other devices were eligible to Nokia Here Drive only, which had all (or almost all) functionality of Drive+. The main difference was that Here Drive+ had a worldwide license where Here Drive had only a local license (e.g. for DACH region in Germany). To obtain a worldwide license for Here Drive, you had to pay 16 € to unlock the navigation in all regions. Nokia unlocked Here Drive+ for all devices rocking Windows Phone 8.1. This means that everybody will have completely unlocked and free of charge navigation with offline maps once Windows Phone 8.1 is rolled out. I won't be writing a lot about Here Drive+ except that it is a very good and reliable navigation. I am using it extensively when I am traveling - in some cases rentals won't offer cars with built in navigation. In such cases, Tom-Tom costs around 10-15 € a day. And I do have my issues with Tom-Tom anyway. The only thing I miss about Here Drive+ it is calculating alternate routes but this will probably be a part of one of future updates.
More information about Nokia Here can be found here:
Photography isn't something where Lumia 630 really shines. Being a low-budget phone, it features only a rear 5 MP camera without flash. This phone does not feature a front-facing camera so if you are intending to use your phone for a lot of Skype video calls, maybe this one isn't a best fit. Rear 5 MP shooter features an 1/4" sensor, f/2.4 aperture, 28 mm focal length and 4x digital zoom. All in all, it gives a relatively good quality under good light conditions but the image quality won't rock your world when shooting indoors. Regarding capturing videos, the camera can capture videos in up to 720p (1280x720) resolution in 30 fps. Additional SD card comes pretty handy here.
Sample images from Nokia Lumia 630
Dual SIM experience
Dual SIM experience is very smooth. Both SIM cards are active all the time for calls; however, you can use only one for data connection. This can be configured very easily and any time in Phone Settings > Cellular+SIM - there is even no need to restart your phone in order to change the card used for data connection. Be aware though that during this operation the phone will be switched temporarily (1-2 seconds) in the flight mode and back so don't do this during calls.
Windows Phone Store
Windows Phone is one of the fastest growing mobile operating systems with currently something around 250.000 apps in the Store. It is true that some high profile apps are missing but there are enough 3rd party apps to provide very same functionalities. In addition to that, a very high number of high profile apps are already present in the Store. I believe it is becoming a fast growing trend - I see a lot of companies coming to the Windows Phone and building apps for the platform, especially in last 6 months.
Nokia Lumia 630 is a very solid smartphone with a couple of weak points. But for a 159 € price tag, you can't do anything wrong if you need a fast smartphone with dual SIM support, assuming that you can live with lower quality camera.
Few weeks back I got an SMS from Base, my mobile provider. Just as a background, Base is a subsidiary company of E-Plus, one of four main providers in Germany. Now, I usually do not write products or service reviews, except it is explicitely tied to SharePoint, Microsoft and similiar topics. And, after all, this is not a service review or doing any marketing for any mobile provider. But the SMS I got was worth of writing a couple of lines.
I travel a lot. Lot of people do. And most annoying thing is that, if I stay in any country for a couple of days or weeks, I need an affordable way to make calls or access internet. This usually means buying a prepaid card including various flat options, to avoid generating high costs while roaming. This also means, that I am not reachable via my private number while I am outside Germany (carrying two phones around are already pain in the ass, I don't even want to think about carrying the third one).
To get back to the SMS from the beginning of the story, it included an info about the new offering from my provider. It is called EU Reise Flat (translated: EU travel flat). For 3 EUR per month (around $4), I can use now all of my flat options in European Union while roaming, without generating any additional costs. I used it during my last couple of trips and it's simply great!
I am writing this because I want to spread a word and because I hope we will see more of it coming. I see that some providers like Vodafone are offering similar options but they cost way too much for now but not as much as roaming itself can cost. But, as we experienced with flat options, I believe that prices in this segment will drop. To conclude, I strongly believe that concepts like roaming should be a matter of past and I am really glad to see things here moving forward.
Did you already install SP1 for SharePoint 2013? If not, good for you! Microsoft found out some serious bugs within SP1 for SharePoint 2013 and is currently fixing them. As a prevention, Microsoft disabled download links for SP1 packages. In case that you already downloaded packages and waiting for the good moment to deploy them, just don't!
"We have recently uncovered an issue with this Service Pack 1 package that may prevent customers who have Service Pack 1 from deploying future public or cumulative updates. As a precautionary measure, we have deactivated the download page until a new package is published." - as found under http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2817429/en-us
As far as I know, no other functionality is affected other than installing post-SP1 PUs und CUs. I personally believe that Microsoft will sort this out in coming weeks. Stay tuned.
Although a rather old problem (old as IE 11, actually), a couple of my clients have had experienced it lately so I decided to write a quick post on it. SharePoint does not work properly with IE 11. Period. In fact, neither 2007, 2010 or 2013 versions do. There are quite some issues with the UI, regardless of the statement in Plan browser support in SharePoint 2013 (http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc263526.aspx).
Let's see what's happening. If you try to open SharePoint 2013 calendar, for instance, you will get the following output:
As you see, the calendar UI is messed up and unusable. If you try to click on month you will get the following error message:
Now, there is a number of other UI issues and they will be eventually fixed with some of the future CUs. For now, the only thing you can do is to add the site to the Compatibility View settings list. To do so, click on Tools > Compatibility View settings and add the domain to the list:
After you click Close, the page will be refreshed and the UI will work as expected:
I am thrilled to announce that I will be presenting on KulenDayz 2013, one of the coolest conferences in the Balkan region. The conference will take place in the wonderful city of Osijek, Croatia, from September 13 - 15, 2013. To quote the organizers and participants on the previous conferences: "We like to think of Kulendayz as the Unconference, and in the good mood from the main part at Saturday we will organize a day trip to Aljmaš and Ilok at Sunday. Nearby winery Janečić will host traditional grape harvest and wine tasting.". This means that lot of constructive and informative sessions are guaranteed. Add great food, drinks, sightseeing and good and crazy peeps to hang out with to it and you'll get a full-packed weekend you'll not easily forget.
What's my part in it? I will try something different this time. The session type is called "Chalk & Talk", completely old school, without a projector, PowerPoint or similar. Only a good old whiteboard, a marker, you and me. I will be talking about software projects, planning, adoption and governance. I'll be happy to see you there!
For more information, please visit the official homepage at http://www.kulendayz.com/