Posts Tagged Microsoft

Maps for Outlook Add-in

Not content with the four Office Add-ins that I currently have in the Microsoft Office Add-in Store, I’ve gone and created another one just to keep myself honest.

Maps for Outlook Add-in is a map generation tool that you can use to create and insert a Google Map into your email or appointment.

Being honest, this isn’t much of a stretch from the existing Maps for Office Add-in that has been in the store for a number of years now. However, the major difference is, that this add-in is for use only in Microsoft Outlook. As mentioned above, you can  easily insert a Google Map into your new Emails or Appointments via a useful ribbon bar icon.

Much like Maps for Office, you can search, resize, pin and change the theme of the map that you wish to insert into your email or appointment. Additionally, the add-in will include a link to allow anyone who receives the email to get instant directions to the location in the map via Google Maps.

Why not go get yourself a free trial of the app today! Download from the Microsoft Office Add-in Store

 

TRY MAPS FOR OUTLOOK(15 Day Free Trial)
OR
TRY MAPS FOR OFFICE (15 Day Free Trial)

 

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How to insert a Google Map into a Word Document

Maps for Office : Apps for Office

There are many ways to “skin a cat” as they say. But if you’re looking to do something a little less barbaric such as inserting a Google Map into a Word document, it may not be that straight forward.

If you’re lucky enough to be using the latest version of Word from Microsoft’s Office 2013 suite – things can’t get any easier than using the great Maps for Office app that we recently published to the Office Store. The Maps for Office app allows you to search for a location, add a pin, choose your preferred size and insert the map directly into your document. You can’t really get much easier than that now can you? If you’re interested in finding out more about this app, visit the Office Store and download it today.

TRY MAPS FOR OFFICE (15 Day Free Trial)

If you’re not lucky enough to own a copy of Word 2013, you’re not really out of luck since there are a number of other ways to insert a Google Map into your Word document.

I’ve outlined what I feel is the easiest way to achieve this (without using our app of course!).

First, create your map!

  1. Go to http://maps.google.com and search for the location you wish to use for your map in the search box at the top of the page.
  2. When you’ve found your desired location, it’s time to position it and choose your desired zoom level.
  3. You can click the map and drag it to centre the location on screen.
  4. Click the “+” and “-” buttons on the maps slider to zoom in and out on the map as needed to get the map exactly as you’d like it to appear.
  5. Once you’re happy with how the map looks, you’re ready to insert it into your Word document.~

 

Insert Google Map into your document…

  1. Open the Snipping Tool program in Windows. Do this by clicking the Windows key on your keyboard and typing “Snipping Tool”.
  2. When the Snipping Tool window opens, select “New” and your mouse cursor will change into a cross hair.
  3. Select the map by clicking, holding and dragging the mouse cursor across the area of the map you’d like to copy
  4. Open your Microsoft Word document, select the location where you would like to place the map into your document and press “Ctrl-V” to paste the map into your document.
  5. And that’s it!

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Content Management Systems – The Choice Is Yours

One of the most common questions I am asked is, “What Content Management System (CMS) should I use for my website??. The short answer is, that there is no short answer and there’s certainly no simple one!

Choosing a CMS really comes down to what it is you need to achieve with your website and what it is that you need to be in control of. There are hundreds of CMSs to choose from, all with their own individual capabilities and functionality. For some, a simple basic CMS will be enough to manage their brochure ware type website, but others require more flexibility and functionality.

A lot of web developers will be able to guide you toward the CMS that they feel suits your requirements best. But in a lot of cases, the web developer will usually suggest a CMS he/she is most comfortable using.

What is a Content Management System (CMS)?

A Content Management System is basically a piece of software that allows non-technical users to manage their website and its content. Through a CMS, website owners have the ability to add text, upload images, videos and documents to their website at their leisure without the intervention of a web designer. A CMS takes away the technical knowledge required to update and manage a website by creating an easy to use interface. With some CMS’s, it can be as easy to create a new webpage on your website as it is to create a new Word document.

Content Management Systems were born in the mid 1990s when web designers, bored with the laborious task of updating massive content heavy websites, decided it was time for change. They went about creating simple systems to help maintain the websites they created for their clients. Originally these systems were built for in-house use only and it was only a matter of time before they realised that there was a market for such a product.

Nowadays, it’s common practice for web design companies to install Content Management Systems (CMS) on all websites they develop. Even if you haven’t request a CMS from your web designer, it’s quite possible they have installed one already… mainly for their own sanity!

Paid vs Free

The first major decision you will be faced with when deciding what CMS you should use is whether you should buy one or use one of the many freely available open source CMS’s.

In the Open Source arena, there are hundreds of free CMS’s . Being free obviously has massive benefits, but it also brings its problems too. Because the software and its core code are freely available, it’s more susceptible to security and hacking holes. For this reason, choosing a CMS that is regularly updated and patched regularly is of key importance.

Generally speaking, CMS’s developed in-house by web development companies will occur an annual license fee. Developers of “off-the-shelf? CMS’s are likely to charge you a one off fee for its use and offer you free updates for one year.

Cost

You shouldn’t assume that because you have chosen to use a free CMS, there will be no costs involved in getting up and running. The simple fact is that there will still be costs associated with getting it integrated with your website. Your web developer is likely charge you for the time it takes to install and integrate the CMS with your website design.

If you have chosen a commercial CMS, some companies may waive the integration fee, but you will still have to pay to get a design capable of working with the CMS itself.

It’s really worth researching the cabilities and functionality of all available CMSs before deciding on which one to you use for your website. Here is small list of some of the most popular CMSs.

Recommended Content Management Systems

Typo3
An enterprise level CMS that offers full flexibility and expendability.  Typo3 is freely available to download and use under the GPL License agreement. Typo3 has a good choice of enterprise extensions and plugins available.

www.typo3.com

Technology: PHP, MySQL, Oracle, Postgres

€FREE (GPL License)

Joomla
Joomla is an award winning content management system. Favoured by a lot of developers for it’s easy installation and management capabilities. Joomla’s biggest downfall is probably its popularity. The fact that so many people use it, makes it more prone to abuse from malicious coders.

www.joomla.com

Technology: PHP, MySQL

Cost: FREE (GPL License)

WordPress
Favoured by bloggers as the tool of choice, it is now fast becoming a popular tool for managing smaller websites.

A huge collection of third party plugins are freely available.

www.wordpress.org

Technology: PHP, MySQL

Cost: FREE (GPL License)

Expression Engine
An affordable Content Management System that is feature rich and flexible.

www.expressionengine.com

Technology: PHP, MySQL

From €250.00

Kentico CMS
Kentico is another flexible solution and favoured by developers who are used to developing Microsoft ASP.NET applications.

www.kentico.com

Technology: ASP.NET, SQL

From €1,990.00

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What’s the Buzz with Google Buzz??

Google have yet again started rolling out a new application with stealth for the last couple of days. Users of Gmail are gradually being presented with a new screen when they login to Gmail. Rather than being brought directly to their inbox, they are shown a page promoting their new “Buzz” service. “No sign up required” the message happily proclaims.

But what is it and why would I want it?

Basically, Google Buzz is Google’s take on a Twitter styled system. I guess you could say it has everything that Twitter doesn’t. Do we really need another system like this? I’d have to say no, but it is a great way to get people engaging online. For example, Facebook brought in a similar system last year and it’s use grew substantially. Twitter still lags way behind Facebook in terms of users, but it’s simple system is appealing to a lot of people. People new to Twitter will probably feel that Google is trying to rip off Facebook, but that is not the case.

So where does this leave Twitter? For months there were rumours that Google was on the verge of buying Twitter – but it never it just never materialised. Most people within the online community expected it as a fact, rather than something that was about to happen. Personally, I can’t see Google buying Twitter now that it has built it’s own system that is very similar (or a complete rip!) with a lot more features.

It will be interesting to see if this has an effect on Twitter if any at all! One things for sure, Twitter will have to start working extra hard at trying to build a revenue model for the site as it doesn’t look like anyone will be interested in buying them now… unless of course Microsoft want a piece of this! :)

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Mugurdy – The New Irish (made) Search Engine

I always love to see new indigenous Irish companies getting a break. But when I read a newspaper article about an Irish company who were about to launch a new visual search engine, I thought to myself “oh no, someone else has been duped into parting with their hard earned cash!”.

A “visual search engine” is nothing new by any stretch of the imagination. There are a number of high profile visual search engines already up and running on the web for some time. In fact one of the leading visual search engines (searchme.com) has recently shut its doors. Their once innovative website sits looking deserted, with what can only be described as a desperate plea to raise cash by selling their IP to anyone who will take it off their hands! In the company press release, they stated that they needed to raise at LEAST $100 million to compete with the likes of Google, Bing or Yahoo!. This should be a stark reality check for Mugurdy, since it’s straight from a company that had already pumped $44m into their doomed idea.

But who cares huh?
We’re Irish after all and we all love the under dog… Surely Mugurdy can pull this one out of the bag with their Irish fighting spirit!

Wrong…

I stumbled across the sites release after reading a post on Boards.ie which said:

“I just thought I’d drop in a link to http://www.mugurdy.com which is a search engine we’ve been working on for a while now. It’s not finished, is basically still in beta, but I’d be interested to hear any feedback on it!”

I’m not entirely sure what Mugurdy’s strategy is here. If this is their plan for promoting the website, they really need a reality check. Remember, Microsoft pumped $1 billion into the marketing of their new Bing search engine to try compete with Google. If Mugurdy think that posting a link on one of Ireland’s most popular web properties is the way forward, they should really think again. I do hope they have a better strategy for promoting their site than this.

Anyway, I decided to play around with the search itself, to see if I would ever use a search like this. Now I know from using other visual search engines, that they just don’t give me what I expect from a search engine that I would be someone hard to please. Let’s face it, I search for information, not for pictures. I can see a use for a visual search engine for certain things, like looking for the prettiest website in a particular sector or to find a website that I a visual memory of what the website looked like. But for finding specific information, visual search just doesn’t cut it.

The first thing I noticed when I visited mugurdy.com was the homepage… They obviously went for the simplistic look made famous by Google. But they left out one key element of the Google homepage that Google value so much, their copyright notice. I’ve spoke before about why Google value their copyright notice (click here to read) and if Mugurdy want to compete with the big boys, they need to start researching in depth why things work so well for Google. There is plenty of free material available out there with studies on how people interact with Google.

As I continued on, it was clear that Mugurdy simply didn’t have the quality results that Google would have. I don’t knock them for that, we’ve seen how hard it has been for every other search engine on the web to come up with the quality of results that Google possess.

It didn’t take me long to realise (again) that visual search just isn’t for me, and never will be. For me, it’s much quicker and easier to hold my ctrl key and click each link on Google results to open a new tab. I can click 4 or 5 that interest me and by the time I’ve clicked the fifth result, the other 3/4 before that will have loaded into a full browser window in a new tab. You just can’t beat that simplicity.

It really makes you think about how companies are getting investment in Ireland. In the past year or two I’ve seen a lot of good start up businesses with great web ideas struggling to raise investment. Then you see companies like Mugurdy being invested in when they clearly have little chance of success. If our investors keep investing in ideas like this, we’ll have no money left to put behind really high potential start ups.

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