[Misc] Fixing annoying synchronization problem Outlook Android app

Since my outlook.com instance was upgraded to the ‘new’ experience, I’m having all kinds of issues. Two of the most annoying ones: my rules (junk sweep for instance) are not working. Not at all. Also, the synchronization on my mobile phone was pretty crappy, especially for people / contacts. It would not sync certain contacts (again: not at all) and others it would sometimes sync and sometimes delete. Being a nerd I could not stand this, so I went on to find a fix.

I tried all the logical stuff first: reset the account (which is an option in the app). Switch on / off contact syncing. Remove and add the account. Remove the app and reinstall it. I really tried pretty much everything, nothing worked.

With the update, legacy outlook.com account were moved over to a new infrastructure which is built on Office365 bits and pieces. It’s still Outlook.com, but it looks an awful lot like Outlook Online from Office365 now. And if you know Office365, you also know it’s basically Exchange behind the scenes. Read More

Changing jobs!

Having worked for four years at Atos now, early this year I began feeling like it might be time for something new. In these past four years I’ve learned a lot about how large companies work, having some of Hollands largest as my customers. It’s an intriguing world with it’s own problems, completely different from the small companies I used to work for before this job. Atos also gave me the chance to develop myself, shifting from being a hardcore developer to having more soft skills targeted towards advising customers and guiding them in today’s and tomorrow’s world of technology. For this I’m very thankful, really appreciated all of it.

But as they say, all good things must come to an end and so I’ve decided it was time to move on. Next to saying goodbye to a job, I’ll also be partly saying goodbye to the product I’ve worked with for so many years now. Yes, it’s time to let go of the “SharePoint Architect” title I was given 4 years ago. Never liked the architect part btw but that came with the job… Many projects with many customers and probably even more colleagues later, focusing purely on SharePoint just doesn’t do it for me any more. If you’ve kept track of my previous blog posts you probably noticed a lot more emphasis on Microsoft Azure and this is exactly what I’ll be moving to. I love the pace the Microsoft cloud platform is progressing at and how analysts like Gartner are increasingly confirming that Microsoft is a leader in this space. I’m not going to abandon Office365 completely though as I feel it’s a very important part of the Microsoft cloud offering, especially when combined with all the goodies Azure has to offer. It’s the combination that makes perfect and that allows me to still leverage part of my existing skill set.

So in my next role I’m going to shift focus a bit, focusing on developing solutions for and based on Microsoft Azure with Office365 when applicable. How exactly this will pan out I’ll see in the coming months. I’d love to help out customers in finding their way in all of the things the MS cloud has to offer. Making sure that solutions are future ready and leverage the cloud in the way they should, instead of simply shifting VMs over. Pretty excited about that and you might imagine I can’t wait to start!

In the next few weeks I’ve still got some project handovers to do and there’s a little break coming up. So that new start will be all fresh and spirited! Keep track of my blog or LinkedIn profile for more info! Talk later!

Gold For Experts, W02 – The round-up

It’s always nice to get back home after an information packed week. Especially when the temperature is somewhere around 16 – 17 degrees and there’s sun for a change. Spring seems to be peeking around the corner, which is nice after a dull winter (almost no snow, no ice skating, why do we even call it winter any more?).

The weather in Paderborn is probably better now too, all we saw was grey clouds. At least the clouds were somewhat appropriate. Wait, did I really make a cloud joke? Crap, time to move on… Read More

Gold for Experts, W02D02

If I were to count Sunday, which I probably could since I left around noon and most other guys left way more early, we’re already half way through this week of Gold for Experts. So time is flying once again, which is partially due to the ever so great weissbier they serve here in Germany. But I’m not here to talk about beer, there’s plenty of time for that when I leave for wintersport in 2,5 weeks 😉 Instead, I’m here to talk day one and two of GFE @ Paderborn.

For those who missed it (again), here are parts one and twoRead More

Gold for Experts; week 2!

I’m coming from you live from Paderborn Germany, where we will have our second week of Gold for Experts. For those of you who missed my previous blog about the first week, you can find it here.

It was always my plan to blog kind of live, but since my previous provider messed up my WordPress install, that didn’t go too well. It’s alive and kicking again now that I found a new provider so this week should be better. Don’t worry though, I’ll probably won’t spam you with a new update each day but do some write-ups during the week.

It’s been very nice to hear that some people have actually read the previous blog and found it usefull. Got some nice comments of colleagues on the same intake as myself, as well as colleagues who have been selected for intake 4 (starting in 3 weeks). That has been and is my goal for these series; give you guys an impression on what Gold is all about. So thanks for the nice comments again, and let’s get started with week 2 already!

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Gold for Experts – week 1

The end of last year I was given the news that I had been selected for an internal Atos program called “Gold for Experts”. This program is targeted towards employees with a technical background, who also like to speak up when it comes to things like strategy and future vision. My manager signed me up without my knowing, so it was kind of a surprise to get into the selection procedure and eventually into the program itself. Thanks again, Luc 🙂

Because the program is still new-ish (this was the third intake), I decided to blog about it a bit so that colleagues and people outside of Atos get an idea of what it’s all about. This post is the first of at least three, because the program consists of three weeks. The first and last week take place in Cambridge, UK. The second week is all about technology and takes place in Paderborn, Germany. The universities of Cambrigde and Paderborn both contribute to the program, along with Atos colleagues.

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Rocks or sucks: Windows 8

I love testing new stuff out. No, it´s not always perfect, but neither is the software I write myself. Making software perfect is a process of developing, getting it our there, reading your users´ responses and correcting the bits you´ve missed. It´s like that for me, it´s like that for Microsoft. So why not help them make things better by testing the new stuff out, right? And thus I´m typing this on my old PC running Windows 8 with Office 2013, Visual Studio 2012, and so on. Like!

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Windows Phone 8: loving it already!

Not too long ago I wrote a corporate blog post (Dutch) about Windows 8 and why I love the idea. In that same post, I mentioned the great interactivity all Windows devices will get because of the shared core. Today, Microsoft officially anounced that shared core at their Windows Phone 8 conference. Yay!

Not going into depth, the shared core comes down to developers being able to use Windows bits and pieces for Windows Phone development as well. That’s cool because you’ll won’t have to worry about writing the same code twice for different devices. And with Microsoft Surface (not the table but the slate) being launched in the end of this year as well, it means we developers will be using one codebase for phone, tablet and desktop apps. And that’s great. Kind of sounds like the way it was always meant to be if you ask me!

But that’s not all. Here’s a quick recap of all the nice features Windows Phone 8 will have:

  • Multi core support
  • Support for other resolutions (not there at this time)
  • Wallet. Not only for credit card payment, but also loyalty programs, paying via NFC, deals on your device, Airmiles. Cool! Finally we can get rid of all those stupid cards!
  • And with that comes in-app purchases
  • Navigation & directions (NAVTEQ / Nokia)
  • Deploying corporate software without using the marketplace
  • More HTML5 support (touch!)
  • Native C / C++ and Direct3D hardware acceleration
  • SQLite support
  • Incoming VoIP and Skype calls are just like normal calls

So yes. Some of you may argue that some of these features aren’t that new when compared to Android and iPhone devices. No they’re not. But integrating them all into one OS definitely is. And compared to the ‘new’ features Apple introduced for iOS6, I think this list is pretty awesome, especially from a developers point of view. With this toolkit, we get lots of goodies to implement in our apps. And I’m pretty sure the launch of Windows 8 together with Windows Phone 8 will stir things up a lot. Thinking differently that is 😉

The sucky part for current Windows Phone users: they won’t be upgrading all legacy devices. But there will be a WP7.8 version which features some of the functions of 8. But not all. So you might be forced to buy a different phone, although I’m guessing that the later models will have an upgrade option.

Disclaimer: I don’t own a Windows Phone device (yet), and I won’t be getting one for this blogpos also I’m afraid. But hey, wouldn’t want one at this time, I’m going to wait for the new Lumia’s to come out (which probably will be somewhere around the end of the year I assume). And disclaimer part two: most of the above info came from Engadget.

Windows 8. A first glance of the Consumer Preview.

Ok. So tonight I downloaded the consumer preview of Windows 8 and gave it a go. I just wanted to share some thoughts here.

The first thing I noticed was the fish. What’s up with that? It’s on the boot screen for some reason, and when you’ve got your tile desktop in front of you, it also sits in the “Desktop” tile. I really have no clue on what it’s doing there and frankly, I’d rather see it belly up somewhere. So much for the fish.

I already saw the tiles in many, many demo’s, so no real surprise there. In this new version, there are some working app previews like photo’s, calendar and music. Unfortunately, not all of those are available to us European users, as we allways have to wait longest for things for some reason. One example is the music app which doesn’t connect when you’re outside the States (I guess, don’t exactly know where it does work).

The apps behind the files are window less. This looks good, but I do question how well it works for users who love to multitask. And more importantly; if there won’t be any windows in the future, what will Microsoft do with the name of it’s new pretty OS? Windows seems a bit… irrelevant?

So once in an app, there is no window. This imposes another challenge: how the hell do I close this thing? There is no little cross anymore, no way to minimize. Untill now, I haven’t been able to find out the trick, other then using the Windows key to return to the start screen. Of course there’s something I missed and I probably have to read the f*cking manual. But still, these things should be intuitive. It’s not. My parents won’t understand it, pretty sure of that.

Win7 mode
The bigest pain of them all is what I shall call “Windows 7 mode”. Microsoft has a challenge here, a real big one. Of course, when 8 launches, there will be tons of apps incompatible with the new Metro interface. And lot’s of those might not even get a Metro interface, who knows. So Microsoft needs a way to get those apps into their new OS, and it’s done this by keeping the old one pretty much intact. So when you open a legacy Windowed app, it switches to “Windows 7 mode” and it’s back to basics. This might be conveniant for users, it’s not for the OS experience. It feels like 2 OS’es struggling with each other. There is no other way to do it, I get that. But Microsoft should make more effort in styling the Win7 mode to at least look a bit like Win8. It’s too much like the old one, which will probably confuse users.

Conclusion (for now…)
Ok. Let’s not be too critical. It’s also pretty awesome. Microsoft is taking a bit step ditching their old approach based on principles from way back. That’s challenging, daring and a touch cookie. It’s a vision which hasn’t been fulfilled quite yet. And I don’t expect it to be in Win8. Win9 will probably be what they imagined all along, but a transition period is unevitable.That period I’ll be using Win8 to get started. Bring it on!