27 July 2011 Authorized To Sell Microsoft Online Services Business Solutions is now an authorized Microsoft Business Solutions Reseller with the right to receive fees for selling Microsoft Online Services. Don't worry, we will continue developing and selling our own products. However, as a complement we can now give better advice and service to Community Members who wish to transfer to MS Online services like Office 365 or Windows Azure. In the future, when our products become more cloud based, will also offer a hosting service.

To gain the authorization we had to show that we understand Microsoft's cloud based services and are able to judge what platforms and configurations that would suit each Member best. This deep knowledge of the online Services is of course necessary for the team. We aim to always learn the latest technologies to take advantage of the benefits they can bring to our products, so when Microsoft started launching online services were close on their heels. The certification above is only one of the proofs on our ambition.

24 July 2011

PF HelpDesk V11.3 Released

Late Friday night we could release version 11.3 of Public Folder HelpDesk, the incident management tool for Outlook, and during the weekend the updated documentation has been published too. In my blog post of 21 July I told you about the support for Office 365 and the removal of the folder homepage, and I also mentioned some other improvements that will make PF HelpDesk even better for new and current users.

Another enhancement for evaluators is that the PF HelpDesk Example data is no longer dependent on the Office Web Components. The OWC have been very convenient and we have used them in our products for a long time, but since they are not installed automatically with Outlook 2007 and 2010 we want to gradually transfer to other techniques. Even if the Outlook 2003 OWC works fine with later Outlook versions also, it means extra trouble to download and install them if you don't already have them on your PC. In the new version OWC is still needed for the Settings and Statistics, but we will change that too eventually. For just working with the tickets there is no need for OWC.

If you are using PF HelpDesk and your organization has joined Community, you are welcome to upgrade your installation. You may see all the changes on the PF HelpDesk Revisions page.

Have you not tried PF HelpDesk yet? Welcome to download the application and test it for free. It can be installed in any Outlook folder ‒ public, shared or private.

23 July 2011 Condemns Political And Religious Fundamentalism

Ten days ago we were chocked by a terror attack in Mumbai, near to where the Indian members of the team live, and yesterday terror struck again. This time it was in Norway, a country that is close to the Swedish members of the team ‒ not just geographically.

The catastrophe started in the afternoon, in the Norwegian capital Oslo, with a bomb exploding at the government building. Seven people died and many were injured. A couple of hours later a gunman started shooting wildly at a camp for young members of the Norwegian Labour Party, and nearly one hundred girls and boys were killed. As Labour is the party at power in Norway many think that the two attacks are connected.

The murderer at the camp was soon caught, and it showed to be a Christian fundamentalist and right wing extremist. It seems that once again a man has thought he was better than the rest of us and therefore had the right to slaughter innocent people because of his "cause". I don't have words to express the disgust I feel with such ideas.

My thoughts go to our Norwegian friends and Community Members, and I ask myself what is wrong with the world when terrible deeds like these happen over and over again. If we find the answer to that question and act on it, we can have a world in peace!

21 July 2011

Great Development Work On PF HelpDesk V11.3

Public Folder HelpDesk for Outlook
, the incident management add-on that may in fact be installed in any Outlook folder, will soon come in a new version. In PF HelpDesk 11.3 we have removed the folder homepage, above all to make PF HelpDesk compatible with Office 365. The combination of Office 365 and PF HelpDesk doesn´t really offer any specific featuers except the ones given by the products one by one, but in the future we plan to make more elaborate use of Office 365 specifically.

In earlier versions of PF HelpDesk the folder homepage was used for the different views, the search capability and the new ticket button. Now our developers have had to find new ways to handle that, and I must congratulate our Lead Developer Jayant Rimza to his elegant solution of the problem. In the Outlook ribbon he added a new search dialog, a gallery control that lets you switch between the PF HelpDesk custom views very easily and a "New ticket" button. For Outlook 2003, which we still support but which has no ribbon, he instead added this functionality to the right hand toolbar. This way you have all the PF HelpDesk buttons at the same place, and when I tried the Beta I found PF HelpDesk V11.3 even easier to work with than before.

The support for Office 365 is of course an important reason why we update PF HelpDesk so soon again, but there are also some new features. One of them is developed to help users avoid the conflict message when two people work at the same ticket. In version 11.3 the second person will get a warning and can just use the ticket in read-only mode. Another improvement is the option to not include attachments in the e-mails to callers sent from the ticket.

When we no longer use the folder homepage it was also possible to remove the dependency on Outlook View Control. This is an old technology that we think Microsoft might stop supporting, so it feels good to not depend on it anymore. Furthermore users had problems sometimes when OVC was not loaded properly.

I hope to very soon come back and tell you that PF HelpDesk V11.3 is released for all.

19 July 2011 Trainee Builds New Reporting Tool

After Peter left Skype he has had more time to lead the work at Business Solutions, and we have all seen the difference it has made. We also have a good Lead Developer and a Senior Developer, so now we feel we have the strength to take on trainees more often than before. These are young people who need much guidance, but they can also give fresh input.

Today I am happy to introduce Kanak Joshi, who joined the team a couple of weeks ago. Kanak took her Bachelor of Engineering degree last year, and now she wishes to continue learning application design and development.

Kanak's first task at is to create an Excel application that may be used for reporting and statistics. The tool she has begun building is intended as a replacement for our OLAP Reporting Tool. It will create an Excel workbook with reports and graphs for all the information in PF HelpDesk. Later her work will be the basis for similar tools for our other applications also. One benefit of this is that we will remove the dependency on the Office Web Components. This task will give Kanak new knowledge at the same time as she helps us build something many Community Members will find useful.

Kanak likes travelling and painting, and we share a hobby ‒ gardening. "Every morning when I see the flowers in my garden I feel enthusiastic", she says. I understand the feeling, and I am sure Kanak will do good if she brings that enthusiasm into her work! You can find more info about Kanak Joshi at the Team page.

13 July 2011 Aims To Be Microsoft Silver Partner

The Microsoft Partner Network gives software developers good opportunities to create and market their products, and Business Solutions has been a standard member of the network for many years.

Microsoft also makes it possible for partners to distinguish themselves by earning silver and gold competencies, and now is ready to take the big step of becoming a Silver Partner. We hope to soon gain the Microsoft Silver Independent Software Vendor (ISV)/Software Competency, which will give us many advantages. With the Silver Competency will have excellent access to the latest Microsoft technology, and we will be given sales and marketing resources specifically created for ISVs.

The Silver Competency will also make us stand out among our competitors. Only 5 % of the Microsoft Partners have reached the Silver Competency, so if succeeds in this venture we will be a stronger actor on the market. Customers will easily identify our capabilities and expertise and know that we have specific, proven skills. Community Members are of course already aware of that, but with a Silver Competency we hope that more will discover and enjoy the benefits of using products and services from Keep your fingers crossed (metaphorically at least) for our success!

07 July 2011 Transfers To TeamViewer For Remote Sessions

Teamviewer icon Remote sessions are an efficient way to solve software problems. By directly looking at a setup, the technicians can often find the error and solve it quickly.

For several years the team has used Microsoft's free application SharedView for remote sessions. It has served us well, but as we always strive to give better service to Community Members we have now decided to invest in another product. From today you are welcome to use our customized TeamViewer for remote sessions.

With TeamViewer nothing has to be installed on your computer. When you have received a remote session offer from the support, most often by e-mail but sometimes directly in the online chat, go to the contact page on our website. To the right on that page you will find a Download TeamViewer button like the one here above. This is your door to TeamViewer.

You just have to run the TeamViewer exe file to get going, but different browsers behave differently. This is what I found with the latest versions: Internet Explorer and Opera asks if you wish to run or save the file. Then you just select to run it (if you don't wish to download it first, of course). Google Chrome saves the file without asking while Firefox asks if you want to save the file, so for these two browsers you must first save the file and then click the file to run it.

The TeamViewer exe file opens a dialog where you are given login details to forward to the technician. We recommend that you contact the technical department via our online chat to do that, and you will find the chat button on the contact page also. As soon as you have given the login details to our technician the connection is up very quickly, and your screen is shared automatically.

TeamViewer works behind firewalls, and it is a very safe product. The data channels are completely secure with key exchange and AES (256 Bit) session encoding. This is the security standard also used by https/SSL.

In a perfect world no remote sessions are necessary, but in reality they are and we can only make them as smooth as possible. We hope TeamViewer will give you an even more positive experience from the support sessions with

04 July 2011

Microsoft Pinpoint Lists Products From products now presented on the Microsoft Pinpoint MarketplaceFor several years Microsoft's Office Marketplace has been an important marketing channel for the products. It has given us many new visitors to the website ‒ and also many customers, since those visitors often are just the skilled IT professionals we want to reach. Now Microsoft has given us another opportunity to introduce our products to this group of people: Microsoft Pinpoint.

Microsoft Pinpoint was introduced in the U.S. a couple of years ago as a way to help small and midsize businesses to connect to Microsoft partners like Business Solutions. However, that first version of Pinpoint was more locally aimed and not as interesting to us as Office Marketplace. Recently Microsoft changed their Pinpoint site, and now we can showcase our applications in a better way and also more efficiently explain how they extend and enrich specific Microsoft products and platforms.

All products are now listed in the 51 English speaking countries supported by Pinpoint and in the only Swedish speaking one. Soon we hope to be on the pages for Spanish and German speaking countries also.

When we were accepted at Microsoft Pinpoint we were also given a chance to be presented at special platform marketplaces. Some testing and verifications are needed, though, and our dedicated junior developer Vijayant Rimza is busy with that task right now. It will take some time, but so far PF HelpDesk has passed the test for the Windows Azure Marketplace, and HelpDesk OSP is already listed on the Microsoft Office 365 Marketplace. We will continue the work!