imageAdmittedly, until recently, something I’ve struggled with is using OneNote for my Todo lists. 

Until recently I still typed “notepad” into a command line to quick jot ideas down.  It was easy to get things I needed to remember down in text this way.  The problem is that I’d often forget about the notes and if I rebooted my laptop or closed the notepad window, I’d lose everything with no hope of data recovery, since Notepad doesn’t autosave.  OneNote seemed like the perfect solution but frequently getting to a Todo list in OneNote amongst all my pages was laborious & frustrating.

I learned how to create shortcuts into specific OneNote pages and that has revolutionized my life.  Anywhere in Windows, I now use “CTRL-ALT-X” and it immediately takes me to my Todo list in OneNote – the same Todo list that’s synced across my tablet, my PC and my phone.

Here’s how I did it:

  1. Open OneNote.  Select a page you want to link to.
  2. Right click the page tab and select the “Copy link to page” menu item.
        1. If your Notebook is synced to OneDrive, what you just copied is a bunch of text representing two links: 
          One for the ONLINE OneDrive version of your OneNote page (which begins with https:)…
          the other for the LOCAL OneNote page (which begins with onenote:)  Paste the link into NotePad and you’ll see something like this:


        2. Copy the section that begins with “onenote:”, as underlined above.  Do not copy the “&end”.
  3. Switch to your desktop. 
  4. Create a shortcut & paste the OneNote page hyperlink into it.  Name the shortcut something like “Todo list”.  Click Finish.
  5. Right click on the Shortcut icon you just created.  Choose properties.
  6. Click the “Shortcut key” textbox.  Press the keyboard shortcut you’d like such as “CTRL-ALT-X”.
  7. Click Ok.

That’s it.  From now on, anytime you need to enter a Todo item, you can hit CTRL-ALT-X and it will take you to your OneNote Todo page.

Posted by: kurtsh | August 7, 2014

INFO: Explaining the cloud… through Pizza

A coworker, Lee Reese, passed this on to me.  It’s a humorous explanation of what the cloud is at differing levels of control.  For those that don’t get the differences between PaaS, IaaS, and SaaS:


Posted by: kurtsh | August 7, 2014

HOWTO: Delete a partition on a USB Thumb Drive

Found this neat set of instructions on how to repartition & reformat a USB thumb drive without any additional utilities or tools from the command prompt using DiskPart that I thought I’d share.  (And I’m basically posting this to make sure I can find it again in the future.)

From a command prompt in Windows:

1. From Command prompt type diskpart

2.Within Diskpart, use the List Disk command to check which disk the USB device is. The USB device should be obvious; in my case, it’s the 14GB disk.

DISKPART> list disk

  Disk ###  Status         Size     Free     Dyn  Gpt

  ——–  ————-  ——-  ——-  —  —

  Disk 0    Online          232 GB  1024 KB

  Disk 1    Online          149 GB      0 B

  Disk 2    Online          149 GB  7168 KB

* Disk 3    Online           14 GB      0 B

3 Once the disk is known, select the disk and run the rest of the displayed commands (change "disk 3" to the number of your disk):

DISKPART> select disk 3

Disk 3 is now the selected disk.


DiskPart succeeded in cleaning the disk.

DISKPART> create partition primary

DiskPart succeeded in creating the specified partition.

DISKPART> select partition 1

Partition 1 is now the selected partition.

DISKPART> active

DiskPart marked the current partition as active.

DISKPART> format fs=ntfs quick

100 percent completed

DiskPart successfully formatted the volume.

DISKPART> assign

DiskPart successfully assigned the drive letter or mount point.


(taken from

imageIn case you missed it, Omer Atay, a developer on the OneNote team released an addin to OneNote called “OneTastic”:

Here’s a look at Onetastic, an add-in to enhance OneNote functionality with a set of built-in features and an extensible macro processor that allows you to download and modify macros and add new ones yourself.

Onetastic features will light up in the Home tab as well as some right-click menus. When you install the add-in, you will see the following buttons added to your Home tab:


Included in OneTastic are:

  • OneCalendar – A standalone application which provides a calendar view into your notes.
  • Favorites – A feature that allows you to bookmark your frequently used pages or sections into the Ribbon, or pin them to your desktop or any folder you choose
  • Custom Styles – The ability to create new customized styles and apply them to quickly format your text.
  • Image Crop – An item is added to the image right-click menu that allows you to crop a selected image.
  • Select Text from Image – Select a small part of the text within an image and copy it instead of converting ALL the text in an image which is the out-of-box behavior.
  • Rotate/Flip Printouts – Easily rotate a printout that is inserted in the wrong orientation.
  • Macros and Macroland – Onetastic has a macro processor and editor which allows you to build macros to perform routine tasks with one click. Macros can create pages and modify page content, like inserting outlines, paragraphs, and tables. If you think this is complicated, don’t worry. Onetastic ships with lots of built-in macros and also features Macroland, where you can download more macros. Following are the built-in macros you can find, which notably include another frequently requested feature called Search & Replace.

Here’s a video that shows these features:

Work Smart: OneNote for Pros: Welcome to Onetastic


For more information, visit the announcement blogs and download the add-in here:

New free eBook for Azure developers!

imageGreetings! We’re happy to release a free ebook today: Building Cloud Apps with Microsoft Azure: Best practices for DevOps, data storage, high availability, and more, by Scott Guthrie, Mark Simms, Tom Dykstra, Rick Anderson, and Mike Wasson.

You can download all formats (PDF, Mobi and ePub) at the Microsoft Virtual Academy.

This ebook walks you through a patterns-based approach to building real-world cloud solutions. The patterns apply to the development process as well as to architecture and coding practices.

The content is based on a presentation developed by Scott Guthrie and delivered by him at the Norwegian Developers Conference (NDC) in June of 2013 (part 1, part 2), and at Microsoft Tech Ed Australia in September 2013 (part 1, part 2). Many others updated and augmented the content while transitioning it from video to written form.

Who should read this book

Developers who are curious about developing for the cloud, are considering a move to the cloud, or are new to cloud development will find here a concise overview of the most important concepts and practices they need to know. The concepts are illustrated with concrete examples, and each chapter includes links to other resources that provide more in-depth information. The examples and the links to additional resources are for Microsoft frameworks and services, but the principles illustrated apply to other web development frameworks and cloud environments as well.

Developers who are already developing for the cloud may find ideas here that will help make them more successful. Each chapter in the series can be read independently, so you can pick and choose topics that you’re interested in.

Anyone who watched Scott Guthrie’s "Building Real World Cloud Apps with Windows Azure" presentation and wants more details and updated information will find that here.

Read more or download the books here:

imageOffice Lens for Windows Phone is a tool that, using the phone’s camera & OneNote as a photo store, allows you to capture:

  • Whiteboards
  • Documents
  • Presentation slides

What I want to talk about is capturing projected presentation slides in presentations you are present in because this is a feature that is really excellent and I don’t think it’s fully realized by everyone that has it.

Here’s basically how you capture slides you see projected during meetings:

  • Start Office Lens.  This will turn on your camera.  I recommend turning off the flash by tapping the “lightning bolt” symbol until it is “crossed out”.  I also recommend setting the app to “whiteboard” by touching the icon in the upper right hand corner, which will toggle between “photo”, “document”, and “whiteboard”.
  • Aim your camera at the slide you wish to capture.  The application will automatically attempt to frame the slide using dynamically generated vector lines, setting photo borders.  This may be helpful, but don’t worry about this.
  • Touch the screen image, specifically on the image of the slide you wish to capture.  This will change the brightness & contrast required to focus on the slide and take the photo.  This is very important to reduce glare & eliminate projector light ‘hotspots’. The captured image will appear on the screen.
  • Touch the “framing” icon near the top, if you need to change the boundaries of the slide within the image.  This will allow you to set the borders of the presentation slide that you are capturing.  4 user-adjustable corners allow you rubber band the slide visually if it hasn’t already been “locked on to” via the applications whiteboard auto-detection intelligence.
  • Acknowledge your framing by touching the “save/floppy disk image”.  The slide should be captured as an image.  Your Windows Phone camera roll will store BOTH the original image as well as just the rubber banded slide image as separate photos. 

The images will be stored, saved, and replicated to your OneNote workbook.  A single page will be added to the “Quick Notes” section of your cloud connected OneNote workbook.

Here’s a video on using Office Lens on YouTube:


(taken from

Just announced:

Today, we are excited to announce the general availability of Enhanced Mitigation Experience Toolkit (EMET) 5.0. EMET is a free tool, designed to help customers with their defense in depth strategies against cyberattacks, by helping block and terminate the most common techniques adversaries might use in comprising systems. EMET 5.0 further helps to protect with two new mitigations, and with new capabilities giving customers additional flexibility on their deployments.

EMET helps to protect systems, even before new and undiscovered threats are formally addressed by security updates and antimalware software.

Enhanced Mitigation Experience Toolkit–A Customer’s Perspective

Read more here:

imageI have an Xbox Music Pass which provides unlimited access to the entire Xbox Music Library – all the music & content it has available online – and of the greatest features of “XMP” is access to all the Comedy Albums I want.

Yup.  Xbox Music Pass isn’t just for “music”.  It’s also excellent for spoken word content, which is a perfect example of the kind of content that I probably wouldn’t want to buy but instead listen to once by either downloading to my device for offline play or streaming to my device on-demand while on the road.

And since Xbox Music Pass works with my Windows PC, my Windows Phone 8, my Xbox 360/One, or even a iPhone/iPad/Android device, I can get my “funny” fix any time I want.

Something that’s also overlooked is the fact that not only do you get the ability to download or stream any of your favorite comedian’s albums – one of mine happens to be Patton Oswalt who has 5 albums available to listen to on Xbox Music – but you also get recommendations as to other comedians that are similar to your favorites.

This is a great way to discover other comedians and listen to their albums – again, at no additional charge.

A common question I get is “what’s available?” and the problem is that comedy is really subjective.  What’s funny to me may not be funny to you. 

So, in an effort to provide a large spectrum of what’s available on Xbox Music, here’s a list I manually made of all the artists that have their albums available to download or stream on Xbox Music.

This should give you an idea of how incredibly expansive the comedy library is.  For example:  I’ve hyperlinked Patton’’ Oswalt’s albums below along with the first few comedians on this list:  (

  • Patton Oswalt
  • Mike Birbiglia
  • Norm MacDonald
  • Lewis Black
  • Louis C.K.
  • John Leguizamo
  • Jim Gaffigan
  • Carlos Mencia
  • Pablo Francisco
  • Sinbad
  • Steven Wright
  • John Pinette
  • Demitri Martin
  • Mitch Hedberg
  • Bob Newhart
  • Todd Barry
  • Marc Maron
  • Harland Williams
  • Artie Lange
  • Adam Sandler
  • Margaret Cho
  • Brian Regan
  • Ellen Degeneres
  • Kathleen Madigan
  • Jeff Foxworthy
  • The Lonely Island
  • Billy Crystal
  • Louis Anderson
  • Ralphie May
  • Tracy Morgan
  • Ron White
  • Bill Engvall
  • Larry the Cable Guy
  • Cedric the Entertainer
  • Eddie Griffin
  • Wanda Sykes
  • Martin Lawrence
  • George Lopez
  • Frank Caliendo
  • Jim Norton
  • Jerry Seinfeld
  • Daniel Tosh
  • Sarah Silverman
  • Chris Rock
  • Weird Al Yankovic
  • Lisa Lampanelli
  • Mitch Fatel
  • Dave Attell
  • Robert Schimmel
  • Dane Cook
  • Christopher Titus
  • Christian Finnegan
  • Bill Burr
  • Maria Bamford
  • Doug Benson
  • Joe Rogan
  • Jim Breuer
  • Chris Hardwick
  • Kevin Nealon
  • Cheech & Chong
  • Aziz Ansari
  • Brian Posehn
  • Kumail Nanjiani
  • David Cross
  • Eugene Mirman
  • Andrew Dice Clay
  • Eddie Murphy
  • Bob Saget
  • Jimmy Shubert
  • Denis Leary
  • Steve Martin
  • Sam Kinison
  • Doug Stanhope
  • Paula Poundstone
  • Jimmy Fallon
  • Bill Hicks
  • Kevin Pollak
  • Dennis Miller
  • Greg Giraldo
  • Robin Williams
  • Bobcat Goldsthwait
  • Arj Barker
  • Jeffery Ross
  • Dana Gould
  • Greg Proops
  • Harry Shearer
  • George Carlin
  • Redd Foxx
  • Jackie Mason
  • Lenny Bruce
  • Stephen Lynch

imageRemember all those conferences we used to have?

  • TechEd North America
  • Microsoft Management Summit
  • Microsoft Exchange Conference
  • Microsoft SharePoint Conference
  • Microsoft Lync Conference
  • Microsoft Project Conference

On the week of May 4th, 2015, (Star Wars day!) Microsoft will be holding a single event encapsulating all these conferences in Chicago:

May 4th, 2015 – Join us in Chicago for the inaugural unified Microsoft commercial technology event. If you’ve attended TechEd, SharePoint Conference, Microsoft Exchange Conference, Lync Conference, Project Conference or and Microsoft Management Summit, this the place for you to be! More details will be shared in September, follow us on Twitter @MSCloud to stay connected.

For more information, check the announcement blog post:

Posted by: kurtsh | July 18, 2014

INFO: Reference list of Surface Blogs


There’s a lot of blogs out there purporting to write about Surface but they’re really just trying to garner clicks for ad revenue.  So here’s a list of good Surface blogs that I’ve been following:

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