Archive for May, 2010


Oracle Database 11g Helps Control Exponential Data Growth

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The 2010 ESG ESG.jpg annual customer survey is now available. As part of it, ESG interviewed 300 customers about their IT priorities and, unsurprisingly, “Manage Data Growth” is top of the list.

Perhaps less self-evident is the proposed solution to target this prime concern: “Often overlooked because it is a database platform, Oracle Database 11g offers additional capabilities such as automatic storage management (ASM), advanced data compression, and data protection that make managing data growth much easier for organizations of any size.”

The paper goes on to discuss these capabilities and highlights their potential benefits.

Oracle Database 11g Helps Control Exponential Data Growth – a worthwhile read for anyone having to deal with rapidly increasing amounts of data.

Download your free copy here.

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Hello, I must be going…

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Hello, welcome to the PowerPoint and the Office Art team blog. A different kind of blog, written by several members of the team, about the work we are doing to make better software for you.

cruiseshot Has it really been over four years since I wrote that opening to the first PowerPoint team blog entry?  Wow. We’ve come a long way since then, since a few program managers on the team decided to start writing about all the cool stuff we were working on, and all the cool stuff you could do with PowerPoint. 

I sincerely hope you’ve enjoyed it so far, and will continue to read these personal notes from the team to you about the application we all enjoy.

For me, I’m making a big change today.  After 17 years of working on the PowerPoint application, I’ve decided to start a new chapter of my life where my e-mail address won’t end with  More on that in a second.

I’m so proud of what this team has done. I’m proud of our focus on putting together great software for you. And I expect to be a PowerPoint champion for many years to come. 

To that point, I decided to share my letter to the team with you all, because it just seems right to consider you readers as part of the PowerPoint family with whom I’ve enjoyed working all this time.

Sent: Friday, May 21, 2010 9:29 AM
To: PowerPoint – All
Subject: Hello, I must be going…

Hello, I must be going.  – Groucho Marx

The impulse in writing a truly fine good-bye letter is to sum up the experience in total, such that it can be both a memorial to the time spent and a lesson left behind.  Of course, such writing has a tendency to be self-absorbed and potentially boring.  So, exercising incredible self-control, I’ll try to get this down without attempting to be legendary in my prose.

When I tell people I’ve spent the last 17 years of my life working on PowerPoint, around nine releases of the product, I typically get one of two responses. 

One reaction goes something like it must have been an incredible experience to be involved the development of program that went from obscurity to worldwide notoriety, and to have been involved with it over such a long period of time.  Of course, this is quite true. It has been an amazing experience.  I’ve been fortunate to work with an astounding array of people.  I’ve been able to develop and exercise new skills and work with new technologies.  And when I meet people, I can tell them about our product with real pride.

The other reaction to my working on PowerPoint for 17 years is a little trickier.  How could you let yourself stay in one area, much less work for one company, for so long?  That’s simply not how things work in the Valley. There’s so much out there to explore.  This is harder to refute, as my reaction is more emotional than practical.  Honestly, it’s simply been a joy to be associated with the product, to meet and understand the customers, to work diligently on solving their problems, and to work with a team so similarly motivated.

Recently I started thinking about the time span in general; 17 years.  A standard K-12 education plus 4 years of college lasts 17 years.  After living with their parents for 17 years, many 18-year olds find a way to move out of the house, get off on their own. And, after 17 years, the national tour of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera will end its national tour this very November. 

OK, that last one is a bit of a stretch, but it does get you thinking about Act II.

Act II for me will begin with my last day at Microsoft, May 28th.  Those of you who know me well already know of my blogging, podcasting, Pecha Kucha nights, other social networking, and these activities will continue. And I don’t expect my love of presenting and presentation software to wane at all. I’ll continue to write and be active in that area for a long time to come.

What else will I be doing?  Well, my wife wanted me just to spend some time cleaning out the garage, selling the good junk on eBay.  (Trivia fun fact: I have an eBay feedback profile of over 430 entries, rated 100% positive.) Of course, planning that activity got a bit out of hand and I went a little overboard.  Now I’m happy to report that in a few weeks I’ll start working for eBay as a Senior Product Manager working on the user experience in selling on eBay.  I’m pretty excited about this, and if you’ve used eBay and have any feedback about it, please let me know!

It’s my hope that my education at Microsoft will serve me, and my future customers, well. 

My best wishes to you all!


PS. For those not familiar with the Groucho Marx reference, here’s the entire song from the movie Animal Crackers, which is highly recommended.  Margaret Dumont sings the italicized part.  It’s one of my favorite Groucho bits, and seemed appropriate.

Hello, I must be going.
I cannot stay,
I came to say
I must be going.
I’m glad I came
but just the same
I must be going.

For my sake you must stay,
for if you go away,
you’ll spoil this party
I am throwing.

I’ll stay a week or two,
I’ll stay the summer through,
but I am telling you,
I must be going.

So keep tuned to this blog for the voice of the program. The PowerPoint team is fully committed to providing you with insights and information that you just can’t get anywhere else.  And if you’d like to keep in touch, please feel free to follow ricbret on Twitter.  If you’re in the Bay Area of California, perhaps you’ll participate in or just be part of the audience at Pecha Kucha Night San Jose.  And if you’re interested in reading my personal blog (just getting started) that’s or listen to my podcasts about presenting at

So for now, a fond farewell to you all.  Enjoy the new PowerPoint 2010, and all the ones yet to come.

Ric Bretschneider
Senior Program Manager
Microsoft PowerPoint

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Webcast Replay: Extreme Performance for Consolidated Workloads with Oracle Exadata

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If you missed our live webcast Extreme Performance for Consolidated Workloads with Oracle Exadata last week, the replay is now available.

Watch the free on-demand webcast in which Tim Shetler, Vice President of Oracle Database Product Management, and Richard Exley, Consulting Member of Technical Staff, discuss how Oracle Exadata can help you can significantly improve application performance and reduce infrastructure costs by consolidating transaction processing, data warehousing, or mixed workloads on Oracle Exadata.

Note: (1) Turn off pop-up blockers if the slides do not advance automatically. (2) Slides are available for download.

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When you are in the process of entering a new record in an Access database, you can press the Escape key to cancel the entry of the record. However, some events, such as clicking or tabbing into a subform on the main form, can save the record on the main form. At that point, you can’t press Escape to cancel the entry—you must use the Delete command to delete it. The end-users of your database might not understand the difference, and would probably want a single button or keyboard shortcut that just gets rid of the record, regardless of whether it’s been saved or not. To do this, you need to be able to which of these two states the record is in:

a) The record is being built up, has been assigned an AutoNumber ID, but hasn’t been committed to the table yet
– OR –
b) The record has already been committed and the ID indicated is already persistent.

The solution is to add a module-level variable (mboolIsInsert ) to the parent form. The variable is set to True in the BeforeInsert event on the form, and reset to False on the OnCurrent event. The OnCurrent event doesn’t fire for the parent form when you click or tab into the subform, only when you directly navigate on the main form.  You can then check the value of the module-level variable in your code to see if you’re in an insert event and respond as appropriate.

Option Compare Database
Option Explicit 

Private mboolIsInsert As Boolean

Private Sub Form_BeforeInsert(Cancel As Integer)
    mboolIsInsert = True
End Sub

Private Sub Form_Current()
    mboolIsInsert = False
End Sub

Public Sub CancelOrDeleteRecord()
   If mboolIsInsert Then
        'Add code to perform escape-equivalent cancel
        'Add Delete command to delete the current record
   End If
End Sub

Running the CancelOrDeleteRecord() procedure (for example, from a button on the main form) provides a more usable form by always getting rid of the record, regardless of whether it’s been saved or not.

Thanks to Access PM Russell Sinclair for the tip!

The Power Tips feature relies on you! Send your tips to Mike & Chris at

Luke Chung at FMS has let us know that they are now offering a free preview of their Total Access Statistics data analysis program for Access 2010. They have updated the product to support both the 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Access. The preview program is fully functional through August 1, 2010.

Thanks Luke!


Video Makeover

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Ever want to make your videos look like this?

Now you can with new PowerPoint 2010 Video Styles! First, insert the video from the Insert tab: image

We embed the video by default, but you can choose to link to the file from the Insert dropdown:


Then, select the video and click on the Video Tools | Format tab. Clicking on any of the icons will apply the style to the entire video, not just the poster frame.


In the Video Styles gallery, there are three categories of styles: Subtle, Moderate, and Intense. These are indicative of how complex the styles are, and can help you pick a video style that matches your presentation. For example, if you just want a simple outline or shadow, a style in the Subtle category will make your video look polished and professional. On the other hand, if you have an elaborate slide where the video is front and center, a style in the Intense category will help make it stand out and focus your audience’s attention.


You can also adjust the brightness, contrast, color, rotate, or even crop the video so it looks exactly the way you want it to.

Other than changing how your videos look, don’t forget about the features such as trimming video triggers, and media optimization that can help integrate videos into your presentation.

Give your videos a makeover today!

Sandy Yu
Program Manager

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Leverage Location Data with Maps in Your Apps

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Free Webinar: “Add Maps to Your Java Applications – The Easy Way”

Wednesday May 26 at 9:00am Pacific Time

Putting maps in your apps is a great way to put your apps on the map! Maps provide a location context that can trigger those “aha” moments leading to better business decisions.

Tune into this free webinar to find out how easy it is to leverage spatial and location data, much of which is already in your Oracle Database. NAVTEQ’s Dan Abugov and Oracle’s Shay Shmeltzer combine their considerable experience with Oracle Spatial and Java application development to demonstrate how you can quickly and easily add maps to your Java applications, leveraging Oracle Spatial 11g, Oracle Fusion Middleware MapViewer, Oracle JDeveloper and ADF 11g. Register here.

Learn more about Oracle spatial and location technology

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My Favorite Feature: Quick Steps

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Editors’ Note: The following is a guest post by Microsoft Outlook MVP Diane Poremsky as part of the MVP Award Program Blog‘s series “10 Days for Office 2010″.

One of my favorite timesaving features in Outlook 2010 is Quick Steps. You can use Quick Steps to perform tasks you need to do frequently that involve multiple steps, such as filing messages in specific folders or flagging messages for follow up and sending a reply. You can assign keyboard shortcuts to your most frequently used quick steps or click the quick step buttons using your mouse.

Outlook includes a list of predefined Quick Steps to get your started and you can add new ones, modify existing Quick Steps or delete ones that are not useful. To create a new Quick Step, click on the scroll bar in the Quick Steps command and choose New Quick Step. It’s easiest to start with one of the predefined steps and customize it, or you can choose Custom and start with a blank quick step.

If you pick one of the standard Quick Step types, you’ll get a simple dialog and can press Options to expand the dialog and add additional steps.


Choose Manage Quick Steps from the Quick Steps menu and you’ll be able to edit and delete your quick steps, create new quick steps, and rearrange the order they appear in the ribbon so the most used quick steps are listed first in the ribbon.


Diane Poremsky
Microsoft Outlook MVP

Cross Posted on The Office Blog


Access 2010 Web Databases: Creating Relationships

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In this blog series, I’m discussing how to convert an existing Access application to a web application (the series starts here: How Can I Put My Access Database On The Web?).

As with any database project, I’m starting with the data. When I attempted to upload my existing tables into SharePoint, I got a number of errors (Uploading the Data to SharePoint). I dealt with some of them (primary keys and unique indexes) in my last post (How can I create a Compound Unique Index?). I’ll finish up with the last of the errors: relationships.

Creating Relationships

Relationships in SharePoint require the use of a Lookup Field. This is another feature that experienced developers have been railing against (see The Evils of Lookup Fields in Tables ) since it was introduced in Access 2000. Mostly, this is because Lookup Fields are used poorly. It may seem convenient to display a value other than the linked field, however if you are creating an application, it really does more harm than good. But, lookup fields don’t have to be used to display a different field than the one that links the tables. You can also create a lookup field that actually displays the primary key value in the field rather than some other field. Doing so will remove the most egregious behavior of lookup fields, while still allowing you to use them to create relationships in SharePoint.

I still discourage their use in client systems (at least as far as displaying a value other than the one used to create the link), but they’re necessary in web databases, so I’ve come to terms with them.
There are two ways to create Lookup fields: manually or with the Lookup Wizard. Most tutorials on web databases illustrate how do create a web database from scratch. In that case, the Lookup Wizard is the simplest way. It will walk you through all the steps necessary to create a proper relationship (with Referential Integrity) that will be acceptable to SharePoint.

However, this tutorial base on the premise you have an existing, client database with proper relationships already created that you want to convert into a web database. (Note: in this case, “client” means the database application runs in Access.) However, that’s not enough to upload it to SharePoint. In addition to having a properly created relationship in Access, you MUST use a lookup field to upload it to SharePoint. If you’ve already got your relationships created and especially if you have data in your tables, it is far easier to create the lookup fields manually than to use the wizard.

Relationships must be created on the “many-side” or “child” table of a one-to-many relationship. As noted in the Relationship diagram above, the only child table is lnkBooksAuthors, and as a linking table, it is a child to both tblAuthors and tblBooks. Therefore, I need to go into each field and add the Lookup properties. I’ll demonstrate it on AuthorID , however, BooksID would work the same.

To modify the AuthorID field, I open the lnkBooksAuthors table in design view, select the AuthorID field, and click the Lookup tab. It looks like this:

Selecting Combo Box in the drop down list will give me the options necessary to set the lookup properties.
I’ll leave the Row Source Type as Table/Query, then select the Builder button […] of the Row Source property to create the link. In the Query Builder pop-up, I’ll select the “one-side” table I want (in this case tblAuthors)

And create the following query:

Closing and Saving the Query Builder results in a Row Source of

SELECT tblAuthors.AuID FROM tblAuthors;

The only other change is I must make is to set the Limit To List property to Yes. The final result looks like this:

Because I’ve left the rest of the properties like the Bound Column and Column Count as they are, the result is a Lookup Field that displays the linking field.

After I do the same for every relationship in my database (which in this case is just the tblBooks/lnkBooksAuthors relationship), my database is ready to be uploaded to SharePoint, which is my next topic. (See Uploading To SharePoint).


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Oracle Database As Seen at Sapphire 2010

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Seen around the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando Florida at the May 16-19th SAPPHIRE 2010 conference


Oracle Database is the #1 Database for SAP applications

Oracle Database 11g Release 2 is available for SAP. By upgrading you can lower the cost of your SAP applications infrastructure and improve your quality of service, so we encourage you to consider the upgrade.

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