Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Strange but True: Drinking Too Much Water Can Kill

In a hydration-obsessed culture, people can and do drink themselves to death.


Liquid H2O is the sine qua non of life. Making up about 66 percent of the human body, water runs through the blood, inhabits the cells, and lurks in the spaces between. At every moment water escapes the body through sweat, urination, defecation or exhaled breath, among other routes. Replacing these lost stores is essential but rehydration can be overdone. There is such a thing as a fatal water overdose.

Earlier this year, a 28-year-old California woman died after competing in a radio station's on-air water-drinking contest. After downing some six liters of water in three hours in the "Hold Your Wee for a Wii" (Nintendo game console) contest, Jennifer Strange vomited, went home with a splitting headache, and died from so-called water intoxication.

There are many other tragic examples of death by water. In 2005 a fraternity hazing at California State University, Chico, left a 21-year-old man dead after he was forced to drink excessive amounts of water between rounds of push-ups in a cold basement. Club-goers taking MDMA ("ecstasy") have died after consuming copious amounts of water trying to rehydrate following long nights of dancing and sweating. Going overboard in attempts to rehydrate is also common among endurance athletes. A 2005 study in the New England Journal of Medicine found that close to one sixth of marathon runners develop some degree of hyponatremia, or dilution of the blood caused by drinking too much water.

Hyponatremia, a word cobbled together from Latin and Greek roots, translates as "insufficient salt in the blood." Quantitatively speaking, it means having a blood sodium concentration below 135 millimoles per liter, or approximately 0.4 ounces per gallon, the normal concentration lying somewhere between 135 and 145 millimoles per liter. Severe cases of hyponatremia can lead to water intoxication, an illness whose symptoms include headache, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, frequent urination and mental disorientation.

In humans the kidneys control the amount of water, salts and other solutes leaving the body by sieving blood through their millions of twisted tubules. When a person drinks too much water in a short period of time, the kidneys cannot flush it out fast enough and the blood becomes waterlogged. Drawn to regions where the concentration of salt and other dissolved substances is higher, excess water leaves the blood and ultimately enters the cells, which swell like balloons to accommodate it. 

Most cells have room to stretch because they are embedded in flexible tissues such as fat and muscle, but this is not the case for neurons. Brain cells are tightly packaged inside a rigid boney cage, the skull, and they have to share this space with blood and cerebrospinal fluid, explains Wolfgang Liedtke, a clinical neuroscientist at Duke University Medical Center. "Inside the skull there is almost zero room to expand and swell," he says. 

Thus, brain edema, or swelling, can be disastrous. "Rapid and severe hyponatremia causes entry of water into brain cells leading to brain swelling, which manifests as seizures, coma, respiratory arrest, brain stem herniation and death," explains M. Amin Arnaout, chief of nephrology at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School.

Where did people get the idea that guzzling enormous quantities of water is healthful? A few years ago Heinz Valtin, a kidney specialist from Dartmouth Medical School, decided to determine if the common advice to drink eight, eight-ounce glasses of water per day could hold up to scientific scrutiny. After scouring the peer-reviewed literature, Valtin concluded that no scientific studies support the "eight x eight" dictum (for healthy adults living in temperate climates and doing mild exercise). In fact, drinking this much or more "could be harmful, both in precipitating potentially dangerous hyponatremia and exposure to pollutants, and also in making many people feel guilty for not drinking enough," he wrote in his 2002 review for the American Journal of Physiology—Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology. And since he published his findings, Valtin says, "not a single scientific report published in a peer-reviewed publication has proven the contrary." 

Most cases of water poisoning do not result from simply drinking too much water, says Joseph Verbalis, chairman of medicine at Georgetown University Medical Center. It is usually a combination of excessive fluid intake and increased secretion of vasopression (also called antidiuretic hormone), he explains. Produced by the hypothalamus and secreted into the bloodstream by the posterior pituitary gland, vasopressin instructs the kidneys to conserve water. Its secretion increases in periods of physical stress—during a marathon, for example—and may cause the body to conserve water even if a person is drinking excessive quantities.

Every hour, a healthy kidney at rest can excrete 800 to 1,000 milliliters, or 0.21 to 0.26 gallon, of water and therefore a person can drink water at a rate of 800 to 1,000 milliliters per hour without experiencing a net gain in water, Verbalis explains. If that same person is running a marathon, however, the stress of the situation will increase vasopressin levels, reducing the kidney's excretion capacity to as low as 100 milliliters per hour. Drinking 800 to 1,000 milliliters of water per hour under these conditions can potentially lead a net gain in water, even with considerable sweating, he says.

While exercising, "you should balance what you're drinking with what you're sweating," and that includes sports drinks, which can also cause hyponatremia when consumed in excess, Verbalis advises. "If you're sweating 500 milliliters per hour, that is what you should be drinking."

But measuring sweat output is not easy. How can a marathon runner, or any person, determine how much water to consume? As long as you are healthy and equipped with a thirst barometer unimpaired by old age or mind-altering drugs, follow Verbalis's advice, "drink to your thirst. It's the best indicator."

The Most Mysterious Manuscript of All


The much-illustrated book known as the Voynich Manuscript (a.k.a. MS 408 in the Yale Library) is very old, nobody knows who wrote it, and nobody knows what it means. It could be outsider art or a channeled work or it could have deep meanings, possibly alchemical. It it has fascinated and confounded experts in many disciplines for centuries – including professional codebreakers. Since its writing has yet to be deciphered, those who have perused it have grouped its content according to its illustrations. These artworks include botanical drawings, astrological and astronomical graphics including charts, biological works including miniature nude females, nine cosmological medallions, some pharmaceutical art, and some continuous text pages with star-flowers marking each entry (or possible recipe).
One of its early, though not earliest, owners was a 17th-century Prague alchemist named Georg Baresch, who was so confused by it that he sent off a copy to Jesuit scholars for translation work. After he died, the Jesuits obtained it and gave the original to the Roman Jesuit University. Later, Wilfrid M. Voynich purchased it and gave it in 1969 to Yale University's Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library.
There are controversies about various claimed early owners, such as Emperor Rudolph II of Bohemia, John Dee, and others. There were claims that it was the work of Roger Bacon. The stories told of its provenance are not always reliable, and there is apparently a two-century gap in its records.

A Mystery Clarified

The Voynich Manuscript, made of animal skin, has recently yielded up one secret. It has been carbon-dated to the early 1400s, and is about a century older than previously conceived.
Its owner, the Beinecke library, allowed the scientists to remove tiny bits of four pages, used for a carbon dating narrowing down a time between 1404 and 1438 — more or less. Dr. Greg Hodgkins, of the University of Arizona's anthropology and physics departments, notes that since the four snipped sections have the same dating, earlier suggestions that the manuscript was added to at different dates now seem unlikely. Ink analysis by the McCrone Institute in Chicago had earlier indicated that the ink was applied when the parchment was relatively new.
This reduces the number of possible explanations, especially if attention is paid to the encryption techniques and science skills native to the time period the artifact was created. Wilfrid Voynich can be written off as its creator, and forgery becomes less likely. Hodgkins notes that it is either a alchemical text told with pictures or something that was created to be sold as a valuable manuscript.

Wordplay

Professor Gonzalo Rubio, a University of Pennsylvania ancient languages specialist, says that the carbon-dating shows it is not a forgery, and rules out that it was created by Roger Bacon, a polymath of the 13th century. Rubio finds the text strange, since the “language” lacks the usual grammatical markers to be found in Finnish, Hungarian or Indo-European languages. Rubio ventures the idea that the Voynich Manuscript was created for fun, and/or to prank actual alchemical texts.
Its word-style is odd, in that it has very few words exceeding ten "letters" (glyphs), and there are also scarcely any words of one or two letters. But that is only one of its seemingly countless mysteries. Even with improved computer techniques and advances in linguistics assisting its study, the Voynich Manuscript is unlikely to share all its secrets.

Sources:

Voynich Manuscript, Yale University, Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library,http://beinecke.library.yale.edu/digitallibrary/voynich.html
The Voynich Manuscript – Community Texts — Ebook and Texts Archive — Internet Archive,http://www.archive.org/details/TheVoynichManuscript
Voynich manuscript — Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia,http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voynich_manuscript

What is Microsoft Office 365


What is Microsoft Office 365?


Microsoft Office 365 is a new cloud-based product suite released by Microsoft in last quarter of 2010. This would definitely be a good competitor to the Google Docs, Mail and other services from Google.

Office 365 is a combination of the familiar Office Desktop suite with cloud-based version of the communications and collaborations services: Exchange Online, SharePoint Online and Lync online. It is very easy to use and manage Office 365.

There are different version as usual starting with email only level to Microsoft Office Plus and Exchange for email etc. The versions of office 365 available now are "Office 365 for small businesses", "Office 365 for enterprises", "Office 365 for education". Here are some of the benefits of Office 365.

  • Access your email, documents, contacts and calendars on any device and any where

  • You can work Microsoft Office and other programs already being used every day
  • Tuesday, February 28, 2012

    What’s the best phone or tablet for a Google+ Hangout?

    The crowning achievement of Google’s budding social network by far is the ability to communicate with up to nine other people across the world instantly, and for free. Since the arrival of Hangouts,Google+ users have done everything from communicate casually to conduct trans-continental business meetings. There’s no limit to what those nine people can do, or how long they can do it. To make things even better, users can even enter a Hangout from an Android or iOS device, be that a tablet or a phone.





    If you are an active Google+ user, you may consider how well your next device performs in a Hangout as a tie breaker when choosing your next gadget. Over the last week, we’ve gathered the top devices across manufacturers, operating systems, and mobile networks and put them all to the test. So, what is the best phone or tablet for a Google+ Hangout?

    NEON VS Non-NEON

    On paper, most of the hardware required for a Hangout is the same across most of the smartphones capable of joining the Hangout. For the most part, you’d think that the better camera, or the higher quality microphone setup would be the qualities you would look for in terms of what would be best for a Hangout. At the core, what you are really looking for is a chipset that supports hardware acceleration, specifically for video. This architecture type is called NEON. A device with NEON architecture enhances video encoding or decoding, graphics in things like games, and image/speech processing. NEON devices will handle Hangouts much better than non-NEON devices.
    If you have an iPhone 4 or iPhone 4S, your device supports the NEON architecture. For Android devices, you’ll need to do some checking to see if it is supported. Using either a file manager on your device, locate a file called /proc/cpuinfo and open it. If you are unable to access this file from your phone, you can download the Android SDK and access the file using the Android Debug Bridge. If you see the word neon on the Features line, then your device supports NEON extensions.

    Phones

    To measure which device performed the best overall in a Hangout, each device was put through a series of tests. Each device was tested indoors and outdoors in a variety of situations including wind, conversations happening in the background, multiple people addressing the Hangout, and alone in a quiet room. Conversations in the Hangout were also measured for quality consistency. Each of the devices were tested individually, and each of them were tested in as similar a fashion as possible.
    This test yielded several interesting results. HTC and Samsung devices of the same generation performed almost identically, with a single exception. The results from the Samsung Galaxy Nexus in a Hangout were wildly varied. In some tests, the results would be great, while in practically identical situations the Galaxy Nexus was nearly unusable. Motorola’s two most recent devices, the Droid 4 and the Droid Razr, also showed a significant variety in results. Despite being the newest in their lineup, the Droid 4 was by far one of the worst performing devices in every situation.
    When comparing the iPhone to the Android batch, the iPhone 4S performed well above most of the Android devices, but struggled with noise cancellation in most situations. If there was wind or other people talking, the phone was often unable to handle the distortion and the audio would suffer. The phone that performed best out of the devices tested was the Samsung Galaxy Note. The high resolution of the screen allowed for a very clear and very large image of the other users in the Hangout, while the microphone placements on the device allowed for sound cancellation and external noise suppression.

    Tablets

    The birth of the mobile OS inside a larger glass slab gives us access to devices that we can both set in a stand on our desk to admire, as well as take with us anywhere. Unfortunately, when it comes to hardware, most of these tablets really are just giant phones. Because of this, the Hangout experience on a tablet is typically the same as the experience on the phone. In most cases, the front facing cameras and the microphones are even the same as what is seen in their phone counterparts. Still, as more tablets are sold every day, it is important to know which delivers the best experience.
    As with the phones, the current generation of devices outperformed the previous generation, with a few outliers. The HTC Flyer, having recently been upgraded to Honeycomb, took a serious performance hit when the upgrade happened, leaving the device much slower and seriously affecting the quality of things like Hangouts. The Motorola Xoom running Android 4.0 would load the hangout quickly, but the quality of the video and audio made it seem like the tablet was constantly in a bathtub. The Xyboard and the Galaxy Tab 10.1 were the best of the Android Tablets, but neither handled background noise very well.
    The tablet that performed the best in every situation was the iPad 2. The lack of an LTE radio in the iPad 2 makes Hangouts outside less than great if the Hangout is full, though aside from not being able to filter out wind the iPad still outperformed the others by a healthy margin.

    Final Thoughts

    Whether you are a casual user, or someone who has decided to make the service part of your daily routine, Hangouts will continue to play an active role in Google+. There are plenty of services out there that offer bits and pieces of what is being offered by Hangouts, but none so far have been able to compete with the stability and quality found in this service. Over the next year we will start to see faster processors, better front facing cameras, possibly even LTE for Apple devices, and that is going to further shape how Hangouts are being used. With that in mind, it is not hard to see when someone would want their next gadget to be “Hangout ready”.

    Yummy

    Lime Chicken Tequila Tailgate



    Ingredients

    • 2 ounces olive oil
    • 1 cup julienned red onion
    • 1 tablespoon minced jalapeno
    • 1/2 cup roasted and julienned red bell pepper
    • 1 roasted chicken, boned, skin discarded and shredded
    • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
    • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
    • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
    • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro leaves, plus more for garnish
    • 4 tablespoons grated Parmesan, plus more for garnish
    • 5 ounces mozzarella, grated
    • 4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
    • 4 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
    • 3 ounces tequila
    • 1/4 cup diced Roma tomatoes, for garnish
    • 4 sourdough rolls, warmed

    Directions

    Layer 2 (15-inch) sheets of heavy aluminum foil together and fold 1/4-inch of the edges together to create 1 sheet. Repeat with another 2 pieces of foil, to create 2 double foiled sheets. Bend the edges of 1 of the sheets up 2 inches, to help keep the liquid in the foil.
    On a double sheet of foil, layer (in this order), the oil, onions, jalapeno, red bell peppers, chicken, salt and pepper, garlic, cilantro, cheeses, lemon juice and tequila.
    Put the second, double layered foil sheet on top of layered ingredients. Fold both double layered sheets of foil together in 1/4-inch folds, 4 times. When all the sides are folded together, make sure that the pouch is not leaking. Refrigerate until ready to cook.
    To cook preheat the oven or grill to 250 degrees F. Remove the foil pouch from the refrigerator and put on the grill, being careful not to snag the foil pouch and tear it open. Grill for 10 minutes, then flip and cook for another 10 minutes.
    Remove the pouch from the grill and slice the bag open. Garnish with the tomatoes, cilantro, and Parmesan and serve on warmed rolls.

    Jalapeno Chicken II

    Ingredients
    6 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves - pounded to 1/4 inch thickness
    1 (16 ounce) bottle Italian dressing
    3 fresh jalapeno peppers, halved lengthwise and seeded
    1 (3 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
    6 slices bacon
    toothpicks
    Directions
    Place chicken breasts in a dish with the Italian dressing. Cover, and marinate in the refrigerator at least 2 hours.
    Preheat the grill for high heat.
    Stuff each jalapeno half with cream cheese. Roll chicken breasts around jalapeno peppers. Wrap each chicken breast with a slice of bacon. Secure with toothpicks.
    Lightly oil the grill grate. Arrange wrapped chicken breasts on the prepared grill. Cook for 20 minutes, turning frequently, or until bacon is browned and the chicken juices run clear.

    Discovering The Hotels In Downtown Chicago, Illinois


    “I give you Chicago,” the journalist H.L Mencken had once written. “It is not London and Harvard. It is not Paris and buttermilk. It is American in every chitling and sparerib. It is alive from snout to tail.”
    Chicago is a city much romanticized in novels and movies. But who could blame writers and playwrights for paying homage to this great and bustling city? Chicago gushes with elan and vitality. One of the largest cities in the state of Illinois, Chicago is both a major business district and an important seat of culture.
    Downtown Chicago
    Downtown Chicago is the most hip and popular part of the city. The Loop area, in particular, is known for its very tall buildings. In the Loop tower massive skyscrapers like the Sears Tower, the Aon Center, and the John Hancock Center. Downtown Chicago is also the industrial area of the city, and there, major tourist attractions are found alongside offices and big financial institutions.
    Because of the area’s popularity, there are numerous luxury hotels in downtown Chicago, Illinois. These hotels provide a slew of lodging choices to visitors from far and wide. The hotels in downtown Chicago, Illinois are known for their opulent interiors and incomparable customer service. Almost all boast of lavish furnishings and world-class pampering. It is, thus, no wonder that living in any of the hotels in downtown Chicago, Illinois is living in style. You will be made to feel like royalty during your stay.
    High-end Hotels in Downtown Chicago
    If you intend to stay in this part of the city, be sure to check out some of the major hotels in downtown Chicago, Illinois. These include the Fairmont Hotel, Hotel 71, Amalfi Hotel, Allegro Hotel, Monaco Hotel, Renaissance Hotel, the Congress Plaza Hotel, and many others. On top of ensuring that your stay is as memorable and enjoyable as possible, these hotels in downtown Chicago, Illinois offer a wide range of services that include dry cleaning, banquet facilities, 24-hour room service, medical assistance, and even secretarial and translation services.
    Low-end Hotels in Downtown Chicago
    If, on the other hand, you are staying in Chicago on a shoestring budget, there are also a number of hotels that offer room rooms at very affordable rates. In some of these hotels, you can book a room for as low as $44 a night.
    A common misconception among travelers is that cheap hotel equates poor service and accommodations. Such is not the case. The low-budget hotels in downtown Chicago, Illinois offer wonderful amenities and services. All have free parking facilities; valet, secretarial, and laundry services; televisions, hair dryers, telephones, and clock radios inside rooms; and continental breakfasts sure to please even the most discriminating of palates.
    Budget-friendly hotels in downtown Chicago, Illinois include The Seneca Hotel & Suites, where rooms go for as low as $54. The Sheraton Chicago Hotel & Towers and The Hilton Garden Inn Addison also offer rooms for $60 and $62 respectively.
    The price of a night’s stay naturally varies according to a hotel’s rating. Five-star hotels will always be more expensive than three-star or four-star ones. Bookings for any of the hotels in downtown Chicago, Illinois may be made online, through sites such as http://holiday4you.com. Be sure to read reviews from fellow travelers, so you will have an idea of what to expect.

    Best Ways To Get Around Portugal


    One of Europe’s cheapest destinations, Portugal is a great place to visit whether you’re holidaying with friends or family. With a great climate, this nation borders the Atlantic Ocean rather than the Mediterranean, offering guests to the country something a little different. Services and facilities are highly developed, offering everything that you could wish for on a break away. And with a great number of resorts and cities providing numerous attractions and entertainment options, there is plenty to see and do.
    There are a great variety of travel methods in Portugal, and you may find that if you’re staying within a resort complex you don’t even need to venture outside, with everything you need for a great trip away already provided for. However, if you want to explore, one of the best ways is to use car hire so that you can relax and move around at your own pace. Individuals interested in utilising car rental firms can book here, taking advantage of deals to make travelling around Portugal as cheap as possible. And whilst you may think of car hire as a luxury, it can actually work out far cheaper than constantly using public services and taxis.
    If you’re exploring Lisbon then, in addition to your rental car, you’ll be able to use the city’s famous yellow trams. These trams traverse the city landscape, allowing you to enjoy a holiday ride whilst you’re exploring the sights and sounds of Lisbon’s bustling, coastal life. Beautiful fresh pastry’s can be gorged upon whilst you take in Gothic cathedrals, quaint museums and the Bairro Alto district which offers reggae, jazz and fado beats after dark.
    Due to the geography of the country, roads tend to be very windy and narrow as they snake along coastal paths and rise into the mountains. Exploring by road will offer you an opportunity to discover far further afield than Portugal’s famous cities and the popular Algarve region, and you’ll be able to see some of the nations stunning and unspoilt countryside and landscapes. Approximately 3.5hours direct drive from Lisbon is the gorgeous town of Porto; a quaint and charming urban area with the Serralves museum, the Sao Francisco church and the Domluis Bridge. The bridge in itself is a sight to be seen, and you’ll be able to enjoy calming cruises down the Douro River for the ultimate relaxation.
    Like with many popular destinations, there is far more to see outside of the bustling cities and thriving resorts, which cater specifically towards tourists. Whilst you’ll be able to have an ideal holiday away by keeping to urban spots, hiring a car and venturing further afield is well worthwhile if you really want to immerse yourself in Portuguese culture. Whilst the nation has a good railway network, utilising this means that you’ll have to keep to rail schedules and will often find yourself paying out extensively for ticket after ticket. But by hiring a car you can not only keep your costs down, but explore the wonderful European nation at your own ease and leisure.

    How to Share Documents over SkyDrive or SharePoint

    As your mother undoubtedly told you, there’s no excuse for not sharing. That’s certainly true with Office 2011. You can share your documents all those old passé ways—disc, thumb drive, or email. But now, there are some new options in the mix. SkyDrive is Microsoft’s version of your Mac’s iDisk. It’s a web server out in the clouds where you can store documents. If your coworkers also use SkyDrive, they can view and edit your document according to the permissions you’ve given them. The other advantage of saving your document to SkyDrive is that you can access a single document from different computers, say, your office and home computers.

    Note: You need a Windows Live ID and password to use the SkyDrive option. If you don’t already have an account you can learn about the options at http://explore.live....s-live-skydrive

    • Choose File→Share→Save to SkyDrive.

      If this is the first time you’ve tried to save an Office document to your SkyDrive, a window appears where you need to enter your Windows Live ID (the email address you used to sign up) and your password.

      If you’ve already used the SkyDrive from Office, you’ll bypass the sign in process. The Save As panel opens in your Word document, as shown in Figure 8-13, where you provide a name and other details.
    • Type a filename in the Save As box.

      You don’t have to choose a file format or give your filename any special .docx extension. Word and SkyDrive know what type of file you’re creating.
    • Click the name of the folder where you want to save your document.

      Word saves the document in the SkyDrive folder you select.


    Figure 8-13. Saving a file to your SkyDrive online folders is easier than saving it to your computer. All you have to do is provide a name and choose a folder to hold the file.

    Attached Image


    You’ll probably want to double-check to make sure your file made it to SkyDrive. If you’re sharing the file with others, you’ll want to let them know that the file is online and available. To do that, follow these steps:

    • In your web browser, go to http://explore.live....-live-skydrive.

      The first web page has lots of promotional details regarding SkyDrive and Windows Live tools. If you don’t have a Windows Live account, you can sign up from here. It doesn’t cost any money, just a bit of your Apple/Mac soul.
    • In the upper-right corner, click Sign In.

      The Sign Up and Sign In window appears.
    • Type the email address you used to sign up to Windows Live and click Sign In. Then, provide your password.

      The next window looks like more Windows advertising, but you’re almost on a page with tools.
    • In the upper-left corner, click the Windows Live.

      The next page has menus across the top with links to Microsoft online tools: Hotmail, Messenger, Office (web apps), Photos, and MSN.
    • Click Office→Recent Documents.

      The Office Recent Documents page shows all documents that you have access to. These may be yours or they may be documents that others have shared with you. Your documents are divided in to Personal and Shared groups. You can make folders in either category and choose who gets to peek inside those folders. Your saved document is in the folder where you saved it.
    • Move your cursor over the document name.

      Menus appear over the document with options to Edit in browser, Open in Word, or More.
    • Click More→Share→Edit Permissions.

      The menus don’t work like your Mac, you need to click rather than just point to open the submenus.

      A new page appears where you can set the sharing permissions for the file. The choices at the top let you share items with friends (contacts you’ve added to your Windows Live account), which is fine for less specific things like vacation photos. For serious business, you’ll want to use the bottom portion of the page where you can choose specific people.
    • Type in the name or email address of the people you want to see your document.

      If you’ve added email contacts to your Windows Live account, you can click “Select from your contact list” and choose from those contacts.
    • For each colleague, choose their permission level: Can view or Can edit, then click Save.

      A new page appears where you can send a message to your colleagues to let them know the file is available for their viewing or editing.


    There’s a lot more you can do with SkyDrive and the other tools that Microsoft offers on online. 

    Figure 8-14. Once your file is saved on SkyDrive, you can choose exactly who you want to view and edit the file. If you store contacts in your Windows Live account, it’s simply a matter of checking the names of your colleagues.

    Attached Image


    Sharing with SharePoint

    If you work in an medium to large office with a lot of Windows PC types, there’s a good chance that your office uses Microsoft SharePoint server software so that you can work collaboratively on Word, Excel, PowerPoint and other Office documents. In the past, Mac users were second-class citizens when it came to Office and document sharing. With Office 2011, you’re more of an equal partner.

    To save your Word document to a SharePoint site, follow these steps:

    • Choose File→Share→Save to SharePoint.

      A panel similar to the one in Figure 8-13, appears where you can choose a location to save your file.
    • If this is the first time you’re saving to a SharePoint site, click the + button and type in the address (URL) for the site.

      If you don’t know the address, you can get it from the pocket protector types who manage your company computers.
    • In the Save As box, give your document a name.
    • Choose the SharePoint library where you want to save the document.

      You can choose the location you just added or one of the locations under Recent Locations or Shared Locations.


    Once your document is saved in a SharePoint folder, you (or a colleague) can open from Word. Choose File→Open URL. In the box that appears, type the full name (URL) for the document—that’s the path and the document name.

    Integrating SharePoint and Outlook 2007


    Overview

    Before SharePoint 2007 there was limited integration, at least without 3rd party products, between Outlook and SharePoint.  With the 2007 versions of both products multiple list types can be linked directly to Outlook quickly and easily.  Once linked, items in those lists can be created, edited, and deleted directly in Outlook.  In addition, items like contacts, tasks, and appointments even show up like the tradition Exchange\mailbox based objects.  Furthermore, calendars can even be merged, or overlaid, so items from multiple calendars are shown in a single calendar view.
    Organizations should be able to use the capabilities covered in this article to start their migration or planning of their migration from Public Folders and shared mailboxes for the items covered in this article.  With MOSS Microsoft has extended the collaboration capability of SharePoint to tie into the most common collaboration tool used by users, Outlook.  This support should help further justify SharePoint as a replacement for file shares, attachments in e-mail, shared mailboxes, and public folders in many cases.

    Linking SharePoint to Outlook 2007

    As indicated by the title of this article, these features are only available with Outlook 2007 and Microsoft Office SharePoint Server (MOSS) 2007.  Starting with Office 2007 Microsoft has provided direct integration between the Office client and server.  This integration should help organizations to collaborate more effectively.  In addition, these features should assist in the migration away from using Public Folders in Exchange for some of the areas covered below.

    Calendars

    Shared, public folder based, calendars are commonly used in many organizations and the support in SharePoint 2007 should make it easy to transition users away from Public Folders.  This support included e-mail based acceptance of meetings, web access, alerting when items change, access control\permissions, workflow, custom fields, versioning support, and more.

    Mail enabling a calendar

    1)      Create a calendar list, or navigate to an existing one
    ·         If creating a new calendar select No under "Incoming E-mail" option, for now.  In the future you can select Yes but doing so here doesn’t prompt for all of the configuration options.
    2)      Enabled incoming mail on the MOSS server
    ·         By default incoming SMTP mail is not enabled under the central operation configuration section of SharePoint.
    ·         Without allowing incoming mail, no lists in SharePoint can be mail enabled, which is needed to provide e-mail based appointment acceptance for a shared calendar.
    ·         These steps requires configuring SMTP on the server hosting SharePoint, configuring MX records for the server, and setting up correct routing so e-mails from the internal e-mail system for your organization route to the SharePoint server.
    a)      See the steps in this Microsoft TechNet article.
    3)      Enable incoming mail for the calendar list
    a)      Select List Settings from the Settings pull-down menu for the calendar
    b)      Under the Communications column choose "Incoming e-mail settings"
    c)      Check Yes under "Incoming E-Mail"
    d)      Enter the prefix for the e-mail address for the shared calendar
    ·         When the list is mail enabled a contact will be created in the Active Directory.  This contact can be given additional e-mail addresses, so users can send mail to Sales-Calendar@company.com instead of Sales-Calendar@spserver.company.com, for example.
    e)      If do not you want the calendar to "Save attachments" sent to the above e-mail address select No
    ·         In general I would suggest setting this on No so large attachment don’t waste space in SharePoint.  In addition, users should be trained to send out URL to documents stored in SharePoint instead of attaching them to e-mail messages.  Finally, by removing attachments sensitive documents won’t be posted to a shared location.
    f)       If you want the shared calendar to only accept appointment from people with contributor access choose "Accept e-mail messages based on list permissions"
    ·         This requires that the users who send appointment are in the same AD forest as the SharePoint server.  Otherwise SharePoint will not be able to match the sender’s e-mail address to an AD account, which is needed to check to see if the sender has the required permissions or not.
    ·         If the calendar read permissions are set to anonymous and you want users outside of your AD forest to send appointments to it, you must choose the "any sender" option.

    Figure 1 - Calendar Mail Options
    g)      Click OK to save changes
    h)      Click on the name of the calendar to view the calendar again

    Link Calendar to Outlook

    Now that the calendar has been created and setup to accept appointments we will link it to Outlook.  The users who need to look at, or manage, the calendar often will find this more convention the navigating to the SharePoint site to make edits, in most cases.
    1)      While viewing the calendar choose Actions\Connect to Outlook
    Figure 2 - Connecting SharePoint Calendar
    2)      When prompted, choose Yes to allow the connection
    Figure 3 - Connect confirmation
    ·         This option actually creates a, or uses the exiting, PST file that SharePoint uses to store all synchronized content so it can be accessed when off-line.
    3)      This should bring up your calendar in Outlook
    ·         By default the new calendar and your personal calendar will be shown
    Figure 4 - SharePoint calendar in Outlook

    Merging a SharePoint Calendar with a Personal Mailbox Calendar (optional)

    1)      To merge or overlay both a SharePoint and a mailbox based personal calendar click the left arrow to the right of the SharePoint calendar name
    2)      This will overlay both calendars, click the tab of the one you want to be your primary
    Figure 5 – Merged mailbox and SharePoint calendars
    ·         Below three calendars have been merged into one
    Figure 6 - Three merged calendars
    3)      To unmerge a calendar click the right arrow by the calendar name
    4)      To prevent a calendar from being displayed just uncheck them under "Other Calendars"
    Figure 7 - Calendars in Outlook
    5)      To remove a calendar completely right click on it under "Other Calendars" and choose Delete
    ·         You will be given a warning when you do this.  This option only deletes it from the PST file used by Outlook to store SharePoint data.

    Adding items to the shared calendar

    Items can now be added to the calendar in three ways.
    1)      E-mailed invitations
    a)      Create an appoint in Outlook
    ·         If you are viewing your calendar in Outlook make sure you have your personal calendar tab, "Calendar" selected.
    b)      Click Invite Attendees
    c)      Type in the e-mail address of the calendar or select it from the GAL
    ·         The contact object created by SharePoint for the shared calendar will be visible in the GAL by default.  But due to AD replication latency, Offline Address Book generation delays, and cached mode Outlook clients, it may not show up in the GAL for awhile.  By default the OAB is only generated once a day and cached mode client used the OAB for their GAL, so they won’t see new object until the new OAB has been generated and downloaded.
    d)      Set any other options as you normally would and click Send
    ·         This will send the appointment invite to SharePoint, which will automatically accept the appointment.  The appointment will also show up on your calendar.
    ·         SharePoint calendars do not support advanced rules, like prevention of meeting conflicts, meeting size, etc, so they should not be used for rooms or equipment.  The Auto Accept Agent for Exchange 2003 or Exchange 2007 natively provides these capabilities for shared mailboxes, or resource mailboxes.
    e)      After a few minutes navigate to the SharePoint calendar and confirm the appointment shows up
    f)       In Outlook hit F9 to force a full synchronization of all items
    ·         By default SharePoint list in Outlook are only synchronized every 30 minutes.
    g)      Goto the shared calendar in Outlook and view the new appointment
    2)      Direct booking in Outlook
    a)      Select the Calendar tab in Outlook
    b)      Click the shared calendar tab to make it the current calendar
    ·         If it is not shown click the check box next to it under "Other Calendars."
    c)      Click New to create a new appointment
    ·         The options show for this meeting invite will be different than those shown for a normal appointment, for example there is no Invite button.
    d)      Set the meeting options and click Save & Close
    e)      Hit F9 to force a full synchronization of all items
    f)       Navigate to the calendar in SharePoint and confirm the appointment shows up
    3)      Direct booking in SharePoint
    a)      Navigate to the calendar in SharePoint
    b)      Click New to create a new appointment
    c)      Set the desired options and click OK
    d)      Hit F9 to force a full synchronization of all items
    e)      Select Calendar tab in Outlook
    f)       Click the shared calendar tab
    g)      Confirm the appointment shows up

    Tasks

    When working on several projects with various team members, task management becomes very important.  Using a SharePoint tasks list allows individual team members and managers to easily assign tasks to other team members and to monitor the status of all tasks.  Once a SharePoint task list is linked to Outlook those tasks show up in the To-Do Bar, like other Outlook tasks.  They will also show up under the Tasks tab in Outlook.  Furthermore, these tasks can be updates directly in Outlook or in SharePoint.

    Prepare a task list

    1)      Create a new Tasks list, or navigate to an existing one
    ·         If creating a new list choose Yes under "E-Mail Notification", this setting requires SharePoint is enabled to send out SMTP mail.
    2)      Enable e-mail notifications of updates
    a)      Goto the list settings
    b)      Click Advanced Settings
    c)      Under "E-Mail Notification" choose Yes
    ·         This option will e-mail user when tasks are assigned to them or task that are assigned to them are modified.

    Link Tasks to Outlook

    1)      Select Actions\Connect to Outlook from the list’s pull-down menu
    Figure 8 - Connecting tasks to Outlook
    2)      Filter the task list to only show those assigned to you and active
    By default all tasks will be shown, including those for other people and completed ones.  These steps will help filter the list so only active ones for the user will be shown.
    a)      Goto Tasks in Outlook
    b)      Expand "Other Task", in the left hand pane
    c)      Choose the ""
    d)      Choose View\Current View\Customize Current View from the Outlook pull down menu
    e)      Click the Filters button and then click the Advanced tab
    f)       Click the Fields button and choose All Tasks fields\Assigned To
    Figure 9 - Creating a filter on tasks
    g)      Enter your name, in the format of , in the Value box and click Add to List
    ·         This assume names in the GAL are in this format, if not enter your name the way it appears in the GAL.
    h)      Repeat step e)
    i)        Repeat step f) and choose All Tasks fields\Custom Status
    j)        Change condition to "doesn’t contain" and enter "Completed" in Value box and click Add to List
    k)      You should up with a filter like this one:
    Figure 10 - Task list filter
    l)        Click OK & OK
    m)   The view in Outlook should now look like this:
    Figure 11 - Filtered task lists

    Create Tasks

    Like appointments, tasks can be created both in Outlook and directly in SharePoint.
    1)      Using Outlook
    a)      Goto Tasks in Outlook
    b)      Select the shared tasks list under "Other Tasks"
    c)      Click New
    ·         You will notice at the bottom of the new task window it will say "In Shared Folder: "
    d)      Select who the task should be assigned to
    e)      Enter other settings and click Save & Close
    ·         You can only sent the reminder value using Outlook
    2)      Using SharePoint
    a)      Goto the task list on the SharePoint site
    b)      Click New
    c)      Select who the task should be assigned to
    d)      Enter other settings and click OK

    Getting alerts

    If you selected the option to generate alerts\e-mails when tasks are assigned or modified the owner of a task will get e-mails similar to the one below.  The alert is generated by the SharePoint server only after the new item has been synchronized to SharePoint, F9 to force, from task that are created and modified in Outlook. 
    Figure 12 - E-mail alert on a task change
    SharePoint does not sent alerts out immediately, by default there seems to be about a 5 minute delay before alerts are set out.  I am sure there is a way to adjust this settings but I haven’t research it.

    Setting up alerts on other changes

    SharePoint supports alerting users to any changes with multiple filtering options.  Using this feature a manager or team lead can easily monitor tasks as their status changes.  Below I give an example of how to setup a daily alert on for changes that have occurred.
    1)      Navigate to the list in question
    2)      Click Actions\Alert Me from the list’s pull-down menu
    Figure 13 - Creating an alert
    3)      This brings up the new alert options:
    Figure 14 - Alert options
    a)      Change the name to "Daily for Calendar"
    b)      Leave Send Alerts To set on your name
    Multiple names or mail enabled groups can be added to this list.  This will let you setup daily alerts for other people.  I would suggest informing users to setup alerts, if one hasn’t been done for them already, if they want to know when items change.  I also suggest putting together an "end users" Quick Tips & FAQ for guide for SharePoint.
    c)      Select "All changes" under Change Type
    d)      Select "Anything changes" under Send Alerts for These Changes
    e)      Select "Send daily summary" and When to Send Alerts
    f)       Click OKAfter a few minutes you should get a confirmation e-mail that the alert has been setup:
    Figure 15 - Alert creation notification
    ·         If alerts are setup for other users, who are using Outlook 2007, they can quickly connect to this task list by clicking the Connect to this Task Listbutton.  So very little training should be needed, but a demo of how Outlook and SharePoint integrate would help speed learning along.
    4)      When the daily alert runs users will see something similar to this:
    Figure 16 - Daily change alert

    Contacts

    Contact list can also be shared easily with SharePoint.  This provides the same functionality that many people have used a public folder in the past for, but SharePoint has much better support for alerting on changes, custom fields, versioning and more.

    Linking Contacts to Outlook

    1)      Navigate to the Contact list in SharePoint
    2)      Select Actions\Connect to Outlook from the list’s pull-down menu

    Document Libraries

    When a document library is linked to Outlook all items in that library are download to a local PST, the same one used for other linked lists.  Office 2007 applications like Word and Excel have built-in support to detect that files in local PST are being opened.  These applications will prompt the user to update the copy of the file in SharePoint when saving changes or inform users a more recent copy is available in SharePoint, if they are on-line.

    Linking a Document library to Outlook

    1)      Navigate to the Document library list in SharePoint
    2)      Select Actions\Connect to Outlook from the list’s pull-down menu

    Editing Documents

    Documents can be edited directly from SharePoint, which is suggested, or by opening them inside of Outlook.  Below are the steps to open documents from Outlook directly.
    1)      Click the Folder List icon to show the all folders available to Outlook
    ·         This will display all folders, including those in your mailbox and in PST files.
    2)      Expand the "SharePoint List" folder group\PST
    Figure 17 - SharePoint lists PST
    ·         This contains all SharePoint lists that have been linked to Outlook.  Contacts, Tasks, and Calendars can also be viewed by going to the appropriate section in Outlook.
    3)      Select the document library folder, in my case this is "Demo Site – Files"
    ·         All files that are in this library will be shown; if folders have been created they will also be shown.
    4)      Double click the document you want to open
    5)      Click Edit Offline, if the document in a Word or Excel, and possible other Office 2007 documents
    Figure 18 - Edit Offline option in Word
    6)      Click OK when Office displays an information message that the file will be cached to the SharePoint Drafts folder
    7)      Edit the document as normal
    8)      When done editing exit the application
    9)      The application will prompt you to update the server, SharePoint, choose Update
    Figure 19 - Update server prompt
    ·         If the user is offline they will not prompted to update the server.  They will be shown in Outlook that the file they edited has been modified offline, note the icon with the red up arrow in the screen shot below.  To update the server the document needs to be opened again, when the user is on-line.
    Figure 20 -  Document edited offline
    ·         When the user in back on-line and they open this document, from Outlook, they will see this message:
    Figure 21 - Application alert to update SharePoint copy
    It is recommended that if a user is going to work on items off-line that they check-out those items in SharePoint to prevent others from editing them.  In addition, if a user opens a document in Outlook they should continue to work on it from Outlook, not from SharePoint directly, until they have updated the server version of the document.  This will help prevent version conflicts and document update issues.

    Discussion Groups

    Like the other items covered so far, Discussion Groups can also be linked to Outlook.  This allows users to easily monitor discussion groups for new posts.  In addition, exiting messages can be copied into the discussion group by dragging them, but folders cannot be dragged to linked discussion groups, at least in the RTM version of SharePoint and Outlook 2007.

    Mail Enabling

    To truly be a replacement for the most common uses of Public Folders, the "archiving" of e-mails, a discussion group must be mail enabled.
    1)      Navigate to the Discussion Group list in SharePoint
    2)      Select Settings\List Settings from the list’s pull-down menu
    3)      Choose Yes next to Incoming E-Mail and enter the prefix for the e-mail address
    Figure 22 - E-mail options
    ·         I would suggest saving attachments and the original e-mail.  Save meeting invites can be left to No, unless there is a need to allow people to open up meeting to save them to their calendar.  Unless you want anonymous users to post items to this discussion group leave it on the option to accept messages based on permission.
    4)      Click OK to save changes

    Linking Discussion Groups to Outlook

    1)      Navigate to the Discussion Group list in SharePoint
    2)      Select Actions\Connect to Outlook from the list’s pull-down menu

    Integration Notes

    To make list like Document Libraries and Discussion Groups easier to find do the following:
    1)      Click the "Folders List" icon in Outlook to display the "SharePoint Lists" folder tree
    2)      Right click the list you want to make easier to find and choose "Add to Favorite Folders"
    • This will add the folder to the Favorites list, which is displayed when the Mail tab is selected in Outlook.

    By default Outlook will synchronize data every 30 mins.  To modify this do the following:
    1)      Goto "Tools -> Send/Receive -> Send/Receive Settings -> Define Send/Receive Groups" menu option or hit CTRL-ALT-S
    2)      Change the "Schedule an automatic send/receive every X minutes" setting
    • As an alternative another Send/Receive group can be created for SharePoint list items.

    Additional Information

    o   Getting started guide to SharePoint and Office 2007 integration
    o   This white paper describes how different versions of Office programs work together with the 2003 and 2007 versions of SharePoint technologies.

    Conclusion

    By linking SharePoint lists, which allow for easy updating by multiple users, users will be able to collaborate on projects and other items easier than before.  The additional support provided by alerts and versioning also makes managing a project and the related items possible with Outlook alone.