NZ Education Blog

Regular updates from Microsoft in the NZ education sector including events and advice for education staff.

September, 2010

  • Windows Steady State like functionality for Windows 7

    Windows Steady State was a solution for Windows XP that made it easy for an IT Pro to manage a kiosk type shared computer by resetting it back to a known state after a user logged of. Lots of people have asked for this capability in Windows 7 and Microsoft has just released a document to help you achieve the same type of functionality.

    This document is intended primarily for IT pros who configure shared-computer access in business environments, but partners who support shared-computer access in schools, libraries, and Internet cafes will also find the information useful. The document set includes:

    • Creating a Steady State by Using Microsoft Technologies (this document), which describes the native Windows 7 features and free tools from Microsoft that you can use to create a steady state on computers running Windows 7.
    • Group Policy Settings for Creating a Steady State, which is a reference that describes Group Policy settings that you can use to configure computer and user settings and prevent users from changing those settings.
    • The SteadyState Reference worksheet (.xlsx file), which you can use to look up and filter settings that this document and the reference describe. For example, you can quickly find information about settings that are related to Start Menu restrictions.

    Download the document from here

  • Microsoft Education Related Software Presentation

    This is one of the presentations I'm giving at the North Otago Principals' Association Teaching and Learning Conference. It is still a work in progress but that is one of the great things about Office Web Apps embedded support, as I update the presentation, it will be updated in this blog automatically.

  • Medical Article Authoring Add-in for Word Beta

    A free Microsoft Research developed Word 2007/2010 add-in.

    This add-in for Word enables authors and editors to save Word files in the National Library of Medicine's Document Type Definitions format, which is used for publishing and archiving articles and books.

    NLM Metadata view in Office Document Information Panel.

  • Bing Maps and Photosynth demonstration

    I have had many comments from teachers about how much better the Bing maps look compared to other mapping solutions (most recently at the North Otago Principals' Association Teaching and Learning Conference on Oamaru).

    In New Zealand, the “Maps” option doesn’t appear on the search results top menu so you either have to change your country to US or type the url directly in the browser address bar.

    You then have to “Get more from Bing Maps” by clicking on the Try it now! > link. If you don’t see this message, try the “Welcome” button at the bottom.


    This will require the installation of Microsoft Silverlight if you don’t already have it. If you PC is severely locked down (i.e. you can’t install any software yourself) then you might have to get your IT administrator to install this for you.

    The map page will now look something like this (your current location is estimated from your Internet Service Provides IP Address)…
    A sample Photosynth for your location, if available, is highlighted next to the temperature reading.


    You can view other Photosynth's by clicking on the “Map Apps” at the bottom of the page and selecting Photosynth from the many other geo based applications that can be added to the map (try the Twitter feeds also although I take no responsibility for what people might be saying;-)

    I usually demonstrate this using the Colosseum in Rome

    If you are using a laptop, navigating the map and Photosynth works much better with a mouse as you can pan and use the scroll wheel to zoom in and out. The map will automatically switch to the high altitude view when you have zoomed in far enough. Select the Photosynth map app and you you should see this after clicking on one of the green icons (start with one that is already featured with a preview image)


    Select the Dive in” link to open the Photosynth. You can navigate around the inside of the Colosseum by either dragging from the centre image rotate arrows in any direction or click and drag from any location and release the mouse button to reorientation the view on the currently selected image.


    Don’t forget to try the overhead view to see where all the pictures were taken from and click on one of the images to see the model rotate around to the correct perspective.


    Finally, try creating your own Photosynth at

  • Podcasting online course to encourage school girls in technology

    Microsoft has a big focus on employment diversity, including women in IT. To achieve this, we need to encourage school girls that technology is cool. Microsoft has started a program called digigirlz in the US which includes an online course that I think is applicable in New Zealand.


    If you are reading this blog and are a teacher, or in a parent with children at school, I would encourage you to review the course and consider supporting it by either facilitating the delivery of it or at least raising the awareness of it with the school.