What it means to be a #WindowsInsider #MVP

I am proud to share with you that last night, I finally received the official Windows Insider  MVP Award from Microsoft, for my contributions in the Windows development life cycle community in the past 12 months.

Those that know me and work with me, know I’m passionate about technology and have become a real #MicrosoftAdvocate since running the Microsoft business at @cisilion.

What is it?

The Windows Insider MVP award is an additional award to the over arching Microsoft MVP award. It was created and announced in 2016, and is focusing on Windows and Windows Powered Devices.

What’s the Criteria?

The MVP award program rewards participants who contribute significantly, and voluntarily, to their technical communities. While Microsoft doesn’t publish the exact qualification criteria, the nomination process usually includes includes being nominated, detailing your community activities over the past 12 months, including blogging, speaking engagements, social media and contributions to forums or other technical groups (including answers.microsoft.com and techcommunity.microsoft.com)

What it means

It is an honor to be awarded for my work and contributions to this fine community led by @donasarkar and her team of #ninjacats. Its a bit like a passion and second job at times…. Playing with new and experimental features, suggesting and feeding back and influencing the future development for everyone. It’s a small but great community to be a tiny part of globally.

Congratulations! Thank you for your contributions to the Windows community, we are excited to welcome you as a Windows Insider MVP. This award is a token of our appreciation, your leadership and passion help make Windows the best yet. We look forward to collaborating with you and all of our Windows Insider MVPs as we continue to strengthen the Windows Insider MVP (WI MVP) Program.”

What are the benefits?

Outside of a nice badge and trophy, the Microsoft MVP title unlocks access directly to the Microsoft product groups, via webinars, email lists, Yammer community and the invitation-only annual MVP Summit at Microsoft HQ in Redmond.

Additionally, Microsoft MVPs gain software licensing benefits to some Microsoft software titles, LinkedIn Learning and other third-party MVP offers. Speaking to other MVPs and WIMVPs, there is feeling that the MVP Community is like a family of enthusiasts and processionals

Whilst I have not been before, all content presented at the MVP Summit (which is held in March each year), is under a strict non-disclosure agreement. This allows MVPs an incredible level of access to hear about upcoming product changes and to influence product strategy and feed back thoughts, ideas and issues.

Microsoft places a huge amount of value on the stories from MVPs on what’s working well and what the road blocks are for the user and professional community.

I’m told content is presented well and that there is a great opportunity for open discussion…I am told there also “time” for some social events including dinners as well as tour of some of the special places on the Microsoft Redmond Campus….but most of all the opportunity to meet the amazing people that design, build and market some of the best products, services and platforms that set out to “empower every personal and every organisation on the planet to achieve more”.

Finally.. I hear there also lots and lots of geeky swag and stickers..


Thanks for reading my boast post!


Microsoft has a new SMS Organiser app and it’s brilliant

Microsoft has launched (in preview) an SMS Organizer app for Android devices.

Why? Well, other messaging apps like WhatsApp are really good at things like sorting messages and adding some intelligence but plain old text/SMS apps don’t get any love… Until now..

Microsoft originally released the app in India last year but its now popped up in early release mode in the Play Store here in the UK…according to sources it’s only available today in UK, USA and Australia today.

Why should I care?

SMS Organizer uses machine learning to automatically analyse and sort messages and then organises them into different folders for you.

For example, any and all messages recognised as spam or sales promotional messages get filtered into a “promotions” folder, while real messages live in inbox.

Microsoft also generates contextual reminders in your SMS inbox for things like flights, trains, and appointments or bookings and there’s also a whole bunch of customisation options including ability to block senders, star/favourite messages, and even archive/backup older messages.

Once you install it, it asks to take over as the default messaging app.

That’s it… Download it here… ANDROID ONLY.


Thanks all


You can now include system audio in Teams meetings

August 2019:

Up until now (well, yesterday in my experience, it has not been possible to share your “system audio” when sharing or presenting content such as a video or PowerPoint from within a #MicrosoftTeams meeting.  A new update in in Teams which is rolling out “now” (mine “switched on” yesterday” now lets you do just that! 

This feature is easily missed but you can spot it (and enable) it from the share try tab when in a teams Meeting. When sharing content (such a application or your screen, simply tick the “include system audio” and you are good to go. 

A couple of things…

…you need to check to make sure this works though

First, you need to ensure your Windows audio device is the same as your audio device in Teams. So if you hear the audio from other participants in your headphones you have to make sure that your Windows system sound is played to that device too.

If you don’t have the same audio device selected in Teams and in Windows you will likely see the error below.

Secondly – if you have already stared a sharing session and forgot to enable the system audio, you can enable this “mid-sharing” by clicking the icon in the top control bar. To do this, simply move your mouse to the top of the screen and it should appear, select “Include system audio” by clicking on the button.

What about Live Events?

Right now, from my initial testing anyway, sharing system audio does not work with Live Events which is odd. I’ve seen nothing specifically about this in the Teams Road map but i suspect this is something that will be addressed in time. 

Thanks for Reading.