The Electric Wand

Thoughts of a technology enthusiast.

The Electric Wand

  • Tip o’ the Week #241 – Where did that email come from?

    Most people don’t really pay much attention to where emails originate from or how they got to be in your inbox. This is clearly exploited by scammers and spammers of all sorts, as many consumers will happily click on a link in a genuine- looking email...
  • Tip o’ the Week #240 – Word Flow on Windows Phone 8.1

    Another week, another Windows Phone 8.1 (aka Nokia Lumia “ Cyan ”) tip. Still no word from HTC about when 8.1 will roll out to 8X and 8S users, though there has been some news regarding the release of the already-in-testing “GDR 1” update for WP8.1 ,...
  • Tip o’ the Week #239 – OneNote templates

    As we’ve covered on ToW before , OneNote is an application that attracts legions of fans like few other productivity apps. The average user probably snips and clips, pastes and types into their OneNote notebooks, but may not realise the depths of functionality...
  • Tip o’ the Week #238 – quiet hours on Windows Phone 8.1

    The time of year has rolled around where many of us are travelling – maybe time for a last, late Summer Holiday . Now, if you take your phone on vacation, you’ll know how important it is not to have colleagues phoning you up in the middle of the night...
  • Tip o’ the Week #236 – Lumia Cyan on the way

    Nokia took to packaging updates for Windows Phone and referring to them by a code name – Lumia “Black” being the last biggie for Windows Phone 8. The packages are a combination of operating system upgrades (that will be made available to all handset manufacturers...
  • Tip o' the Week #235 - Present on Lync

    Tip o’ the Week #111 covered how to present within a Lync meeting. Given that it was 2+ years ago and many things have changed in that time, not least the version of Lync many of us use, here’s a chance to revisit the topic. Anecdotal evidence suggests...
  • Tip o' the Week #233 – When I'm moving windows

    As the nights are already drawing in , UK domestic interest in international football has long waned to background tolerance (apart from tabloid cannibal fever ) , massive new TV sales and beer supply forecasts drop to any normal summer level, we must...
  • Tip o' the Week #232 – Xbox, Watch TV. XBOX! WATCH TEE VEE!

    When the Xbox One released last year, the Kinect sensor promised a great new experience in watching live TV through the console. Sadly for users outside of North America, the dream was largely unfulfilled at launch, as the console supported only a limited...
  • Tip o' the Week #231 – Linking LinkedIn and Outlook, look!

    LinkedIn has been going for over 11 years and has resurged in user base and usefulness after seemingly getting really popular initially, and then fading a bit (remember Friends Reunited , anyone? – somebody should come up with Fiends Reunited.com , though...
  • Tip o’ the Week #228 – Lync Q&A

    Presumably, we’ve all been on a Lync conference call where there may be a presentation going on and in parallel to the voice conversation, there’s a rampant side-channel of IM traffic which the presenter has no chance of keeping up with or maybe even...
  • Tip o’ the Week #227 – Moving around Outlook

    What’s the most-used application on your PC? Maybe it’s your web browser (IE, of course), but if you’re a corporate email slave like many of us, then it’s quite likely to be Outlook. As you spend so much time in the application, it’s worth getting to...
  • Tip o’ the Week #226 – Reading Mode on IE11

    Windows 8/8.1 has continued to improve over its life , providing both changes to existing functionality and adding some whole new stuff along the way. One recipient of both such updates is the Internet Explorer browser – Windows 8.1 saw the upgrade to...
  • Tip o’ the Week #225 – Surveys R Us

    Have you noticed an increase in online surveys asking if you have a few minutes to complete them, when you visit web sites? Do you duck & dive when walking along the street and are confronted by a just-a-little-too-friendly student in high-vis and...
  • Tip o' the Week #224 – Alarem Scarem in Windows 8.1

    If you’ve installed Windows 8.1 Update 1 , there are many great additions which will be  doubtless delighting you as you use them, especially if you’re working on a PC which isn’t primarily touch-oriented. There are hundreds of incremental updates...
  • Tip o’ the Week #229 – Cortana, let’s rock!

    (Another slightly out-of sequence tip as this could be more timely now than in a few weeks) One of the most written-about and eagerly-awaited features in the soon-to-appear Windows Phone 8.1, is Cortana – the “digital assistant”, named after the character...
  • Tip o’ the Week #221 – Stay safe on WiFi

    Following last week’s misty-eyed retrospective on WiFi and Bluetooth , it’s worth pausing a little to pass on a few safety tips too. If you’ve a WiFi network at home which does not have encryption enabled (using a decently strong password – known as a...
  • Tip o’ the Week #220 – Wireless networking, 15 years on

    It’s amazing how quickly technology goes from an expensive frippery to a cost-insignificant near-essential. It’s not so many years ago that WiFi and Bluetooth first arrived (remember the Ericsson T29 or T68 , the latter of which not only had a COLOUR...
  • Tip o’ the Week #219 – OneNote takes flight

    In case you missed it, OneNote had some interesting news a few months ago. The application has a great following amongst fans who crave being organised (at least some GTD aficionados too) , more so than maybe any other application (even Outlook). If you...
  • Tip o’ the Week #218 – Have you got the touch?

    Using “ touch ” in computing has evolved so much in just the last five years. First phones then tablets evolved a new UI around using your fingers rather than a pointer & mouse, and with Windows 8, touch really got mainstream on regular PCs too. How...
  • Tip o' the Week #216 – Bing Smart Search in Windows 8.1

    Hopefully, everyone who was on Windows 8 should be running Windows 8.1 by now. There’s so much that was improved since Windows 8 released, some very noticeably (such as the return of the Start button, if you consider that an improvement) and some, less...
  • Tip o' the Week #223 – Clear your inbox

    Some people live a disciplined existence and manage to keep a very tidy desk, their to-do list at the end of each day is empty, and their inbox is clean. Many others aspire to be so organised but either convince themselves that they’re too busy to tidy...
  • Tip o' the Week #222 – Windows 8.1 Update 1 is here

    Another in the occasionally out-of-sequence Tips: since this is quite topical, it’s jumping the queue (as will next week’s tip) before we settle back to ToW #215. It doesn’t seem all that long ago that Windows 8.1 arrived, promising universal salvation...
  • Tip o’ the Week #214 – Trouble connecting Outlook at home?

    If you see Outlook behaving strangely while working at home, there are a few things you might want to try. Symptoms include steadfastly refusing to connect to the server, even though everything else appears to work fine. Or connecting fine for email but...
  • Tip o’ the Week #213 – London travel with Windows Phone

    There are plenty apps that help travellers to and from the city of London, some of which I’ve mentioned previously in Tips gone by. Apologies somewhat to international readers as many of these will be of little use to you, unless you choose to visit the...
  • “Latent Data” – the secret sauce of the Internet of Things

    This is part 2 of a series of articles exploring the Internet of Things , starting with the first post, What is this “Internet of Things” thing, anyway? The secret sauce, the Holy Grail, the raison d’ être for Internet of Things...