The Electric Wand

Weekly tips from the "Tip o' the Week" email distribution inside of Microsoft.

The Electric Wand

  • Tip o’ the Week #275 – Prioritising External Email

    Do you suffer from email overload ? The temptation is to get dragged into dealing with all the nonsense internal emails and corporate spam, but it’s worth trying to prioriti(z)|(s)e email from external senders, excepting the genuine bulk guff that you...
  • Tip o’ the Week #273 – Projecting your Windows Phone

    It’s often handy to be able to show to an audience what’s happening on a phone’s screen (or other device) . Many an A/V technician has had to deal with the challenges of switching from PowerPoint bore-ware to an analogue ELMO  projector , trying...
  • Tip o’ the Week #274 – Hello, Skype for Business

    Instant Messaging (and later, voice/video calling) has been with us, in the corporate world, for 15 years – the first real enterprise IM platform was Exchange 2000 Instant Messaging , which used a variant of MSN Messenger as its client, and some workers...
  • Tip o’ the Week #272 - Finding your phone (again)

    ( breaking the fourth wall ) Inevitably, when writing the Tip o’ the Week for 4½ years, the odd topic is revisited , sometimes because there’s a notable improvement or update, and sometimes just because it makes sense to do so. I try to keep the stuff...
  • Tip o’ the Week #271 – Finding your Friends

    Sometimes, people don’t want to be found . That’s maybe understandable if you’re a sweary unemployed pugilist , but often, you’d like to locate your friends and colleagues and you’d like them to find you. Start by letting people see your calendar – in...
  • Tip o’ the Week #270 – Renaming Windows Phone

    No, we’re not talking about the rumoured change of brand from Windows Phone to simply, Windows 10 . This week’s tip is inspired by Edward Hyde , whose several-phones-in-one-family position meant that it was difficult to tell one from the other when referring...
  • Tip o’ the Week #269 – Clip to OneNote, once more

    Time moves on. Things that are news soon turn into things in history : 20 years ago , Microsoft Bob came into the world. Bob was ahead of its time in some ways, foretelling some UI principles and ideas that later became more refined. It also indirectly...
  • Tip o’ the Week #267 – Synchronising Outlook Signatures again

    Hot on the heels of last week’s missive about how to snaffle more storage space, once again we turn to OneDrive to solve a problem. First, let’s journey back in time to recall some previous tools. Once, there was a peer-2-peer (P2P) file...
  • Tip o’ the Week #266 – OneDrive - getting more storage

    OneDrive has been quietly expanding its functionality over the last while, increasingly echoing the UI of Office365 (with the numerous apps shown as tiles on the upper left of the screen). As well as offering a tier of free storage (recently upped to...
  • Tip o’ the Week #265 – Sorting pages in OneNote

    As has been mentioned before on ToW, OneNote is the kind of application that lots of people really love; it has a legion of fans who take to getting things done & their stuff in order, and are increasingly able to access it from all sorts of places...
  • Tip o’ the Week #264 – BCC people to a meeting

    There’s a great deal of etiquette bound up in email communications – and it varies by culture and sometimes by country. Some people politely make the point of always addressing the recipient in an email, and in thanking them at the end, whereas others...
  • Tip o’ the Week #263 – Starter for 10: Windows 10 Tips

    “ Starter for 10 ” – a phrase that evokes thoughts of Paxo berating some poor swot, or Bambi and the Scumbags . But what we have now is a few tips to get started with on Windows 10, and a promise of more to follow in due course (and maybe a picture round...
  • Tip o’ the Week #262 – Windows Phone 8.1 Update

    Well, it’s been an exciting week . We might not have laser beams but we will get “ HoloLens ” (though we’re not quite at the “ Help me, Obi-Wan …” level of holo-projection). Augmented Reality may be about to get really powerful and mainstream, though...
  • Tip o' the Week #260 – Scan cards to OneNote

    Business cards are still a big part of business culture – even if many of us primarily communicate via email, the ceremony of handing over a little card with your name on it, at the start of a face-to-face meeting, is still quite important. Some countries...
  • Tip o' the Week #259 – Manage your Christmas Cards in Outlook

    Happy New Year ! For many of us, time to chuck out trees, and pack away any and all decorations, never to be seen again until December ‘15. Before you recycle the cards you may have received over the holiday season, here’s a quick way of using Outlook...
  • Tip o' the Week #258 – The Network of Your Stuff

    As buzzwords go, 2014 has been a big year for the “ Internet of Things ”, or IoT . A term coined 15 years ago by a specialist in RFID , it was later refined in a paper as referring to a world where machines can share information (perhaps about themselves...
  • Tip o’ the Week #256 – Clip Art clips off

    Exactly 5 years after publishing the very first instalment   (though it was internal only for a year before I started posting the tips on this blog) , Tip o’ the Week goes Old Skool : # 256 , or 2 8 , the number of combinations possible from a single...
  • Tip o' the Week #255 – Rating apps in the store

    The Store was a key innovation when Windows 8 launched, and continues to grow, both in terms of the number of apps published and the way popular and well-rated apps are surfaced. Earlier this year, Microsoft said there were over 150,000 apps in the Windows...
  • Tip o’ the Week #253 – Using Cortana in the Car

    There are many cool things that Cortana can do, which make using Windows Phone 8.1 a pleasure. Try asking the following, if you have Cortana enabled: “Find the best nearby restaurants”, then … “Which are open now?” … “Traffic to the 3 rd one” … “Drive...
  • Tip o' the Week #252 – Web browsing on WP8.1

    Many of us will be familiar with using the web browser on our phones – unkindly, one might say that it’s partly due to the fact that Windows Phone users sometimes don’t have a choice, whereas iOS and Android devices might be redirected to install some...
  • Tip o’ the Week #251 – Toasting a new email message

    You got a new email – hurray! Back in the early days of using email, it was expected practice for your email program to play you a little fanfare, pop up a message box to tell you that you’ve got mail, put an envelope in your system tray etc. In the last...
  • Tip o' the Week #250 – Xbox One updates

    It’s been a busy few weeks and months for Xbox One , as it approaches its first birthday. The console started shipping a little while back in a new, Kinect-less (dis-Kinected?) package ( even if some thought that was a bad move ), and there have been...
  • Tip o' the Week #249 – Sync your Desktop

    This week’s tip comes as a direct result of a conversation had over a glass of wine and a plate of food, with Content & Code’s supremo, Tim Wallis . Most of us who’ve been using PCs for years will have picked up or held onto habits that are probably...
  • Tip o' the Week #248 – Sense the WiFi

    Sense the network: Use the Force . One of the cool new features in Windows Phone 8.1 is “ WiFi Sense ” –  it’s enabled by default and, in a nutshell, is used to let other people access WiFi networks you already know about, without them having to...
  • Tip o' the Week #247 – Block the adverts in IE

    Adverts. The economy of much of the web is dependent on them, as evidenced by where Google makes its money . Of course, other advertising services are available. Sometimes, you’ll get ads targeted at you, offering things you didn’t know you wanted. The...