The Electric Wand

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

The Electric Wand

  • 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...
  • IoT at Future Decoded, Excel Docklands, London–12th November

    There's a 3-day conference called " Future Decoded " running at the Excel centre in London's Docklands, with the Technical Day on 12th Nov having keynote speakers such as Prof Brian Cox, Sir Nigel Shadbolt (founder of the Open Data Institute...
  • Tip o’ the Week #246 – The least-used key on your keyboard

    The computer keyboard will probably be with us for many years to come – it’s just such an efficient way ( once you get used to it ) of text entry, that it’s hard to imagine it’ll be replaced entirely with gestures or by speech . There are some pretty...
  • Tip o’ the Week #245 – Podcasts on Windows Phone 8.1

    The topic of Podcasts was raised by a Tip reader some time ago, after Windows Phone changed the way it handled music synching onto the device (remember Zune ?) . Paul Thurrot suggested a workaround though it did involve using iTunes . Windows and iTunes...
  • Tip o' the Week #244 – Ticking away, the time of day

    “ Ticking away, the moments that make up a dull day ” –  even if you choose not to fritter them away , the seconds and the sands of time slip by whether you’re having fun or you’re not. Apple has recently unveiled their long-awaited smart watch ...
  • Tip o' the Week #243 - Parliamo Glasgow?

    The great Stanley Baxter had a famous series of comedy sketches looking to help Sassenachs and Embrafowk understand how to navigate a conversation (at say, a Hogmanay party ) in the city that recently hosted the Commonwealth , and was hitherto known as...
  • Tip o’ the Week #242 – File favourites and Explorer

    Office365 offers a great way of hosting documents in the cloud, using SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business (which is really SharePoint under the hood) as its publicly facing storage offerings. Office apps themselves are well versed in supporting...
  • 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...