The Electric Wand

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

May, 2007

  • Live Writer beta 2 releases

    I only really started blogging "properly" when Windows Live Writer (WLW) beta first shipped... it's been a really user-friendly tool for blogging, for a whole load of reasons. The WLW team has just shipped a new beta which has a nice UI polish, some great...
  • Surface er, surfaces

    The secret project codenamed Milan was announced today, as "Microsoft Surface": there have been a few videos floating around from Microsoft Research open days and the like, but the announced technology has had a good deal of marketing gloss applied and...
  • The lost art of the .sig

    Whatever happened to elaborate and amusing '.sig's? It used to be common practice to have a signature with some kind of witty/pithy quote appended at random to every email. Nowadays, the autosignature that most email programs can insert (such as Outlook...
  • iCon - Steve Jobs biography

    I don't make a great secret of the fact that I'm not much of an Apple fan - I can appreciate the great design in the products but I've just never had a desire or need to actually buy any (apart from the iPod sock , and that was actually a freebie from...
  • TripAdvisor - an example of the web <done right>

    I've been on holiday for the last 2 weeks. Whilst away (and trying not to think about work), we took a boat trip where 12 people went off on a catamaran for the day, 6 of us from the same hotel. During the chit-chat that goes on in such a scenario, we...
  • More Office Grooviness

    Whilst mucking about with Word the other day with my buddy Steve, he was talking about the improvements that Word has introduced (common with the other Office 2007 apps) in the way it handles pictures. Let's take a standard looking Word doc... and drag...
  • The power of SmartArt

    Careful you say it, " SmartArt ". It's a new capablity in Office 2007 which is designed to make manipulation of graphical representations more easy - you know, instead of a boring list of words, a presentation or document can have more impact if a diagram...
  • Finally, a sidebar gadget worth having

    Oooh, that's a bit flippant. The whole Vista sidebar thing has kind of passed me by, though it really does make sense on widescreen monitors. I set about looking for a particular gadget today, though - one of my cats managed to knock my home PC over last...
  • Chris Bangle - an inspiration

    I was fortunate enough to listen to Chris Bangle, group chief of design at BMW, talk about design, about his own personal journey to where he is now and what inspires him, when he spoke at Microsoft's TechReady conference in Seattle earlier this year...
  • How to really wipe a hard disk

    In one of those weird coincidences, someone asked a question to an email DL in MS this morning, about how to securely erase a hard disk (since, as every skoolboy kno, deleting files doesn't really remove them from the HDD, and even formatting a HDD still...