The Electric Wand

Thoughts of a technology enthusiast.

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  • Blog Post: Apple put the ‘Networks’ in their place

    Having just read Andrew Orlowski’s article over on The Register , it chimes exactly with a belief I’ve had since the original iPhone came out and showed a clean pair of heels to pretty much every other single device: someone had to put the mobile operator networks in their place, and only Apple were...
  • Blog Post: When bean counters start counting things they don't understand the value of.

    I've been having a discussion with an old friend, who's telling me of a large financial institution that have suddenly started getting very picky about spending on IT. Maybe it's the financial environment right now - the tabloids are desperate to paint a doomsday scenario where all the banks are on the...
  • Blog Post: Exchange mailbox quotas and a 'paradox of thrift'

    The study of economics throws up some fantastic names for concepts or economic models, some of which have become part of the standard lexicon, such as the Law of Diminishing Returns , or the concept of opportunity cost , which I've written about before . Though it sounds like it might be something...
  • Blog Post: The business case for Exchange 2007 - part III

    This is a continuation of an occasional series of articles about how specific capabilities of Exchange 2007 can be mapped to business challenges. The other parts, and other related topics, can be found here . GOAL: Lower the risk of being non-compliant Now here's a can of worms. What is "compliance"...
  • Blog Post: Tip o’ the Week #90 – Advanced Windows 7 Calculator

    Yes, really. When did you last use Windows Calculator ? When did you last look to see if there are any new functions you haven’t used before? Most of us probably can’t remember what all the functions on a scientific calculator do, and don’t have much need for trigonometry or advanced calculus in our...
  • Blog Post: Tip o’ the Week #196 – Change Outlook meeting duration

    It’s seemingly an irrefutable law that when you book a meeting for an hour, it takes an hour. Or what might happen is some people are still rocking up at 3 or 4 minutes after the start, and others start packing up 5 minutes before the end because they have another meeting to go to. Others yet will start...
  • Blog Post: The business case for Exchange 2007

    (this is a follow on to the previous post on measuring business impact , and are my own thoughts on the case for moving to Exchange 2007) There are plenty of resources already published which talk about the top reasons to deploy, upgrade or migrate to Exchange 2007 - the top 10 reasons page would be...
  • Blog Post: Tip o’ the Week #172 – Dreaming of Apps

    Clearly, the most obvious difference in Windows 8 compared to other operating systems (from inferior *NIX based desktops to fancy fondleslabs ) is the Start Screen – the colourful, dynamic  and interactive tile-based view of apps available to you with just a click, touch or swipe. It’s also the...
  • Blog Post: Tip o’ the Week #92 – Take and Share better meeting notes

    Be the scribe OneNote is a great audit tool. When you’re in meetings with customers and partners why not offer to take the notes on your tablet, slate or laptop and then when the meeting is done simply save the notes as a PDF to create a simple, (almost) non editable version of the notes that you can...
  • Blog Post: Sometimes, you know you didn't pay enough

    ... (and sometimes you probably suspect you paid too much) A common trait in western cultures is the eye for a good deal - you know, getting two-for-the-price-of-one, or thinking that it's worth buying something because it's on sale and you'll save 25%, rather than because you really need it or wanted...
  • Blog Post: The Wal-Mart Effect

    Here's an interesting book on a business force which is changing the way that the US economy works, if you believe what the author is saying. Wal-Mart (which owns ASDA in the UK) has been growing like crazy in recent years, to the point where they're big enough, supposedly, to have a direct impact on...
  • Blog Post: Pinpoint a Microsoft Partner

    This site has had something of a quiet launch – I first saw it a couple of weeks ago and was really impressed – it’s called Pinpoint and is a new take on the question, “How do I find a good Microsoft partner?” Simply enter a search (a name of a known partner, or any element of the technology or solution...
  • Blog Post: Measuring business impact

    I'm going to approach this topic over a number of posts, as something I've been thinking about rather a lot lately. Basically, the challenge is about finding out what impact making a change to the business environment will have: either positive or negative, and then using that information to either...
  • Blog Post: Tip o’ the Week #173 – LinkedIn Contacts in Outlook

    This week’s tip focuses on the power of LinkedIn . Some people use it as their system of managing customer and partner contacts. Some find new employment by schmoozing their network – some even use it as the launchpad for their next career. Hands up who’s ever thought that a work colleague suddenly connecting...
  • Blog Post: When the weather outside is frightful…

    … the UC technology is soooo delightful. OK, it’s cheesy as you can get, but very true. The weather forecast on Sunday night was for heavy snow, and sure enough we awoke on Monday to about 4-6 inches of fresh snow – something that many countries would take in their stride, but in southern England, we...
  • Blog Post: Tip o' the Week #99 - Is your hard disk just "on"?

    One frustrating aspect of a modern PC is when it seems to slow down inexplicably, even when it's not obviously busy. Sometimes that could be evidenced by the hard disk light flickering a lot of the time, or in extreme cases, solidly lit up. There are a number of reasons why this could be the case - here...
  • Blog Post: Tip o’ the Week #86 – Jump into SharePoint sites

    Following last week’s IE9 “turn websites into apps” tip in ToW#83 , here’s an early Christmas present, showing a couple of nifty ways of working with SharePoint 2010. It’s possible to add SharePoint sites to your taskbar or start menu in exactly the same way as in that tip – open the site up in your...
  • Blog Post: The downside of online shopping

    I bought myself an early Christmas present a few weeks ago. One Saturday morning, sitting at the home PC whilst noodling about on the web, I decided it was time to replace the old warhorse and get something a bit more modern. So I surfed off to my favourite PC web emporium and specced up a nice new...
  • Blog Post: Business continuity – it’s a people thing, not just a premises one

    I had a really interesting discussion with a customer last week, when we were musing over the effects that the snow had on UK businesses. It was another example – like the floods which have hit parts of the country over the last few years – of a threat to business continuity which it’s easy to overlook...
  • Blog Post: Tip o’ the Week #192 – What does your customer run?

    If you are in the tech industry and dealing with a customer or partner on pretty much any aspect of their relationship with you, it can often be valuable to have a bit of forewarning about what technology they’re using. In larger managed environments, that knowledge might come from other resources (account...
  • Blog Post: "Success kills" - Marc Andreessen on Facebook

    Like so many other people in the last few weeks, I started using Facebook . They're growing at such a ridiculous rate, adding 100,000 new users every day, and it's reckoned that 50% of the millions of active users return to the site every day. Following a link from a post by Steve , and reading Marc...
  • Blog Post: The business case for Exchange 2007 - part IV

    Another installment in a series of posts outlining the case for going to Exchange 2007. Previous articles can be found here . GOAL: Make flexible working easier "Flexible Working" might mean different things to differing organisations - some might think of mobile staff who turn up at any office with...
  • Blog Post: Virtuali(z)sation & datacenter power

    It's been very quiet here on the Electric Wand for the last month or so: I took a new job in December which means things have been pretty hectic at work. I'm now managing a new group, and lots of time spent building up a great team. Just back from Seattle from a week's Microsoft internal technical conference...
  • Blog Post: Microsoft Online Services prices cut

    The snappily-titled Microsoft Business Productivity Online Services (BPOS) offering, announced some price cuts the other day… I heard from someone internally that the price cuts were driven by increased economy of scale – ie. as more customers signed up for BPOS, the cost per customer of providing the...
  • Blog Post: The business case for Exchange 2007 - part II

    (This is a follow on to the previous post on measuring business impact , and the first post on the business case for Exchange 2007 , and are my own thoughts on the case for moving to Exchange 2007). It's part of a series of posts which I'm trying to keep succinct, though they tend to be a bit longer...