The Electric Wand

Thoughts of a technology enthusiast.

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  • Blog Post: 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 brandishing a clipboard? Surveys are undoubtedly...
  • Blog Post: Tip o' the Week #52 - OneNote on 3 screens & a cloud

    After the first year of ToWs, let’s start the 2nd with a short celebration of a cool feature in OneNote – not revolutionary, but the kind of thing that makes one smile when encountering it – somebody really thought about how OneNote was likely being used. Try typing a sum – like 52x1045= (that’s the...
  • Blog Post: Tip o’ teh Week # 59: Apps on Bing Maps

    Another tip from  Bing’s Tony Young this week. Remember kids, Bing Maps is not just for mapping. Tony wants to show you how you can use Bing maps to help you plan your day on the road… If you are travelling to a new destination  (as long as you’re in London, Manchester, Aberdeen or Glasgow...
  • Blog Post: Tip o' the Week #58 - Find your meeting, or your Windows Phone

    This week, a couple of smart tips concerning Windows Phone 7. Both revolve around finding something – in one case, how to find your phone if you’re not sure where you left it, and the other, how to remind yourself where you’re going. Dude, where’s my phone...? This tip uses the location services built...
  • Blog Post: Tip o’ the Week #69 – Keep your favourites and Office settings synchronised

    We covered using Windows Live Mesh to synchronise OneNote files between computers in ToW #52 , but overlooked one really simple but useful check-box capability – the ability to sync your IE favourites between PCs, and to sync your Office settings too. Jamie Burgess suggested this would be worth covering...
  • Blog Post: Mapping with Bing

    As a follow on to the Bing post from the other day, I was talking with a guy who’d spent some years working in the Microsoft mapping team in Redmond – he’d talked about the progress the company had made in online mapping technology and the challenges associated with it. One of the latter was the brand...
  • Blog Post: Tip o’ the Week #30 – Sending emails from the past

    Following on from ToW #9 , regarding delaying sending email, this week’s episode was asked for by another reader, since he eagle-eyed-ly spotted that the email was send on one date but didn’t arrive in his inbox until a week later. Aha! Now, it’s possible in Outlook to set that a...
  • Blog Post: Tip o' the Week #171 - eWallet on your phone

    One attribute of your phone is that it tends to be with you all the time , so it makes a great place to store information that you want to get access to when you’re out and about – the details of your car insurer, the password for your online banking site, your frequent flyer numbers etc. The long-established...
  • Blog Post: Snipping tool for OneNote users

    Following on somewhat from my off-topic Walking in the Country post, I thought I'd recount one useful tip that helps in grabbing the maps (or any other screen content, for that matter . at least anything that isn't rights-protected). If you have OneNote installed, press WindowsKey+S to initiate a snapshot...
  • Blog Post: Tip o’ the Week #67–Lync Conferencing Tips

    An earlier Tip o’ the Week featured “ 5 Golden Rules ” for OCS and Lync conferencing, and those tips still stand. If you host or participate in a Lync conference, you can dial-in to the meeting from a phone as well as joining from your PC – eg for Microsoft-hosted Lync conferences, attendees can find...
  • Blog Post: Tip o' the Week #144 - Office 2013 Templates

    A short and sharp tip this week, courtesy of Louis Lazarus , concerning the way the New Office handles template files… and how to configure search in Outlook 2013 to be a bit more fullsome. See more templates online , and now, over to Louis… When you create a new document in Office 2013 with Word, Excel...
  • Blog Post: Tip o’ the Week #168 – Loving some Windows Phone 8 tips

    At a recent “Love It” internal event hosted in Microsoft UK’s Reading campus, a whole series of tips and tricks were shared amongst other Microsofties. Did you know, for example, that with an application called ZipApp ( www.zipapp.co.uk – check it out), you can build a Windows 8 app in a few minutes...
  • Blog Post: I Bing; do u Bing 2?

    It might take a while before you “bing” someone before going out on a date with them, or you “bing” a question out onto the internet… stranger things have happened though. I hear stories of people visiting bing.com every day, just to see what the picture of the day is. IMHO, that’s so much cooler than...
  • Blog Post: Exchange in the cloud or on the ground?

    Following the price cut on the desperately-in-need-of-renaming BPOS services recently, I’ve been talking with a few people about the where the tipping point might be for running Exchange in house vs using some form of hosted provision. There are plenty of reasons why a hosted offering makes sense...
  • Blog Post: Tip o' the Week #108 - Using Accelerators

    Internet Explorer 8 added a concept known as IE " Accelerators " - the principle being that you could select some text on a page, and using an accelerator, quickly search the web for that piece of text, or maybe do something more specific. The other day, I was talking to someone about a particular piece...
  • 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: Tip o’ the Week #74 – The Age of the Train

    Now then, now then… Remember the old 1980’s Jimmy Savill advert for British Rail? RIP, Jingle Jangle Jim. Well, it  seem that National Rail Enquiries adopted the Age of IE9 to deliver one of their latest consumer-facing web applications. Head over to http://ie9.nationalrail.co.uk to check out live...
  • 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: Going for a walk in the country

    I know it's been a bit quiet in recent weeks here, but I figured I could chip in the now traditional New Year random post, which might of interest outside of the working day. Here's last year's post on how to wash you car . During the Christmas and New Year holidays, I've been doing a bit of walking...
  • Blog Post: Tip o’ the Week #83 – some more IE9 tweaks

    It’s been a little while since we dug into Internet Explorer in the Tip of the Week, so I figured it would be worth revisiting. Previous tips included some basics in #64 and #65 and there are others. Docking & Undocking tabs Have you ever found a time when you’ve got two tabs open in IE9, and you...
  • Blog Post: Tip o’ the Week #48: Stop! Think! Bing!

    As well as serving us up a daily delight by way of its home page image, Bing continues to add and innovate other interesting and useful ways to help us find information. There are many examples of where a 10-second Bing search could save time or provide a little more information that could alter the...
  • Blog Post: Tip o' the Week #109 - SkyDrive on the move

    Everyone should know about SkyDrive - the free Microsoft service that gives users with a Live ID (including MSN, Hotmail etc) a 25Gb storage space online, accessible ostensibly from anywhere? Well, it's just been made more convenient to access SkyDrive files from mobile devices, thanks to SkyDrive Mobile...
  • Blog Post: Tip o’ the Week #122 – The Sky (Drive)’s the Limit!

    For years now, SkyDrive has offered a chunk of online storage to anyone who wanted to use it, if they had a Windows Live (aka Hotmail, MSN Messenger, .NET Passport & others) user ID. Adding Windows Live Mesh to the mix gave the ability to not just store and share stuff online, but be able to back...
  • Blog Post: Tip o’ the Week #64–Some IE9 tips

    This tip was originally written shortly after the release of Internet Explorer 9, however it’s still valid today. IE9 is the fastest, most modern and most secure browser we’ve ever made (some would say, that anyone has made – recent independent analysis from NSS Labs shows IE9 blocking the vast majority...
  • Blog Post: Tip o' the Week #194 – Windows 8.1 Reading List

    Windows 8.1 is now available free for existing users of Windows 8, and in a break with tradition, will not be sold as an upgrade to existing installed Windows versions – it’ll just be the full version, and that’s it. Upgrading from Windows 8.1 Preview isn’t officially supported – though it can be done...