The Electric Wand

Thoughts of a technology enthusiast.

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  • Blog Post: Tip o' the Week #223 – Clear your inbox

    Some people live a disciplined existence and manage to keep a very tidy desk, their to-do list at the end of each day is empty, and their inbox is clean. Many others aspire to be so organised but either convince themselves that they’re too busy to tidy everything up, or they try hard but just don’t quite...
  • Blog Post: Tip o' the Week #212 – Filing and piling of email

    The topic of filing vs piling of email has been had on ToWs passim ( here & here ) , but this week’s gem comes courtesy of a recommendation by productivity guru Tim Pash . Tim says he couldn’t live without a cracking utility which plugs into Outlook, called SimplyFile . The premise is very simple...
  • Blog Post: Tip o’ the Week #203 – Remote control of Office

    Anyone who regularly presents will have had the occasion when there’s a need to wander around the stage, or instead be marooned behind a lectern on the side, yet if there’s no presentation “clicker” provided, it’s difficult to control the flow. A/V professionals complain that they can never keep hold...
  • Blog Post: Tip o’ the Week #176 - F(u)11 screen ahead

    This week’s tip might seem a little obvious to some, yet partially unknown to others. Internet Explorer has offered the capability to display a page in full-screen mode, since IE4. Just like the “ content, not chrome ” ethos of the “ Metro ” Modern UI design language, reducing the various window borders...
  • Blog Post: Tip o’ the Week #152 – Zoom, Zoom!

    If you ever see someone make a presentation or give a demonstration, who says “ you can’t see this, but… ” or “ this is an eye test, but… ” then you have to ask, well why are you showing it (or trying to)? Better still, throw things at them and make a jolly good scene. If you’re presenting, don’t use...
  • Blog Post: Tip o’ the Week #11: SharePoint alerts

    Some of us use RSS, many of us use SharePoint, but all of use email. Did you know that you can combine these three great technologies to keep you up to date on what other people are doing? Most areas of SharePoint allow you to request to be alerted when things change – in this picture, for example, we...
  • Blog Post: Tip o' the Week #39 - Multi-monitor with Win7

    If you sit at a shared desk with a monitor on it, but are content to just use your laptop screen, then this tip is for you. Also, if you use your laptop and display the same image on both its internal panel and an attached external screen, listen up. Multi-mon in Windows 7 – the ability to extend your...
  • Blog Post: Tip o’ the Week #22: Sync SharePoint data into Outlook

    This week’s tip comes from a reader: over to Microsoft UK’s Rob Orwin… In order to help my forecasting, I synchronise the appropriate documents to my Outlook so that when I send and receive they are automatically updated. To do this I simply: 1) Go to the SharePoint site where...
  • Blog Post: Tip o’ the Week #91 – So you're OOF? Meh.

    Now that Outlook, Exchange and Lync all provide a way of showing that someone is Out of the Office (aka OOF, not OOO ), it should be no surprise when you send email to someone internally, that you get an Out of Office message. Outlook’s tool tip tells you they’re out, Lync’s status icon shows the small...
  • Blog Post: Tip o’ the Week #113 – Add context to your Lync status

    One of the biggest cultural impacts of using Instant Messaging and UC technology in a business context is the way that people tend to check the status of someone before contacting them. It’s a relatively rare occurrence to get an internal phone call out of the blue if both parties are online: usually...
  • 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: Tip o’ the Week #120 – The colour of time

    This week’s tip is a lovely little Windows app, recommended by Ceri Morris . It’s a little like the sunrise alarm clocks which start your day by gently lighting the room, or the sleep alarms which gradually fade out the radio instead of a sudden silence in place of music. This free application, called...
  • Blog Post: Tip o’ the Week #23: Viewing Excel sheets side by side

    Toni Kent from Microsoft UK’s partner group once again provides the inspiration for this week’s tip. Everyone loves the side-by-side windows feature of Windows 7, where you can dock windows to the sides of your monitor by dragging them (or pressing ÿ+→ or ÿ+←). But sometimes it doesn’t appear to work...
  • Blog Post: Tip o’ the Week #17: Broadcast PPT to customers & partners

    Many Microsoft folks have experienced the joys of scheduling Live Meetings with customers and partners, where they get an email or meeting request with lots of links, asking them to install software on their PC before they try to join the meeting. How often do the attendees not manage to click the right...
  • Blog Post: Tip o’ the Week #44 – Making Outlook show only email from external senders

    This tip came about after one reader asked if there was any way to highlight email, in Outlook, that came from a set of external addresses [in short, it kind-of is, but it’s not so straightforward] . There’s a more universally useful tip lurking beneath, though – how can I hide all...
  • Blog Post: Tip o' the Week #180 - A touch of magic

    As more and more of us continue to enjoy new laptops courtesy of the Windows 8 Refresh program, the fact that most of them are touch-enabled is causing delight and surprise. The best things about touch on traditional laptop devices may be the less obvious uses – scrolling up and down a web page with...
  • Blog Post: Tip o' the Week #102 - When did someone really put something in their calendar?

    I've been thinking about writing this tip since the ToW started almost exactly two years ago (yay!) but for various reasons, competitive advantage amongst them, I've held off. I figure it's now time to relent and share. genesis The tip concerns the differences in Outlook between appointments, meetings...
  • Blog Post: Tip o’ the Week #31 – the lost art of the .EXE name

    As has been mentioned in a couple of earlier ToW’s, it’s often quicker to use the keyboard to do things, than to take your hands off the keyboard and fish about for a mouse or other means of pointer manipulation. In the vast majority of cases, for example, whenever there’s a box that lets you type some...
  • Blog Post: Tip o’ the Week #20: Outlook date cleverness

    Here’s a quick Outlook tip that some long term users may know but might have forgotten. Ever since the first very of Outlook was released more than 14 years ago, it’s had a surprising capability to handle dates using natural language descriptions. Whenever Outlook prompts you to enter a date (and allows...
  • Blog Post: Tip o' the Week #154 - Outlook 2013 searching - reprise

    Sometimes, the best bits of content benefit from revisiting, improving or just being done in a different way. It was good enough for Sgt. Pepper , and a mainstay of any self-respecting 1970s concept album (try and hear the Supper’s Ready lyrics at the end of the Squonk reprise in Los Endos , for example...
  • Blog Post: Tip o' the Week #199 – Checking your home network speed

    As winter bites, as roadworks cause pandemonium , there may be a trend for staff to work at home more. Microsofties all know Lync powers the ability to effectively work and be contactable when you’re sitting in your shreddies in your home office. If you have a less than perfect broadband connection,...
  • Blog Post: Tip o’ the Week #2: Travel times in Outlook

    Another Outlook tip this week. There have been some calls for Microsoft to include a “Travel Time” capability to Outlook, that lets you automatically add getting-to and getting-from time to an existing Outlook appointment. There is one internal addin which integrates Bing maps to calculate the time taken...
  • Blog Post: Tip o' the Week #200 – Top Ten Greatest Hits

    If I was to ever write a style guide for these Tip o’ the Week emails, it would say to never use the first person, and to maintain a degree of relatively irreverent humour that hopefully makes it easy to read and not get in the way of the content. When I was thinking about what to write for the ToW #200...
  • Blog Post: Tip o' the Week #178 - Copy as Path, turbocharged

    Long-term readers of ToW may recall tip 101 , which featured the “Copy as Path” command in Windows 7. In a nutshell; hold the Shift key as you right-click on a file in Windows Explorer, and you’ll see the Copy as Path option, which copies the entire path to that file (eg c:\blah\blah\file.doc) into the...
  • Blog Post: Tip o' the Week #187 – A Route for old times

    Once upon a time, a company called NextBase wrote some software to help people plan routes across the road network, using a computer. It was expensive in the day (£130 in 1988 works out about £300 in today’s money ), but if your job was to schedule travelling reps or delivery drivers, then time was money...