The Electric Wand

Thoughts of a technology enthusiast.

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  • Blog Post: Vista Aero Glass - performance hit (or not)

    Just read an interesting analysis at http://firingsquad.com/hardware/windows_vista_aero_glass_performance/ where they tested a couple of different systems running Windows Vista with Aero Glass switched on and off. ( Windows Aero - if you're not aware of it by name - is the new user interface functionality...
  • Blog Post: Some more useful Windows & Outlook shortcuts

    As I mentioned the other day , I've a penchant for using shortcuts in Windows: most (if not all) are documented in help files and the likes, but it is amazing how many people don't know about them or just don't use them. Continuing the list of shortcut keys that can save a few fractions of a second...
  • Blog Post: Zooming in for demos

    I remember seeing Mark Russinovich present at TechEd a while back, and was impressed when he used a zooming utility to show one quarter of the screen zoomed in enough that it was easy to read the screen, even from the back of the room. Presenting to even a small room of people and when doing a demo...
  • Blog Post: Sideshow Media Center remote - want one!

    I've been a long-time user of the Philips Pronto programmable remote - it's an LCD touch screen based affair, which can be programmed to the 9th degree to create your own UI of macros which correspond to lots of different activities on different remotes - eg a "Watch the TV" button which powers on your...
  • Blog Post: Tips for optimizing Vista on new hardware

    Ed Bott over at ZDNet posted a really interesting article yesterday, detailing the journey he had of making his friend's brand new Sony Viao laptop work properly with Windows Vista Business. In short, his friend upgraded a trusty old XP Vaio to a new machine which came with Vista, but had a terrible...
  • Blog Post: Tip o' the Week #51 - Five Golden Rules for OCS & Lync

    A tip this week concerning best practices for using Enterprise Voice in OCS or Lync for making and receiving voice calls… Participating in OCS/Lync Calls: Use a wired* connection when you are on OCS/Lync calls. (Performance over WIFI will not be as good) Ensure you use an approved...
  • Blog Post: Some Handy Windows shortcut keys...

    I like the Windows GUI, and particularly since I'm use to it, the Vista UI. I don't think I follow a particularly usual pattern, though, because I tend to make use of lots of keyboard shortcuts which many people may not know, or may know about somewhere in the back of their mind but never bother to use...
  • Blog Post: Using HTC devices as a modem over USB in Vista RTM

    One of the neat things with HTC Windows Mobile 5 devices on Windows Vista is when you activate the Wireless Modem over Bluetooth, Vista will just see the device and automatically detect it as a modem. When you plug the device in to a Vista PC using USB (having first enabled Wireless Modem over USB on...
  • Blog Post: Calibri: a font like no other...

    Someone asked me a semi-bizarre question today: the new fonts which are in Office 2007 and Windows Vista, especially Calibri (which, I must say, I think looks great)... Can they be installed on older versions of Windows or Office? I had never really appreciated all the work that goes into generating...
  • Blog Post: Windows Mobile Device Center in Vista

    I've been a user of Windows CE/Windows Mobile devices ever since the early days of "Windows CE Services", which later morphed into ActiveSync (currently at version 4.2, but v4.5 should be with us soon). The software has certainly evolved over the years and now provides a fairly decent user experience...
  • Blog Post: BBC iPlayer kicks up a stink

    It's been interesting reading various news articles about the fact that the soon-to-be-released BBC iPlayer application will initially be available only to Internet Explorer and Windows XP users. The Register reports that a group called the Open Source Consortium is due to meet with the BBC Trust since...
  • Blog Post: Virtual PC 2007 now available

    The Virtual PC team released the latest version to the web the other day, and it's available for free , downloadable from here . Headline changes over previous versions are the ability to be run on Windows Vista, and to have Vista as a guest OS within VPC as well as miriad performance improvements. I...
  • Blog Post: 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 night (it's a desktop which I have standing vertically...
  • Blog Post: Windows Media Center query-based recording

    Here's a tip for anyone running Windows Vista Home Premium or Ultimate editions (the ones with Media Center functionality), if you have a suitable tuner set up and configured. I mentioned this in passing to someone who uses Media Center as their primary TV tuner, and they didn't know it was possible...
  • Blog Post: Windows Live Mail Desktop - replaces Outlook Express for Hotmail use

    I've been running the "dogfood" version of Windows Live Mail Desktop (WLMD) for a while now, and found it to be really stable and usable. It's basically a superset of the built-in Windows Mail application from Windows Vista, which supercedes Outlook Express. WLMD is now available for beta testing (on...
  • Blog Post: Dell's "anti-crapware" initiative doesn't go far enough

    My wife's small business has recently had a requirement to upgrade a couple of PCs, after 5 or 6 years. Since I am ultimately responsible for all their IT (and I am not proud of what they have - I cut all sorts of corners to make my life easy, but they don't know how lean it is) , I've always bought...
  • Blog Post: Tip o’ the Week #40 – monitoring your PC’s innards

    Everyone can see their PC slow down inexplicably, but getting to the bottom of why can be tricky. It could be an occasional task that’s running (like an update being applied to Anti-Virus software), or perhaps something more sinister is going on – a badly constructed web page causing IE to use up system...