The Electric Wand

Thoughts of a technology enthusiast.

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  • 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 #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: 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: Little pleasures in troubled times

    It’s funny how sometimes the little things can give you the most tactile pleasures. An example is one little device I picked up post-Christmas – we were in town trawling round the “sales” and the only thing I really wanted to find was a good Waiter’s Friend. This one came from John Lewis and cost the...
  • Blog Post: Windows 7 tips & tricks, and Media Center tuner drivers

    I put Windows 7 Beta 1 on my home PC the other day (as a dual boot config with Vista x64) to see what it was like; I was very pleasantly surprised, with the exception of the fact that Media Center - much as it looks nicer - didn't work out of the box with my Hauppauge Nova-T USB 2 tuner box that I use...
  • Blog Post: Windows 7 Release Candidate available now

    I’ve now upgraded 4 different PCs to Win7 Release Candidate (build 7100) and each one has gone swimmingly – you too can share in the fun by downloading the release candidate for yourself . The Windows development team are looking to test the upgrade process from Vista to Windows 7, so are asking customers...
  • 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 #101 - Finding files for dialogs

    How many times a month do you have a file (a picture, maybe, or a document) that you want to upload to some website, or attach to an email. and you know where the file is, but then have to navigate through a dialog box to locate it from within the application? I can sometimes think of 2 or 3 such scenarios...
  • Blog Post: Look what I found in my loft: a 9-year old netbook

    I splashed out a week or two ago, and bought a Samsung NC10 netbook – a bargain at under £300, and it runs Windows 7 really well. Impressed with the size and utility of the thing, I recalled a forerunner of the netbook, so went rooting around in my “box of old technology that it pretty much useless but...
  • Blog Post: XP Mode in Windows 7 saved me money

    I've been running Windows 7 at home for a while now, and have been very pleased with it - on a decent spec machine (Quad core, 4Gb RAM, lots of SATA-II disk etc), it absolutely flies. As did Vista before it, if truth be told. When I got this machine, I had it set up to dual boot between Windows Vista...
  • 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...
  • Blog Post: Tip o' the Week #104 - Windows 7's clock & date

    One of the neat little design touches of Windows 7 that changed as a result of usage analysis was the calendar that is shown when you click the clock on your system tray. User feedback taught product designers that in previous versions of Windows, users would often go into the " Date & Time Properties...
  • Blog Post: Outlook Thread Compressor download now available

    Nearly a year ago, I wrote about Thread Compressor on here – it’s an add-in to Outlook which removes unnecessary emails, on the assumption that most people reply to mail and leave the original intact, so you could keep the last mail in each branch of a thread, and remove all the others. Way back...