The Electric Wand

Thoughts of a technology enthusiast.

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  • Blog Post: Tip o’ the Week #87 – Hello? Hello?? Can you hear me?

    There is an all-too common refrain which echoes around the open-plan offices of many a Microsoft location, following the receipt of an incoming call… “Hello? Hello..?” The joy of Unified Communications with Lync sometimes means that receiving a phone call isn’t always as straightforward as it could be...
  • Blog Post: Tip o' the Week #121 - Networking with Lync

    This week, we have a semi-rehash of earlier tips ( #51 and #67 ), based on some investigation work that’s been done inside Microsoft’s own IT group. If you’re going to join a Lync call (especially if you’re using video or app sharing, using a Roundtable/Polycom CX5000 device etc), then best practice...
  • 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 #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 #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 #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 #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: Tip o’ the Week #96 – Reining back Outlook’s file size

    Outlook likes to cache lots of information on your PC – which is generally beneficial. All of the email in your mailbox, for example, is already on your hard disk, so when you open a message or an attachment, it can open it quickly. This is a Good Thing . In fact, it’s the reason why Office 365 works...
  • 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 #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: 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 #174 – Presenting tips from the pros

    This week’s tip comes after another successful “ Tech.Days Online ” session in late April, delivered by a host of specialists covering a range of developer and IT Pro topics. The Tech.Days Online programme of events is interesting in that it’s delivered “live” to thousands of virtual attendees: in other...
  • Blog Post: Tip o’ the Week #151 – dates, leaks, sides

    First, an update on last week’s ToW . Both Daryl Gywn & Will Thompson pointed out a quicker way of displaying the date & time (past intern-ship in the STU must have developed a keen sense of observation that other roles don’t develop) – simply display the Charms by… swiping from the right if...
  • 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: Tip o' the Week #28 - Windows Key is your friend

    Some people love keyboard shortcuts – producivity guru David Allen (not to be confused with the the late comedian ) recommends, as part of his Getting Things Done methodology, that learning a few keyboard shortcuts will make everyone more productive in doing routine things more quickly. ToW #10...