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The Electric Wand
Weekly tips from the "Tip o' the Week" email distribution inside of Microsoft.
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The Electric Wand
Tip o’ the Week #293 – STOP SHOUTING ON CONF CALLS
Keeping track of the characters on conference calls could be a new type of buzzword bingo – from the people who stay muted the whole time (the only word they say being “bye”, at the end) , to the unmuted furious typer/clicker/lunch eater/talker-to-somebody-else. This brilliant spoof of conference calls...
11 Sep 2015
Tip o' the Week #255 – Rating apps in the store
The Store was a key innovation when Windows 8 launched, and continues to grow, both in terms of the number of apps published and the way popular and well-rated apps are surfaced. Earlier this year, Microsoft said there were over 150,000 apps in the Windows 8 store, though now the total reported is combined...
19 Dec 2014
Tip o' the Week #249 – Sync your Desktop
This week’s tip comes as a direct result of a conversation had over a glass of wine and a plate of food, with Content & Code’s supremo, Tim Wallis . Most of us who’ve been using PCs for years will have picked up or held onto habits that are probably not ideal, at least not as the designers of the...
14 Nov 2014
Tip o’ the Week #246 – The least-used key on your keyboard
The computer keyboard will probably be with us for many years to come – it’s just such an efficient way ( once you get used to it ) of text entry, that it’s hard to imagine it’ll be replaced entirely with gestures or by speech . There are some pretty obscure keys on the standard PC keyboard though –...
24 Oct 2014
Tip o' the Week #233 – When I'm moving windows
As the nights are already drawing in , UK domestic interest in international football has long waned to background tolerance (apart from tabloid cannibal fever ) , massive new TV sales and beer supply forecasts drop to any normal summer level, we must amuse ourselves in other pursuits. Maybe, perusing...
8 Aug 2014
Tip o’ the Week #209 – Shhhhhhhh!
How many times have you been awoken by your phone , tablet or PC blaring an alert first thing in the morning, telling you it’s someone’s birthday (worse, someone you hardly even know ) ? Or reminding you it’s time to go to an optional conference call in the middle of the night (your time), that was sitting...
21 Feb 2014
Tip o’ the Week #204 – Mirror, mirror, on the big screen
Many people who’ve had a new laptop in the last year will have experienced the frustration of showing up in a meeting room, only to find that you have no means of projecting onto the screen – there are at least 5 different types of connector that could go into the laptop, and 2 or 3 that might be supported...
14 Feb 2014
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...
7 Feb 2014
Tip o’ the Week #202 – Screen grabs, reprised
Previous ToWs have covered how to capture the screen image on Windows, but things have moved on a little of late and it seems like a good time to highlight how to take an image of the screen on a number of devices. Props to Liam Kelly and Rachel Peck for inspiring this discussion. There are any number...
31 Jan 2014
Tip o’ the Week #201 – Multi-monitors with Windows 8.1
One of the best presents you can buy your PC is a second monitor. There have been a few ToW’s past that have explored the delights of running a second screen, where even just plugging your laptop into a desk monitor can make a really noticeable difference to the way you work. The basics are all there...
24 Jan 2014
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...
1 Nov 2013
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...
24 May 2013
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...
14 Dec 2012
Tip o’ the Week #139 – Taskbar fun
Windows 95 (aka “Chicago”) introduced us to the wonders of the Windows “Taskbar” as a way of managing open apps. It was a response to people's increased ability and need to multitask in Windows, as previous versions of the OS provided no ready visual indication of how many windows were currently...
28 Sep 2012
Tip o’ the Week #172 – Dreaming of Apps
Clearly, the most obvious difference in Windows 8 compared to other operating systems (from inferior *NIX based desktops to fancy fondleslabs ) is the Start Screen – the colourful, dynamic and interactive tile-based view of apps available to you with just a click, touch or swipe. It’s also the...
3 May 2013
Tip o’ the Week #164 – Work Anywhere with Windows 8
Recruiter Nick Papé recommended this week’s topic. Escalation Engineer with spare time on his hands Ben Phillips wrote a cracking Windows 8 app to inspire Nick , and UC overlord Steve Tassell had this to say about it: “The app is another step in the consortium providing practical advice and guidance...
22 Mar 2013
Tip o' the Week #147 - Sharing Windows 8 Apps
The next few weeks’ Tips will be out of sequence since they coincide with the launch of Windows 8. As the world continues to enjoy Windows 8 (4m copies sold in the first week, apparently) , the number of apps in the Windows Store is growing every day. It’s easy to discover apps – fire up the Store app...
9 Nov 2012
Tip o' the Week #188 – Writing on Windows
Owners of the HP Revolve 810 laptops (as many in Microsoft recently received through the new laptop refresh) can get hold of an HP Executive Pen as an option, to enable on-screen scribbling and the likes. Before everyone starts celebrating by dancing in the streets, it’s worth noting that the Executive...
6 Sep 2013
Tip o’ the Week #167 – Flash! Ah-Aaah!
Some big news for Windows 8 IE10 users this week (especially those using “Immersive IE”, aka modern/ Metro IE) : the way the browser handles Flash websites has changed. More details, here. In a nutshell, the Flash player which is built into IE10 has changed its default from not allowing Flash sites unless...
15 Mar 2013
Tip o’ the Week #115 – Windows 8 keyboard tips
The next couple of posts on this blog are out of sequence, since they concern Windows 8. I’m bringing them forward by about a month… so ToWs #115 and #116 will come soon, then we’ll revert back to ToW #111 thereafter… Windows 8 Consumer Preview has been out for a little while so it’s worth taking a look...
27 Apr 2012
Tip o' the Week #145 - Fun with Drag 'N Drop
Some things in computing have been around for so long, that it’s hard to envisage or remember a time before them. Take the humble mouse – Mr Scott might not recognise what it’s for , but at least until touch and gestures take over the world, we are all familiar with its basic operation. Doug Engelbart...
30 Nov 2012
Tip o' the Week #184 - ActiveSync account limits
Various people have commented on issues they’ve had whilst setting up new PCs, especially after the upgrade to Windows 8.1 Preview. The upgrade process is a lot like a reinstall which happens to remember a bunch of settings, and one of the side effects is that it sets up the Mail (and associated Calendar...
16 Aug 2013
Tip o’ the Week #140 – PDFs in Windows 8 - reprise
Hot on the heels of ToW #138 which looked at handling PDFs in Windows 8, lots of feedback from avid ToW readers with their own tuppence to contribute. Mike Mundy pointed out a simple way to print from within the built-in Win8 Reader app – good ol’ fashioned CTRL-P. Actually, this combo works for...
5 Oct 2012
Tip o’ the Week #183 - Screen Grabs on Windows 8.1
If you’ve taken the plunge and updated to Windows 8.1 , you may have spotted a mix of improvements (like the updated Search pane behaviour which needs a little getting used to, but works well) , and some funnies (compatibility issues with IE11, internal tools like GMOBI or CRM not working so well, etc...
9 Aug 2013
Tip o’ the Week #116 – Windows 8 - IE 10 desktop or Metro..?
One of the potentially confusing aspects of the Windows 8 Consumer Preview is the fact that it has two web browsers built in – the Internet Explorer we know and love has been updated to IE10 on the desktop, and a new IE10 browser has been added into the Metro UI. For the most part, there’s little to...
4 May 2012
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