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The Electric Wand
Thoughts of a technology enthusiast.
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The Electric Wand
Tip o’ the Week #229 – Cortana, let’s rock!
(Another slightly out-of sequence tip as this could be more timely now than in a few weeks) One of the most written-about and eagerly-awaited features in the soon-to-appear Windows Phone 8.1, is Cortana – the “digital assistant”, named after the character in the Halo games. If you’re desperate to get...
30 May 2014
Tip o’ the Week #220 – Wireless networking, 15 years on
It’s amazing how quickly technology goes from an expensive frippery to a cost-insignificant near-essential. It’s not so many years ago that WiFi and Bluetooth first arrived (remember the Ericsson T29 or T68 , the latter of which not only had a COLOUR screen but came with Bluetooth support – all you’d...
16 May 2014
Tip o’ the Week #213 – London travel with Windows Phone
There are plenty apps that help travellers to and from the city of London, some of which I’ve mentioned previously in Tips gone by. Apologies somewhat to international readers as many of these will be of little use to you, unless you choose to visit the cradle of parliamentary democracy , in which case...
28 Mar 2014
Tip o’ the Week #211 – Manage your battery on WP8
The world – at least if you listen to ex-PayPal squillionaire Elon Musk – is destined to move from fossil-fuel-fired transport to electric vehicles that might be charged by the power grid rather than carrying around their own means of energy conversion. Some say that centralised generation (in the form...
14 Mar 2014
Tip o’ the Week #210 – Beam me up!
In the last few weeks, Nokia has shipped the Lumia Black update and it’s widely available . There are some cool additions that the Finns have made to the Phone platform, some new and synched with Black. Nokia now publishes loads of addons (some available for other phones, many only application on Nokia...
7 Mar 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 #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 #171 - eWallet on your phone
One attribute of your phone is that it tends to be with you all the time , so it makes a great place to store information that you want to get access to when you’re out and about – the details of your car insurer, the password for your online banking site, your frequent flyer numbers etc. The long-established...
19 Apr 2013
Tip o' the Week #57 - Using Microsoft Tag on Windows Phone
The “ Tag ” initiative has been around for a little while, in beta guise initially, then general release. The idea is that anyone can generate a 2D “barcode” that can could be a link to a website for more information, could be contact information, some plain text or even a “dialer”...
12 Aug 2011
Tip o' the Week #58 - Find your meeting, or your Windows Phone
This week, a couple of smart tips concerning Windows Phone 7. Both revolve around finding something – in one case, how to find your phone if you’re not sure where you left it, and the other, how to remind yourself where you’re going. Dude, where’s my phone...? This tip uses the location services built...
19 Aug 2011
Tip o' the Week #128 - Train Tickets & Times on WP
This week’s tip aims to shine a light on a selection of Windows Phone Apps dedicated to letting the train take the strain. There have been a slew of newly released apps which let you plan your journey, find information about stations and even buy your ticket in advance, ready to collect at a ticket machine...
3 Aug 2012
Tip o’ the Week #168 – Loving some Windows Phone 8 tips
At a recent “Love It” internal event hosted in Microsoft UK’s Reading campus, a whole series of tips and tricks were shared amongst other Microsofties. Did you know, for example, that with an application called ZipApp ( www.zipapp.co.uk – check it out), you can build a Windows 8 app in a few minutes...
12 Apr 2013
Tip o' the Week #70 - Windows Phone 7 usage abroad
If you’re planning on taking your Windows Phone to sunnier climes over the autumn/winter, this tip might help. One side-effect of going abroad is that the numbers you may have saved in your contacts, won’t be able to dial – 07802 etc won’t make any sense if you’re in the US…. One elegant solution to...
30 Sep 2011
Tip o’ the Week #126 – Voice dial on Windows Phone
It may be a little known aspect of Windows Phone 7 and 7.5 that you can issue voice commands to the device. There are essentially two functions – one, searching using Bing by voice, by pressing the magnifying glass button on the front of the phone, then the microphone icon on the Bing page … ( see here...
20 Jul 2012
Tip o’ the Week #95 – the new Windows Phone lock screen
One of the most immediately user-friendly aspects of Windows Phone 7.5, aka Mango , is also one that is not automatically enabled… Try this out, and I bet you’ll love it. Show to your friends who’ve upgraded: they’ll love it too. Windows Phone supports having a PIN lock policy so that if you haven’t...
3 Feb 2012
Tip o’ the Week #124 – The evolution of Windows Phone Marketplace
Eagle-eyed readers may have spotted that an update a few months ago to the desktop Zune software has removed the Marketplace for buying or downloading Windows Phone apps. This was something of a surprise move to some, since the Zune software has been the primary way of finding and getting hold of phone...
13 Jul 2012
Tip o' the Week #156 - some Windows Phone 8 fun
If you’re a recently lucky Windows Phone 8 recipient, you’ll no doubt have followed all of the instructions in how to set up your new phone, so you’ll already know that you can go to My Phone and reinstall all the apps you’d downloaded onto your previous WP7 device (note that the previously recommended...
25 Jan 2013
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 #158 - blah blah Phone blah
If you need a reminder on what’s new with Windows Phone 8, or you’ve just picked up your white Lumia 920, check out ToW # 156 . One of the slickest updates to Windows Phone 8 is the deeper integration of voice recognition than in WP7. The previous generation phone allowed you to issue commands via voice...
8 Feb 2013
Tip o’ the Week #81 – I’m Late!
We’ve all had that feeling when you just know you aren’t going to make it in time for your next meeting… You know, you’re in Building 1 and the meeting’s at the top of Building 5, or you’re stuck in traffic, or in another meeting that’s already running over and isn’t going to end any time soon..? Obviously...
9 Dec 2011
Tip o' the Week #109 - SkyDrive on the move
Everyone should know about SkyDrive - the free Microsoft service that gives users with a Live ID (including MSN, Hotmail etc) a 25Gb storage space online, accessible ostensibly from anywhere? Well, it's just been made more convenient to access SkyDrive files from mobile devices, thanks to SkyDrive Mobile...
13 Apr 2012
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...
29 Jun 2012
Tip o' the Week #106 - Revisiting Microsoft Tag
We've covered Microsoft Tag before on Tip o' the Week, but it's worth paying another visit as a few things have changed. Tag is an innovative 2D barcode which can be in colour or black and white, and can even be heavily stylised and worked into logos or other graphics. If you haven't tried using Tag...
30 Mar 2012
Tip o’ the Week #93 – Ring the changes with Mango
Windows Phone 7.5 – aka Mango – is here ! ( Find out what’s new ). I’m publishing this tip out of sequence as I think it is relatively topical and rather than wait until the end of January 2012 – when it would be scheduled to go – I figured it would be useful to share it now. If your Windows Phone 7...
4 Nov 2011
Tip o’ the Week #161 – Windows Phone 8 “Portico”
Attention, Windows Phone 8 owners… you may not have spotted it, but there’s a pretty decent update already available – code-named “Portico”. (Aside: If you visit certain Italian cities – like Bologna – you’ll see porticos as the things that provide the apparent multitude of graffiti artists shelter from...
21 Mar 2013
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