The UsefulTechnology Blog

Tips and Tactics for a Better Digital Life

May, 2006

  • Why Message Hygiene is a Hygiene Factor

    I was interviewed recently by an IT Industry Analyst who wanted to know how our new Exchange Hosted Services work. While preparing for the interview I realised how important it has become to protect yourself and others from email spam, viruses, phishing...
  • Put yourself on the map (part 2)

    Here's an even better way to create a custom map. With Windows Live Local you can quickly build a collection of pushpins (locations on the map) to share with your friends. Simply sign in to the Windows Live Local site, add your pushpins then click the...
  • Create your own map page on MSN

    Click this link to see exactly where I work: Useful Technology Blog Map . You can create a custom webpage like this too just by searching for your address on MSN maps then editing the URL to include the text you'd like to appear over the map. That...
  • Remember to contact a contact

    Here's another great use for follow-up flags in Outlook: If you need to remember to get in touch with a contact (maybe to find out if that cheque is still in the post!) you can set a follow-up flag to appear at a designated time. To do this just right...
  • Are your reminders not firing?

    If your Outlook reminder service stops working, it may have become corrupted. There's a simple fix for this problem. Close Outlook then restart it by clicking Start > Run then type outlook.exe /cleanreminders in the Run box. This should fix any reminder...
  • Add a custom message flag to email

    You may know that you can add a flag to your outgoing email messages by clicking the Message Flag icon on the toolbar. Doing this will add a small flag that the recipient can see when they read the email and can also fire a reminder at a nominated time...
  • Microsoft World Cup Scoreboard

    You may recall my blog posting showing how to add the Football (aka Soccer) World Cup fixtures to your Outlook calendar. Now there's a handy Microsoft Soccer (aka Football) Scoreboard available for download from http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details...
  • MORE SHOCK! Windows Local Live Add-In for Microsoft Outlook (Beta)

    This is cooler than a penguin's backside. The new (take a deep breath) "Windows Local Live Add-In for Microsoft Outlook (Beta)" integrates Windows Live Local mapping right into your favourite productivity tool, Outlook 2003. This spectacularly longwindedly...
  • SHOCK! Windows Live Local comes to the UK

    Disproving once and for all that my colleagues in Redmond don't realise there's life beyond the shores of North America, Windows Live Local is now available for the UK! And Canada (although I think this is still quite close to the US of A). I know, it...
  • Preventing Outlook Custom Forms

    Following yesterday's post about the power of custom forms for end-users I thought I should also point out a tip for administrators who may wish to prevent custom form creation within their organisation. To do this, go to the registry key: HKEY_CURRENT_USER...
  • The 2007 Microsoft Office System - Beta 2 now free to download!

    The latest beta release of the next generation of business productivity tools is now available to try free of charge. Get it here: http://www.microsoft.com/uk/office/preview/default.mspx . Remember: this is beta software so it's not quite the finished...
  • Not emptying your deleted items

    I'm one of those annoying tidy users of Outlook; everything has its place and I like to keep things neat and tidy. And sometimes seeing my deleted items folder full of stuff (i.e. shown in bold in the folder list) freaks me out so much that I found myself...
  • Prevent people from hitting Reply to All

    Windows Rights Management Services provide some great features that control and restrict the way that information moves around and between organisations. But if you haven't got this cool technology you can still disable the most abused feature in Outlook...
  • Changing the folder where Outlook saves attachments

    I've lost track of the number of times I have saved an attachment in an email then forgotten where I put it. But help is at hand. You can change the default folder where Outlook saves attachments by editing the registry*. Fire up the registry editor...
  • Customising your font style in Outlook

    There are so many ways to customise the way you work in Outlook, but you can also change the way your emails look to add a few personal touches to your correspondence. One of the simplest ways is to change the default f o n t s t y l e for emails you...
  • How to backup up everything in Outlook

    As anyone who's ever lost a file knows, it's a good idea to back up your stuff every so often. And while I don't have the answer to the world's most common backup problems ("I never seem to get round to it" and "I just don't have time to back up my files...
  • BBC gets the wrong Guy

    If you recognise the "guy" above you may have already heard about the BBC's recent gaffe when interviewing Guy Kewney, one of the UK's most respected IT journalists. Instead of interviewing Guy Kewney, the respected IT journalist, they interviewed Guy...
  • Discover stuff about your contacts (however it was done)

    Windows Desktop Search has made finding emails and documents much simpler but Outlook still has a few tricks up its sleeve. My very first post on this blog was about the rarely used Activities tab (that you see when you view details for one of your...
  • The Joy of Search Folders

    We all know that folders on our computers are good for keeping stuff in. But some of the most useful folders don't contain anything at all. The new-fangled "Search Folders" were one of the brightest innovations in Outlook 2003. Search Folders are virtual...
  • Windows Media Player 11 Beta is out

    If you use your computer to store or listen to music you're going to love the new Windows Media Player 11 Beta that was released in the last few hours. Searching through my music collection using album art instead of text transforms the experience and...
  • OneNote and Outlook harmony

    I've been playing around with Microsoft OneNote again recently. I have to admit that when I first tried this application I couldn't see enough value to justify the initial learning curve. And this, from a card-carrying member of the Tablet PC Owners Group...
  • The Power of Icons

    At a recent TechNet evening that I hosted with my pal Darren Strange one member of the audience pointed out the absurdity of Microsoft using a floppy disk as the icon for 'Save'. That got a big laugh and he's right; it is pretty daft that we still associate...
  • Sending video email messages

    If you're looking for a new way to make that important email message stand out, why not send a short video message in your email? This is surprisingly easy to do; all you need is a webcam and the free Windows Movie Maker software. Learn how at http:/...
  • Having email replies sent to more than one address

    Ever had a time when you really want the recipient of your email to send their response to more than one email address? Maybe you were organising a family holiday and wanted the travel agent to email both you and your partner? Or you were travelling and...
  • Yet more on disabling CTRL+Enter in Outlook

    In tribute to the insightful but sadly anonymous comment on my recent blog entry about disabling the CTRL+Enter shortcut ("u have way too much time on your hands if things like this bother you") , here is yet another solution to this minor annoyance ;...