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  14. <description>Technology and the occasional justified rant</description>
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  21. <title>Amazon Echo</title>
  22. <link>http://www.dadams.co.uk/2017/03/29/amazon-echo/</link>
  23. <comments>http://www.dadams.co.uk/2017/03/29/amazon-echo/#respond</comments>
  24. <pubDate>Wed, 29 Mar 2017 20:59:25 +0000</pubDate>
  25. <dc:creator><![CDATA[Darren]]></dc:creator>
  26. <category><![CDATA[Amazon]]></category>
  27. <category><![CDATA[Echo]]></category>
  28. <category><![CDATA[Gadgets]]></category>
  29.  
  30. <guid isPermaLink="false">http://www.dadams.co.uk/?p=6175</guid>
  31. <description><![CDATA[<p>Here at dadams.co.uk we&#8217;re always quick to bring the news of new tech&#8230; oh, hang on, the Amazon Echo has actually been available for more than two years. Okay, well, the Adams household acquired one about a month ago. We &#8230;</p>]]></description>
  32. <content:encoded><![CDATA[<p>Here at dadams.co.uk we&#8217;re always quick to bring the news of new tech&#8230; oh, hang on, the Amazon Echo has actually been available for more than two years. Okay, well, the Adams household acquired one about a month ago. We don&#8217;t have a dog named Alexa, which means the Echo doesn&#8217;t have to tell us it doesn&#8217;t understand the question when we tell the dog (which isn&#8217;t called Alexa) to go out for a number two. If the dog was named Alexa, we could change the Echo&#8217;s call sign to Echo, Amazon or Computer&#8230; but not a custom name like Maureen, or as one of my colleagues suggested, Bitch. Okay, I&#8217;m glad we&#8217;ve cleared up the naming issue.</p>
  33. <p>What&#8217;s in the box? The Echo unit and a power supply. That&#8217;s it. Oh, and some little &#8216;get started&#8217; guides.</p>
  34. <p>Easy setup? Very&#8230; as long as you have a mobile device which runs the Alexa app. The Alexa app runs on iOS and Android, so I carefully and quietly put my Windows phone back in its case and went to retrieve my Android tablet from upstairs. The Echo found the WiFi in the house, the app realised the Echo was trying to connect and asked for the password.</p>
  35. <p><img class="alignright wp-image-6188 size-full" src="http://www.dadams.co.uk/blog/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/echounit.png" alt="Amazon Echo" width="250" height="451" srcset="http://www.dadams.co.uk/blog/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/echounit.png 250w, http://www.dadams.co.uk/blog/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/echounit-166x300.png 166w" sizes="(max-width: 250px) 100vw, 250px" />The Alexa app allows you to add &#8216;skills&#8217;, connect to services and add accounts. The first account to be added was the main reason for actually buying the Echo, and that was Spotify. We&#8217;ll come back to this later. In addition to Spotify I added the following:</p>
  36. <ul>
  37. <li>My Office 365 account &#8211; having done so I can ask Alexa &#8220;when is my next meeting?&#8221;, &#8220;what&#8217;s in my diary tomorrow?&#8221; and &#8220;what am I doing on Friday?&#8221;</li>
  38. <li>My favourite football team &#8211; now if I ask for a sports update, it tells me the latest depressing Arsenal news (which will hopefully soon include news of Wenger&#8217;s departure and the signing of Romelu Lukaku) &#8211; you can also ask &#8220;when is Arsenal&#8217;s next match?&#8221; which provides a detailed response</li>
  39. <li>My commute in the car, home to work destination</li>
  40. <li>A list for adding to-dos and shopping items (includes having to set up an account in a supported list app such as Todoist &#8211; would be nice if Wunderlist was supported) &#8211; &#8220;Alexa, add Jaffa Cakes to my shopping list&#8221;</li>
  41. <li>TuneIn Radio &#8211; &#8220;play Radio 2 on TuneIn&#8221;</li>
  42. </ul>
  43. <p>Without adding any additional skills, the Echo can answer a number of questions or react to various voice prompts:</p>
  44. <ul>
  45. <li>&#8220;Alexa, tell me a joke&#8221; &#8211; none of which have been particularly funny</li>
  46. <li>&#8220;Set a timer for 15 minutes&#8221; and &#8220;set an alarm for 6AM&#8221; (which will wake the dogs up, not me, because the Echo is in the kitchen)</li>
  47. <li>&#8220;What will the weather be like in New York tomorrow?&#8221; and &#8220;will I need an umbrella in London today?&#8221;</li>
  48. <li>&#8220;Convert 5 miles to kilometres&#8221; and various other conversions</li>
  49. <li>&#8220;Who is Donald Trump?&#8221; &#8211; a polite answer is provided</li>
  50. <li>&#8220;How old is Whitney Houston?&#8221; &#8211; I know, she threw a seven, so the Echo told me when she passed away and how old she was</li>
  51. <li>&#8220;What&#8217;s the latest news?&#8221;</li>
  52. <li>&#8220;How old is the Earth?&#8221; &#8211; the answer will come as a disappointment to Young Earth Creationists</li>
  53. <li>&#8220;What&#8217;s the time in Seattle?&#8221; &#8211; there&#8217;s no point in asking about the weather in Seattle, it&#8217;s raining, I know that without asking</li>
  54. <li>&#8220;When is Good Friday this year?&#8221;</li>
  55. <li>&#8220;What&#8217;s the square root of 93?&#8221; and &#8220;multiply 2.4 by 7.6&#8221;</li>
  56. <li>&#8220;What&#8217;s the atomic number of lithium?&#8221;</li>
  57. <li>&#8220;What is a panda?&#8221;</li>
  58. <li>&#8220;What year was The River by Bruce Springsteen released?&#8221;</li>
  59. <li>&#8220;Who is the lead singer of Minus The Bear?&#8221;</li>
  60. <li>&#8220;What&#8217;s the population of Lithuania?&#8221; and &#8220;what&#8217;s the capital city of Bulgaria?&#8221;</li>
  61. <li>&#8220;Who starred in the movie High Anxiety?&#8221;</li>
  62. <li>&#8220;How do you make a pancake?&#8221;</li>
  63. <li>&#8220;What day of the week was 17th January 1967?&#8221;</li>
  64. <li>&#8220;When was the Battle of Hastings?&#8221; and &#8220;when did the Titanic sink?&#8221;</li>
  65. <li>&#8220;How many people died on the Titanic&#8221;?</li>
  66. </ul>
  67. <p>Okay, I think you get the point. There are, however, some limitations. I&#8217;m not talking about the unsupported commands that the current Mrs Adams issues (&#8220;Alexa, do the ironing&#8221;), I&#8217;m referring to some questions that you might reasonably expect to work, but don&#8217;t. For example:</p>
  68. <ul>
  69. <li>&#8220;What time is high tide at West Wittering?&#8221;</li>
  70. <li>&#8220;How do you get tea stains out of cotton?&#8221;</li>
  71. <li>&#8220;How many calories should a man consume per day?&#8221;</li>
  72. <li>&#8220;What&#8217;s the Microsoft stock price?&#8221;</li>
  73. </ul>
  74. <p>I mentioned skills &#8211; these are basically (I&#8217;m going to call them) web services created for the Echo to work as a voice interface. You can add these via the Alexa web site or the app. There&#8217;s loads to choose from, although the selection that could be described as &#8216;really useful&#8217; is limited. I&#8217;ve enabled:</p>
  75. <ul>
  76. <li>National Rail Enquiries &#8211; you can set a default home and destination station, and ask it to check your commute &#8211; you can also ask it to plan a journey; however, it is rather limited and you can&#8217;t ask it to check your commute tomorrow morning (it will always give you details on the next couple of trains)</li>
  77. <li>Translated &#8211; &#8220;Alexa, ask Translated how you say &#8216;my hovercraft is full of cheese&#8217; in Hungarian&#8221;&#8230; and it works</li>
  78. <li>TV Guide &#8220;Alexa, ask TV Guide what&#8217;s on at 8PM tomorrow&#8221; or &#8220;ask TV Guide to find Family Guy&#8221;</li>
  79. </ul>
  80. <p>It would be great if there was a skill to allow you to ask the Echo to record something on Sky &#8211; it would also be great if I could win the lottery, but that doesn&#8217;t mean it going to happen.</p>
  81. <p>Okay, let&#8217;s get on to Spotify. I should also mention that the Echo (unsurprisingly) supports Amazon Music, but as I already had an account I activated Spotify straight away and set it to be the default music service. The first thing I&#8217;ll say is that it&#8217;s worth setting up Spotify playlists, because you ask can the Echo to play these. Because Spotify is the default music service I don&#8217;t have to specify Spotify, but it&#8217;s a good idea to do so when asking it for a Spotify radio station so there&#8217;s no confusion with &#8216;actual&#8217; radio stations. So, some of the Spotify commands are as follows:</p>
  82. <ul>
  83. <li>&#8220;Play the Darren&#8217;s oldies playlist&#8221;</li>
  84. <li>&#8220;Shuffle&#8221;</li>
  85. <li>&#8220;Pause&#8221; and &#8220;resume&#8221;</li>
  86. <li>&#8220;Play 70s radio on Spotify&#8221;</li>
  87. <li>&#8220;Play hits of the 80s&#8221;</li>
  88. <li>&#8220;Play Smashing Pumpkins&#8221; (plays a selection of their songs)</li>
  89. <li>&#8220;Play Cultosaurus Erectus&#8221; (plays the 1980 album by Blue Öyster Cult) &#8211; not just that album, obviously</li>
  90. <li>&#8220;Play some pop / rock / classical / reggae music&#8221;</li>
  91. <li>&#8220;Play some 70s rock&#8221;</li>
  92. <li>&#8220;Play some love songs&#8221;</li>
  93. <li>&#8220;What&#8217;s this song?&#8221;</li>
  94. </ul>
  95. <p><img class="alignright size-full wp-image-6190" src="http://www.dadams.co.uk/blog/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/spotifyconnect.png" alt="Spotify connections" width="276" height="453" srcset="http://www.dadams.co.uk/blog/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/spotifyconnect.png 276w, http://www.dadams.co.uk/blog/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/spotifyconnect-183x300.png 183w" sizes="(max-width: 276px) 100vw, 276px" />If you&#8217;re running the Spotify application on Windows or a Mac, or Android (and probably iOS, haven&#8217;t tried that) you can select the output device for the music, including the Echo&#8230; this allows you to surprise people in the kitchen with a sudden burst of music, and also to control the Echo&#8217;s Spotify output without talking to it. We only have one Echo, but I strongly suspect that if you had multiple Echo units or Dots (the smaller version) they would also appear on the device list.</p>
  96. ]]></content:encoded>
  97. <wfw:commentRss>http://www.dadams.co.uk/2017/03/29/amazon-echo/feed/</wfw:commentRss>
  98. <slash:comments>0</slash:comments>
  99. <post-id xmlns="com-wordpress:feed-additions:1">6175</post-id> </item>
  100. <item>
  101. <title>Running results and future plans</title>
  102. <link>http://www.dadams.co.uk/2016/08/08/running-results-and-future-plans/</link>
  103. <comments>http://www.dadams.co.uk/2016/08/08/running-results-and-future-plans/#respond</comments>
  104. <pubDate>Mon, 08 Aug 2016 19:24:29 +0000</pubDate>
  105. <dc:creator><![CDATA[Darren]]></dc:creator>
  106. <category><![CDATA[Running]]></category>
  107.  
  108. <guid isPermaLink="false">http://www.dadams.co.uk/?p=6075</guid>
  109. <description><![CDATA[<p>I&#8217;m pinning this here as a reminder to myself as to when races are, and as a log of times so far<span id="more-6075"></span>.</p>
  110. <p><strong>10 km</strong></p>
  111. <p>22nd March 2015 &#8211; Eton Dorney Lake &#8211; 56 minutes 11 seconds</p>
  112. <p>3rd May 2015 &#8230;</p>]]></description>
  113. <content:encoded><![CDATA[<p>I&#8217;m pinning this here as a reminder to myself as to when races are, and as a log of times so far<span id="more-6075"></span>.</p>
  114. <p><strong>10 km</strong></p>
  115. <p>22nd March 2015 &#8211; Eton Dorney Lake &#8211; 56 minutes 11 seconds</p>
  116. <p>3rd May 2015 &#8211; Run Frimley &#8211; 54 minutes 34 seconds</p>
  117. <p>17th May 2015 &#8211; Royal Berkshire Green Park &#8211; 51 minutes 7 seconds</p>
  118. <p>3rd June 2015 &#8211; Yateley race 1 &#8211; 49 minutes 22 seconds</p>
  119. <p>12th July 2015 &#8211; Vitality British London run &#8211; 52 minutes 21 seconds</p>
  120. <p>13th September 2015 &#8211; Seb’s Swinley Forest run &#8211; 55 minutes 43 seconds</p>
  121. <p>1st May 2016 &#8211; Run Frimley &#8211; 52 minutes 15 seconds</p>
  122. <p>15th May 2016 &#8211; Royal Berkshire Green Park &#8211; 50 minutes 54 seconds</p>
  123. <p>1st June 2016 &#8211; Yateley race 1 &#8211; 50 minutes 12 seconds</p>
  124. <p>13th July 2016 &#8211; Yateley race 2 &#8211; 48 minutes 40 seconds &#8211; <strong>PERSONAL BEST</strong></p>
  125. <p>3rd August 2016 &#8211; Yateley race 3 &#8211; 50 minutes 2 seconds</p>
  126. <p>23rd October 2016 &#8211; Fleet &#8211; 48 minutes 41 seconds</p>
  127. <p>27th November 2016 &#8211; Jigsaw Run (Dunsfold Park, near Cranleigh) &#8211; 48 minutes 53 seconds</p>
  128. <p>5th March 2017 &#8211; Weybridge &#8211; 51 minutes 50 seconds</p>
  129. <p>30th April 2017 &#8211; Run Frimley &#8211; 50 minutes 30 seconds (provisional time)</p>
  130. <p><em>21st May 2017 &#8211; Royal Berkshire Green Park</em></p>
  131. <p><em>7th June 2017 &#8211; Yateley race 1</em></p>
  132. <p><em>12th July &#8211; Yateley race 2</em></p>
  133. <p><em>2nd August &#8211; Yateley race 3</em></p>
  134. <p><em>22nd October 2017 &#8211; Fleet</em></p>
  135. <p>&nbsp;</p>
  136. <p><strong>Half marathon</strong></p>
  137. <p>6th September 2015 &#8211; Maidenhead &#8211; 1 hour 55 minutes 13 seconds</p>
  138. <p>27th September 2015 &#8211; Windsor &#8211; 1 hour 57 minutes 41 seconds</p>
  139. <p>1st November 2015 &#8211; Marlow &#8211; 1 hour 58 minutes 23 seconds</p>
  140. <p>4th September 2016 &#8211; Maidenhead &#8211; 1 hour 49 minutes 44 seconds &#8211; <b>PERSONAL BEST</b></p>
  141. <p>18th September 2016 &#8211; Reigate &#8211; 1 hour 50 minutes 35 seconds</p>
  142. <p>2nd October 2016 &#8211; Basingstoke &#8211; 1 hour 56 minutes 36 seconds</p>
  143. <p>22nd January 2017 &#8211; Farnborough Winter Half &#8211; 1 hour 54 minutes 33 seconds</p>
  144. <p>12th February 2017 &#8211; Wokingham &#8211; 1 hour 51 minutes 51 seconds</p>
  145. <p>12th March 2017 &#8211; Surrey (Woking / Guildford) &#8211; 1 hour 56 minutes 11 seconds</p>
  146. <p>19th March 2017 &#8211; Reading &#8211; 1 hour 55 minutes 22 seconds</p>
  147. <p><em>3rd September 2017 &#8211; Maidenhead</em></p>
  148. <p><em>17th September 2017 &#8211; Reigate</em></p>
  149. <p><em>24th September 2017 &#8211; Windsor</em></p>
  150. <p><em>1st October 2017 &#8211; Basingstoke</em></p>
  151. <p><em>1st October 2017 &#8211; Blenheim Palace</em></p>
  152. <p><em>8th October 2017 &#8211; Oxford</em></p>
  153. <p><strong>Other</strong></p>
  154. <p>4th December 2016 &#8211; Hog&#8217;s Back road race (11.5 km) &#8211; 1 hour 2 minutes 15 seconds</p>
  155. <p>14th April 2017 &#8211; Maidenhead Easter 10 &#8211; 1 hour 24 minutes 8 seconds &#8211; <strong>PERSONAL BEST</strong></p>
  156. <p><em>4th June 2017 &#8211; London 10 Mile, Richmond Park</em></p>
  157. ]]></content:encoded>
  158. <wfw:commentRss>http://www.dadams.co.uk/2016/08/08/running-results-and-future-plans/feed/</wfw:commentRss>
  159. <slash:comments>0</slash:comments>
  160. <post-id xmlns="com-wordpress:feed-additions:1">6075</post-id> </item>
  161. <item>
  162. <title>Bill Nye and Ken Ham debate</title>
  163. <link>http://www.dadams.co.uk/2016/07/07/bill-nye-and-ken-ham-debate/</link>
  164. <comments>http://www.dadams.co.uk/2016/07/07/bill-nye-and-ken-ham-debate/#respond</comments>
  165. <pubDate>Thu, 07 Jul 2016 22:55:57 +0000</pubDate>
  166. <dc:creator><![CDATA[Darren]]></dc:creator>
  167. <category><![CDATA[Science]]></category>
  168.  
  169. <guid isPermaLink="false">http://www.dadams.co.uk/?p=6055</guid>
  170. <description><![CDATA[<p>https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z6kgvhG3AkI<span id="more-6055"></span></p>
  171. <p>Bill Nye and Ken Ham debate whether creationism is a viable model for the origin of life. It&#8217;s nearly three hours long but worth watching, even if you do it in half-hour chunks. I find it entertaining, but infuriating. &#8230;</p>]]></description>
  172. <content:encoded><![CDATA[<p>https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z6kgvhG3AkI<span id="more-6055"></span></p>
  173. <p>Bill Nye and Ken Ham debate whether creationism is a viable model for the origin of life. It&#8217;s nearly three hours long but worth watching, even if you do it in half-hour chunks. I find it entertaining, but infuriating. While Bill Nye presents evidence, Ken Ham does nothing but attempt to debunk scientific evidence, theories and research, provides no evidence of his own, he avoids answering certain questions, and waves a Bible around (&#8220;there&#8217;s this book&#8221;).</p>
  174. <p>&nbsp;</p>
  175. ]]></content:encoded>
  176. <wfw:commentRss>http://www.dadams.co.uk/2016/07/07/bill-nye-and-ken-ham-debate/feed/</wfw:commentRss>
  177. <slash:comments>0</slash:comments>
  178. <post-id xmlns="com-wordpress:feed-additions:1">6055</post-id> </item>
  179. <item>
  180. <title>A view on Young Earth Creationism</title>
  181. <link>http://www.dadams.co.uk/2016/06/29/lawrence-m-krauss/</link>
  182. <comments>http://www.dadams.co.uk/2016/06/29/lawrence-m-krauss/#comments</comments>
  183. <pubDate>Wed, 29 Jun 2016 17:02:33 +0000</pubDate>
  184. <dc:creator><![CDATA[Darren]]></dc:creator>
  185. <category><![CDATA[Quotes]]></category>
  186.  
  187. <guid isPermaLink="false">http://www.dadams.co.uk/?p=6030</guid>
  188. <description><![CDATA[<blockquote><p>&#8220;<em>Allowing the notion that the Earth is 6,000 years old to be promulgated in schools is like teaching kids that the distance across the United States is 17 feet.&#8221;</em></p></blockquote>
  189. <p><span id="more-6030"></span><br />
  190. Professor Lawrence M. Krauss, theoretical physicist and cosmologist, Arizona State &#8230;</p>]]></description>
  191. <content:encoded><![CDATA[<blockquote><p>&#8220;<em>Allowing the notion that the Earth is 6,000 years old to be promulgated in schools is like teaching kids that the distance across the United States is 17 feet.&#8221;</em></p></blockquote>
  192. <p><span id="more-6030"></span><br />
  193. Professor Lawrence M. Krauss, theoretical physicist and cosmologist, Arizona State University</p>
  194. ]]></content:encoded>
  195. <wfw:commentRss>http://www.dadams.co.uk/2016/06/29/lawrence-m-krauss/feed/</wfw:commentRss>
  196. <slash:comments>6</slash:comments>
  197. <post-id xmlns="com-wordpress:feed-additions:1">6030</post-id> </item>
  198. <item>
  199. <title>FindTime for Outlook</title>
  200. <link>http://www.dadams.co.uk/2016/02/16/findtime-for-outlook/</link>
  201. <comments>http://www.dadams.co.uk/2016/02/16/findtime-for-outlook/#comments</comments>
  202. <pubDate>Tue, 16 Feb 2016 17:52:46 +0000</pubDate>
  203. <dc:creator><![CDATA[Darren]]></dc:creator>
  204. <category><![CDATA[Microsoft]]></category>
  205. <category><![CDATA[Office 365]]></category>
  206. <category><![CDATA[Outlook]]></category>
  207.  
  208. <guid isPermaLink="false">http://www.dadams.co.uk/?p=5923</guid>
  209. <description><![CDATA[<p>One of my (many) <a href="http://www.dadams.co.uk/2014/09/09/calendar-and-scheduling-irritations/">major irritations</a> with the whole calendar and scheduling business is receiving an invitation for a time-slot when I&#8217;m already busy. If said invitation is from an internal person this is utterly unforgiveable as my free / &#8230;</p>]]></description>
  210. <content:encoded><![CDATA[<p>One of my (many) <a href="http://www.dadams.co.uk/2014/09/09/calendar-and-scheduling-irritations/">major irritations</a> with the whole calendar and scheduling business is receiving an invitation for a time-slot when I&#8217;m already busy. If said invitation is from an internal person this is utterly unforgiveable as my free / busy time (and appointment subjects) is available for all to see&#8230; therefore they have just not bothered and have adopted the &#8220;well I&#8217;m free at that time&#8221; mentality. Decline.</p>
  211. <p>If the invitation comes from an external it&#8217;s a different matter &#8211; they can&#8217;t see my schedule, so they&#8217;re taking the shot-in-the-dark approach (which sometimes offers a small slice of serendipity). However, we often resort to an e-mail exchange based on the &#8220;please send me some dates when you&#8217;re free&#8221; approach, and then I have to look at my calendar, type some words into an e-mail, and I&#8217;m already bored just thinking about it. When you want to schedule a meeting in this way and involve four or five people&#8230; okay, you get the picture.</p>
  212. <p>Now here&#8217;s the good news. The Microsoft Garage has created an add-in for Outlook, named <a href="https://findtime.microsoft.com/">FindTime</a>. Systems requirements &#8211; the chairperson has to be using Outlook 2013 or 2016 with an Office 365 account, but the meeting invitees don&#8217;t need anything other than a valid e-mail address, a web browser and a connection to the interweb. The basic premise is that the chairperson suggests some time / date slots, the invitees vote (yes, no and preferred), and then when all (or most) of the votes are in the chairperson schedules for the best time suiting everyone concerned. In more detail (click on the images for larger versions)&#8230;</p>
  213. <ol>
  214. <li><a href="http://www.dadams.co.uk/blog/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/FindTime1.png" rel="attachment wp-att-5929"><img class="alignright wp-image-5929 size-full" src="http://www.dadams.co.uk/blog/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/FindTime1thumb.png" alt="FindTime for Outlook" width="294" height="189" /></a>The chairperson creates an invitation as usual, and adds attendees (internal and external).</li>
  215. <li>The chairperson click on the New Meeting Poll button.</li>
  216. <li>The FindTime panel opens and suggests some time slots &#8211; small men in green indicate free time found for internal people, red means they&#8217;re busy and grey indicates a person for whom there is no info (e.g. external, or a secured calendar).</li>
  217. <li>The chairperson selects some of the time slots &#8211; preferably the ones where the internal attendees can all make it, and probably across a few days.</li>
  218. <li>After clicking &#8216;Next&#8217; they add a location, and insert into an e-mail.</li>
  219. <li>The e-mail is sent to the attendees (this will be their notification for voting), and placeholders for the potential meeting times are added to the chairperson&#8217;s calendar.</li>
  220. <li><a href="http://www.dadams.co.uk/blog/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/FindTime3.png" rel="attachment wp-att-5931"><img class="alignright wp-image-5931 size-full" src="http://www.dadams.co.uk/blog/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/FindTime3thumb.png" alt="FindTime for Outlook" width="233" height="179" /></a>The action now switches to an attendee &#8211; they receive the e-mail, which states the details of the meeting and allows them to &#8216;Select options&#8217;.</li>
  221. <li>They&#8217;re directed to a web page where they can see the votes so far, and they can cast their own.</li>
  222. <li>Back to the chairperson, who is advised when someone votes and sees the voting progress in an e-mail.</li>
  223. <li>When the voting is complete, the chairperson will receive an e-mail summary, and (all things being well) there will be at least one slot that suits everyone.</li>
  224. <li>If there&#8217;s only one slot, the invitation will be sent automatically and the placeholders will be deleted from the chairperson&#8217;s calendar.</li>
  225. <li>In the event of two or more acceptable slots, the chairperson can schedule one of them.</li>
  226. </ol>
  227. <p>FindTime is free to download and use &#8211; give it a go, I&#8217;ve found it extremely useful.</p>
  228. ]]></content:encoded>
  229. <wfw:commentRss>http://www.dadams.co.uk/2016/02/16/findtime-for-outlook/feed/</wfw:commentRss>
  230. <slash:comments>5</slash:comments>
  231. <post-id xmlns="com-wordpress:feed-additions:1">5923</post-id> </item>
  232. <item>
  233. <title>Plantronics Voyager Focus UC</title>
  234. <link>http://www.dadams.co.uk/2016/01/27/plantronics-voyager-focus-uc/</link>
  235. <comments>http://www.dadams.co.uk/2016/01/27/plantronics-voyager-focus-uc/#comments</comments>
  236. <pubDate>Wed, 27 Jan 2016 21:11:07 +0000</pubDate>
  237. <dc:creator><![CDATA[Darren]]></dc:creator>
  238. <category><![CDATA[Plantronics]]></category>
  239.  
  240. <guid isPermaLink="false">http://www.dadams.co.uk/?p=5897</guid>
  241. <description><![CDATA[<p>When I joined Microsoft nearly five years ago (wow, that&#8217;s gone quick) I was presented with a technology survival kit on my first day. A Lenovo laptop, a Windows Phone, and a set of Jabra wired headphones. The headphones were &#8230;</p>]]></description>
  242. <content:encoded><![CDATA[<p>When I joined Microsoft nearly five years ago (wow, that&#8217;s gone quick) I was presented with a technology survival kit on my first day. A Lenovo laptop, a Windows Phone, and a set of Jabra wired headphones. The headphones were necessary (they still are) because there&#8217;s almost no desk phones in Microsoft &#8211; your PC is your phone, courtesy of Lync&#8230; sorry, Skype for Business.</p>
  243. <p>The laptop has been replaced (Dell XPS 12, and a Surface Pro 3), and the original HTC phone has long since been replaced several times (Nokia Lumia 900, 920, 830, and now a Microsoft Lumia 950 XL). But those ol&#8217; Jabra headphones kept on going, and I was happy with them&#8230; until I visited the Plantronics stand at Future Decoded late last year.</p>
  244. <p>I should also mention that my technology kit was supplemented by the excellent Plantronics Voyager Legend UC Bluetooth headset, right up until the point I opened the carrying case a few months ago and discovered it was missing &#8211; after much fruitless searching I concluded I&#8217;d left it on a train seat.</p>
  245. <p><a href="http://www.dadams.co.uk/blog/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/focus-uc.png"><img class="alignright wp-image-5904 size-full" src="http://www.dadams.co.uk/blog/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/focus-uc-small.png" alt="Plantronics Voyager Focus UC" width="210" height="308" srcset="http://www.dadams.co.uk/blog/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/focus-uc-small.png 210w, http://www.dadams.co.uk/blog/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/focus-uc-small-205x300.png 205w" sizes="(max-width: 210px) 100vw, 210px" /></a>Anyway, back to the Plantronics stand. Front and centre was the subject of this blog post, the Voyager Focus UC. There&#8217;s a photo here, so you can see what it looks like (click on the image to see a larger version)&#8230; more like a set of headphones for listening to music rather than being part of your unified communications solution. But let&#8217;s jump forward a week&#8230;</p>
  246. <p>The courier found our house (a minor miracle) and I excitedly opened the box. Yes, I still get excited by opening a box of new technology. The Voyager Focus UC (I&#8217;ll just say &#8216;Focus&#8217; from here on) box contained the headphones, a USB charging cradle, a rather smart carrying pouch, and a little USB / Bluetooth dongle. You don&#8217;t always need the dongle, but it allows you to connect the Focus to any PC or Mac without the need for Bluetooth pairing, so a good use of a USB port. A microphone swings down from one of the ears, so you know this is a headset for communication as well as entertainment.</p>
  247. <p>The Focus is extremely light and very comfortable &#8211; I&#8217;ve used them for a two hour conference call with no irritation. The sound is excellent &#8211; you don&#8217;t fully appreciate that on phone calls when someone is droning on (not aimed at anyone in particular), but you do notice that sound quality when listening to music from a phone, iPod or PC. There&#8217;s active noise cancellation &#8211; switched on it won&#8217;t completely drown out someone talking near you, but it&#8217;s very good at taking away the general office hubbub and the constant hum of the air conditioning. For the benefit of the people near you, there&#8217;s no sound leakage. One of my colleagues was trying the Focus in the office earlier this week, I started playing some music but had to ask him if he was hearing it &#8211; I couldn&#8217;t hear any sound leaking out (which is nice for people next to you on a train).</p>
  248. <p><a href="http://www.dadams.co.uk/blog/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/focus-uc-cradle.png" rel="attachment wp-att-5903"><img class="alignleft wp-image-5903 size-full" src="http://www.dadams.co.uk/blog/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/focus-uc-cradle-small.png" alt="Plantronics Voyager Focus UC" width="172" height="308" srcset="http://www.dadams.co.uk/blog/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/focus-uc-cradle-small.png 172w, http://www.dadams.co.uk/blog/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/focus-uc-cradle-small-168x300.png 168w" sizes="(max-width: 172px) 100vw, 172px" /></a>The &#8216;ears&#8217; feature call controls and music controls, although I have noticed that play / pause / next track don&#8217;t work with Spotify on a PC (no big deal). But they do work with the Spotify app on Windows Phone, which means that you don&#8217;t have to get your phone out of your pocket.</p>
  249. <p>Like other Plantronics devices, the Focus has intelligence built in. If you&#8217;re on a call and you take the headphones off, you&#8217;ll be muted. If you&#8217;re listening to music, taking them off will pause the track and putting them back on will resume the play (not Spotify on a PC, but again, that does work for the Spotify app). When a call comes in, swinging the microphone down will answer. The Focus will alert you if you&#8217;re muted on a call but start speaking, and there&#8217;s also an &#8216;OpenMic&#8217; button for you to hear your surroundings without having to take the headphones off. One of the ears provides a volume adjustment control.</p>
  250. <p>Like many other Plantronics devices, you can connect a mobile phone and an iPod while also being connected to the PC (or Mac). So if you&#8217;re listening to music and a call comes into the mobile phone, the music will pause when you answer the mobile call.</p>
  251. <p>The battery life is, supposedly, eleven hours for calls and longer for just music, and I only say &#8220;supposedly&#8221; because I haven&#8217;t measured it&#8230; but I have gone for a long period before re-charging. When the Focus is switched on it tells you the battery level and the remaining talk-time.</p>
  252. <p>In terms of use cases &#8211; the ol&#8217; wired Jabra headphones are now in a drawer, and I&#8217;m using the Focus for all calls in the office (home working it&#8217;s still a speakerphone on the desk), and I often use the Focus for music on the train, safe in the knowledge that I won&#8217;t miss an incoming mobile phone call.</p>
  253. <p>Yes, I do recommend the Voyager Focus UC unreservedly.</p>
  254. ]]></content:encoded>
  255. <wfw:commentRss>http://www.dadams.co.uk/2016/01/27/plantronics-voyager-focus-uc/feed/</wfw:commentRss>
  256. <slash:comments>1</slash:comments>
  257. <post-id xmlns="com-wordpress:feed-additions:1">5897</post-id> </item>
  258. <item>
  259. <title>Outlook 2016 modern attachments</title>
  260. <link>http://www.dadams.co.uk/2015/10/01/outlook-2016-modern-attachments/</link>
  261. <comments>http://www.dadams.co.uk/2015/10/01/outlook-2016-modern-attachments/#comments</comments>
  262. <pubDate>Thu, 01 Oct 2015 20:07:27 +0000</pubDate>
  263. <dc:creator><![CDATA[Darren]]></dc:creator>
  264. <category><![CDATA[Microsoft]]></category>
  265. <category><![CDATA[Outlook]]></category>
  266.  
  267. <guid isPermaLink="false">http://www.dadams.co.uk/?p=5867</guid>
  268. <description><![CDATA[<p>Following on from the general blog post about Office 2016, this is the first of a few* which will focus on some specific features.</p>
  269. <p>* Actual number to be decided.</p>
  270. <p>We’re going to peak early, because the first of these &#8230;</p>]]></description>
  271. <content:encoded><![CDATA[<p>Following on from the general blog post about Office 2016, this is the first of a few* which will focus on some specific features.</p>
  272. <p>* Actual number to be decided.</p>
  273. <p>We’re going to peak early, because the first of these is the best… Outlook 2016 modern attachments.</p>
  274. <p>This topic gets me thinking about presentations I have provided in the past, and my mantra was something along the lines of “don’t e-mail file attachments to me”. It may also have included threats of violent behaviour. In a former life my mail box quota was set to 250 MB, so a few large thoughtless e-mail attachments would be enough to take me over quota. I do believe there’s also a best practice in sharing files from a collaborative repository – e-mailing attachments creates multiple versions and a lack of co-ordination.</p>
  275. <p>These days my mail box quota is 50 GB, and in four years at Microsoft I haven’t even got near to filling 20% of that. Send me a 20 MB attachment and see if I care (I do still overall hate e-mail and strive to live without a scroll bar in my inbox). Anyway, I digress…</p>
  276. <p><a href="http://www.dadams.co.uk/blog/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/modernattachments.png"><img class="alignright wp-image-5872 size-full" src="http://www.dadams.co.uk/blog/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/modernattachments-small.png" alt="Modern attachments" width="303" height="440" srcset="http://www.dadams.co.uk/blog/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/modernattachments-small.png 303w, http://www.dadams.co.uk/blog/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/modernattachments-small-207x300.png 207w" sizes="(max-width: 303px) 100vw, 303px" /></a>The new functionality in Outlook 2016 offers some handy new features. Firstly, when you attach a file to an e-mail, Outlook will give you a list of the documents / files you’ve most recently worked on or accessed. Imagine that. Isn’t that the most obvious thing? If you’re sending someone a document, the chances are that it will be one that you’ve just been working on. How have I used e-mail for twenty-four years without that feature?</p>
  277. <p>Now let’s talk cloud integration, or more specifically OneDrive for Business (Office 365’s document storage and sharing solution). You may have noticed that in the screenshot (click on it to see a larger version) some of the files have a cloud sitting on top of their icon – that means the file sits in OneDrive for Business or SharePoint and is therefore in a place where it can potentially (subject to access control) be accessed by others. So wouldn’t it be handy if you could send a link to the file rather than sending the actual file? Absolutely.</p>
  278. <p><img class="alignnone wp-image-5870 size-full" src="http://www.dadams.co.uk/blog/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/attachmentsinemail.png" alt="Attachments in the e-mail" width="553" height="157" srcset="http://www.dadams.co.uk/blog/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/attachmentsinemail.png 553w, http://www.dadams.co.uk/blog/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/attachmentsinemail-300x85.png 300w" sizes="(max-width: 553px) 100vw, 553px" /></p>
  279. <p>In the process of doing this, Outlook 2016 will grant access to the file(s) for the recipients, and you can decide whether they read it or edit it (Change permissions).</p>
  280. <p><img class="alignleft size-full wp-image-5869" src="http://www.dadams.co.uk/blog/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/attachmentoptions.png" alt="Attachment options" width="212" height="260" />If there is any reason why you want to send a copy of the file in the e-mail rather than a link (that&#8217;s sometimes a better option for people who are highly mobile and don&#8217;t always have a connection), you can elect to do that with the &#8216;Attach as copy&#8217; option.</p>
  281. <p>It&#8217;s worth noting that this concept of modern attachments has been available in Outlook for the Web for a while, but it&#8217;s good to see it come to the full-fat Outlook.</p>
  282. ]]></content:encoded>
  283. <wfw:commentRss>http://www.dadams.co.uk/2015/10/01/outlook-2016-modern-attachments/feed/</wfw:commentRss>
  284. <slash:comments>4</slash:comments>
  285. <post-id xmlns="com-wordpress:feed-additions:1">5867</post-id> </item>
  286. <item>
  287. <title>Microsoft Office 2016</title>
  288. <link>http://www.dadams.co.uk/2015/09/29/microsoft-office-2016/</link>
  289. <comments>http://www.dadams.co.uk/2015/09/29/microsoft-office-2016/#respond</comments>
  290. <pubDate>Tue, 29 Sep 2015 14:58:04 +0000</pubDate>
  291. <dc:creator><![CDATA[Darren]]></dc:creator>
  292. <category><![CDATA[Microsoft]]></category>
  293. <category><![CDATA[Office]]></category>
  294.  
  295. <guid isPermaLink="false">http://www.dadams.co.uk/?p=5854</guid>
  296. <description><![CDATA[<p>I’m sure most IT people were aware that Office 2016 shipped last week, but publically it didn’t arrive in much of a blaze of publicity. Certainly there was enough coverage in the computer press and online (well, most online I &#8230;</p>]]></description>
  297. <content:encoded><![CDATA[<p>I’m sure most IT people were aware that Office 2016 shipped last week, but publically it didn’t arrive in much of a blaze of publicity. Certainly there was enough coverage in the computer press and online (well, most online I guess) but it didn’t garner the amount of attention seen with Windows 10 or anything that Apple release.</p>
  298. <p>Updates to Office are an interesting beast. When I started at Microsoft (June 2011) Office 2010 was the current version. It looked very different to 2007, and there were many conversations with customers about the visual differences and the inevitable concern about training. My personal opinion is that some companies don’t give their users enough credit for their ability to adopt a new version, and in many cases home users are a version ahead of their work installation. Companies could be worrying about their employees’ ability to grasp something they’re already using.</p>
  299. <p>Then came 2013, and that looked a bit different to 2010 – although if you looked past the cosmetics almost all of the commands, right-clicks and tabs were the same. But again, companies were concerned about the transition. Yes, I do know that developers write add-ins that may not work on newer versions, and that can be a deployment blocker.</p>
  300. <p><a href="http://www.dadams.co.uk/blog/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/word2016white.png"><img class="alignright wp-image-5859 size-full" src="http://www.dadams.co.uk/blog/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/word2016whitesmall.png" alt="Word 2016 in white" width="464" height="268" srcset="http://www.dadams.co.uk/blog/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/word2016whitesmall.png 464w, http://www.dadams.co.uk/blog/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/word2016whitesmall-300x173.png 300w" sizes="(max-width: 464px) 100vw, 464px" /></a></p>
  301. <p>As well as the visual changes, there were other things going on. Office 2013 was available as a suite that you could install via traditional method (e.g. from a CD, which seems positively Iron Age these days), but it could also be installed from the cloud for Office 365 users. Click-to-run, streaming downloads on-demand, and silent updates. It also integrated with Office 365 and OneDrive for Business (SkyDrive Pro as it was in 2013). Office 2013 allowed you to associate an account with it – it knew who you were, which files you’d been working on, even which page you were last on, and these attributes ‘roamed’ with you if you switched devices. It was cloud-ready.</p>
  302. <p><a href="http://www.dadams.co.uk/blog/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/word2016colour.png"><img class="alignleft wp-image-5857 size-full" src="http://www.dadams.co.uk/blog/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/word2016coloursmall.png" alt="Word 2016 colourful" width="464" height="268" srcset="http://www.dadams.co.uk/blog/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/word2016coloursmall.png 464w, http://www.dadams.co.uk/blog/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/word2016coloursmall-300x173.png 300w" sizes="(max-width: 464px) 100vw, 464px" /></a>So let’s talk about Office 2016. First, here’s the big shocker – when you first install it, it looks almost identical to Office 2013. There are a couple of things on the interface that give away its 2016-ness, but you have to look closely. The only arguments about training, if you’re stepping from 2013 to 2016, should be about the new features (which we’ll discuss another time). Now, this is a bit of a shocker, because if you’ve ever paid for an upgrade from one version to another, you’ll want to feel like you’re getting a new product, and generally that’s through it looking a bit different. The same was true of dear old Lotus Notes, and Paint Shop Pro, and almost everything. The good news is that if you want Office 2016 to look like it’s had a visual update, go into the options and change the Office theme to ‘Colorful’. Apologies for that spelling of ‘colourful’, the Product Management team are based in the US of A.</p>
  303. <p>The colourful theme isn’t the only new thing in Office 2016, but we’ll look at some of the new features in subsequent blog posts (coming soon).</p>
  304. ]]></content:encoded>
  305. <wfw:commentRss>http://www.dadams.co.uk/2015/09/29/microsoft-office-2016/feed/</wfw:commentRss>
  306. <slash:comments>0</slash:comments>
  307. <post-id xmlns="com-wordpress:feed-additions:1">5854</post-id> </item>
  308. <item>
  309. <title>(Half) marathon man</title>
  310. <link>http://www.dadams.co.uk/2015/08/25/half-marathon-man/</link>
  311. <comments>http://www.dadams.co.uk/2015/08/25/half-marathon-man/#respond</comments>
  312. <pubDate>Tue, 25 Aug 2015 10:51:48 +0000</pubDate>
  313. <dc:creator><![CDATA[Darren]]></dc:creator>
  314. <category><![CDATA[Running]]></category>
  315.  
  316. <guid isPermaLink="false">http://www.dadams.co.uk/?p=5831</guid>
  317. <description><![CDATA[<p>If you&#8217;re fortunate (or unfortunate) enough to be one of my Facebook friends, you&#8217;ll probably be aware that a few times a week I post a map with a route marked out on it. And even the least technical of &#8230;</p>]]></description>
  318. <content:encoded><![CDATA[<p>If you&#8217;re fortunate (or unfortunate) enough to be one of my Facebook friends, you&#8217;ll probably be aware that a few times a week I post a map with a route marked out on it. And even the least technical of people will know that this indicates that someone has either run along that route, or cheated by traversing it sitting down on a bicycle (only joking cyclists). You may also be aware that I&#8217;ve shrunk over the past two years &#8211; not in height (still 5 foot 11 inches, or 1.8 metres), but in weight. At my heaviest, and I don&#8217;t remember the exact date, I was 14 stone. For the benefit of my American friends that&#8217;s 196 lbs. For Europeans and the like, that&#8217;s 89 kg. For astrophysicists it&#8217;s 4.46979<sup><span style="font-size: small;">-29 </span></sup> solar masses. Anyway, for me that was too heavy.</p>
  319. <p>I know from my Fitbit records that on 27th May 2014 I was 184 lbs. A year and a bit later I&#8217;m 11 stone&#8230; 154 lbs&#8230; 70kg. I have lost 42 lbs. I used to buy XL shirts from A&amp;F, now I buy M.</p>
  320. <p>As I mentioned in a <a href="http://www.dadams.co.uk/2014/09/08/fitbit-not-fatboy/">previous post</a>, the Fitbit played a big part in my weight loss and improved fitness&#8230; and it still does. Today (at the time of writing this paragraph) I&#8217;ve done 2,051 of my 10,000 step target, and 0.95 of my 5 mile target &#8211; the perils of working from home. Not good enough, especially with two half marathons coming up.</p>
  321. <p>I&#8217;ve actually stopped going to the gym, and prefer to run as my primary activity. Running on the treadmill in the gym was boring, and became exponentially more boring as the distance increased. This wasn&#8217;t a problem at first &#8211; the first time I stepped on a treadmill and tried to run 1 km I had to stop half-way for a walk. Seriously. That&#8217;s how unfit I was. Gradually I increased the distance, and one evening pushed on to run 10 km for the first time since I was a teenager more than 20 years ago. I did that 10 km in 1 hour 5 minutes, although that included jumping from one treadmill to another, because they&#8217;re set to a 45 minute maximum.</p>
  322. <p>In the dead of winter I started to venture outside to run, and after getting the 10 km distance to under an hour I thought it would be fun to enter a race. Now I say &#8220;race&#8221; but I had no expectations of winning &#8211; just picking up the medal at the end, hopefully not coming last, and finishing under an hour would be fine. And so I entered the 10 km Hot Chocolate Run at Eton Dorney lake (22nd March 2015) &#8211; so named because at the end they give you a free hot chocolate. Unfortunately, three weeks before the race I tweaked my left Achilles tendon. Tweaked, pulled&#8230;? It hurt, I couldn&#8217;t walk on it for a few days, but clearly hadn&#8217;t snapped it. So I had to forget running for a week&#8230; which then turned into two weeks. It was better but still hurt. With a week to go before the race I bought a strapping and this appeared to improve it. With the race on the Sunday I attempted 5 km on the Friday night and it felt okay, and so then participated on the Sunday. My time on this mostly flat course was a slightly disappointing 56 minutes 11 seconds, but I was half-way through the field of seventy-three finishers and didn&#8217;t aggravate the injury.</p>
  323. <p>Since then I&#8217;ve participated in four more 10 km races:</p>
  324. <ul>
  325. <li>Run Frimley &#8211; 54 minutes 34 seconds (tough course, very hilly)</li>
  326. <li>Royal Berkshire &#8211; 51 minutes 7 seconds (finishing in the top 33%)</li>
  327. <li>Yateley 10k race 1 &#8211; 49 minutes 22 seconds</li>
  328. <li>British 10k London Run &#8211; 52 minutes 21 seconds</li>
  329. </ul>
  330. <p>At this point I don&#8217;t want to say &#8220;10 km, check, done it&#8221; because it&#8217;s a good distance to run for training and general fitness, and for a &#8216;race&#8217;&#8230; and having broke 50 minutes I&#8217;m still looking to break 49, and then 48, and maybe some day get down to 45 minutes. But if you can run 10 km then 11 km is an easy step-up. And then 12, and then 15, and 18. The furthest I&#8217;ve now run in one go is 19 km (1 hour 47 minutes), and that&#8217;s only 2 km off the half marathon distance. That&#8217;s the next challenge, and I&#8217;ve entered two during September. The first is the Maidenhead half marathon on 6th September &#8211; I&#8217;m told it&#8217;s a fairly flat route and a good intro to running that distance. The second on 27th September is the Windsor half marathon, which I&#8217;m told is more challenging due to its up-and-down nature. However, living in Camberley I can&#8217;t avoid a hilly run, so every run is the right training.</p>
  331. <p>My goal for both is to finish in under 2 hours &#8211; right now I&#8217;m hitting the right pace but mindful that I do get a little bit slower with each passing kilometer. My other goal is to raise some money for <a href="http://sebastiansactiontrust.org/">Sebastian&#8217;s Action Trust</a>, a charity which supports seriously and terminally-ill children and their families. And thus you won&#8217;t be surprised that this ends with a link to my <a href="https://www.justgiving.com/dja-windsor-half">Just Giving page</a>, if you&#8217;re feeling generous, even if it&#8217;s just a couple of £s or $s&#8230; thank you. And if you want an extra incentive, Microsoft will match what I raise (yes, you can take money off Microsoft).</p>
  332. ]]></content:encoded>
  333. <wfw:commentRss>http://www.dadams.co.uk/2015/08/25/half-marathon-man/feed/</wfw:commentRss>
  334. <slash:comments>0</slash:comments>
  335. <post-id xmlns="com-wordpress:feed-additions:1">5831</post-id> </item>
  336. <item>
  337. <title>Ten great Windows 10 features</title>
  338. <link>http://www.dadams.co.uk/2015/07/15/ten-great-windows-10-features/</link>
  339. <comments>http://www.dadams.co.uk/2015/07/15/ten-great-windows-10-features/#respond</comments>
  340. <pubDate>Wed, 15 Jul 2015 11:37:44 +0000</pubDate>
  341. <dc:creator><![CDATA[Darren]]></dc:creator>
  342. <category><![CDATA[Microsoft]]></category>
  343. <category><![CDATA[Windows 10]]></category>
  344.  
  345. <guid isPermaLink="false">http://www.dadams.co.uk/?p=5791</guid>
  346. <description><![CDATA[<p>A few weeks ago, us Microsoft employees in the UK were invited to submit &#8216;ten great Windows 10 features&#8217; in order to be in with a chance to win a Windows 10 goody bag. I was a lucky winner. I&#8217;ve &#8230;</p>]]></description>
  347. <content:encoded><![CDATA[<p>A few weeks ago, us Microsoft employees in the UK were invited to submit &#8216;ten great Windows 10 features&#8217; in order to be in with a chance to win a Windows 10 goody bag. I was a lucky winner. I&#8217;ve updated my main work laptop (Dell XPS 12) to Windows 10, and also my Dell 8-inch tablet. I&#8217;m doing the Surface Pro 3 this weekend, but I&#8217;ll probably leave my home PC (Dell XPS 27) until the actual release date of Windows 10 on 29th July &#8211; I&#8217;ll take the free upgrade rather than register this one on the preview program.</p>
  348. <p>Being a Windows 10 user on two quite different devices allowed me to get a good perspective on the notable new features, so here&#8217;s my list in no particular order with a bit of added explanation.</p>
  349.  
  350. <a href='http://www.dadams.co.uk/win10taskswitcher/'><img width="300" height="169" src="http://www.dadams.co.uk/blog/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/win10taskswitcher-300x169.png" class="attachment-medium size-medium" alt="" srcset="http://www.dadams.co.uk/blog/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/win10taskswitcher-300x169.png 300w, http://www.dadams.co.uk/blog/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/win10taskswitcher-1024x576.png 1024w, http://www.dadams.co.uk/blog/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/win10taskswitcher-900x506.png 900w, http://www.dadams.co.uk/blog/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/win10taskswitcher.png 1500w" sizes="(max-width: 300px) 100vw, 300px" /></a>
  351. <a href='http://www.dadams.co.uk/2015/07/15/ten-great-windows-10-features/win10snapapp/'><img width="300" height="169" src="http://www.dadams.co.uk/blog/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/win10snapapp-300x169.png" class="attachment-medium size-medium" alt="" srcset="http://www.dadams.co.uk/blog/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/win10snapapp-300x169.png 300w, http://www.dadams.co.uk/blog/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/win10snapapp-1024x576.png 1024w, http://www.dadams.co.uk/blog/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/win10snapapp-900x506.png 900w, http://www.dadams.co.uk/blog/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/win10snapapp.png 1500w" sizes="(max-width: 300px) 100vw, 300px" /></a>
  352. <a href='http://www.dadams.co.uk/win10cortana/'><img width="300" height="169" src="http://www.dadams.co.uk/blog/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/win10cortana-300x169.png" class="attachment-medium size-medium" alt="" srcset="http://www.dadams.co.uk/blog/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/win10cortana-300x169.png 300w, http://www.dadams.co.uk/blog/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/win10cortana-1024x576.png 1024w, http://www.dadams.co.uk/blog/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/win10cortana-900x506.png 900w, http://www.dadams.co.uk/blog/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/win10cortana.png 1500w" sizes="(max-width: 300px) 100vw, 300px" /></a>
  353.  
  354. <p><strong>1. Improved task switcher</strong> – more intuitive than the Windows 8.x swipe thing, and also allows you to switch between desktops. Which brings us on to&#8230;</p>
  355. <p><strong>2. Multiple desktops</strong> &#8211; cue the Mac users saying &#8220;oh, we&#8217;ve had this for ages&#8221;. Fair enough. When you hit the task switcher, the available desktops are displayed below the open applications, and you can drag applications from one desktop to another. A nice feature for separating your work and personal stuff.</p>
  356. <p><strong>3. Snap assistant</strong> – snaps an application to one side of the screen, and then allows you to pick which application to place on the other half or quarter. Again, this was sort of in Windows 8.x but this is much-improved.</p>
  357. <p><strong>4. Resizable universal apps</strong> – they no longer have to be full-screen, they can now float on one of your multiple desktops. I always felt that Windows 8.x had two interfaces (the traditional desktop and the full-screen &#8216;Metro&#8217; apps) and never the twain shall meet. Now the new and the old can sit together.</p>
  358. <p><strong>5. Cortana</strong> &#8211; your new personal assistant, first available on Windows Phone, and now featured in Windows 10. This could be a blog post in its own right. You can interact with Cortana via speech or typing, and set her (she is a she) to listen for the prompt &#8220;hey Cortana&#8221;. Best of the Cortana interactions are &#8220;when is my next meeting?&#8221;, &#8220;show me my schedule for tomorrow&#8221;, &#8220;how long will it take me to get home?&#8221;, &#8220;remind me to <em>whatever</em> at <em>time</em>&#8220;, &#8220;convert 13.1 miles to km&#8221;, &#8220;Microsoft stock price&#8221; and &#8220;tell me a joke&#8221;.</p>
  359.  
  360. <a href='http://www.dadams.co.uk/win10startmenu/'><img width="300" height="169" src="http://www.dadams.co.uk/blog/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/win10startmenu-300x169.png" class="attachment-medium size-medium" alt="" srcset="http://www.dadams.co.uk/blog/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/win10startmenu-300x169.png 300w, http://www.dadams.co.uk/blog/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/win10startmenu-1024x576.png 1024w, http://www.dadams.co.uk/blog/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/win10startmenu-900x506.png 900w, http://www.dadams.co.uk/blog/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/win10startmenu.png 1500w" sizes="(max-width: 300px) 100vw, 300px" /></a>
  361. <a href='http://www.dadams.co.uk/win10edge/'><img width="300" height="169" src="http://www.dadams.co.uk/blog/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/win10edge-300x169.png" class="attachment-medium size-medium" alt="" srcset="http://www.dadams.co.uk/blog/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/win10edge-300x169.png 300w, http://www.dadams.co.uk/blog/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/win10edge-1024x576.png 1024w, http://www.dadams.co.uk/blog/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/win10edge-900x506.png 900w, http://www.dadams.co.uk/blog/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/win10edge.png 1500w" sizes="(max-width: 300px) 100vw, 300px" /></a>
  362. <a href='http://www.dadams.co.uk/win10mailapp/'><img width="300" height="169" src="http://www.dadams.co.uk/blog/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/win10mailapp-300x169.png" class="attachment-medium size-medium" alt="" srcset="http://www.dadams.co.uk/blog/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/win10mailapp-300x169.png 300w, http://www.dadams.co.uk/blog/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/win10mailapp-1024x576.png 1024w, http://www.dadams.co.uk/blog/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/win10mailapp-900x506.png 900w, http://www.dadams.co.uk/blog/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/win10mailapp.png 1500w" sizes="(max-width: 300px) 100vw, 300px" /></a>
  363.  
  364. <p><strong>6. The return of the start menu</strong> &#8211; but this time with live tiles. Personally I didn&#8217;t understand the problem with the Windows 8.1 start screen, I found it easier to work with and find applications than the ol&#8217; start menu. But I was clearly in the minority, so the start menu is back and the live tiles from the Windows 8.1 start screen can be included. You have a choice as to whether the start menu is full-screen (for a more Windows 8.1-like look) or partially takes over the screen, and you can remove the live tiles to just give yourself a lean start menu. Happy now?</p>
  365. <p><strong>7. Notifications</strong> &#8211; Windows 10 boasts a fully-featured notifications centre to keep you up-to-date on everything that&#8217;s happening on your device&#8230; e-mail, system alerts, social updates, reminders, and more.</p>
  366. <p><strong>8. Edge</strong> &#8211; the new browser, formerly known as Project Spartan, is  fast, lean and modern&#8230; and includes some interesting innovations such as reading view (which strips away the navigation and stuff to focus on the main content), web notes (mark up web pages with highlights and notes), and sharing of pages (inclduing your notes) via Facebook, Twitter, e-mail and OneNote.</p>
  367. <p><strong>9. Windows Explorer enhancements</strong> &#8211; a quick access view shows you frequently-used folders and recently-used files.</p>
  368. <p><strong>10. Tablet mode</strong> &#8211; I mentioned that I had upgraded my Dell tablet, and it&#8217;s really breathed a new lease of life into it. For devices such as the Surface Pro 3, it can be used laptop-like but you can also pull the keyboard off and use it with your finger. In this case, Windows 10 will recognise that the keyboard has been removed and offer to go into tablet mode &#8211; any open applications will just keep going but certain aspects of the interface will re-arrange themselves to go you a better touch experience. The start menu becomes the start screen, the full list of applications flies out from the left, and you can optionally remove the pinned icons from the task bar.</p>
  369. <p><strong>11. New e-mail and calendar apps</strong> &#8211; this list goes up to 11 (there&#8217;s your Nigel Tufnel reference). I&#8217;ve removed full Outlook from the Dell tablet because on that small touch screen the new e-mail app is a better experience. Okay, it&#8217;s not as fully-featured as Outlook 2013 (soon to be 2016) but it&#8217;s great for &#8216;e-mail triage&#8217;, replies and rich-text messages. The new calendar app is very good too, and provides the display of multiple calendars from various sources.</p>
  370. ]]></content:encoded>
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