I wrote an article a few years ago about how difficult it is for non-tech people to manage the fiddly bits required to run a Windows computer. It’s one of the things that drove the transition from computers to phone and tablets.
An interesting thing is happening today. The explosion of devices, products and services is causing just as much confusion and frustration in the world of mobile devices. […] continuedRead more
Microsoft has two giant identity systems set up by different divisions of the company – one system for personal accounts, a different system for “work or school” accounts. It’s confusing. There is a team at Microsoft trying to make it less confusing; they may be doing things behind the scenes but there has not been any visible change in the last two years. […] continuedRead more
Outlook is full of hidden surprises and shortcuts. Here are a few tips for Outlook junkies that range from obvious to obscure. I know the first one (sent in by good friend BillG) took me by surprise, and I’ve been scouring lists of Outlook tips for a long time.
When you’re at the Outlook Inbox, a tap of the Ctrl-V key instantly copies the contents of your clipboard into a new email message. […] continuedRead more
It’s time to move your files to the cloud.
Box, Dropbox, and OneDrive now all have plans that support an important feature: You can store your files online and access them with Windows File Explorer or Mac Finder, without syncing the files and without using space on your hard drive. Today I have to explain a bunch of stuff for that to make sense, but I think this will be our natural expectation without a second thought in a very short time. […] continuedRead more
Two factor authentication adds an extra step to the process of logging into your accounts.
It makes you safer.
Until recently two factor authentication was only used by techies and high value targets in government and enterprises. The world has gotten more dangerous and two factor authentication has become easier to use. […] continuedRead more
With the collapse of the Microsoft consumer ecosystem, there are fewer reasons all the time to sign into Windows 10 with a personal Microsoft account. I’m finding I frequently set up new computers with classic local accounts and bypass Microsoft’s push to connect the computer to an online account.
Let’s talk a little bit about the pros and cons of logging into Windows with a personal Microsoft account. […] continuedRead more
Microsoft does not have an ecosystem for consumers or small businesses in 2018. There is very little synergy between Microsoft products and almost nothing locks us into Microsoft products when we move from one category to another.
It makes old-timers sad to think of the past, because Microsoft had a successful ecosystem for decades. […] continuedRead more
When you’ve finished talking to your computer, you can sit back and listen to it instead. Microsoft has improved the speech features in Word and Outlook for Office 365 subscribers, so the computer will read documents and messages out loud with more natural inflection and pauses. It’s still mechanical but it’s better mechanical. […] continuedRead more
Microsoft has quietly improved the speech recognition features in Windows 10 and in the Office programs. They’re still not great but you might want to give them a try if you haven’t talked to your computer in a while.
One fundamental truth has not changed: If you are serious about dictating on a computer, there is no alternative to the Dragon Naturally Speaking products. […] continuedRead more
Microsoft has changed the way we search for mail in Outlook 2016. The changes are almost (but not quite) invisible, so the details are only important if you’re an Outlook power searcher. The rest of you can take a day off and rest up for the next article.
Here’s the short version. […] continuedRead more
Here’s a tip for a few select people. Wonderful people. The best people. My people. All of you who use the desktop version of Outlook.
You also use Google Maps, because everyone uses Google Maps. That’s obvious, right? It has become so valuable, so rich, so far ahead of the competitors, that you are doing yourself a disservice if you use anything else. […] continuedRead more
Microsoft intends to simplify the ribbon in Outlook, Word, Excel, and Powerpoint. It’s possible that Microsoft will work thoughtfully and carefully and you will be happy with the result.
Oh, stop it. I hear you laughing. I’m serious. Microsoft is saying all the right words. They want to make the ribbons (the tabbed toolbars across the top) simpler and easier to use, but they say there will be an easy way to return to the way they look now for people with strong muscle memory who don’t want to change. […] continuedRead more
There was a time when Windows was cool. A long time ago, people lined up to get new versions of Windows when they went on sale. Maybe not quite the numbers of people outside of Apple stores at the height of iPhone madness, but still – Microsoft was pretty cool.
When the iPhone was released in 2007, Microsoft began its long decline with consumers. […] continuedRead more
We have arrived at a point where Microsoft no longer has a Windows division. To a generation of computer users, Windows was the product that defined Microsoft and defined our own relationship to technology. Now that defining product is a legacy, used by many but beloved by few.
In this article: Could Microsoft have done anything differently? […] continuedRead more