Outlook’s Slow Road To Syncing Signatures

Outlook will finally begin to sync signatures

At some point, possibly during our lifetimes, the Outlook desktop program for Windows will begin syncing email signatures through the cloud from one computer to another. This will be a wonderful thing that will alleviate one small pain point in setting up new computers.

But not today, not tomorrow, and apparently not this month, despite a flurry of excitement a few days ago when Microsoft announced a June rollout before apparently changing its mind. […] continued

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The Outlook Search Bar Is Changing, Whether You Like It Or Not. (You Won’t Like It.)

The new Outlook search bar might leave you feeling adrift without a paddle

If you use the Outlook desktop program for Windows, the search bar is going to change and move around and grow and grow and grow like a mutant chicken heart from an old horror movie. And just like the monster, you can’t stop it. (Cue spooky soundtrack music.)

Microsoft is changing the position of the search bar as part of a grand vision that expands Microsoft Search into a universal tool that encompasses web and enterprise data in addition to our own stuff, and uses AI to make our searches so smart that we get over our initial feelings of annoyance. […] continued

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Windows Tip: How To Stop The Disappearing Scroll Bar

Windows 10 and the squashed and disappearing scroll bar

Have you noticed that scroll bars in Windows 10 get squeezed to a thread or disappear? It’s one of those small annoyances that the authorities slip into our lives to keep us on edge so we can’t concentrate but we’re not sure why. Allegedly.

You’re working in a program and you need to scroll down, so you scoot the mouse to the right side of the window, but the scroll bar is this thin line, barely visible, a thread. […] continued

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Shooting Fish In A Barrel: Microsoft Is Rebranding Office 365

Microsoft is re-branding Office 365. Just give up on understanding it.

Shared communication is one of the underpinnings of civilization. It sets humans apart from animals.

Microsoft is engaged in a long-term effort to prevent us from being able to understand each other. I don’t know why. The company doesn’t appear to be run by a super-villain, but that would fit the facts. […] continued

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Google, Microsoft, And Unethical Behavior

Google & Microsoft choose the dark side to promote their businesses instead of protecting consumers

Two weeks ago, Google changed its web search results to fool you into clicking on paid ads by mistake.

Last week Microsoft announced that an upcoming update for Office will force web searches in Chrome to go through Bing instead of Google – without consent and with no notice.

These are both terrible ideas, the kind of thing that erodes public trust and makes us understandably angry. […] continued

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The 2019 Bruceb News Year In Review

The 2019 Bruceb News year in review

(This will be the last Bruceb News article until I recover from an upcoming business conference trip to Hawaii. Happy holidays!)

I think I accomplished two goals in 2019: writing articles about privacy and security that were so terrifying that they kept you awake at night; and making those articles so dull that they helped you sleep. […] continued

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Grammar Are For Winners!

Grammar checking made easy with Word, Outlook, G Suite, and Grammarly

Need help with spelling and grammar? Of course you do!

You already get help with your spelling. Microsoft Word and Outlook automatically fix common errors on the fly as you type, and flag possible misspellings with the familiar wavy line. Your phone auto-corrects your errors, which of course works flawlessly.

Artificial intelligence now allows grammar to be checked just as easily as spelling – on the fly, with instant feedback. […] continued

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How To Use The Archive Button In Outlook

Outlook has a new Archive button

Outlook has an Archive button, right next to the Delete button. You haven’t noticed it because we have trained ourselves for twenty years to let our eyes slide over anything in Outlook that we don’t use. The Archive button appeared a couple of years ago without any fanfare and, I’ll be damned, it’s pretty useful. […] continued

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OneDrive For Business Has Issues

OneDrive for Business - not quite the right solution

I wanted to love OneDrive for Business.

And it should have been a great relationship! There are lots of reasons to love OneDrive for Business. Although it had problems in the past, now the Windows app is stable and fast; I’ve got lots of storage space included with my Office 365 subscription; and OneDrive for Business includes features at no charge that cost extra from other services. […] continued

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My Documents Folder Is A Mess (And It’s Microsoft’s Fault)

Messy desk (it's a metaphor for a messy documents folder - get it?)

My Documents folder in Windows is a cluttered mess and there’s nothing I can do about it.

This is a picture of my Documents folder. You’ll see at least some of the same names in your Documents folder.

My Documents folder is a mess (and it's Microsoft's fault)

I created exactly two of those folders – Business and Personal. All of the rest are WindowsCrap™, created automatically by Windows and other programs, following guidelines from Microsoft that aren’t working out well. […] continued

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OneNote Is Lonely And Confused

The other programs don't want to play with OneNote

Microsoft OneNote isn’t on the Office team these days, at least not like it has been for the last ten years when it was installed alongside Word and Excel as a full-fledged Office program. OneNote has been left to play by itself.

Oh, and if you’re a OneNote user, the version you’re almost certainly using on your PC is on its last legs and someday will be discontinued. […] continued

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Google Docs Adding Support For Microsoft Office File Formats

Google & Microsoft try to keep you in their walled gardens

Google is trying to make the grass look greener in its walled garden, hoping to lure businesses that might otherwise stay loyal to Microsoft. The change it has announced sounds innocuous but might have big consequences in the long run.

Google is adding native support to Google Docs for editing, commenting, and collaborating on files in Microsoft Office file formats. […] continued

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How To Live The Simple Life . . . With Microsoft

microsoft_thesimplelife

My new computer is simple and has relatively few confusing bits.

My new computer runs Windows and primarily relies on Microsoft services.

Those two sentences are not normally uttered together! Microsoft’s mish-mash of dueling and overlapping personal and business accounts is anything but simple. I continue to have conversations every day with people who are confused by Microsoft services. […] continued

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Microsoft Has Improved AutoSave For Office Documents (But Not For Everybody, And With One Bit That Might Make You Curse)

Autosave Office documents stored in OneDrive

Have you ever lost hours of work in a Word document because you closed it without saving? Of course you have. It’s happened to everyone.

That has never happened to you if you use Google Docs. In fact, you’ve forgotten about that problem because Google Docs automatically saves everything continuously. Now that you think about it, you’re feeling a bit superior, aren’t you? […] continued

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It’s Not Just Your Computer – Everything Is Too Hard To Use (And It’s Not Your Fault)

It's not just your computer - everything is too hard to use

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. […] continued

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