Tip o’ the Week #159 – Avoiding breakers on the side

clip_image002What’s that you say? A Breaker on the Side? Well, Back in the late 1970s and early 80s, no self-respecting furry-dice-toter would be without their Chicken Box in their Roller Skate. The radio was channel-based, and though the users could agree to move a conversation onto a specific channel, there was always the possibility that someone else could either come in and crash the conversation, or they might be on that channel already.
Which was often interesting.

clip_image001This week’s Tip comes after a day of being on both sides of the modern, Lync-based equivalent – that of having a conference call which has unintended participants. This often happens because the organiser of the call is using the same conference ID for multiple Lync meetings – by default, when using the Outlook addin to create an online meeting (or to add Lync meeting details to an existing appointment), the user’s default Conference ID is used to create that meeting. And that can lead to unexpected and potentially embarrassing behaviour.

It’s possible when you’ve finished a conference, that new people will start to join for the next one, and previous attendees will still be online (they may have hung up the audio piece, but if they haven’t closed their Lync window and they haven’t been booted out specifically, they’ll still appear as attendees). Worse, if there was material – such as slides – being presented in the conference,  it could still be available to the newly joined people. Another scenario is that if a call is over-running, and new attendees for the next one scheduled join straight into the  tail end of the previous call. They’ll probably be all, “Hello? Hello?” when they come online, and of course they’ll hear the dregs of the previous meeting as it wraps up. Bad enough in an internal meeting, but terrible in a customer or partner one.

clip_image003In order to make sure this doesn’t happen, when you create a new appointment and make it a Lync Meeting, check out the Lync Meeting Options on the ribbon – the default will probably be to use your dedicated meeting space, but you might want to create a new space… with its own conference ID, and its own settings regarding whether people get to wait in the lobby, who’s a presenter etc.

Thanks to Chris Parkes for suggesting this timely tip.
Now, 10-10, see you again.

Tip o’ the Week #158 – blah blah Phone blah

clip_image001If 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, especially useful for making calls or starting apps – but Windows Phone 8 includes the ability to dictate emails, and there’s a whole speech SDK for developers to build great apps on. Check out Fil Alleva’s blog post, sampling 30-odd apps.

clip_image002Robert Deupree Jr’s excellent “Photo Tip of the Day” Microsoft-internal blog highlights just how easy it is to use speech. Brilliantly simple.

You can even hold your phone to your ear, so it sounds like you’re talking to someone else, rather than doing an Apprentice-style Shouting At Your Palm exercise.

There’s more detail about the ways to use speech in Windows Phone 8 on WPCentral.

And if you’re interested in building some more apps, then you could start here.

Tip o’ the Week #157 – Bing photos R Us

clip_image002Everybody loves the lovely photos that feature every day on Bing. Did you know the images can and do differ in disparate markets (eg PRC, USA and UK tend to have different images from each other)?

You can set the flavour of Bing you’d like to see on http://www.bing.com/account/worldwide, so if you don’t love the current pic, you could always have a look at what’s online elsewhere.

clip_image003Or click/push back to get an image from the previous week.

If you’re a budding snapper (FTE), you can submit your own photos to be included on the Bing homepage – here. You could even join the Bing Homepage Monthly Report DL here to keep up with developments.

If you’re interesting in photography in Blighty, you could try tagging along to one of the short courses by Going Digital to get you off “Auto” mode.
Snap snap, grin grin, wink wink, nudge nudge, say no more…?

Viewing on your lock screen & desktop

Since most of us are simply content to enjoy the daily pic, there are a few apps that can assist. The Bing Desktop App (for regular PCs, and it even runs on Windows 7), has been around for a little while, but usefully serves up news headlines as well as optionally providing a fresh desktop photo every day. If you don’t like the fact that it eats up a space on your taskbar (even when you right-click on that icon and choose Close Window), then you can drag the bar to the top or bottom of your screen and dock it – whereupon it shrinks nearly out of sight when not in use.

If you’ve set up Windows 8 with a Microsoft account synchronising your settings, then you’ll even see the daily image on your other devices – like a Surface or home PC.

Bing my lockscreen and desktop

If you’d prefer to actually set the image from a Windows 8 Modern App (aka an orteMapp), suitable for running on your Surface, you might want to try Bing my lockscreen, as recommended by Simon Boreham. If you search the store for Bing Wallpaper, you’ll find a slew of other apps to view or download previous images, but there don’t appear to be any that will automate the setting of your desktop wallpaper to the daily image in the same way that the Bing Desktop app does.