Microsoft Office Labs Offering Free Tools to Increase Your Productivity

Microsoft Office Labs Offering Free Tools to Increase Your ProductivityHave you ever sent an email and forgotten to include the attachment? Almost every one of us has at one time or another. Over at Microsoft Office Labs there’s a tool under development that could assist in making sure the attachment goes with the email. The tool is called Forgotten Attachment Detector (FAD) and will alert you with a message stating ‘You may have intended to attach something’ and confirms if you wish to continue sending the email or not. System requirements are Windows XP or above, Outlook 2007, Net 3.5 SP1, and VSTO 3.0.

Another free tool from Microsoft Labs is called Sticky Sorter. This add-on allows for the brainstorming of ideas onto virtual sticky notes, and can be used in collaboration with others of your choosing. The sticky notes can be color coordinated, arranged by the user, and even categorized. The program is simple to use and only requires Microsoft Windows XP or above, plus Network 2.0 to function.

Do you need a faster way to launch stuff you require immediately? Give Speed Launch a try. The free program adds a bull’s eye to your desktop in which you can drag any document, file, or any Web site URL onto the target. Once in the bull’s eye, anything can be opened by just clicking on it. The program requires Windows XP or above and .NET Framework 3.0.

In addition to the above programs, Microsoft Labs is offering what it calls Concept Tests. These experimental programs are designed to let the user take a free test ride and experience (and offer feedback about) future concepts that may or may not make it into a Microsoft product. Some of the products are designed just to entertain a user, while some of the other concept programs are designed to actually increase productivity.

I would recommend that you these free tools and see what you think.

Microsoft Office Labs can be found here.

Comments welcome.

Is It 30M or 300K? Microsoft Dumping Windows Live Spaces & Who Does The Counting?

I recalled when I read the number of users Microsoft was claiming used Windows Live Spaces, the 30 million users, seemed to me just a little high IMHO. Now it seems that the actual number of Windows Live Space users that may transfer over their site to WordPress may be as low as 300,000. But who’s counting?

But it gets better:

Some Microsoft partners are none too happy that Microsoft chose WordPress as its “Plan B,” given that WordPress runs on Apache and MySQL, not Microsoft’s own stack.

Well at least those who make the change over, whether it be 30M or 300K , will have the knowledge that the WordPress servers are using reliable software. LOL

But did Microsoft over state the actual numbers on purpose? Some believe they did:

Wilcox, however, has managed to obtain internal e-mail messages exchanged between (yet unnamed) Microsoft employees that suggest far lower numbers.

However, according to a senior Microsoft manger e-mailing colleagues: “The net is: 300k sites are expected to migrate of the 30M ‘blogs’ — most are dead. WordPress is adding somewhere in the order of zero servers to handle this capacity. This was a ‘who has the best online service for blogging for our customers’ and had nothing to do with technology.”

Ouch – so basically most of the 30 million so-called active blogs are in reality dead, and Microsoft expects a mere 300,000 sites to effectively migrate to WordPress.com

This is just another example of why we Americans have become so skeptical of corporate America and our own US government.

Comments welcome.

Source -ZDnet

Source – TechCrunch

Turn Off Conversation View In Your Gmail Account – Coming Soon

Today the folks at Google announced a feature that I personally look forward to using.Currently Google stores your incoming mails in what they call ‘conversations’. I look at this feature like storing all messages from the same source into one single folder. To me this is a hassle when I am looking for one single message from one single source.

By being able to turn ‘conversation’ off, every message will be listed by itself, just like a real email program should do it. LOL On the Google site they also state:

This feature will be rolling out over the next few days so if you don’t see it immediately, check back in a bit. And once you try it out, let us know what you think.

I can let you know what I think even before it arrives. Two thumbs up!

Comments welcome.

Source – Google

Microsoft Dumps Bloggers And Sends Them Packing To WordPress

Starting today Microsoft is eliminating its blogging section of  Windows Live known as Spaces, and sending everyone over to WordPress. The Redmond giant made the anticipated announcement which goes into effect starting today. Microsoft has stated that the “automated and easy, ensuring the movement of blog content, integrated media, comments and links is simple.”

In a recent article it also states that:

The actual mechanism for moving Spaces blogs over to WordPress blogs is an importer created by WordPress. Going forward, new Windows Live users also will be offered a WordPress.com blog if/when they choose to create a new blog.

As part of this project, we’ve added support for Messenger Connect as a Publicize option, which enables you to automatically share updates to your WordPress.com blog with your friends who use Windows Live Messenger.

We’re very happy that Microsoft chose WordPress.com as their preferred new blogging service for Windows Live users. It’s a sign of how strong WordPress.com has become, and credit for that goes to every one of you who’s been creating here.

Which makes one wonder. Just how trustworthy is Microsoft when it comes to storing our stuff? As many of you know, Microsoft is trying to compete with Google for cloud computing. If you choose Microsoft to store your valuable documents, how long would it be before it decided to dump the cloud and your account with it?

Comments welcome.

Source – WordPress

Would You Pay To Leave “Intelligent And Meaningful Conversations” In Comments Section?

The comments section of any newspaper or blog, can draw some ugly writings from those who hide behind the anonymity aspect of commenting. A small newspaper in Massachusetts has come up with the idea to charge a one time fee of .99 cents before allowing anyone to comment. Also the person commenting would be required to post their true name and their home town location. It appears that the newspaper is attempting to eliminate the trolls who just stop by and leave vulgar comments.

I have always felt that by allowing people to post comments anonymously, allows the person to express their opinion, even when that opinion may not be popular. But this is where the problem occurs. Those who disagree with the comment and may leave nasty comments with an opposing view. The most effective way to control comments is to have an approval process in place, that allows the comments to be monitored before they are posted.

So when I read that a newspaper or blog site wants to charge for leaving comments, even when the amount is small, I become suspicious of the real motives behind the decision. Is it to control the comments or to increase revenues?

Comments welcome.

Source – ReadWriteWeb

Twitter Isn’t A Search Engine

There should be an image here!As I read this today I found myself shaking my head yet again. Twitter is now the fastest growing search engine. Seriously, who outside of extremely geeky people is using Twitter as a search engine? Tracking trends or events as they happen, sure, I’ll give you that. But good luck on a fact finding mission using Twitter, though.

I think that Twitter makes a very powerful communication tool. If used wisely, it’s a boon to any business, non-profit, or even as a tool to keep up with your friends. But to claim this is a search engine, despite the data to support it… is a bit difficult to swallow.

So as for this “Twitter is a great, growing search tool” bandwagon, sure, I’ll bite. And I hear bicycles are the new car replacement! Give me a break. Twitter, for search, is too limited. No checks and balances. It just doesn’t make any real sense.

[Photo above by Majento / CC BY-ND 2.0]

[awsbullet:twitter marketing]

When You Are On The Internet, Do You Suffer From Histrionics?

When you are on the Internet do you suffer from histrionics or some other form of mental disease or deficiency?  Some people are claiming that it seems to be a plague on the Internet and that some are hiding behind their anonymity by acting rude. Most of us have seen the comments left on blog sites which were inappropriate and offensive.  I have been the victim of a few nasty comments myself.

For the most part, most everyone who visits Lockergnome are polite and have something useful to share. So I have a question. How do you deal with rude comments, emails, or rude people generally?

Let us know.

Comments welcome.

Source.

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FTC Investigates First ‘Blog Disclosure’ Case – And The Winner Is?

You may recall that the FTC had issued guidelines for bloggers and that they must disclose their relationship with a product in their reports. Most of us felt that this would most likely mean that if a company gave a blogger a free product to test, that the blogger would need to disclose this fact. In addition the blogger would need to disclose any other reward, consideration or financial incentive they received to review or write about a specific product or to endorse the product. I found the guidelines fairly easy to understand, while some bloggers felt their rights were being violated in some way or another.

What appears to be the first ‘blog disclosure’ case involved Ann Taylor who was going to provide bloggers with a gift card for their reviewing their new line of clothing. In a recent article it also stated that:

What strikes me as interesting here is that the FTC investigation focuses on the advertiser’s actions, rather than the bloggers’. That is, most of the concerns about the program were about whether the FTC would take action against bloggers. But, here, it was focused on the advertiser and its actions. That does make more sense, but does leave open a questionable loophole: if an advertiser tells a blogger to disclose some information and then the blogger does not do so… is the advertiser still liable? In this case, the FTC even mentions that one of the reasons it’s not taking action is because many (though not all) of the bloggers, who wrote about the event, disclosed the gift cards. But if they had not — even though Ann Taylor had told them to — then is Ann Taylor to blame?

Which seems to leave more unanswered questions than what the FTC actions actually clarified in their first decision concerning blogger’s and product reviews. Who holds the ultimate responsibility? The advertiser or the blogger?

Comments welcome.

Source- plus FTC letter of judgement

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Who Wants To Be A Lockergnome Blogging Super Star?

Yesterday in an email messages from Chris, he provided a link to a web site called ‘copyblogger’. Having read books on blogging, as well as visiting web sites that claim to have secret information on being an effective blogger, I wasn’t expecting any earth shattering information. Wrong!

What I liked about the information was that it was concise, easy to understand and used proven techniques to make us all better bloggers. Some of the articles I enjoyed reading were:

  1. Don’t Read This or the Kitty Gets It!
  2. To Be or Not To Be?
  3. How to Write Headlines That Work
  4. Why Writing Headlines Deserves a Second Installment
  5. The Structure of Persuasive Copy
  6. Now Featuring Benefits!
  7. “Kids Eat Free” and Other Irresistible Offers
  8. This Article Rocks. . . I Guarantee It!
  9. The Long and Short of Copywriting
  10. The #1 Secret to Great Copy Is. . .

So what are you waiting for? Get on over to ‘copyblogger’ and improve your blogging skills.

Comments welcome.

Source – Copyblogger link

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iFixit

Anyone who knows me can tell you that I’m not exactly interested in fixing things myself. In fact, I’d much rather pay someone who knows what they’re doing to do the job in half the time. The more I work for myself in the way that I do, the more I realize that time is money, and since I don’t really get satisfaction out of the process of fixing something, what’s left? Unlike me, there are plenty of tinkerers who take things to the extreme in the sense that they want to break things just so they can fix them. If this sounds like you, then you’ll love iFixit.

Whether the device in need of repair is in its current situation purposefully or not, iFixit will tell you what you need to know to fix it. The site is primarily focused on technological devices, so be prepared for that. Once you’ve searched for and found the information that you need, you’ll have access to detailed instructions along with pictures. A lot of the repairs will require tools that you may not have, but there’s no need to worry because you can easily buy them through the site. Finally, if you have some repair knowledge that you’d like to share, feel free to do so through iFixit.

Motally Cool To Use For Gaming Analytics

Mobile analytics have apparently, been long overdue to the mobile platforms out there with regard to personal gaming. Now it looks as if Motally, is going to be just what the doctor ordered.

While it’s currently in a private beta at the moment, this could become a valuable tool for those looking to gain greater insights as to their mobile gaming efforts as sales roll in.

The tools provided by Motally themselves feel a bit like something produced by Google, but clearly it’s a product all its own. Now, Motally is available for the iPhone, BlackBerry and the iPad. Apparently they are leaving Android out in the cold, which is shocking as supporting Android makes more sense than BlackBerry.

Your Tools Are As Good As You Think They Are

Your office or firm might not own — or be able to afford — the latest software or computers. But that may not impair the productivity of your workers, concludes a new Tel Aviv University study.

More important than the tools themselves is the belief in their effectiveness, says leading management specialist Prof. Dov Eden of TAU’s Faculty of Management. His advice may spare a vulnerable company the costs of expensive technology upgrades in these tough economic times or help companies smoothly transition through mergers. His study will soon be published in the Journal of Management.

The power of belief

For the study, Prof. Eden and his colleagues split a group of 240 physics students in half. Both groups were able to access the same online tools on the course Web site, but the students in the test group were convincingly told how useful the tools were for course success. These students significantly outperformed their peers on exams by about five points on a 100-point scale.

“Our emphasis on the superiority of the accompanying course Web site got students to believe in it and expect that it would work for them. By believing in the tools more, they used the tools more often and performed better in the course itself,” says Prof. Eden.

The study adds to a growing body of evidence suggesting that managers can strengthen their workers’ belief in the utility of their tools to promote successful performance. “It was well documented with the M16 rifle in the Vietnam War,” says Prof. Eden, who is now on sabbatical at Baruch CollegeCUNY in New York City. “If the M16 fails a soldier and the other soldiers in the unit find out about it, commanders see high rates of demoralization and poor combat performance in that unit. While offices and factories aren’t exactly war zones, we’ve learned from this new study that the faith individuals have in their tools may be just as important as the tools themselves.”

An easier “merge”

Prof. Eden notes that getting employees to believe in their resources can radically improve the transitions when companies go through mergers and acquisitions, especially when the different companies involved use different accounting and management systems.

“If employees believe they have competent managers supporting them, excellent equipment in their hands, and helpful staff to work with, their performance at work will be energized,” says Prof. Eden, who has carried out more than three decades of research on expectations and performance in the workplace. This particular study was done in collaboration with Prof. Yoav Ganzach, Rachel Flumin-Granat and Tal Zigman, all from the Faculty of Management at Tel Aviv University.

Twitter Is For Tools

There should be an image here!Don’t misunderstand the title. I am not saying that Twitter is used by tools, rather it should include access to tools as part of its eventual revenue model. Despite the belief that Twitter should begin incorporating ads into their framework, Twitter is likely going to take a more practical approach. Tools.

By going with a Twitter tools approach, Twitter is trying to emulate Google’s approach to not annoying its users. While Google does use ads, they made sure early on that it would be done in such a manner as to not irritate the user. Same goes with Twitter, as the tools approach would be for the benefit of the pro level user while making sure to not fill limited screen real-estate with ads that would most likely be irrelevant.