Wednesday, July 23, 2003


Interesting Afternoon Reading

Two fascinating and different business articles arrived in my Inbox this morning. I thought I'd pass them along for those moments later today when you need a little mental pick-me-up. The first, The Challenge of Global Employees, provides a very clear image of what works--and what doesn't--in successful virtual teams. If like me, you are often part of a remote team (I rarely meet my clients face to face--they may be across the country or around the world), you'll find some interesting insights and suggestions in this article. It strikes me that the best features in Microsoft Office System 2003 address these very issues about distanced collaboration. Smart stuff.

The second article, The Internet Gets Social, is about a new multimedia messaging company called Netomat that began as an art project and may just wind up providing the next generation of online communications services. It mixes multimedia email with blogging and whiteboard, voice, and video features. It's just out in prototype, I think, but something worth keeping an eye on. :)

Tuesday, July 15, 2003


Musical Slides

One of the challenges of being really good with Office is remembering how to do things in a specific program when it's been a while since you used it. Case in point: I was working with PowerPoint over the weekend and I had a tough time remembering how to do something simple. I love PowerPoint and I pretty much know it inside and out. I think it's the most fun Office ap and probably also the most underused application. I have fantasies of redesigning my business someday around PowerPoint, producing custom presentations, online broadcasts, interactive training sessions, and really testing the limits of the software (which I rarely have time to do these days unless I'm doing research for a book).

The simple task I was trying to do involved the Photo Album feature in PowerPoint. (Do you know about this? Choose Insert > Picture > New Photo Album to display the Photo Album dialog box; select the photos you want to use, and click Create.) I wanted to add an MP3 clip to accompany the presentation. But how to do it? Finally, after many deadends, I remembered the simple technique. Here it is, just in case you're in the mood to do the same thing:

As far as developing the ability to remember everything I've ever learned in Office so I can call it instantly to mind whenever I need it--I'm still working on that. But I'm thinking of a small Flash media device that you wear around your neck and plug into an ear or something. I'll let you know when it's ready for prototype testing. :) k

Tuesday, July 01, 2003


It's the Little Things That Count

Setting your default printer is a simple thing with Office XP. You just display the Control Panel, double-click the Printers and Faxes icon, right-click the printer you want to use as the default, and choose Set as Default Printer. End of story. Piece of cake. But if it's so simple, why have I repeated the same tedious process for the last 18 months of deselecting the Fax setting and choosing my HP PCS 750 before I print? I'm not sure whether it's laziness or just force of habit. Either way, it's a waste of time.

But today, working in Office 2003, I went to print a document and once again, the default printer popped up. But this time, instead of just searching for and clicking the one I wanted, something told me to right-click the icon in the Printer dialog box. Sure enough, the context menu opened up and I chose Set as Default Printer, right there in the Print dialog box. One more detail, gone from my work life. Nice!

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