Sync Your Libraries to SkyDrive [Video]

With this tip, you can tell your Libraries to save to SkyDrive for seamlessly enabling any app to save to the cloud.  SkyDrive lets you keep your files in the cloud and your computer in constant sync, and allows for access anywhere from your smart phone or any browser.  You can even remotely fetch files that you didn’t sync as long as the remote computer is powered up. To have your files on your computer automatically sync up to the…

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Changing the Xbox Keyboard Layout [Video]

Did you know the Xbox on-screen keyboard can be placed in different orders to suit your preference?  If you’re a touch typist that already knows the positions of keys as they exist on a standard keyboard, you might be slowed down when typing on the default Xbox keyboard that places keys in alphabetical order.  Or you might be the opposite entirely.  Here’s how to switch it up. On your Xbox home screen, go to Settings, System Settings, choose Language and…

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Bring Gmail-style workflow to Outlook

Among the top features called out by any gmail fan is the archive button, which acts as a simple dismissal of a message.  Archiving removes an entire email conversation thread from your inbox, while keeping it accessible under all mail, or any number of labels.  It’s an extremely efficient hybrid method between piling and filing, because it rescues the user from obsessive organizing, and later, searching… ‘where did I put that message from the boss, his folder or the one for the…

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Ask a Geek: Bloated Computers

If you’re looking for a new PC, you can ask any geek and they’ll tell you to build clean.  Their reason is simple: the manufacturer’s cripple their own products before they ever send it to you. Even if you buy direct, original equipment manufacturers make money by pre-installing trials, games, bundles, even spyware on to their computers. Resellers from BestBuy to Walmart are even worse. Make no mistake: you’re being sold out before you even buy.

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Windows Search Icon overlaid on search window

Boost Windows Search in Two Steps

Many of even the most infrequent of Internet users has experienced instant searches by now, where search suggestions (or even full results) appear live while you type, before you even press Enter.  It seems like magic, searching the entire world as fast as you can type.  But did you know your Windows PC has the same power?

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April 14 Severe Outlook

Today’s high risk of tornadoes is 3x higher than a few weeks ago when strong violent tornadoes affected the Dallas metro area.  The potential for life-threatening situation is enhanced by the timing of arrival: these supercells will likely affect the central Oklahoma area after dark on Saturday night.  As last night, these will remain dangerous well into the midnight hours when many people are sleeping. The 5:00am Hazardous Weather Outlook from the Norman NWS Office reads: Probability of storms occurring…

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Weather Apps 2012

During each severe weather season (and throughout the year) I almost always have Gibson Ridge software’s GRLevel3 app running.  On the road it’s tethered to my Sprint network data connection — so far the best data service I’ve had in rural Tornado Valley.

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Microsoft MVP Award 2012

I’m thrilled and honored to have been re-awarded as a Microsoft MVP for 2012.  My award date is April 1, so you’ll understand the delay my boasting — would you have believed me last week? The award box arrived yesterday evening, where I promptly ripped the box apart like a kid on Christmas morning.  Here’s a look at what’s inside: There’s the new certificate and ID badge for the new year, along with a 2012 year disc to stack into…

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Set Microsoft Office Name for Friendlier File in Use Messages

Has this ever happened to you? At best an annoyance, this can be a real productivity killer as you hunt around to find the user that has the file locked. You could save a copy of the file and try to clean up or reconcile later, and while collaboration solutions like SharePoint limit these cases, most businesses still rely heavily on network storage that makes this impractical. So, help make the word — or at least your office — a better…

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My Fitness Transformation Story

Prologue You may not know me, but I’d bet we have a lot in common.  Take fitness for example.  Growing up I was fairly active for a nerdy kid, never out of shape.  Then college I lost myself, and I’ve tried to get in shape many times. I’ve also failed many times.  There are a variety of reasons for this: lack of knowledge, support, or motivation for sure, but primarily simple contentment (let’s be real, I was lazy).  Nonetheless, off…

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Scary Cloud isn't Dangerous

That’s not a tornado

Dear everyone pointing at funnels in Oklahoma today: it’s not a tornado. This upper level low system might be creating some interesting and scary looking clouds, but they pose no threat because they aren’t powered by a supercell thunderstorm above them.  So please enjoy the intriguing motions and stay weather aware, because some of these storms are producing some hail — just not tornadoes today.

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Realistic Expectations

I recently told a friend what my fitness goals were, what I wanted to achieve with all the time and energy I’ve been putting into this project of mine. Their reply really struck me, they said I should “remember to accept realistic expectations of what [I am] capable of”. Maybe it wasn’t meant to, but that sounded to me like “you bit off more than you can chew” or “you should just accept that where you are now is as…

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Pictures from 2012 Global Summit

Hi all, my first submit summit was an absolute blast. I’ve never been treated more like royalty or had the privilege of conversing directly with so many esteemed members of the community and Microsoft leadership. I am truly in awe of the entire experience.  Assorted MVP Summit images are posted in a public album on my Facebook page. If you switch to my videos there’s a few short clips as well. Enjoy!

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Reminder to update drivers in Windows 8

I just finished installing Windows 8 natively using a VHD, as discussed in my previous post, and while exploring I noticed some fonts were not quite as crisp as I would like. Others may not notice this subtle nuance, but it is likely that in aggregate you’ll be affected by stretched images, poor font and color quality, and even poor performance without proper hardware accelerated graphics. Let this post serve as a reminder to update your drivers and check your resolution so that you can…

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MVP Summit Schedule Sync without Outlook

Hey fellow MVPs, I’m sure most of you have downloaded your itinerary from the schedule builder and probably added the events to Outlook. For those of you that either don’t have Exchange Active Sync capabilities or wish to keep these events off their Outlook Calendar, you can still sync your schedule with your smart phone using subscriptions in the cloud (such as Hotmail or Google Calendars).  Unlike importing the downloaded .ics file, the method below will allow your phone to…

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Mr. Consistent

Have you ever ventured onto Wikipedia to lookup one encyclopedia entry, and end up reading a dozen others as you navigate among (un)related links?  Sometimes it’s satisfying to quench idle curiosity by thumbing through interesting topics.  The discoverability and broweability of inline links greatly appeals to me, of which you can see evidence in my various posts. One such blog I frequent as part of my information diet, Lifehacker, uses such a writing style. And today as I hyperlinked my way through…

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Why I hate Walmart: Abridged Version

It’s dirty. From the moment you enter the parking lot full of oil spills and garbage, to the floors and shelves, everything is sticky, grimy, and gross. Everything is broken.  The place looks like it’s being run by 8-year-old McGuiver wanna-be’s. Everything is tapped up, tied up, wrapped up, and bandaged together.  Both ad-hoc signs and even actual product displays.  At the checkouts (if you can find one that is open) the credit card readers are usually busted (not an…

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SharePoint URL reflecting filter choices

Create personalized bookmarks in SharePoint

You might already be familiar with the filter bar, the gray headers at the top of most SharePoint lists. This interactive header allows you to sort and filter your view to drill down to the information you’re seeking. Sure, you could set your filter every time you visit the page, but that’s tedius if you need the same information each day. Here’s the ninja way: First, visit the list once and set your filters as you normally do one last…

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Sprint users, enable Google Voice services!

Do you have Sprint service?  If so, I would encourage you to take advantage of Google Voice services. Some might fear the ever-growing tech giant for permeating ever-increasing corners of our lives, but I for one welcome our all-knowing computing overlords at Google. Seriously though, have you heard of Google Voice?  The service was previously known as Grand Central and was purchased by Google back in 2007.  They’ve been making steady improvements, the latest of which is seamless integration for Sprint users.…

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comparison between Basic and Aero themes in Windows 7

Speed up your computer with eye candy?

Has your computer ever re-drawn the screen slowly? Or has a lagging program ever turned black or duplicated itself like this as you try to drag it around? You can alleviate these slow-downs and even prevent GDI driver-mode related crashes by using Windows Aero, available in Windows Home Premium and higher editions. You can tell if Aero is on by looking at the top of almost any window. If the window controls (known as caption buttons) are touching the edge,…

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The Outlook conversation view

Be more Conversational with your Email

Tip: Use Conversation view in Outlook to find related messages from other foldersYou save: About an hour a week Have you ever received a reply to an email and wanted to look at the other messages in the chain? What if the other messages were already moved into other folders? Or if you wanted to look at messages you sent? In the dark ages, finding all these related emails required digging though folder after folder, hoping you weren’t missing any. In the…

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User Experience Optimization

Users that have immediate, unfettered access to their resources and information are more reliable, better performing, and happier. When a workforce is more reliable, better performing, and happier, the entire business benefits with better SLAs, less turnover, and happier clients.  User Experience Optimization is taking steps to consolidate and simplify the user experience, and is proven to have a very real and direct impact on a business’s ability to function profitably. Before we look at what makes an optimal interface, let’s look at what…

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Moore Storms logo

Moore Storms

Back in December of ‘06, I was asked to come up with artwork for a team, the Moore Storms. Although I never took it further, I re-discovered a rough draft I came up with while digging through some archives. If you aren’t familiar with the meteorological symbols, here they are in order, following the tornado: snow storm, hurricane, thunderstorm, cold front, and dust storm.

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The Future We Live Within

My thoughts after noticing the incredible pace and significance of recent papers in the scientific community… On several occasions, I have yielded to my inner nerd and shared with friends how much I’d desire to have been born a few centuries later, to grow up in a world not unlike Roddenberry’s fictional universe. As any dedicated Trekkie will gladly discuss at length, many of the principles and concepts in the series were inspired either directly or indirectly by actual scientific…

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My Mobile Evolution

I’ve shared my favorite desktop apps and tools several times, now it’s time to discuss a device that is more intimate in nature. It’s hard to overstate the significance of the object that is so ubiquitous. For many, it is the first thing we see when we wake up, and the last thing we see when we go to sleep. It’s in our possion more than any other item.  It knows every person you communicate with, everywhere you go, and…

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Our Generation is Taking Over

A few months ago, a colleague of mine mentioned that our generation is taking over.  I thought it was a interesting comment, but didn’t think of it again until he mentioned months later on the popularity of Windows 7.  “Windows 7 is our generation’s answer to Windows being lame until now.” I don’t think Windows was ever lame, but it is true that Windows 7’s user experience was really re-thought with our generation’s ideas about productivity in mind. Today I…

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Windows 7 Flies Faster on Same Hardware

Why do I love Windows 7?  Today, because it lets me multitask like never before.  Right now, I have no less than 16 applications running.  One of those is a virtual PC of Windows 2000 that I use to connect to my workplace (they use a legacy VPN system).  So really, I’m running two full operating systems and dozens of applications… But you’d never know because the computer is as zippy as ever.  I can minimize, switch, resize, move, compute,…

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