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All posts tagged Outlook.com

Daylight Saving Time

Love it or hate it here in Israel we just changed our clocks and our computers seem to have handled it okay, so do our Smartphones.

After twiddling with our analog clocks and watches those are fine too.

The recurring problem here that most people forget about is how Daylight Saving Time can do unfortunate things to our web calendars.

Daylight Saving Time - Calendar

Panic In The Streets

Whether it’s CalDAV or ActiveSync doesn’t seem to matter, every year at some point in the days after the change to Daylight Saving Time we notice that the appointments are scheduled wrong and for those of us with good memory we laugh it off and change it to the right time. Most of us have a real Khaaaaan moment and hunt for the original email about the appointment.

Seamlessly made with Picotale in Microsoft So.cl
It gets better:

  • If an appointment is sent between platforms e.g. I invite someone using GCal from my Outlook.com Calendar then the actual appointment time maybe an hour off.
  • If I sync appointments between my phone and my web calendar then this Daylight Saving Time bug can occur too.

Basically for several weeks there is a level of uncertainty whether we can trust the time our appointments are set at.

The beauty of calendar appointments is they are easy to make and easy to approve so what do we do to sort this out?

This is where common sense comes in to the picture…

The Warptest POV

I’m blessed with being married to a smart, sensible and beautiful wife. She came up with a great way to make sure you aren’t late for that important meeting or interview:

When you add an appointment to your web calendar write the time in the description as part of the text. Don’t just rely on the time field which is where the problem can lie.

The basic test is send a dummy appointment to a friend and ask them to check after they approve it whether the times match.

Keep an eye on your calendar and if after a few days you see the problem isn’t occurring then you are probably safe but double-check after your phone and web calendar sync.

Good luck and have a great weekend.

 

 

Office Online Arrives Close On The Heels Of OneDrive…

The reimagining of Office Web Apps as Office Online addresses a combination of UX and exposure challenges for Office Web.

Previously, when I informed people that SkyDrive had free Web versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote I was greeted with a combination of amazement and skepticism.

After demonstrating or directing them to the Apps, by and large these sentiments were replaced with glee at having their familiar, albeit limited feature Office for FREE.

Refocusing and Reinventing Productivity

This is not just simple rebranding. By creating Office.com as the access-point for Office Online it has made the process, well Office-centric.

Office Online Reinvented

Prior to this Office Web Apps were dismayingly concealed behind the Create menu button in SkyDrive.

Most users simply didn’t realize that all their productivity was hidden behind that simple button.

Refocusing from SkyDrive, excuse me OneDrive to Office.com shifts the focus and user perception that OneDrive is incredibly valuable as your cloud storage but it is one of several powerful parts of Office Online.

The Unified Field Theory Of Productivity

It’s important to note that all you need to get started is a Microsoft account. If you notice the image above of the homepage of Office.com, in addition to the aforementioned Office Web Apps the user also has access to their Outlook.com, OneDrive, People and Calendar and all with the New Windows UI of Windows 8.1 or Windows Phone 8.

This is not just a shift in focus or rebranding, Office Online is a comprehensive, FREE productivity ecosystem that parallels Office 365/2013.

This is not all though, Microsoft’s Office Online team have added new features (for the launch and recently): –

  • Once in any of the Office Apps the user can access the App Switcher by hitting the arrow button to the right of the App name (top left) and selecting the App to switch to.

Office Online - App Switcher

App Switcher - Office Online

  • Real Time Co-authoring: work with your co-workers or anyone, anywhere as long as they are in Office.
  • Templates:
    the difference between a good document and a great document can be using a template and there are free templates available and easily accessible whenever you create a new Office Online document.

The Warptest POV

Office Online combined with OneDrive mean that Microsoft understand their consumers. Most home users don’t need or ever use more than the basic features of Office. Did I mention the word FREE?

Add to the mix the pending penetration of other mobile platforms by Office and the ability to switch from using Office Online to Office on your computer when needed and you have a winning productivity solution whose UX makes you want to be both collaborative and productive.

I’m going to give Office Online a strong recommendation and suggest that if you haven’t tried it recently or never then get signed in and take it for a spin. You will be wowed.

Who’s ready to make productivity awesome again?

Welcome to OneDrive

Today marked the rollout of the rebranded OneDrive (the cloud storage formerly known as SkyDrive) across devices for web, desktop and mobile.

Today is about 1 year since the official launch of Outlook.com the outstanding Microsoft web-mail replacement for Hotmail.

SkyDrive was around to see Hotmail evolve, to see the end of Windows Live services (as a distinct entity) and to integrate fully with Outlook.com

5 Things You Might Not Know About OneDrive

  • OneDrive is about as ubiquitous cross-device / cross platform / cross-browser as you can get for personal, shareable cloud storage. I’m using it through the browser, the Windows 8.1 app and on Windows Phone 8 (which updated today to OneDrive). (As of now the SkyDrive folder in Windows 8.1 File Explorer and the Metro / New Windows UI App have not updated to OneDrive)
  • When you sign-up, as a new user you get 7Gb of free storage but Microsoft is giving existing users extra free space all the time (I have 48Gb now) and when I went into SkyDrive today as it became OneDrive I was greeted with this two-fold offer:

OneDrive rebrand wizard

  • OneDrive includes Office Web Apps. Yes FREE Office. This is obviously not full-featured Office Professional but if like most people you barely scratch the surface in Word, Excel, PowerPoint or OneNote then this is for you. Especially if you work with others on the shared documents then productivity and collaboration will become your new buzzwords. If you do have Office 365 / 2013 then you will see the integration at folder level in the main File menu.

OneDrive Main Menu

  • Apps: yes there are Apps that work (again cross device / platform) on OneDrive and the ambitious Developers amongst you can find the API here.
  • OneDrive differentiates between documents and photos but stores and allows sharing of both.

The Warptest POV

With a matching flat UI/UX to Windows 8.1 and elegant, ease of use I can strongly recommend to anyone looking to either move or backup to personal cloud storage that they sign-up for OneDrive.

The team working on this seem to understand the need for rapid iteration of robust, user friendly new features and I can recall maybe one occasion where server issues prevented access to my files. This compares very favorably to other services I have used who seem to suffer more frequent outages.

I’m giving OneDrive a strong recommend and if you aren’t using a cloud service for backup/sync or primary storage then you should seriously consider this as one of your choices.

Google does a Gandalf on Windows Phone

Google’s Official Blog called it Winter Cleaning

Goodbye Google Sync service for Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync.

The Google Sync news In a nutshell:

  • Google Sync is gone replaced by CardDAV
  • Consumers ability to sync from their Gmail, GCal, Contacts to their new Windows Phone 8 is gone
  • Existing Google Sync connections will remain active: I’m skeptical but waiting to test this claim.
  • This does not affect Google Apps for Business, Government and Education: No surprise you don’t upset the paying customers.

What Does This Mean To The Average Consumer?

If you are buying a Smartphone and you are tied to your Google Services then Windows Phone might not be for you… Pending Microsoft’s response.

This leaves us with a “there are two kinds of people” paradigm

  1. I love you Gmail. I can live without a Nokia Lumia / HTC Windows Phone 8
  2. I just tried a Windows Phone 8. I have to have it… Goodbye Gmail. It’s not me, it’s you.

Ramifications…

There is the distinct possibility that on several levels Google just stepped in a massive pile of sync.

  • Once again Google may have unwittingly opened themselves up for the litigious and aggressive EU Antitrust Commission to go after them over this like a pack of hyenas after fresh kill on the Savanna.

EU Competition

  • Google has relied too heavily on consumers not being willing to migrate from Gmail to Outlook.com and let’s face it, right now there are no official Apps for Windows Phone for Google Drive or Google+. Combine this with the remarkably good UX in Outlook.com, Skydrive, Microsoft’s Calendar and People (contacts) and you have a convincing argument for making the jump.

 

Outlook.com etc

  • This from the company that just shut down the free version of Google Apps and subsequently had a Sync bug so catastrophic that Gmail users once again suffered severe outages this time compounded by crashed Chrome browsers worldwide. The Google Mailman may not just be reading your mail, he seems to be kicking you in the shins again and again.


With thanks to Microsoft’s YouTube Channel for the video above.

  • Nothing shows fear like trying to stop your users from running your services on the competition’s platform.

What Are Microsoft’s Alternatives?…

TheNextWeb put it best in today’s post on the issue,

“Microsoft has two options. It could decide to disregard calendar and contacts sync for Gmail users on Windows Phone 8. […] Alternatively, Microsoft could provide CalDAV and CardDAV support to sync calendar and contacts, but this will have to be in the form of a patch for Windows Phone 8.”

Are the OEMs manufacturing Windows Phone going to need newly patched OS installs, or is this patch going to have to be installed to every new device once they are bought and switched on? Either way with just over a month until Google Sync is replaced Microsoft will have to move fast.

Redmond could also decide to take a two pronged assault on this problem by releasing a new app to easily migrate from Google services to Microsoft but also by rewarding customer loyalty with an increase in Skydrive storage space for those who dump Google over this.  Since publishing this I stumbled over this post from the Outlook.com official blog “Upgrade from Gmail to Outlook.com in 5 Easy Steps” in addition to killing my next post very nicely it explains there is an App from Microsoft called TrueSwitch that does the migration for you!

I’m not sure why I’m only learning about this now. Hopefully Microsoft will at least bundle information on this with every new Windows Phone!

The Bigger Picture…

This is one more example designed to make the consumer wary of freemium services and Apps. Today the terms of service may support you but tomorrow all that could change under you. Just ask Instagram users. So whether you are considering a new Windows Phone or not, do you think Google Just Stepped In a Big Pile of Sync?