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All posts tagged web apps

Are you an Office365 Productivity Powerhouse?

Office365 Productivity? This is not just the ability to churn out more documents. This is about maximizing the potential of you & your team. This is about ensuring freely shared information and an ability to deliver success.

What Does Office365 Include?

Depending on the pricing model you take, ranging from FREE up to Business Enterprise you get a slew of productivity apps: –

  • Outlook /
  • Free web apps & free mobile appscompletely cross-device / cross-platform
  • OneDrive Personal / OneDrive for Business
  • OneNote
  • Word
  • Excel
  • PowerPoint
  • Sway
  • Skype / Skype for Business
  • – this is a personal portal for posting and sharing Office content you create. Users can give this a custom URL and the About section allows you to create a stylish resume in Sway.
  • (DELVE)

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So here are, “5 Killer Habits of Any Office365 Productivity Powerhouse”

  1. Don’t share files, collaborate on documents in real-time. Don’t discount mobile: Office365 is available cross-platform / cross-device. Exploit this to your benefit.
  2. Use track changes but agree how with your team
  3. Templates, styles, fonts, formats and naming standards. These are all document UX, it should be consistent across a project. It should look good in print or cross-platform.
  4. Email, skype calls, IM & video calls they are all calls to action. Communication is either shared information, request for action or a change notification. Either way, respond constructively.
  5. Office365 productivity is limited by knowledge. Most people never maximize their knowledge and so, restrict their productivity. Create a list for yourself of things you should know in Office365 and learn one a week. Examples: WORD / EXCEL: Macros, WORD: using and creating structured templates and styles, EXCEL: pivot tables, formulas, web queries, data filtering and mastering, POWERPOINT: creating short, succinct and well-designed presentations, & more…

Office365 Productivity - 5 killer tips

The Warptest POV

Office365 is cloud first, enabling collaboration and maximum productivity and the apps available are always evolving and for the business user we can expect added features and apps:

  • Office Groups
  • Office Mix: Mix for PowerPoint is targeted at educators to enhance their classroom presentations but is available to everyone.
  • Planner: A collaborative Agile style, post-it task / project management tool based on Office Groups. Available for selected Office plans.
  • PowerBI: If data visualization and analysis was a superpower it would probably look like PowerBI
  • And more…

General productivity is increased by choosing an ecosystem that everyone can work with. An ecosystem where the apps can communicate with each other. Else, you are just looking at technical debt to transfer information between apps or formats. The aim is zero technical debt, maximum time spent on projects, tasks and collaboration.

There are exceptions based on use case where you need to move outside the ecosystem you’ve chosen but since Office365 allows for building customized solutions this is accepatable.

Office365 is all about productivity and collaboration and it exemplifies the cloud first ethos being pushed by Microsoft. The only barrier to becoming an Office365 Productivity powerhouse is your willingness to try.

Are you ready to be productive with your team?


Zombie testing applies…

To a state of mindlessness in the tester where certain scenarios or observations are missed.

Sadly, it can be incredibly infectious in the workplace.

When does this happen?

This can happen for a variety of reasons but let’s examine a special case where names have been changed to protect the innocent and guilty:

Elizabeth Bennet was a testing manager and was discussing web application testing with Darcy and Catherine, established members of her team.

She asked about cross browser compatibility testing and was greeted with a variety of the usual trollish comments about Internet Explorer.

Internet Explorer - zombie testing

One of the many examples of this kind of IE trolling

Elizabeth felt Darcy was especially annoying on the subject but suppressed her irritation and scheduled a test session for the team to test the web app cross browser.

Her suspicions were confirmed when they discovered a variety of hereto undiscovered defects in IE.

Elizabeth sat with her testing team and asked each tester what web apps they work with and on which browsers. No one on the team actually used IE and once again Darcy piped up confidently stating that the “lame” browser had such little market share it wasn’t relevant to test.

George the Product Manager was passing by and heard Darcy. He was quick to jump in and correct this misconception and stated that he was glad Elizabeth had decided to correct this oversight as many of the company’s end-users were IE users.

Bingley the web app Developer was building a new version based on all the new defects found.

Darcy came over to Elizabeth privately to apologize for his mistake and asked for responsibility for testing this in future.

Elizabeth was pleased and agreed but only if they pairwise tested the next version.

The Warptest POV

Testing requires a variety of skills, some of which I’ve addressed in the past but a tester cannot afford to compromise their objectivity by bringing their prejudices into the workplace.

Doing so may leave them open to being infected with the kind of zombie testing mindlessness mentioned in the story above.

pride prejudice and zombie testing

Image with thanks to

In a nutshell, good testing is not zombie testing and it’s worth asking yourself if there is a product or technology you have a blindspot or bias against.

The question you need to ask yourself is if you don’t use it for your own work, will you even think of including it in your testing efforts?

So check the pride, check the prejudice and stow the zombie testing.


The Most Frustrating Thing About Web Apps …

… is when they are not working and you aren’t sure if it’s just you or if the service is suffering an outage.

Web Apps - Confusing

Earlier this week I read this question in the Warptest mailbag,

“Dear Warptest, how can I tell if my Gmail, iCloud or other web services are down or if it’s just me?” <redacted>

The Answer(s)

Ok <redacted> let’s take a closer look at the popular web apps: –

Google App Status

  • The Apps status page (like most Google services) is geolocated and no doubt provides status on the servers my Gmail, Apps, Google+ etc are running from.
  • The page displays a chart of status for the past 7 days, you can scroll back in time and there is a handy RSS feed for each set of services.
  • The web services are divided between those covered by the Google Apps SLA and those not.
  • There is a link to the Apps help page and from there you can report an issue. This is one click more than either Apple or Microsoft’s page requires.

Apple Apps Status

  • The Apps status page displays the time as UTC +03 which is not my timezone. Is this a bug or does Apple not geolocate? Unsure.
  • The page displays an extensive list of web services (who knew there were so many?) and below a nice date / time slider bar to check status for different times.
  • A nice touch is the link on this page to contact Apple support for further help.

Microsoft Apps Status

  • The App status page UI is in keeping with the typographic New Windows UI and displays current status in the main pane.
  • For historical details you need to click on a specific service and the page will display past, recent issues related to the service selected.
  • Again you can report your issue from the web page

If you want your finger on the pulse regarding web apps like Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr or other popular Apps then DownRightNow is the site for you.

  • The site provides a central dashboard for all these apps, their status and history.
  • The site encourages an element of crowdsourcing allowing users to report new issues via the site or their Twitter account. They have a good FAQ to explain the recommended hashtags when you tweet.

The Warptest POV

These are useful tools for techies who are faced with issues with Gmail, iCloud, Facetime or other popular services.

The real problem is what do you do next if according to the App Status your web apps (is/) are working properly?

One trick is if you have a smartphone, then check the mobile app for the service too. Even if you have issues with the desktop app, you may still be able to keep on working on your phone.

Of course, if it’s a recurring problem only with you then I expect I’ll be hearing from you to see if I can help out.

That should answer our mailbag question today. If you have a question of your own then send it in, don’t be a stranger.

Google Alerts … What’s that?

Google Alerts? Some things are just meant to go together. Yes I’m stuck on this convergence  mindset right now. I keep seeing things that should meld together.

Well I wrote this last night and decided to re-read it in the early AM. I wasn’t sure when I was going to get back to it so I set it to auto-post; a neat feature (thx Live Writer).

Awhile back I wrote this blog piece “ is the peanuts, Google Bookmarks are the Chocolate” this is my follow on. No doubt, eventually I will have an epiphany and see a way of combining most if not all these services. (Perhaps Google will be so impressed with my vision that …) is Google’s link shortener with a slew of useful features built in; including analytics and a QR Code generator for each shortened link.

Google Alerts - googl_shortener

However, the one feature I would be adding to this to make a truly killer service is … drum roll

google alerts - UI

The moment you shorten a URL it is clearly of relevance to you to post it, track the analytics so why not have an alert created on the fly for whenever someone references the content of that URL. The alert could be auto-set to use either title tag(s) from the page or keywords or simply allow the link creator to define the alert themselves.

What do you think? Useful – more or less?