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All posts tagged Garage

Microsoft Clip Layer Is The Latest Garage App…

Clip Layer is a great Android app from the Microsoft Garage, Redmond’s worldwide experimental projects lab that delivers a slew of interesting apps and resources.

Microsoft Garage - Clip Layer

The Garage is all part of Microsoft’s cross-platform leadership strategy, delivery apps to all mobile platforms. Clip Layer is one of these apps.

Why would Microsoft do this other than the reasons laid out in the link above?

Consider that Microsoft allegedly $5 to $15 on every Android device sold and

approximately $2 billion a year on patent royalties.

Nuff said?

What Problem Does Clip Layer Solve?

Android allows app developers a highly granular approach to in-app permissions. In this case the developer can disable select-copy-paste even at web view level. Along comes the app user and sees a vital piece of information and bang! No way to easily copy from the app and paste elsewhere. At best the user can take a screenshot but a graphic is not text.

Clip Layer allows the user to grab, clip and copy any text from any app, even when blocked. If the app is running, then just hit the home button to ignore those app permissions and copy that much-needed information.

A simple and elegant solution.

The Warptest POV

I hear those screams of outrage:

  • How dare Microsoft run roughshod over the app permissions set by other developers?
  • Worse, how is Google allowing Microsoft to get away with this kind of crap?

On the one hand, you’re right. At least until you are that user who wants to copy something and is blocked. On the other, Android allows developers a lot of freedom including geo-blocking apps which doesn’t stop users from changing their location to access the app (Microsoft has been known to geo-block their apps too).

I searched for specific criteria in Play Store Acceptance criteria officially making Microsoft the bad guy for circumventing copy blocking but, didn’t find it. Most people using this app won’t have nefarious intent, just a desire to share information. Why would you block that and why would you want to annoy your app users that way?

So, Android users take Clip Layer for a spin and see how it helps you. A modest award for the most creative use shared in the comments. Game on!

Microsoft Shared View Is What?

Shared View integrates with your Office suite and I can attest that this works from Office XP and upwards (I haven’t tried older versions) so what does it do? More important, where do I find it?
For a while now I have been an ardent user of the Microsoft Beta downloads and Microsoft Research downloads sites.
Shared View - Microsoft Garage
Microsoft has a variety of software available there and several months ago (if not longer) I downloaded and installed a Beta version of Shared View; now it is out of Beta.
Shared View is for those of us who want to meet without meeting and have the option of reviewing documentation together. It is a simple and elegant application that seems to incur minimal resource usage on a PC or to one’s Internet connection (subject to number of users and size of handouts).
Firstly, you are going to need a Windows Live ID (aka a Microsoft Passport). You can either Share an Office Document via the add-on toolbar to each Office application or open a session via the Shared View application. Then you simply send an invite to the current session or schedule a meeting via Outlook and paste the invite to whomever you wish to meet (the function to do this is either copy the invite or paste directly into an email but since I use my calendar in Outlook to schedule meetings I hope this feature is integrated more fully in the next version).
The layout is simple: a silver horizontal toolbar at the top of your screen with drop-downs to indicate participants, handouts (documents for review), share (the option to allow Remote sharing of any open Windows or your whole Desktop) and a Messaging free text area.

The Warptest POV

Convergence has always been a pathway to creating killer apps but here Microsoft seems to have scored a bulls-eye.
The integration of Remote Desktop technology, Messenger and a scaled down local Sharepoint all of which integrates smoothly into Office (even to the extent of using Tracked Changes) makes for a worthy integrated solution for those of us who don’t wish to send out several copies of one document and then have to remember what everyone said during the meeting over the phone and merge these documents back together; particularly when no two people have Track Changes setup the same way.
Just for the absence of these several copies to merge each being sent back to my email I am smiling each time I use Shared View.
Frankly, Shared View is rapidly becoming my online meeting dashboard when actual work has to be done. Now Microsoft just needs to integrate VOIP and speech to text and away we go.