Love-Hate Relationship with Clutter in Outlook

In such a fast-pace technology world, features are released quicker than anyone can afford to learn everything. Recently I am getting lots of feedback from co-workers or customers saying that they have dropped me an email but I have not responded in a manner that I used to. (P/S: I read mails everywhere, on my laptop, my iPad and my mobile phone. Email has become an integral part of me.)

So I had a thought on why emails are not falling into my “Inbox“? With a little searching around, I saw that my mails has been falling into:

“Junk Email” folder has been a pain too, but of course with certain help in mitigating spam mails from flowing through, but What is Clutter?!

Copying off the article:-

In Outlook 2016 for Windows, “Clutter” can help you filter low-priority email, saving time for your most important messages. If Clutter isn’t for you, you can TURN IT OFF.

So what are typically treated as “Low-Priority“?

Ooooo. So, notifications from Wunderlist is being treated as “Low-Priority”. So what’s the point of having an email reminder?

Like what is mentioned in the block quote above, there are means to toggle “on/off” for this feature depending on individual. All one have to do is to logon to the Office 365 Outlook Web Access (OWA) via https://outlook.office365.com/ and right-click on the “Inbox” to access to the “Clutter settings” as shown below.

You will arrive at the page similar to the image below.

If you love this feature, do nothing!

If you dislike this feature, un-check the highlighted checkbox and “save”!

Provide your feedback to me and let me know your thoughts on this feature!

Cheers,
Milton

Love-Hate Relationship with Clutter in Outlook

Capturing Screen as GIF File

Last second day of the beautiful 2016 and while we are waiting to welcome 2017, we should not let loose in terms of learning. Therefore, while doing my SAPIEN PowerShell Studio learning, I found out that I will need a tool to capture some screen movement but I wouldn’t want to record it as a Video formatted file.

I remember that I have seen my idol Scott Hanselman using one of them on one of his many blog articles. I went on to Google a little and I found ScreenToGif. This is a pretty decent tool and I quickly download it. It is a single executable file that require zero installation which comes in handy as I can then put it on my DropBox / OneDrive and made it readily available on all my personal / workstation.

Once you launch the application, you will be presented with a simple layout with icons as shown below.

Click on “Recorder” and you are all set to select the screen area that you want to do the recording.

Remember to click on the record button which is at the bottom right hand corner represented with a red circle. Once you are done with your screen recording which generally in my opinion should not be more than 15 seconds for blog entry so that it will not create a huge file.

Once done, click on stop and you can choose to edit or save the GIF file. Below is an example that I have made as part of my learning of SAPIEN PowerShell Studio.

 

Thanks for reading and hope you will find this tool useful!

Cheers,
Milton

Capturing Screen as GIF File

Using iPad as a 2nd Monitor–Duet Display

Within this year, I see myself spending more time outside of my office than in the office which is rather something that I am looking for. There are times when I just needed one more monitor than just the laptop itself so that I can cross-reference some documents on Excel Spreadsheet along with what is being displayed on the main monitor especially when I am meddling with the system configurations of the customer systems.

Ideas have been storming into my mind all these while but every time a new idea emerged, I will start to think of the Pros and Cons. I did remember my good friend Matt Hitchcock has recommended to me the ASUS MB169+ which is an awesome piece of gadget! However, there are many constraints that prevented me from getting one of those external monitors that are powered by USB.

  1. I am using a HP Elitebook 840 G3 which comes with Two USB ports. I am generally happy with this machine as I have upgraded it to 16GB and it has built-in SSD which makes running a full lab that able to simulate the whole Condeco Enterprise suite of products.
  2. Although I am using a TUMI Alpha 2, it does have space limitation too although it is really huge! Moreover, I didn’t want to intentionally carry a truck full of loots with me each time I travel from place to place.
  3. Do I really need to lug around a 15” monitor with me all day long?

Therefore, I did a search online and chanced upon this software known as Duet Display. This generally fits into my use-case as I recently just upgrade my iPad Mini Generation 1 to a refurbished set of iPad Air 2 which I am really happy with till now.

Duet Display is free to download on your Mac OS X or Windows computer as the licensing is count towards the device you used as the additional screen. In terms of pricing, it is on the high side of an iOS application as it is priced at SGD 28.98.

Nevertheless, being productive at whatever one is doing is getting more and more important to me. I aimed to be able to improve and increase productivity for not just myself but for all the people around me who are keen to do so. On the flip side, the money spent on the App isn’t that significant anymore because I always believe that if one can splurge on good meals, they should be responsible for their own productivity. Therefore, one should invest in their well-beings. In the past, I have used other application which taps on the Wireless Network in order to connect as a secondary screen but the disadvantage of that would be it is always dependent on the wireless strength.

The setup of the application and have it connect to my Windows 10 laptop isn’t that difficult and can be done swiftly within 10 minutes including the time taken to download the application. Connect the iPad with the lightning cable and everything works like a charm. Here is a photo of the end result.

 

Below is the step of step setting up of the application on my iPad after downloading from the Apple App Store.

1. The Application is easily found in the Apple App Store.

 

2. Welcome screen

 

3. Guide you to install the necessary software on your Mac OS or Windows computer.

 

4. Typical application behaviour where they will ask you for permission to allow notifications to be shown. One thing that caught my eye is that it will keep track on how many hours that the software provides in terms of Productive Hours. This just co-relate with, how much frustrations has been saved and how much time was saved just by able to be more productive.

5. Next is the signing up of marketing mailers.

 

6. Now the most essential part where it is awaiting for the iPad to be connected.

 

Once the iOS powered device is connected, it will automatically launch iTunes (if you have it installed) and automatically it will connect and display as a secondary screen as shown earlier in this post.

Some of the highlights of this Application is the help screen which generally gives me a very neat feeling.

 

If you have an Apple iPad and wish to increase your productivity by having an additional screen, please go ahead and try out Duet Display.

Cheers,
Milton

Using iPad as a 2nd Monitor–Duet Display

Hey #NTUC! You are doing it so wrong!

Couple of days ago, I called into NTUC Union hotline to inform them formally that I wish to have my membership with them cancelled. I have to clarify first:

I am cancelling the membership because:

  1. I do not frequent the supermarket as much as my sibling does, so it makes more sense for them to be the member than myself.
  2. Most of the courses that is made available at a discount is either covered by my company or is irrelevant to me.
  3. I am proud to be the member of the union but it doesn’t make sense for me to be paying for the membership fee if I am not fully utilizing it. (or rather worse, I don’t use it at all for months)

Now here goes the whole process of cancellation:

I called into the hotline on Tuesday morning to request for the cancellation, at this point of time, my details has been verified by the Customer Service Officer (CSO) already. At the end of the call, I was told that I will be receiving a SMS from the system with a link to click on to confirm on the cancellation. Take note, this will take three (3) working days according to the CSO. I personally think it is definitely alright to take that long to process for the current generation of technology but I think there are really way more improvements to be done to improve the workflow and internal process.

So, time moves faster than you can imagine and it is Friday right now where this post is being written in the evening. During the day, I received the following message from NTUC system.

First thought after reading this message is, “Hmmm. I thought it will be something like if you click on the link and it would have been pre-populated with the details where you just hit the confirm button and the cancellation will proceed.”

However, I was so wrong!

First, take a look at the site which I am suppose to visit.

What is the problem with this screen?

  • Technically, if this screen is there, why should I even call the hotline?
  • If I have called the hotline, I would have my details verified, why am I entering it again right now?
  • All in all, I have waited three (3) working days to have a link to tell me I should be submitting a form.

It is like, you went to queue for a concert ticket for your favourite idol and you have queued overnight to speak to the counter operator and the first thing they tell you is: “please make all purchases over the internet at whatevertheurlfortheprovider.website.url”

How would you feel?

Next in line:

What is your thoughts on the selection?

  • Obviously, no company would appreciate people doing cancellation. Therefore it make total sense to not have this option made available as one of the item in the drop-down list.
  • However, how broad is “Others”? Since I am being told to use “Others”, does it mean that I am like the extinct kind of people who actually subscribed to the membership and are performing the cancellation?

Last but not least, I would like to highlight that in such a fast-speed nation where we are so much driven by technology, it is vital that each organization to look at ways to improve the user-experience provided to the end-users.

Spending X amount of dollars in the past may get you this kind of standard, but it doesn’t mean that if you were to not bear with parting with that the same X amount of dollars, you need to accept poor User-Interface.

There are many tools out there to automate certain processes and create the workflow so that respective personnel in the organization can be part of the huge workflow and reduce the turn-around time for all requests to the minimum.

Just my two cents worth of advice.

Cheers,
Milton

Hey #NTUC! You are doing it so wrong!

Synology integrate with OneDrive

When I surfing through the web and I happened to chanced upon Synology website having some keyword of Cloud Storage Provider such as OneDrive, Dropbox and Google Drive. So I went to dived down deeper went I am home.

Upon logging into my Synology NAS (DS412+), I found Cloud Sync in the Package Center. Went ahead to install it and found the following.

Wow, look at what Synology have done for the consumer out there! We are able to synchronize so many different types of cloud provider via the NAS.

Please do note that this application is developed by Synology Inc itself and the file type for this package is (.spk). Yes, I do have the interests to see how this package is actually calling OneDrive. Is it the same as the way how OneDrive Client is doing? (Well, I am not sure how can I reversed engineer this just yet.)

After installation, this appear in the overlay of the Synology Dashboard. Nice looking icon there!

Now, the real action starts! Selected OneDrive and another pop-up appear to perform the authentication between OneDrive and Synology NAS.

The usual terms and condition that you will need to agree before proceeding, the kind that is similar to using 3rd-Party Developer Twitter Client to connect to your Twitter account via the API. Well, you have no choice but to agree since you are eager to use the APIs!

Select the place you would like to place the data (files and folders) that is synchronized between OneDrive and Synology.

You can even selective synchronization where you only synchronized certain folders from OneDrive.

After configuration, we can see the console actually starts searching the files and folders to be synchronized and process the synchronization. There is even an icon that is located at the task bar which shows the status of the OneDrive.

I am really happy that Synology is making effort to make sure that the consumer experience is being upgraded at their each major or minor release of the firmware.

Thumbs up to Synology Team!

Cheers.

Regards,
Milton Goh

Synology integrate with OneDrive

Woot! Now you get #UNLIMITED space on #OneDrive ?!?!

To start of my day when I was commuting to work, I read on FaceBook through my friend (Chee Yong Poh, Microsoft Technical Evangelist) re-shared a post on The Verge that Microsoft has decided to provide UNLIMITED space on OneDrive – read the article here.

How would this change affect you? Well, when I was dwelling whether to archive my media that I will no longer require access to it on a regular basis to put it into the cloud so that it will not hurt the almost-filled NAS further. I was deciding between Amazon Glacier, DropBox and OneDrive but I tried Glacier at first because it is something pretty cool while OneDrive and DropBox has been in my daily life already. From my previous article titled “Is there something missing in #OneDrive ?” where I talks about something related as it shows that I am uploading all the media files to OneDrive.

So where is the value proposition of Amazon Glacier? Where would you see the value in OneDrive over Amazon Glacier? Well, in terms of space consumed and amount paid or you will be paying. Let’s see.

Microsoft OneDrive Cost (USD) Amazon Glacier Cost (USD)
100GB $6.99 100GB $1.00
500GB $6.99 500GB $5.00
1024GB (1TB) $6.99 1024GB (1TB) $10.24
2048GB (2TB) $6.99 2048GB (2TB) $20.48
10240GB (10TB) $6.99 10240GB (10TB) $102.40

 

Do not forget that Amazon Glacier charges you to bring the data out from the cloud back to any devices you are trying to retrieve from while Microsoft OneDrive, it is the same as DropBox or Box storage where it does not implicitly charge you for data transfer. (Of course, you can’t complain much if the retrieval takes forever! *evil grins*)

Do you have more than 1TB of data to store to the Cloud right now? – Yes, go to Microsoft OneDrive now!

Do you require your data to be used by other cloud services in Amazon? – Yes, stick to Amazon Glacier, there are nice API that can do retrieval from the vault.

Do you need Office suite of products? – Yes, go to Microsoft OneDrive now!

Has this come across to you that storage is getting cheaper and cheaper and Microsoft is well aligning its strategy to Cloud-First, Mobile-First?

 

Do you know that you can sign up to enjoy the unlimited storage first? Hit on to https://preview.onedrive.com/ now!

Cheers.
Milton Goh

Woot! Now you get #UNLIMITED space on #OneDrive ?!?!