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Posts Tagged ‘Tips and Tricks’

Taking a Screenshot of your Windows Phone 8 January 7th, 2014

Vinod Kumar

What can I say about Windows Phone 8 experience – I just love it :). Every now and then I get amazed by some neat new features which surprise me and I have a whole load to explore from this phone. You might also want to see my older post on some of the cool features that I use – Windows Phone 8 features I love using.

This blog post is a simple feature that I discovered on Windows Phone 8 that was worth sharing. How many times you are playing a game or you found a neat thing on your Windows Phone that you wished you can take a screen shot of it and use? So here is the neat tip. You can use “Windows Button” + “Power button” at the same time to take a screen shot of your current screen. It might take a few attempts, but once you get used to this, it is amazingly simple.

Below is a screenshot taken of my phone. You can see it is amazingly clear and in great resolution. I love this feature find.

PS: This tip doesn’t work on older versions of 7 / 7.5 or 7.8.

If you have other tips that you want me to share via my blog, do let me know. It is always refreshing to learn and share.

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Checking Emails–Boon or Bane December 3rd, 2013

Vinod Kumar

In the enterprise, the first application to get launched is the Outlook. We have a natural tendency to catch up on our emails first thing we reach our offices. This is no different for most of us reading this email. Recently, I have moved away from a smart phone to a basic feature phone. There were a lot of learning for me personally. The number of times I started to look at my phone reduced considerably. Secondly, I stopped looking at social network updates often and I started to get a lot more time in my hands. It was a great feeling. This blog post is not about moving away from smart phones :) … After close to 3 weeks like that, now I am back to my smartphones but I have a strict regime on my working habits. I thought it is worth sharing over this blog.

Lack of direction, not lack of time, is the problem. We all have twenty-four hour days ― Zig Ziglar

How many of you reading this blog have the syndrome of endlessly checking your emails, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn etc all day? This in concept doesn’t seem to be a problem, but these habits can disturb our life around us. The feeling that we get out of this is all illusion – trust me.

  1. What we ultimately have done is spending our energy on wrong things that don’t warrant our attention. Doing so we start procrastinating and neglecting the dreams we have in front of us to achieve.
  2. Getting hooked onto the social media excessively sometimes feels important or makes us feel important. But when you look back in couple of years or even couple of months down the lane you will know they were never truly important. So don’t get lost in the pseudo busy schedule artificially created by you.
  3. Spare yourself of anxious thoughts and getting stressed unnecessarily. The more you check emails, the more you get nervous of pending activities, the more we get angry or disappointed of tasks ahead of us.

These are all habits – I did write about Habits – change them “if required” and can be a good recap. So how can we change our habits. Here are some simple tips for you.

You can’t get attention of one who focused on himself ― Toba Beta

First would be to become conscious of what you are activities. I have always questioned the status of why I do a task. Earlier I had a natural tendency to watch my mobile for time. I switched that option off and now I tend to look at my wrist watch for time. Doing so I am not tempted to look at other reminders. We need to stop being impulsive in our approach. Other approach is to open your emails once in an hour and check. I have seen folks who open the emails once in the morning and then later in evening to clear up mails that warrant their attention.

Always as a question, what could happen if you didn’t check your facebook now? The same can be true for emails. Don’t be afraid something will go bad just because you don’t have your emails open. Don’t let your overthinking mind control your fear to be paranoid. Whenever the instinct hits you to check mails, pause a moment and think of the work you currently are doing and get back to it.

Often when you think you’re at the end of something, you’re at the beginning of something else – Fred Rogers

As discussed above, set your own timezones to do each activities of FB, Mails etc. How many of you have put your smartphones out of reach in your evening times to spend time with family? Did you see your child play with interesting things. These dedicated times to do specific things – one at a time be it family or official can make you productive to the next level.

Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin ― Mother Teresa

Have a plan in place – make your day filled with important and exciting things that you want to achieve from the day rather than just jumping to your emails every half hour. Close your email client and schedule checking them once in couple of hours.

This blog was inspired with the fact that life is full of excitement and checking emails aggressively can sort of replace the quality time that we might have spent by going out and having some great time filled with experience.

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Viewing Windows Azure Storage using SSMS December 2nd, 2013

Vinod Kumar

Moving to cloud enabled services is inevitable and in my day job I get a chance to work on various technologies including Windows Azure. One of the tools I use big time is the Azure Storage Explorer. This is an awesome tool when we need to view or storage account. When playing around with SQL Server SSMS, I found it interesting to see we can query and look at Azure Storage using SSMS itself (lesser known to many – available even with SQL 2012). This was an interesting hidden gem which I thought was worth sharing with all.

To start this journey, the first step is to get the details of your storage account. On your Azure portal, Select “Storage”, Select the “Storage account” (mtcvinod in my example) and Select “Manage Access Keys”.

You will be presented with the Access Keys to your storage account. I have greyed out the values for obvious reasons you can guess :) … Select the “Copy” Button (before the regenerate button and close the dialog.

Now we have all the required information to start our SQL Server Management Studio. Goto Object Explorer – > Connect –> Azure Storage … This is shown below.

We will be presented with the dialog to what Storage account. Key-in your storage account and the Account Key you just copies from the above step. Click on Connect and we are good.

Now you will see the tree view structure on your SQL Server Management studio to all the blobs and objects inside that storage account.

I know this is just a start to viewing the Azure Storage account but the Azure Storage Explorer does a lot more than what SSMS can do. But given the quick access to this can always prove to be handy. Do let me know if you have every used this feature in your environments.

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What does it take to Blog? November 26th, 2013

Vinod Kumar

Offlate I have a number of folks who are on my FB list asking me how I manage to write something every single day with Good Morning messages. The idea of writing is a state of mind, it is the will power to do something consistently, every single day without any strain or stress. To become an efficient writer, it is about knowing what to do, when to do it and how to do it. Let me give you my take using simple steps:

1. Build your Routine

The biggest thing about writing is to make time for writing. I am sure everyone has a full-time job, so write daily, write routinely, write often and write consistently.

2. Create your mindmap

Before you write, think what you want to write and how you want to lay out your thoughts. Write your outline and what message you want to convey as part of each post.

3. Draft it to Rewrite

Once your have your rough outline, it is important to draft out some of the content that you want to land. Don’t try to edit as you write the first time. The first draft must capture your flow of thoughts. So just dump your thoughts.

Once you have that, read the content and reword accordingly. Few people have a tendency to rest their first draft for 2-3 days, they sleep over the article. With each hour that passes, the article gets better.

4. Look for Positive intent

As you read your draft, make sure there are no negative tone in your article. I personally feel this is an important part. As you write about a topic, the inner voice might pull you down – don’t fall into this trap. There are 1000’s out there who still want your perspective on the same topic which is out there in 1000 other article. So don’t let the negative thoughts/people pull you down.

5. Be Confident

Every writer doesn’t start confident, there is always a sense of insecurity as they write. It is all part of the game. As you keep writing, you will feel fine. You will keep writing and you will gain confidence. Just chip it, day after day every single day.

6. Read everyday

As writers, read as much as possible. I personally read quite a bit. I get inspiration from a number of books. I read these books to know how one structures their thoughts and there is lots to learn from people around you. It helps in our writing styles too.

As I wrap up this article. Let me end it saying – just get in front of your computer and start writing. The best way you can become a writer is to start refusing to listen to own excuses. Trust me, writing is never easy – I would say stop procrastinating. Your best inspiration is the urge to share – sit down and write: Don’t wait.

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Excel Tip: Undo Shortcuts October 8th, 2013

Vinod Kumar

One of the most used productivity software is Excel. It has always been that way if you are a Data person. Whenever I talk with customers who use reporting or are part of finance operations, their first choice for data manipulation defaults to Excel. There is familiarity of use, predictable and known UI, ease of formula use and many more. So in this blog, let me try to see how much we know of our tool that we use day-in-day-out a.k.a Excel. I have been writing about various Excel tips over my blog and a lot of times people ask some interesting trivia’s that I get to learn from. This post here is inspired by one such question that did come my way and I am happy to share with you.

If I were to ask – “What is the most commonly used shortcut when you are working with Office?”. What is your answer to this question? There are a number of shortcuts, but the survival of all the computer professionals will go for a toss if today’s keyboards missed “CTRL+C” and “CTRL+V”. This is one such shortcut without which our kid’s homework will be complete, our college assignments would become incomplete, and the code that we write would be incomplete and so on. Hands-down this is one of the most commonly used shortcut we would have used in almost any Office product suite – let alone Excel. Lesser known are thousands more shortcuts like these that we can use. In exploration to one such shortcut is our quiz used in later part of this post.

Undo Functionality

So if that was not the quiz, what is the quiz or tip all about anyways? The question now to you is, what are the ways you Undo the operations that you have done inside Excel. There are multiple answers:

Option 1: CTRL+Z

The most widely used shortcut to undo the series of operations is the CTRL+Z key. So we have given you one of the common answers.

Option 2: Using Quick Access Toolbar

This is one of those hidden or must say the second most used method of performing the Undo operation. Very powerful because the dropdown in that arrow shows a history and we can undo to a point in time of our document. This is more than powerful than you think.

Quiz Question

The quiz question is simple. Can you get me a 3rd Option to do the Undo operation inside Excel? This needs to be repeatable just like our CTRL+Z and I must be able to use this shortcut / operation / click and achieve the same result?

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