Today was the day of the infamous Macclesfield Pancake Race. Team Axon (Andy, Tim, Graham and James) made the most of their morning by practising hard…
The time arrived for our heat. We were up against Macclesfield Grosvenor Centre and “The Healthcare Flippers”. Despite a nerve-wracking moment when Graham dropped his pancake, we stormed to the finish line in first place, winning our heat by a mile!
Finals time! Sneaky old Santander bank won the losers race to join us in the final, alongside two other teams’ who’s names we’ve forgotten (sorry, it must be all the excitement). Santander got off to a flying start, sprinting to the central “flipping zone” like lightening. Not ones to take losing lightly, the Axon boys soon caught up on their lead, and pegged it to the finish line…
WINNERS! We were crowned Macclesfield Pancake Race Champions 2014 and were presented with a very posh trophy, some booze and some chocolates. Winning all round then!
Let’s not forget what this was all about. Our charity of the year – Macclesfield Neonatal Unit via East Cheshire NHS Trust’s ECHO Charity. We’re up to £120 so far, but our JustGiving page is still open and we’d be grateful for any support. You can access the page here.
Happy Pancake Day!
The future of the portable office has never been so close with Dell’s new Windows 8.1 tablet. I have been using the Dell Venue 8 Pro tablet for a couple of weeks now while I have been out at customer sites. I’ve used it as my main machine for troubleshooting problems. This saves me from getting my laptop out when I have quick problems to solve and I am able to plug in USB network adapters and USB sticks via an OTG cable.
As I also have a Windows phone I am able to setup internet tethering to the tablet but Dell have already announced that they will be making a Venue with 3G on board.
The tablet has a 5MP rear camera that takes good photos and a 1.2MP front camera for Lync/Skype calls. The speakers on the tablet are very good and you could watch movies on it and play music.
It’s hard to believe that you have a fully functional Windows 8.1 computer in something so slim and lightweight. The main highlight of the tablet is the incredible battery life of nearly 8 hours with use and it’s quick to charge back up to full power.
This is a great tablet and a very good rival for the iPad Mini and Google Nexus 7. The app store for Windows is ever growing and the main advantage over the iPad and Nexus 7 is that you can run full Windows applications and Office 2013 on the tablet making this a very powerful device.
Well, they say the proof of the pudding is in the eating…
Our technical director Graham is away in South Africa at the moment and he’s just reported in to Axon HQ to say that working from his hotel in Johannesburg is EXACTLY the same as it is when he works from home in Congleton. No big surprise really. That’s the whole point of cloud computing. But it’s good to see it in action.
He very excitedly emailed this morning to say, and I quote…
“I don’t know if I could be further away from the office but I am sat at my desk (well actually in my hotel room) and it feels like I am working from Congleton – Just warmer!! Using my Microsoft Surface device, connected to our VoIP telephone system, Lync and Office 365. I even worked on some documentation whilst on the plane offline, which has now sync’d with OneDrive into the cloud.
Can you work with cloud from almost anywhere, you bet you can!”
Thing is, as exciting as it is that Graham can mirror his workspace half way around the world, it doesn’t actually matter whether he’s at home in Congleton, in the office in Macclesfield, in South Africa, or at the South Pole! Assuming the South Pole has a god internet connection that is. Because with cloud, you have the flexibility to work from anywhere. And that’s not working with limited resources, or working via a dodgy VPN connection that keeps booting you out…working exactly as you would do in your office.
So what does Microsoft Office 365 let you do?
- Access, edit, save and share documents in the cloud. When you sign into Office 365 you get roaming settings and quick access to your documents via OneDrive and SharePoint online.
- Manage emails, communicate with colleagues and customers via instant messaging, voice or video calls through Microsoft Lync – wherever you are.
- Host online meetings with multiparty HD video conferencing, document sharing and real-time note taking.
- Connect Lync to Skype services so you can interact with Skype users in addition to your Office 365 contacts.
So what this means for us right now, is that we can chat to Graham online, just as we would if her were in the office. We can ring him through our VoIP system, on his regular extension number, just as we would if he was in the office. If you ring Axon right now, Graham’s extension will ring in South Africa and he can answer and deal with your request – just as he would in the office. He can email, access documents on our internal filing system through SharePoint… So when you think about it, it makes no odds to us as a business whether Graham’s in Macclesfield or Johannesburg. Other than the fact that we miss him when he’s away (I have to say that)
Have a look at these screengrabs he’s sent me from his system in S.A. You have to admit, it’s all pretty slick
I recently ran into a problem after renaming the surname of an Office 365 user. The surname was renamed in the admin portal under “Users and Groups” and the change propagated to the users profile and Exchange Online, but SharePoint was still displaying the old name. The user was a member of five SharePoint groups and in all of these groups the name being displayed was the old surname. Removing and the adding the users made no difference.
To fix the problem I navigated to “Site Settings” then “People and Groups”. I then selected a group and changed the last digit of the groups URL to ‘0’, as shown below:
The ‘5’ at the end of the above example path was changed to ‘0’, like so:
This then displayed the “All People” group and the user with the incorrect surname was visible. Changing it here applied to the whole site.
It’s taken us a few weeks, but we’re finally ready and very pleased to announce that our chosen charity of the year for 2014 is Macclesfield Neonatal unit via East Cheshire NHS Trust’s ECHO Charity.
Watch this space for fundraising antics and in the meantime, why not take a look at the amazing lifesaving service our local neonatal department provides for babies and their families…http://www.eastcheshire.nhs.uk/Our-Services/Neonatal.htm
Office 2013 utilises the graphics card hardware accelerator and sometimes a user can be typing but nothing appears on the screen for a few minutes. Or when you are moving cells in Excel, it takes a few moments to change the outline of the box to the new cell.
To disable the hardware acceleration you need to do the following:
Open any of the Office 2013 applications
Click on “File”
Then select “Options”
Then select “Advanced”
Scroll down to Display
Tick the box that says “Disable hardware graphics acceleration”
The world of IT is forever evolving and in turn, businesses must evolve with it. Nowadays it’s becoming more and more crucial to reduce our business expenses while increasing profits. This is made all the more difficult when we look to maintain and improve B2B and B2C relations.
So how is IT involving?
It’s evolving through cloud solutions.
But cloud computing is so much more than just a virtual hard-drive on the internet. It is now becoming the infrastructure for modern businesses. Microsoft has visualised this and developed its own cloud solution – Microsoft Office 365. Vast data centres have been constructed across the globe with exceptional data security and failsafe’s to ensure customer data is protected and available 24 hours of the day. With a 99.99% finically backed service agreement from Microsoft, you just know that they are at the forefront of cloud technology and on a campaign to aid its evolution.
This is all well and good, but how does this benefit my business?
365 is in essence Office in the cloud and has been designed with productivity and connectivity in mind, as well as touch and mobile devices.
Microsoft has taken the core values of cloud computing and focused them to SMB’s and enterprises. Office 365 allows your employees to work anywhere in the world, providing the ultimate flexible working solution.
Word documents, Excel sheets, PowerPoint presentations, emails, calendars, contacts… are all accessible, editable and can be shared from any device and from anywhere with an internet connection.
Let me put this into perspective for you:
You’re in London for a meeting at 8am with a new customer. Your office is in Manchester. It’s 10pm the night before the meeting and you realise you’ve forgotten that USB stick with the proposal on it. Oh dear!! A small panic sets in as you start to think who lives close to the office? And more importantly, who is willing to get out of bed and travel to work to email you the proposal?
With Office 365, that panic will NEVER happen again. Simply pop down to the restaurant, café or stay in your room; access the internet, log in to Office 365 and there it is. How? Through SharePoint Online. SharePoint allows your business to create mini intranet type sites whereby you store essential business documents, such as proposals. Therefore no matter where you are located geographically, you can access and edit the same documents remotely, as you would be able to do at your desk. Because your documents are stored on SharePoint, in the cloud (on Microsoft’s servers) and you access them via the internet.
What about security?
As far as Microsoft is concerned, security is paramount. Not only are the servers located in datacentres that are impenetrable and practically indestructible, Office 365 has a number of security options for you to utilise. The most important are those that stop data leaking from your business. Microsoft has put various permissions in place within SharePoint so that you can chose which employee has access to which areas of the site, and to which folders and files. So essentially you can lock down SharePoint to be user specific. When it comes to Outlook, Office 365 can recognise sequences of numbers and text which for example, may relate to bank account numbers. Before any email is sent, it can warn or prevent the user from sending that email. Just a couple of examples there, but Microsoft promises it’s transparency in where your data is, how it is stored and how it flows. By designing its privacy policies around not only USA but also European and International Laws, it keeps the customers interest at heart and understands the need for security on both IT and legal fronts.
This sounds great but how will it help me with customers?
In this article we’ve focused on a small percent of features which benefit your business and the productivity of employees. But let’s not forget Lync and how it can benefit your company and reduce costs.
Part of the Office 365 package, Lync provides internal instant messaging, remote access and file sharing between employees. It also is used for HD web conferencing.
I’ll take the same example of the meeting in London. Well actually, with Lync you probably wouldn’t have needed to go to London in the first place; saving on travel and accommodation costs. Simply arrange your meeting with your customer and host a web conference from your HQ in Manchester. Lync also lets you make virtual presentations via PowerPoint for the customer to see whilst you talk them through it. Lync even connects to Skype accounts, so don’t be worried if your customer doesn’t have Lync, you are still able to present in a professional manner while reducing costs.
So as you can see, Microsoft has designed Office 365 to be flexible, increase productivity and to be customised within your business.
And there’s far more to Office 365 than just this, but I hope I’ve given you a taste of cloud solutions and what they can do for your business.
What is Office 365?
Office 365 is Microsoft Office collaboration and productivity tools, delivered to you through the internet. This enables your work force to access and store documents, email and even web conference from nearly any device that has an internet connection.
How to access Office 365
You can access Office 365 on the devices you use the most, including PC’s, Macintosh computers, IPhones, Android phones, Symbian phones, BlackBerry smartphones, Windows Mobile and Windows phones. Once your device is configured, you log on by accessing https://portal.microsoftonline.com from a web browser.
Logging on to Office 365
To log on to Office 365 enter your username for Office 365 (email@example.com) and your Office 365 password.
The Office 365 home page
Once you are logged on you will automatically be redirected to your mailbox. You can access your Calendar, Contacts (People), Newsfeed, SkyDrive and SharePoint Sites from the Office 365 launch bar across the top of the page.
Changing your settings
To change your language settings and personal information simply log on to the Office 365 portal, and select your name and then About Me.
Click Edit your Profile to modify any settings about yourself including Language and Regional settings.
Changing your password
Your password is set to expire every 90 days with notifications being received 14 days prior to the password expiring. To change your password simply log on to the Office 365 portal, select the Settings Icon and then Office 365 Settings.
Next select password and follow the on screen instructions.
If you come across an issue activating an Office 2013 subscription with the error message 0×80070005 appearing, then try closing all the Office applications, run Word/Excel as an administrator and then activate Office.
Office 2013 doesn’t activate correctly if the user account doesn’t have local admin rights to the computer.