Sunday, November 25, 2012

Windows 8: Some Useful Keyboard Shortcuts

You are thinking about getting Windows 8? My "typical home user" customer with years of experience in how to use a keyboard and mouse and working on a conventional monitor (screen) will be surprised and to some extent frustrated, trust me.

The new Windows 8 User Interface, originally called Metro and now renamed Modern UI, was definitely designed for tablet computers and/or smartphones, that is for touch enabled devices. But my above mentioned typical customer has no touch enabled devices connected to the computer at all. And I have already seen the confusion that can arise from having a touch oriented screen in front of you but no touch screen  

So if you are going to buy that shiny new computer, laptop or tablet with Windows 8 pre-installed or if you already have bought it you may have use for a few very handy keyboard shortcuts that can save a lot of navigation with the mouse. You may not have known about keyboard shortcuts yet but using Windows 8 you will want to learn at least a few of them.

Microsoft has published in several locations and in different formats lists of all keyboard shortcuts for Windows 8. One such list was published on the Windows Experience Blog. You can download the list either in PDF format or in XPS format (XPS is explained here). 

As an example of what keyboard shortcuts can do for you I want to list only a few of them:
  • Windows key+D  Takes you to the desktop
  • Windows key+R  Opens the Run box
  • Windows key+ I  Opens Settings. You can reach Control Panel from here if you are on the desktop when you use this shortcut
  • Windows key+Q  Opens a Search screen.
  • Windows key+X  Very useful for the more experienced user. It opens the Quick Access menu with many useful system tools that in previous versions of Windows mostly where accessible only from within the Control Panel. Here is a low quality (sorry) screen shot:
    Windows 8 Quick Acess menu 
Caution if you have downloaded the list of keyboard shortcuts from above links and want to print them:
The font on the printed page is very small..But still I think the list is a must have for everybody with Windows 8.

As usual I welcome suggestions and comments right here in the blog. 
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Saturday, November 10, 2012

On Incomplete Emails and Free Advice

All too often I receive emails from customers with questions about technical issues. Now, please remember that from my side I think about this as a business communication, not a personal one. What I would expect is at least proper identification and contact info, i.e. the sender's full name, address info and phone number. Please do that in every email you send to me or I have to go on a wild goose chase for that info.
And frankly spoken, I don't have the time to chase this sort of wild geese. If this info is missing most likely you will get a standard reply, text see below following the ---------

Please consider as well:
  • My email advice is a free service!
  • signed with Polli is NOT correct identification. (This thoughtless incivility is pretty rude – in my book at least).
And no, I am not going to apologize for this remark. You can not expect a civil and matter-of-fact response if the most basic information, politeness and formality are missing, sorry. You are asking professional advice, please be "professional" as well.

Please remember, I do not retain any personal info about my customers!
Please include technical info on what you are asking about; that includes all technical details, like what operating system you use, what program you are asking about, the version numbers and so on.

In this context it may be adequate to point to one of the IMHO better web sites about Netiquette (etiquette on the Internet), especially the pages about email etiquette.

And another thing in this context: It has happened that after receiving above mentioned reminder email I got a reply with just the name, phone number and address. That is outright rude, sorry.

PLEASE use the Reply button and leave all original text in the mail; this way I have the context of the original question in the email and do not need to go on a trip with the divining rod to find the original mail. Thank you for your cooperation. Subsequently added: You may want to read this post as well; it gives more information concerning the same basic issue.

Another BIG issue is the amount of advice about trivial basic things that is being asked. When you're asking a professional for free information and advice then please always remember what Abraham Lincoln said:
"A lawyer's time and advice are his stock in trade."
"Stock in trade" means what he or she sells in order to earn a living. Just as a lawyer's knowledge of the law is her/his "stock in trade" my knowledge and experience with computers is my "stock in trade".

Please be reasonable about how much and how often you are asking for free work and advice. And let me know that you have tried to find an answer yourself and where you looked for it. Trust me, there are way too many people out there that just ask without ever having made the slightest attempt at finding an answer themselves.

When I get an e-mail like, "how can I turn the greyed-out save as back on" I have to ask for more specifics or just refer the sender to my blog. A carefully targeted question, such as "How can I activate Save As... in Firefox's File Menu when it is greyed out" will get a specific answer and not just a request for more information.

And, by the way, with enough interest in your computer and security on the Internet you could have read my blog in the first place, right?

And in this context something different: Currently it is happening that possibly a child of a customer is emailing me; he did not tell me whose child he is, he does not give me his address, only his cell number. He seems not to understand that I can get in trouble with the law if I communicate with him without parental consent. So please, I need to be able to identify what customer you are related with if you are a minor son or daughter of a customer! Your personal cell phone number is NOT sufficient, I need parental consent. And please consider that I did not “make” this society and its laws.

As usual I welcome comments and suggestions right here in the blog.

Thank you in advance.

I am very sorry but I can't help with a quick phone call that might solve your immediate problem. Why? Because sadly you did not give me your phone number in your email. This way I can not help directly with a quick phone call to eventually resolve your problem via remote support.
Please read this entry on my blog and amend this and all future emails accordingly.
This is obligatory for all support questions by email, always and every time!
Please use Reply, do not just write a new email. Reply keeps the context in the email and thus saves a lot of time consuming and frustrating search.
Thank you for your cooperation.

 As usual I welcome suggestions and comments right here in the blog.

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