Browser Choice

Following a legal agreement between Microsoft and The European Competition Commission, from March 1st 2010, Windows users across Europe are able to install the web browser of their choice, rather than having Internet Explorer as a default. For a detailed explanation of the background to this have a look at MicrosoftOnTheIssues.com Although I’ve been a Mac user for 4 years, I still use Windows at work (where I’m forced to use IE7) and at home, where I have virtual machines set up on the Mac to run Windows, I run Firefox. Even when I was a “real” (as opposed to virtual) Windows user, I still preferred Firefox or Opera. Not only were these browsers more secure, but they were amongst the first to introduce features such as tabbed browsing and saved sessions. “But hang on”, I hear you say, “I’ve always been able to install other browsers on Windows”. Yes but this is different. I can drive a car but I’m no mechanic. In the same way, there are millions of PC users who want to be able to turn on their machine and “get on”, whether it be emailing, surfing, writing a letter, or whatever. For “technical tasks” like installing software, they want to be prompted, rather than having to go to a website, download an exe file, be advised that they should only run exe files from trusted sources, etc etc. Enter Browser Choice… Tonight, when I fired up my Windows 7 virtual machine, Microsoft’s Browser Choice software ran automatically. A large message box proclaimed “An important choice to make: your browser.” It went on to advise...

Jingle Bells Jingle Bells

Last month I wrote a blog post about course interruptions. Yesterday it happened again. Only this time it was far worse. I had 15 delegates on my online session. For the first 10 minutes everything was fine and then suddenly..BOOM! It sounded like one of the attendees was attending the session from a kids party. In the background I could hear music. One minute it sounded like a steel drum band and the next minute I could hear Jingle Bells (I kid you not – in the middle of March!). Then I heard the sound of kids crying! Not only was it off-putting for me, it was off-putting for the other attendees – and they told me as much through the Webex chat facility. Unfortunately, the teleconferencing system that we use doesn’t have the facility for the host to mute the other participants. UPDATE: My colleague has done some investigating and the company that provides our TC facilities have recently added this feature. It was obvious that somebody hadn’t muted their phone, so I did all the usual stuff…asked them (politely) to put their phones on mute, typed up a message in a PowerPoint slide (which could be seen by all attendees via screen-sharing). I even resorted to “a minute’s silence” in the hope that “the culprit” would realise – although that “backfired” when I received several messages in the Webex chat asking why they couldn’t hear me. Eventually I asked them all to log off the phone call and call back in, which they all did – and back came the music too. This went on for about...

Stand and Deliver

Do you stand and deliver? Or do you prefer to sit? I’m talking about how you deliver a presentation or training course. If I’m doing a 1:1 coaching session, I’ll usually sit, either at the trainer’s desk at the front of the training room, or next to the delegate. If I’m coaching at the delegate’s desk, then circumstances dictate that I’ll end up sitting next to them. However, in a formal training course, why do I always find myself standing up? I suppose I feel that it gives me a position of authority, like a barrister in a courtroom (but then The Judge spends the day sitting down). Maybe it’s because I don’t want to feel like a school teacher, teaching a bunch of kids, or maybe correct posture and stance was drummed into me on the Train The Trainer courses that I have attended over the years. Whatever the reason, I don’t just stand like a stuffed dummy. Even when I’m not pointing at the projector screen, I find myself gesticulating with my hands (I knew they were there for a reason). In my current role, I’m an “in-house trainer” and in 2007 we began to offer a “global training service”. In practical terms this means that more and more training is being delivered via Webex to a worldwide audience. Due to circumstances beyond our control, VOIP is not available so delegates dial-in for the audio. Over the past 12 months I’ve spent more time delivering virtual training than classroom training. Most of the time, I sit down when I deliver. I book myself a small meeting room...

Mirrored Text in PowerPoint

I’ve been asked a couple of times lately how to mirror text in PowerPoint 2007. To get from here… To here… Right click on the text box and select Format Shape In the 3-D Rotation section, set the X value to...

Windows 7

I recently delivered an online presentation to the North West Regional Group of The Institute of IT Training which covered how to install and run Windows 7 in a virtualized environment on Mac OSX. Part of the presentation was a demonstration of 7 new and improved features of Windows 7. For each feature I’ve created a short video which can be accessed via the links below (Youtube links): Windows 7: Libraries Windows 7: The Problem Steps Recorder Windows 7: Jump Lists Windows 7: Aero Windows 7: Shake and Peek Windows 7: Gadgets Windows 7: Snap to...