I think it’s uncontroversial to say that our culture looks down on failure. Failure is to be avoided. Failure elicits shame and generates negative headlines. On the other hand, success is triumphantly celebrated by traditional news and social media alike, in some cases, to our psychological detriment.

I’m certainly not opposed to success; I just believe that failure is getting an unwarranted bad rap. In my opinion, failure should be the real goal of an endeavor – with the caveat that the method of failure is of critical importance as well. More on that later.

Failure deserves to be embraced. Real-world evidence in software, science, personal growth, exercise, engineering, project management, philosophy, technology supports this idea. Embracing failure improves your chances of getting to successful results.

Failure is the only thing that teaches honest lessons. Without failure, how do we truly know what our boundaries are? Without failure, how do we know under which conditions success turns to catastrophe? Without failure, we cannot meaningfully evolve. Without failure, we cannot improve.

Failure is interesting, because it’s frequently surprising. There are so many ways to fail!

Not all failure is equal, however. This is where the methodology of failure comes into play. For failure to culminate in success, you must plan to fail, and do the work to get there. Simply failing because you did no preparation is not part of the fail-to-succeed journey – I wouldn’t even call it failure because that kind of non-action imparts no lessons and moves nothing.

One excellent plan-to-fail approach out there is TDD – test driven development methodology for software. TDD starts with creating test cases that are guaranteed to fail when they are first created because nothing exists to support them. Gradually, as you write code to support your test cases, the rate of failures diminishes, and in the end – a result that is made better through repeated failure.

Biological failure leads to evolution on a species scale and drives growth and development on a personal level; it happens to be a useful tool in a bodybuilder’s arsenal.

Failure is the only thing we can count on. As Mythbusters said, failure is always an option, so get comfortable with it, and it’ll serve you well.

Success is the boundary between effort and failure. Sure, there are other factors at play, but if you’re going to explore your potential and grow beyond your current limitations, striving for failure is the way to do it.

Rethink your views of failure. Embrace it, accept it as part of your process, and – most importantly – plan for it. Planning for failure creates robust more architectures than otherwise, and remember that it’s better to fail gracefully than catastrophically. The more imaginative you are in planning for failures, the more robust the end product will be, and even if you don’t get to where you thought you were going, you will learn a lot about yourself, the process, and your subject matter in the process – way more than if you merely achieved success.

To get an interesting perspective on failure, check out works by the Romanian philosopher Emil Cioran – for an entertaining and abbreviated version you can also listen to one of my favorite podcasts, Philosophize This!

More Edge Productivity Tips

More Edge Productivity Tips


Name That Window!

We’ve all been there – too many browser windows open, which one do you need? Edge let’s you name your browser windows for easy identification. Check it out:


Make an app for that!

Microsoft Edge allows you to turn any web page into an app that can be pinned to your taskbar, start menu, or added as a desktop icon. This is especially helpful for frequently visited websites. It’s simple enough – follow the steps in the video below to turn your favorite website into an app with just a few clicks:


If you’ve got a (math) problem, Edge will solve it.

Literally. And it will show you the work! This feature is still in preview and not something I would rely on for life-saving calculations, but still a useful tool to be aware of for whenever you find yourself working through Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally to solve for the value of x. See it in action below:


Business and IT Synchronization

Business and IT Synchronization

Successful companies are always seeking out new IT solutions to add to their toolkit. However, every new element inside the commercial enterprise strategy puzzle requires revising and synchronizing techniques throughout the whole agency.

With growing market demands and customers higher expectations, business leaders along with business analysts are creating their own IT strategies as solutions to business problems and leveraging the possibilities that software presents. Nonetheless, it’s a new phenomenon in the private sector, and it can be a challenge to synchronize virtual solutions with corporation goals.

Why your IT strategy must align with your enterprise approach

Just recently IT has emerged as a key player in the commercial enterprise scene. Today, IT solutions are more than simply records storage or automating routine tasks. They are integral in ensuring smooth workflow processes, optimizing resource management, permitting better integration and collaboration among departments, and they serve to improve supply chain management, overall client satisfaction and profitability.

First class solutions partnered with corporate objectives (also referred to as IT and business alignment) brings substantial benefits:

  • Effective strategies for risk management and compliance issues.
  • Better optics for the delivery of products and services.
  • Superior analytics assists with response time and improved decision making.
  • Reduced costs associated with overhead expenses and lost time

Re evaluate the plan regularly

Aligning business practices and IT strategy is an ongoing integral process that needs to be kept up to date. As the organization expands and develops, so must the IT strategies that are in place. An outdated business/IT plan won’t support business needs effectively. What’s worse is it could cause a detrimental impact on a employer’s operational ability and result in significant financial losses.

Take advantage of technology leaders

The software industry is rapidly changing and companies will always benefit by partnering with specialists that keep up with changes and new innovative opportunities for business growth. A good understanding of business goals coupled with experts to assist in aligning those goals create the best case scenario to ensure your company stays ahead of it’s competition. As a team, you will be more in tune and pay closer attention to the IT element of corporate strategy, ensuring optimal results and profitability.

Device Spotlight: Yealink WH67 UC Workstation

Device Spotlight: Yealink WH67 UC Workstation

I recently found myself with a need to replace the off-brand bluetooth headset I had been using for the last year. It served me well for the frequent calls and meetings I attend, reliable until its last call when the earphone snapped off where it joined the headband. Cheap plastic.

In all honsety, I was waiting for this day because my eye was on a family of products from Yealink – a rising leader in Microsoft Teams certified audio and video communication devices. After some consideration, I opted for the WH67 Wireless Convertable Headset and the acompanying wireless charging stand. Now a few weeks into use, I thought I’d introduce this product and share some of my favorite features.

Yealink WH67and Wireless Charging Stand

1. Easy Setup

The setup for this device could not have been easier. Out of the box, I simply connected the power supply and plugged the USB cable into my computer. Almost instantly, the all-in-one workstation connected with Teams and was ready to use. No need to configure device settings in teams – it just worked.

These devices can be managed centrally in the Teams Admin center or locally with the proprietary Yealink USB Connect software.

2. Crystal Clear Audio

Whether I’m using my earpiece or the speakerphone, the clarity of sound on both ends of the line is unbeatable. Yealink’s Acoustic Sheild Technology differentiates background noise from your voice and blocks out other noises around you.

Not only is the audio clear, but the wireless range I have with the earpiece is phenomenal. I can safely travel from desk to coffee pot without skipping a beat.

3. Minimal Desktop Footprint

This one goes beyond the amount of space it takes on your desk – which is very little, but let’s talk about ridding yourself of wires.

With the optional Wireless Charging Stand, I was able to do away with my cell phone charging cord and the cord I used to charge my old headset. Yes, the workstation has it’s own cords (two), but they tuck away nicely and are out of sight. No more tangled messes.

BONUS: the WH67 Workstation has a built in 2 port USB hub for any devices you might need to connect.

4. Flexibility

The WH67 has four different wearing styles to match your preference. I currently use the earhook and eartip combo, but the headset comes with over-the-head headband and around-the-neck neckband accessories. Switching between styles is simple and I have found the in-ear eartips to be incredibly comfortable.

I also enjoy the flexibility of use. It’s simple to switch between speakerphone and earpiece, and I have paired my cellphone with the workstation to seamlessly take and make calls from Teams and my mobile with one earpiece.

5. Convenience

Teams calling is great, but I do appreciate having a keypad to dial phone numbers without having to switch to the app and open the calls tab. The WH67’s 4-inch multitouch display provides a dial pad and the convenient Teams Button to instantly surface your teams app with one touch.


If you’d like to know more about the WH67 or other Yealink solutions, let us know!

An up-to-date Machine for Improved Performance and Security

An up-to-date Machine for Improved Performance and Security

You might want to think twice when dimising the ‘restart to update’ notifications your computer is sending. Ensuring the machine is current with operating system (OS) and manufacturer updates is essential to keep things running smoothly and securely.

Here are some tips to keep your PC in good working order:

1. Check for Windows updates now!

‘Patch Tuesday,’ the second Tuesday of each month is when Microsoft releases update packages for Windows 10, Windows 7, Microsoft Office and its other apps. At minimum, you should update your computer as frequently as these updates are released – monthly. Check for updates now:

  1. Open the start menu and choose settings (Shortcut: Window key + I)
  2. Go to update & security
  3. Click check for updates
  4. You may see view optional updates – these are important, too! Click to install
  5. Your updates might require a restart – be sure to save anything you’re working on and allow the PC to resart when the updates are complete.

2. Put it on auto pilot

It’s easy to overlook updates if you don’t set them to be installed automatically.

  1. From the Windows Update screen, choose advanced options:
  1. Turn on the update options and update notifications as shown below:
  1. Your settings are saved automatically – close the window and let your PC do the rest – just don’t ignore it when it prompts for a restart.

3. Check for manufacturer updates

Microsoft generally covers your OS updates and sometimes will catch manufacturer updates. Manufacturer updates cover things like drivers, BIOS version updates and other critical components, so checking in on these regularly is key. Here’s how you can check for updates from some common manufacturers:

  1. Lenovo – Check your PC for the Lenovo Vantage app. You can check for system updates here, or visit the Lenovo support page if you don’t have the app.
  2. Dell Dell Support Page
  3. HPHP Support Page

4. Updates for your Mac

It’s just as important to keep your Mac up to date. Check the app store regularly for app updates (especially if you’re running Office apps).

You can set automatic app updates in just a few easy clicks:

  1. Launch the Mac App Store
  2. Select App Store in the menu bar
  3. Select Preferences from the dropdown menut
  4. Check the box for Automatic Updates

To keep your OS updated automatically, follow these steps:

  1. Select the Apple Menu in the menu bar
  2. Select System Preferences > Software Update
  3. Check the for Automatically keep my Mac up to date
Waffle launchers, Hamburger menus, and ellipses

Waffle launchers, Hamburger menus, and ellipses

There are a few terms that we often use during support or training sessions that aren’t always familiar to everyone. These terms are convenient shortcuts that refer to common menu elements in wide use today: you will see them frequently on many apps and websites.

So, what are they and what do they mean?

Ellipsis

I’ll start with “ellipsis” (plural: “ellipses”). This is the proper word you can use to refer to the ubiquitous three dots (…) that indicate additional actions hidden from view to reduce clutter. What does it actually mean, though?

ellipsis

[əˈlipsis]

NOUN

Ellipsis (noun); ellipses (plural noun)

the omission from speech or writing of a word or words that are superfluous or able to be understood from contextual clues.

“it is very rare for an ellipsis to occur without a linguistic antecedent”

Synonyms: leaving out, exclusion, exception, noninclusion, deletion, erasure, cut, excision, elimination, absence

Antonyms: addition, inclusion

ORIGIN

mid 16th century: via Latin from Greek elleipsis, from elleipein ‘leave out’.

In written English the ellipsis denotes something that is left unsaid, an implication that has been left to the reader to interpret. It’s a little more definitive in technological terms; if you see an ellipsis in an app or on the web, clicking it will reveal additional options or actions you can take – something the developer thought would be used less frequently than the menu options in plain view.

Microsoft Edge, for example, hides all the menu options behind an ellipsis in the browser’s toolbar:

Ellipsis menu example
Ellipsis menu example

SharePoint provides additional contextual menu options for many elements in a view through a vertical ellipsis:

Vertical ellipsis example

Next time someone tells you to click on the ellipsis, you’ll know exactly what they mean!

Waffle Launcher

This one always elicits a chuckle. It’s easy to imagine waffles being launched, but as exciting as that sounds, in this case a waffle launcher is just a button that sorta looks like a waffle and gives you a list of apps you can launch when you click on it – hence, “waffle launcher.”

Both Microsoft and Google use the waffle launcher icon to indicate access to more apps. Here it is for Office 365:

Waffle launcher example
Waffle launcher example

The Waffle Launcher is frequently called the “App Launcher”, but I prefer the other term – it’s more descriptive and way more amusing.

Hamburger Menu

The “hamburger menu” is a gastronomic nickname for another common menu element used hide navigation options – not as exciting as an actual burger menu. Frequently this is used in mobile versions of web sites, and, like the ellipsis, is just a way to indicate that there’s more options for you to explore. It consists of three horizontal lines stacked on top of one another, kinda like the bun and the burger in the middle.

The Bing home page hides some setting options behind a hamburger menu:

Hamburger menu example
Hamburger menu example

One interesting bit of trivia: the icon has been around since around 1980 and was created by Norm Cox of Xerox for the Xerox Star (source: Medium.com).


Tips to Increase Productivity

Tips to Increase Productivity

business analytics intelligence BI concept, KPI, financial charts stock photo

If you’re constantly behind on work, missing deadlines, or wasting time, then try using the following tactics to make yourself more productive.

Light Bulbs Concept Photo of light bulbs with shining fibres in shape of BRAND concept related words isolated on black background ads stock pictures, royalty-free photos & images

Disable ads in the Windows 10 File Explorer

Ads can be distracting when you’re trying to get things done. Microsoft has implemented its own services such as Office 365 and One Drive directly in the Windows File Explorer along with ads elsewhere around its operating system.

Disabling ads can easily be done by:

  • Launching File Explorer and click View > Options > Change folder and search options.
  • Move to the View tab and scroll through the list of options in the Advanced settings section.
  • Towards the bottom of the list, uncheck the option labeled Show sync provider notifications.
  • Click OK.

Using Task View to find app windows

Task View primary function is to provide an experience to quickly switch between running applications. It shows thumbnail views of all the open applications of the current desktop or virtual desktop and allows you to manage multiple apps and access apps quickly.

You can access the Task View screen by doing any one of the given methods:

  1. Click Task View button on the Taskbar (the button beside the Search bar).
  2. Press the Win + Tab.
  3. Swipe three fingers on the trackpad.

In case you haven’t used it, the Task View button looks like this:

Task View shows Thumbnails of App Windows

 

Customize Your Start Menu

The start menu can be customized to work for you. Rather than just rearranging the list of start menu items, you can choose what you want to appear for your unique needs, rearrange, resize and remove programs and other items that you do not use. There are also live tiles which can be useful to display weather, news or emails.

To access the Start menu settings, open the Start menu and click the “ Settings ” (gear) icon on the left side of the menu. On the “ Windows Settings ” dialog box, click Personalization. Click Start in the Personalization menu on the left side of the Settings dialog box.


 

3 Windows Key Shortcuts to Make your Life Easier

3 Windows Key Shortcuts to Make your Life Easier

The Windows logo key is a useful and even essential key on your keyboard. There are multiple shortcuts this key can be used for to make you more efficient and speed up your work.

Here are three you may find useful in your daily activities:

 

Clipboard

Copy images and text from one PC to another with a cloud-based clipboard. Not only can you can paste from your clipboard history, but you can also pin the items you find yourself using all the time.

This little-known – and incredibly useful – shortcut allows you to get to your clipboard history: press Windows logo key  + V. You can also paste and pin frequently used items by choosing an individual item from your clipboard menu.

To share your clipboard items across your Windows 10 devices, select Start  > Settings  > System Clipboard. Choose Automatically sync text that I copy under Sync across devices. The sync feature is tied to your Microsoft account, or your work account, so remember to use the same login information on all your devices.

Lock your PC

You can use the Windows Logo Key to quickly lock your PC. To do this, simply press Windows logo key + L

 

Split Screen

Sometimes while working, you may be limited to one monitor, but need to see two at once. An easy way to do this is by using the Windows Logo key.

To snap a window to the left, use the Windows logo key + Left arrow

To snap a window to the right, use the Windows logo key + Right arrow