Swapped “ and @ on keyboard

One day you are merrily typing away as you always have, and all of a sudden you find that what you typed is wrong. You retype it again and find that the key you press is not actually the key that appears! What the??

In my case the @ (SHIFT+2) was being replaced by “ (SHIFT+’).  Luckily, I remembered that this had happened before and involved the English pound (£) symbol.

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The reason is because I have 2 keyboards types installed on my desktop PC as you can see above. You can view your keyboards by selecting the language icon in the system tray which is next to the clock.

Once I re-selected the English (Australia) keyboard I was back in business with the correct keys.

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Always wanting to know how this could happen, I received my answer when I moused over that same icon as shown above. The keyboard is swapped when you press the Windows key + space. I use the Windows key + another key on my keyboard all the time so I had obviously fat fingered the secret sequence to change the default keyboard! The things my subconscious does to try and distract me.

Hopefully, this helps someone else out because it can be very frustrating to solve the first time it happens.

My Business Books – 2020

Not a lot has changed on this since last year which you can check out at:

My Business Books – 2019

I spent more time last year reading biographies of people like Douglas MacArthur and Winston Churchill that I did with business books. Worthwhile business books are become harder and harder to find these days in my opinion. All have something to offer but few have more than one concept or some really novel ground breaking idea in my opinion. I still have lots of business books to get through but I can say that I’m busting to read any on that list at this stage.

You can follow all the books I read and want to read over at Goodreads where I have an account. You can also view my activity via:

https://www.goodreads.com/director_cia

or just follow me on Facebook:

www.facebook.com/ciaops

Here’s my current top business books in order:

1. The Art of War – Sun Tzu

The all time classic on strategy. As relevant today as it ever was. A very short read but very deep.

2. The Millionaire Fastlane – M.J. DeMarco

I love the brutal honesty of this book. It doesn’t mince words about what it takes to shift from a pay check to actually living the life you want.

3. The Tipping Point – Malcolm Gladwell

The world is all about not what you know but who you know. This book explains exactly how this works and how to use it to your advantage.

4. The Four Hour Work Week – Tim Ferriss

Many people believe this book is about shirking responsibility. It is in fact a blueprint for how to free up your time to do things you want and enjoy. It will challenge the way you look at your career.

5. Secrets of the Millionaire Mind: Mastering the Inner Game of Wealth – T. Harv Eker

The successful are defined by a different mindset. This mindset can be learned. It can be trained. This is a great book to show you how to do just that.

6. Talent is over rated: What Really Separates World-Class Performers from Everyone Else – Geoff Colvin

Demonstrates that the best comes from implementing a system. Having a system allows you to focus on the right thing and do that work that is required. If you want to take yourself to an elite level, beyond just good, then read this book.

7. Book Yourself Solid: The Fastest, Easiest, and Most Reliable System for Getting More Clients Than You Can Handle Even If You Hate Marketing and Selling – Michael Port, Tim Sanders

You can’t survive in business without a steady flow of customers. Selling to people is the wrong approach, you instead need to attract them to your business. This book helps you achieve exactly that.

8. Profit First: A Simple System To Transform Any Business From A Cash-Eating Monster To A Money-Making Machine – Mike Michalowicz

Business is about making a profit. This then gives you the freedom to do what you want with that profit. This book helps you focus on profit and setting up systems to make the most of the profit you generate.

9. Barking Up the Wrong Tree – Eric Barker

Conventional wisdom does not always apply and in some case can actually be detrimental. Challenging what is taken for granted should be in the play book of everyone who wants to achieve at the highest level. Important lessons can be learned in the strangest places and form the strangest people. Have an open mind and you might be surprised at what you have believed to be bad in fact turns out to get just what you need.

10. Unbeatable Mind: Forge Resiliency and Mental Toughness to Succeed at an Elite Level – Mark Divine

Another mindset book. Business is not always going to be easy or take the intended route. This is when you need to have the determination to see your plans through to success. This book shows you how to develop the mental toughness to make this happen.

11. The E-Myth – Michael Gerber

The classic on ‘procedurising’ your business and creating a structure that doesn’t need you to survive. The simple secrets inside this book can transform any business from hardship to joy.

12. Tools of Titans – Tim Ferriss

There are few books that take the learnings for so many exceptional people and puts them at your fingertips. This is one such book that packs a lot of business and life learnings between the covers.

13. Predictably irrational: The Hidden Forces that Shape our Decisions – Dan Ariley

Although we like to think logic and rationality rule our world emotion is by far the more powerful influence. Understand this in the context of business and you are well on your way to understanding why people make the decisions they do and how to best profit from them.

14. Extreme Ownership – Jocko Willink and Lief Babin

Moving beyond blame is tough. This book illustrates the ownership of the problem and the environment is a key to success in the military or in business. It is a path few will elect to take voluntarily, however more may do so after reading this.

15. Peak Performance: Elevate your game, avoid burnout and thrive with the science of success – Brad Stulberg

Success is largely about developing a winning system. This book show you how to approach that pragmatically. If you want to see results use this book to help you build the system.

16. Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking – Malcolm Gladwell

The older you get the more experience you get. This experience is aggregated in your ‘gut feel’. Trusting your ‘gut’ may not appear rational but this book will help you understand why it is in fact your best option in many cases.

17. The Now Habit: A Strategic Program for Overcoming Procrastination and Enjoying Guilt-Free Play – Neil A. Fiore

Plenty of great productivity learnings in here that help you take action. It shows you how to focus on the right stuff in the right priority. Even if you are not a major procrastinator there is plenty in this book that you can take away.

18. The One Thing – Gary Keller

Multi-tasking is a myth. Focus is the key to success to bringing all your resources to bear in unison makes a hell of a lot of difference. Most people can’t do it, so those that can stand a much greater chance of success.

19 Deep Work – Cal Newport

Distractions are wasted energy and time that you’ll never get back. You’d be amazed at how distracting the modern world is. If you can minimise these distractions you can focus more and be far more productive.

I’ve decided to spend more time with Audible books this year to help me get through more content. I can listen at increased speeds to get through more content and I can also listen in more locations with Audible books. I still enjoy reading ‘old style’ on my Kindle but there seem to be so many things that get in the way. Even if I am tired and worn down, listening to Audible is easy to do and generally more relaxing. I am hoping to churn through a lot more books this year in that way.

Let me know what you think. Do these work for you? What’s your top business reads? I’d love to hear.

A hidden gem

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Microsoft has a hidden gem squirrelled away at:

https://myanalytics.microsoft.com/

You also get access to it via Delve:

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In short, it a “wellness” dashboard to report on your interactions using Microsoft 365. It’s available in most tenants right now, so you can go and have a look at your own version.

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I especially like the Network option that shows you who you communicate with.

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You can also display that as a list and interesting read and response times for each contact as well as select from Active, External, New and Important.

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You get After-hours breakdowns as you see above,

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As well as suggestion cards for improved productivity and wellness as shown above.

If you want to know how it all works visit:

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/Workplace-Analytics/myanalytics/use/dashboard-2

Now all of this is great, but my concern it is not really front and centre. Most people who have Microsoft 365 don’t even know Delve exists is my sad experience. Many are also unlikely to visit the URL directly. Thus, I’m a little concerned about the fate of this handy tool. Non-mainstream items in Microsoft 365 tend to end up being discontinued. I hope this won’t be the case for MyAnalytics. I’ve provided feedback that maybe the option for a weekly email with a summary report is a worthwhile addition. I think it also need more depth in the information it provides to be a compelling place for most users. at the moment, it is a ‘nice to see’ not a ‘must see’ and to survive it needs that I believe.

Hopefully, this is just the beginning of the features that will be brought to the service. Go and have a look for yourself and make some suggestions as to what you’d like to see.

Need to Know Podcast–Episode 189

This is our follow up episode with Marcus Dervine from Webvine speaking about Digital Transformation. We continue with the transformation pillars that Marcus has outlined in his as the road to successful adoption of technologies like Office 365. Of course Brenton joins me again to catch you up on all the cloud news. We’ve tried to keep the update as short as we can as we noticed that the episodes are getting longer. We’ll do a deeper dive into updates in the next episode as we wanted to make sure there was plenty of time for our guest.

Take a listen and let us know what you think –feedback@needtoknow.cloud

You can listen directly to this episode at:

https://ciaops.podbean.com/e/episode-189-marcus-dervin/

Subscribe via iTunes at:

https://itunes.apple.com/au/podcast/ciaops-need-to-know-podcasts/id406891445?mt=2

The podcast is also available on Stitcher at:

http://www.stitcher.com/podcast/ciaops/need-to-know-podcast?refid=stpr

Don’t forget to give the show a rating as well as send us any feedback or suggestions you may have for the show.

Resources

@marcusdervin

@contactbrenton

@directorcia

Marcus’s book – Digital Transformation, from the inside out (use coupon code CIAOPS for 20% off)

Webvine

Azure outage

New file template management

Mass delete notification

Passwordless Login

Windows 10 sandboxing

Windows 10 Quality updates

Need to Know podcast–Episode 185

A great interview this episode with Marcus Dervin from Webvine focused on Digital Transformation. Marcus has some real insights to share from his recent book on this very subject and we even have a special offer to listeners of this podcast to also grab a copy and learn from an experienced operator. If you are looking to digitally transform or help other business do the same, don’t miss this episode.

You’ll also get the latest round of Microsoft cloud updates from Brenton and myself as we aim to keep you up to date with the ever changing face of the cloud.

Take a listen and let us know what you think –feedback@needtoknow.cloud

You can listen directly to this episode at:

https://ciaops.podbean.com/e/episode-185-marcus-dervin/

Subscribe via iTunes at:

https://itunes.apple.com/au/podcast/ciaops-need-to-know-podcasts/id406891445?mt=2

The podcast is also available on Stitcher at:

http://www.stitcher.com/podcast/ciaops/need-to-know-podcast?refid=stpr

Don’t forget to give the show a rating as well as send us any feedback or suggestions you may have for the show.

Resources

@marcusdervin

@contactbrenton

@directorcia

Marcus’s book – Digital Transformation, from the inside out (use coupon code CIAOPS for 20% off)

Webvine

Page metadata coming to SharePoint and Office 365

Idle session timeout policy in SharePoint and OneDrive is now generally available

New Office ribbon

Microsoft Surface Go

New Planner capabilities

Meet Calendar.help

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In a recent article I wrote about how Findtime was under going a transition. Maybe, this is part of that change?

If you navigate to:

http://calendar.help

and sign up (you may need to wait to be accepted) using your Office 365 account you’ll be able to use Cortana intelligence to handle your meetings.

How?

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As you can see by the handy introduction message I received when I was approved, you simply CC the Cortana email address and allow the bot to take care of everything.

This is even better than find time because the bot takes care of all of the interactions with the other parties.

Calendar.help is still in preview but go, sign up and give it a whirl. I think you’ll find it something as helpful as Findtime, if not more. I also expect it to improve over time, so stay tuned for further updates.

Send recurring tweets using Microsoft Flow

Much of the content that I create on my blog has value beyond just the day it was posted. This is what is known as ‘ever green’ content. I wanted a way that I could ensure that the best of this ‘ever green’ content gets posted to social media on a regular basis. This will allow new followers of mine to discover information they may not have seen since they first started following me.

Thus, for this exercise I want to have a process where I can list tweets I want to recur and have them automatically scheduled to be sent. I am currently using a third party service to achieve some of this but it does lack some features and flexibility so I decided to have a crack at soling this challenge using Microsoft Flow.

Now, I will fully admit up front that I am still bumbling around Microsoft Flow and finding out how things work. There are probably better and more efficient ways to achieve what I’m doing here but this is just my initial step and I plan to continually improve this over time. However, if you have any suggestions or know how I can do things better, by all means please let me know.

To start with, I needed a location to store my tweets. I therefore created a custom list in SharePoint in Office 365.image

The Body field is a text field of 140 characters max (as this is how long a single tweet can be) and contains what will be tweeted. The Post field is that day (date) that I want the tweet to be sent. My plan is to scan this Post field, find today’s date, then use the Body field from the matching record in the actual tweet that gets sent out. What I then wanted to do was add one year to this Post date so the same tweet would then be scheduled to re-occur next year. I’ll get to the challenges I encountered doing this shortly.

I also created a unique sequence number for each tweet so I could easily track which tweet I was dealing with in a field called Sequence. I could have used the SharePoint ID field but I wanted more control, so I created my own.

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What I also wanted to be able to do was group my tweets by month (I was thinking about doing things like; May is the month of Azure and the like down the track). This field, called Month, is a calculated field as shown above. It basically gets the month value from the Post field.

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Now the Next Post field was the way I solved re-scheduling the tweet for the following year. I tried all sorts of things in Microsoft Flow to update the existing Post field but none worked, so I decided to simply use a calculated field in SharePoint which you can see above. The Next Post field basically takes the date in the Post field and adds one year using the formula above. I’ll use this Next Post field to update the Post field after the tweet has occurred in the Microsoft Flow.

So now onto building the Microsoft Flow.

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So I started with a Recurrence block. I want a tweet to go out daily so I set that here. You when you are testing, you may want to change this down to something like 1 minute so you can make sure things are working. You can always change it back once you are confident in your code.

The other thing that I would like to do is actually be able to exactly set what time in the day this recurrence happens. I couldn’t see how to do that so when you run the Microsoft Flow for this first time, this will be the starting recurrence point. Thus, run your Flow at the time you want it to automatically tweet during the day.

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So once Microsoft Flow is activated on the daily schedule it then needs to go to the SharePoint list (here, Tweets 2) where my list of tweets is saved. It needs to get the items in this SharePoint list, so add the SharePoint Get Items block to your code and point it to the appropriate Site Address and List Name as shown above.

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Now what you need to do is add a Condition block to check the SharePoint list and find a match for today’s date so you know what tweet to send. This proved a little challenging so I needed to go into the advanced mode and check the field Post using the following condition:

@equals(item()?[‘Post’], utcnow(‘yyyy-MM-dd’))

This basically will find the row in my tweets list that matches today’s date. It does that by looking through the Posts field for a match.

I couldn’t find how to do a time check in my local time zone. The only option seemed to be UTC. Again, a bit more research and I’m sure I can work it but for now my condition statement is checking UTC not my local time zone. That can mean I end up posting a different tweet from the day in my list. For now, that isn’t a big issues as I just want a tweet posted daily.

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So now, thanks to the Conditional statement, we have found the record we want to tweet for the day so in the YES condition we need to add an action block to actually send out a tweet. The contents of the tweet will be the Body field. You use the Post a tweet action block to enable this.

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I then added a SharePoint Update Item action block to increment the date in the Post field one year. As I said earlier, I played around with different formulas to achieve this in Microsoft Flow but didn’t have any luck. I solved it simply by adding an additional field to the SharePoint list that contains the Post date plus one year (that field I called Next Post).

Here, I update the Post field with the Next Post field so now the tweet has gone, it will automatically be rescheduled for the same date next year. And because Next Post is a calculated field it will automatically up date to a further year out ready for the next time the tweet gets posted.

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When I now run my Microsoft Flow you can see that a tweet from my original SharePoint list was tweeted. For the eagle eyed, you will notice this is in fact the second listed tweet from SharePoint. That’s because of the UTC timing in the conditional statement I mentioned earlier. Thus, tweet 116 was sent, not 115. No issues but now you can also probably see why I decided to give each tweet its own unique sequence number. Makes it much easier to follow what’s being sent.

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Once the tweet has been sent I look at my SharePoint list and I see that tweet 116 has had it’s Post field incremented by one year as expected (to 2018).

As I said, this is far from a complete or perfect solution. At this stage it does the job and now gives me a basis for improving and enhancing what’s there. I’ll provide updated articles when I add major improvements to this Microsoft Flow, but for now I’ve very happy with how quickly I could get this working.

Some improvements I’m now thinking of:

– Having a posted tweet simply go to the end of the queue of posts (i.e. last date) rather than adding one year to it.

– Categorising tweets via their content and being able to schedule tweets based on their tags.

– Creating a tweet campaign where tweets for something like my monthly webinars could be sent out on a regular sequence.

– Doing some similar with other social media networks such as Linkedin, Facebook, etc.

– Have blog posts I create be automatically be added to this recurring schedule.

– etc, etc. This potential is enormous.

Hopefully, this will inspire you to take a closer look at Microsoft Flow and see what it can do to automate and streamline your business. I’m going to continue playing with Microsoft Flow but also get into Azure Functions, Azure Logic Apps, Azure Run books and more as I want to automate as much as I can.

Software will eat the world!

Need to Know Podcast–Episode 136

Our focus on Microsoft Ignite Australia speakers continues. In this episode we interview Dux Raymond Si who is the CTO of Avepoint but also a Microsoft MVP and Regional Director. Dux has three great sessions at Ignite that are:

Microsoft Teams, Office 365 Groups, SharePoint, Yammer…What Should I Use, and When?

For today’s fast-paced, mobile-driven, and globally dispersed workplace, Microsoft offers tons of great ways to effectively communicate and collaborate. But which tools are right for your organisation? Solutions like Microsoft Teams, Office 365 Groups, Yammer, Skype for Business, SharePoint, OneDrive for Business, PowerApps, and Microsoft Flow all offer something unique to your business. In this interactive session, you will gain practical guidance on finding the right tools to facilitate efficient communications and collaboration both inside and outside the walls of your organisation. We’ll also explain how to drive adoption and keep your chosen solution under control. Get ready to walk away with the ability to chart a productive and pragmatic collaboration approach that delivers immediate and lasting value to your modern workplace.

and

How to Accelerate Office 365 Success: Develop Your Information Governance Strategy in 4 Steps

So you’ve made the decision to move to Office 365 – now how do you ensure your critical business information is secure in the cloud? In this interactive session, you will learn how to reduce risk and ensure your users do the right thing by employing industry best practices for information governance, risk, and compliance. We’ll also explain how recent enhancements from Microsoft – including Office 365 Security & Compliance Center and Azure Information Protection – as well as other related technologies can help. This session will empower you to implement proven tactics to ensure your Microsoft Cloud investment meets business needs while protecting your most sensitive data.

and finally,

3 Steps to Innovate and #HackTheStatusQuo

Innovation comes from those who hack – those who refuse to accept the way things are and pursue changes based on an idea, hunch, or instinct. Innovation doesn’t come from those who adapt themselves to fit the status quo. Believe it or not, but your organisation’s success now depends on how well you hack. You are the source of innovation and hold the keys to unlock the possibilities cloud, Internet of Things, machine learning, virtual reality, and augmented reality can create by fully understanding how to harness these technologies. Join Dux and learn his three steps to start you on your hacking journey. Learn how he helped a non-profit organisation do more good through hacking. Don’t miss what will be one of the most upbeat and stimulating sessions at Ignite Australia.

If there is ever a reason to attend Ignite then these sessions are it!

Don’t forget to send us your feedback at feedback@needtoknow.cloud

You can listen to this episode directly at:

https://ciaops.podbean.com/e/episode-138-dux-raymond-si/

or on Soundcloud here: 

Subscribe via iTunes at:

https://itunes.apple.com/au/podcast/ciaops-need-to-know-podcasts/id406891445?mt=2

The podcast is also available on Stitcher at:

http://www.stitcher.com/podcast/ciaops/need-to-know-podcast?refid=stpr

Don’t forget to give the show a rating as well as send us any feedback or suggestions you may have for the show.

Resources

@avepoint_inc

@meetdux

@marckean

@directorcia

Microsoft Ignite Australia: Innovation Track – with Dux Raymond Si

AvePoint Ignite 2017 Activities

AvePoint Office 365 Groups Playbook