SKYPE new feature: Blur my background

 

  •  

    Animated image of a background being blurred in Skype.

    Ah, the foibles of working from home.

    That Skype call is about to start and you’ve got wet laundry and dirty dishes all over the place.

    Worried about what your VC attendees are going to see? Worry no more:

    Skype now offers a BLUR MY BACKGROUND. This option, similar to one present in MS Teams, uses heuristics (aka, technomagic) to discern foreground from background then applies a flattering blur similar to the one that Cybil Shepherd’s Maddie Hayes character was often filmed with.

    Next up on the R&D drawing boards:

    • Add Pants Filter (for those moments when you prematurely stand up)
    • Hide my wife and kids, for this guy

    Cheers!

    quincy

    Additional reading:

Win10 Emoji Keyboard

Still half a year away from World Emoji Day (yes, it’s a thing), but I’m overdue an Emoji post, so…

win10emoji-gif

In Windows 10, you can insert an emoji with the flick of key:
Press Windows Key (windowsLogoKey) + . (period) then select emoji or type to filter the displayed selection. For example;

windowsLogoKey + . , Q

for  🙋‍♀️question, 🦆quail, or 🌜quarter moon.

Cheers!

quincy

Related reading:

Windows Emoji Keyboard

In this, my last post honoring World Emoji Day (promise), I showcase the emojis available with Windows Touch Keyboard.

In addition to the new emojis in GMail, and the hidden emojis in Skype, did you know that you can access emojis using Windows’ on-screen keyboard?

The on-screen keyboard (aka, Touch Keyboard), available to Windows desktop since versions 8, includes emoji characters similar to those used on iPhones and iPads.

emoji keyboard2

Accessing Emojis Using Windows Touch Keyboard

  1. In Desktop mode, RIGHT+CLICK on the taskbar, point to Toolbars and select Touch Keyboard. The Touch Keyboard icon TouchKeyboard Icon. now appears on the Taskbar.
  2. Click (or tap, if using a tablet) the Touch Keyboard icon to display an onscreen keyboard.
  3. Click the emoji key Emoji button_66 to display emojis.
    emojiKeyboard
  4. Click the desired emoji. That emoji is inserted at the current cursor position.

Press ‘X‘ to close the Touch Keyboard when done.

Cheers!

Additional reading:

Display Multiple Time Zones

Negotiating meeting schedules between time zones can be tricky. Here are two simple methods to help keep track of time in other regions:

Add Additional Time Zone to the Outlook Calendar

DualTimeZones

  1. In Outlook, click File, then select Options. The Outlook Options dialog appears.
  2. At left, select Calendar, then scroll down to the Time zones section.
  3. In the Label area type a brief description for the local time zone.
  4. Check Show a second time zone.
  5. In the second Label area, type a brief description for the second time zone.
  6. Select additional time zone from the second Time zone drop down.
  7. OK.
OutlookOptionsCalendar
Outlook Calendar Options

To Add Time zones to Windows Taskbar 

The windows taskbar has the ability to show two additional time zones.

TimeClocks
Windows 8 Time Display
  1. RIGHT + CLICK on time displayed in lower right corner of taskbar.
  2. Select Adjust date/time.
  3. Click Additional Clocks tab.
  4. Check Show this clock.
  5. For each additional time zone, check Show this clock, select time zone from the drop-down, then enter a name in the field below.
  6. OK.
Additional Clocks dialog
Additional Clocks dialog (CLICK to enlarge)

 

For additional multi-regional scheduling resources, visit the World Clock website. There you will find meeting calculators, daylight savings information and interactive maps.

Additional reading..

Cheers!

hɔuᴉnb

More Windows Key Shortcuts

computer_key_Windows 

Here are two favorite shortcuts of mine. Both feature the underutilized Windows Key .

To Open an Explorer Window

  • Hold the Windows Key and press ‘E‘.

This combination offers a fast(er) way to get to your files and folders.

Explorer

To Open a ‘Run’ window

  • Hold the Windows Key and press ‘R‘.

To launch a program or access a file (provided you have the program name or file path), use this Windows Key combo.

Notepad

 

 

Cheers!
hɔuᴉnb

WinEvolution

Comments and questions are always welcome!

Additional recommended reading:

Phone Smack-down: Cortana vs. Siri & Google

Wondering how the different mobile virtual assistants fare?

Dan Rubino, of Windows Phone Central, put together a tête-à-tête-à-tête  comparison, pitting newcomer Cortana (Windows phone 8.1) against veterans Siri (Apple) and  Google Now (Android).  Although presented fairly objectively, consider the source when reviewing, and judge for yourself.

If you want to skip the 7 minute video, here’s the the blow-by-blow. In many cases each assistant handled its task slightly differently. For more details view the video, or follow this link to wpcentral.com’s article.

 

Siriapple

Cortanawin8logo

Googlephone_android

Settings
“Turn off WiFi.”
blue checkmark blue checkmark blue checkmark
Social media
“Four Square, check-in.”
blue checkmark blue checkmark
Connect
“Call _____ using Skype?”
 blue checkmark  blue checkmark
Events
“When’s the next Miami Heat game?”
blue checkmark blue checkmark blue checkmark
Flights
“Flight status, AA125.”
blue checkmark blue checkmark blue checkmark
Appointments
“What’s my schedule?”
blue checkmark blue checkmark
Web Browser
“Go to CNN.com.”
blue checkmark blue checkmark blue checkmark
Notes
“Note: I need to repark the car.”
blue checkmark(w/Notepad) blue checkmark(w/One Note) blue checkmark(w/email)
Navigation
“Where’s the nearest Dunkin Donuts?”
blue checkmark blue checkmark blue checkmark
Weather
“Whats the weather like Tuesday?”
blue checkmark blue checkmark blue checkmark

Cheers!

hɔuᴉnb

 Windows Phones 8.1

Windows Phone 8.1

At this month’s Build ConferenceMicrosoft debuted their newest mobile operating system,Windows Phone 8.1. This OS will appear on select new phones, with an update for existing phones targeted for later this year.

Here are some highlights:

  • Swype Keyboard Input. Something android users have long enjoyed, this slip-slidemethod of typing and pattern recognition will speed up your mobile typing.
  • Action Center. Pull-down access to key settings (e.g., WiFi, Bluetooth). The Center can be customized, allowing you to select what features you want to access more easily.
  • Cortana, voice recognition IA (named after the character in Microsoft’s HALO game). Speak your request and Cortana responds. Cortana (whose search is, not surprisingly, powered by BING) has both a sense of humor (ask her if she knows Siri) and a decent singing voice.
  • Additional Improvements have been made to the Windows Phone Camera (now featuring a Burst Capture) and Kids Corner (now simplified, so you can easily hand junior your phone for games without worry that your data will be deleted).

To read the full review visit Pocket-lint

 

Cheers!

hɔuᴉnb