Looking back on another week of tech exploits during the COVID-19 coronavirus chaos…
The end of my furlough
The week started off with exam study, working towards Microsoft exam AZ-300 (as mentioned last week). That was somewhat derailed when I was asked to return to work from Wednesday, ending my Furlough Leave at very short notice. With 2.5 days lost from my study plan, it shouldn’t have been a surprise that I ended my working week with a late-night exam failure (though it was still a disappointment).
Returning to work is positive though – whilst being paid to stay at home may seem ideal to some, it didn’t work so well for me. I wanted to make sure I made good use of my time, catching up on personal development activities that I’d normally struggle to fit in. But I was also acutely aware that there were things I could be doing to support colleagues but which I wasn’t allowed to. And, ultimately, I’m really glad to be employed during this period of economic uncertainty.
It looks like one of my main activities for the next few weeks will be working on a Data Strategy for a combined authority, so I spent Tuesday afternoon trying to think about some of the challenges that an organisation with responsibility for transportation and economic growth across a region might face. That led me to some great resources on smart cities including these:
- From LinkedIn Learning: solving urban problems using technology:
- There are some inspirational initiatives featured in this video from The Economist:
- Finally (and if you only have a few minutes to spare), this short video from Vinci Energies provides an overview of what smart cities are really about:
Remote workshop delivery
I also had my first experience of taking part in a series of workshops delivered using Microsoft Teams. Teams is a tool that I use extensively, but normally for internal meetings and ad-hoc calls with clients, not for delivering consulting engagements.
Whilst they would undoubtedly have been easier performed face-to-face, that’s just not possible in the current climate, so the adaptation was necessary.
The rules are the same, whatever the format – preparation is key. Understand what you’re looking to get out of the session and be ready with content to drive the conversation if it’s not quite headed where you need it to.
Editing/deleting posts in Microsoft Teams private channels
On the subject of Microsoft Teams, I was confused earlier this week when I couldn’t edit one of my own posts in a private channel. Thanks to some advice from Steve Goodman (@SteveGoodman), I found that the ability to delete and/or edit messages is set separately on a private channel (normal channels inherit from the team).
And here's the answer to my problem: once I was an owner on the Channel I could see this (thanks @stevegoodman). Looks like it's set at Team level for most Channels but Private Channels have their own settings pic.twitter.com/AUqaNkVdf9— Mark Wilson ???? (@markwilsonit) May 13, 2020
The Microsoft Office app
Thanks to Alun Rogers (@AlunRogers), I discovered the Microsoft office app this week. It’s a great companion to Office 365 (or , searching across all apps, similar to Delve but in an app rather than in-browser. The Microsoft Office app is available for download from the Microsoft Store.
Azure Network Watcher
And, whilst on the subject of nuggets of usefulness in the Microsoft stable…
A little piece of history
I found an old map book on my shelf this week: a Halford’s Pocket Touring Atlas of Great Britain and Ireland, priced at sixpence. I love poring over maps – they provide a fascinating insight into the development of the landscape and the built environment.
Discovered this map book in my home office today. No apparent publishing date but certainly pre-motorway. Possibly belonged to @Nikki_LMC’s grandfather. A fascinating look into history! pic.twitter.com/QbgPWxynhD— Mark Wilson ???? (@markwilsonit) May 15, 2020
That’s all for now
Those are just a few highlights (and a lowlight) from the week – there’s much more on my Twitter feed…