Connecting Technology and Business.

Declutter for a cleaner Inbox using Clutter

Microsoft has added an awesome new feature in O365 Exchange Online that helps filter your low-priority email—saving time for your most important messages. Microsoft calls it Clutter.


Clutter looks at what you've done in the past to determine the messages you're most likely to ignore. It then moves those messages to a folder called Clutter. Just keep using email as usual and Clutter will learn which messages aren't important to you.


From time to time, Clutter might get it wrong. You can move the messages we've incorrectly identified as clutter to your inbox, and Clutter will take notice.


Your privacy is extremely important to Microsoft. So, they remove any personally identifiable information from the data it uses to make the feature better.


And if you find Clutter isn't for you, you can turn it off any time.

Continuum and Window 10 Phones

Microsoft has a lofty vision for Windows 10 - one operating system core for all devices called OneCore. One of the keys to making that vision a reality for smartphones is a software feature called Continuum. With Continuum for phones, Microsoft believes any phone can be your PC. Microsoft aims to turn Windows 10 phones into full-blown PCs when they’re connected to PCs. Also, with Windows 10 phones, the devices will perform similarly to a traditional PC when they’re connected to an external monitor, along with a Bluetooth mouse and keyboard.

Continuum is a software tool that will aid Windows 10 in detecting what type of device a user is on and help the operating system configure itself accordingly. It is integral for Surface and other convertible tablets that double as laptops. For instance, Continuum will be able to know when you're using Windows 10 with a mouse and keyboard attachment and when you've switched to a touch interface with finger- and pen-based inputs.

Microsoft’s universal apps use the same basic code base across devices and scale to fit the screen they’re being used on. Continuum is Microsoft's solution for shifting among various form factors.

When a Windows Phone is plugged into a PC monitor, a PowerPoint app is treated like a PC app because it is in fact the same code that one would see for PowerPoint on a PC. When numerous tablet apps are opened, Continuum would switch them to PC-style apps when the device is docked. Even desktop-centric stuff will work just fine. Seamless copying and pasting between mobile-centric apps, and yes, even the legendary ALT-TAB are available now. Continuum for Phones changes the interface on the screen it's connected to and gives you extra tools on the handset as well. Microsoft calls it a "PC-like experience".

Windows 10's Mail app running on a Windows Phone connected to an external monitor, using Continuum.

When you first connect your phone to a keyboard and screen using the new Connect button in the Action Center (which Microsoft also refers to as 'docking'), a notification at the top of your phone screen asks if you want to use the phone as a trackpad to control the cursor on the other screen - that's an app that gives you an experience very like controlling an Xbox with the SmartGlass app on your phone. (It helps to turn the phone sideways, so it looks like a trackpad, and to put it down in front of the keyboard). Or you can keep using the handset with the usual phone interface. Apps you launch by touching the phone screen stay on the phone screen - so you could project PowerPoint for a presentation but keep your email and personal text messages off the big screen. There will be a gesture to move an app from the phone screen to the big screen and back.

If what you're running is a web application from the Windows Store, it will give you a different interface if it uses responsive design. But if it's an Android app packaged for Windows 10 for Phones (or an iOS app that the developer hasn't added extra features to), you'll just get the standard phone app interface, only bigger.

Soon, one can rely solely on a smartphone for their computing needs.

Microsoft says that Windows 10 would launch late July in 190 countries and 111 languages. Windows 10 is showcased as a simpler, more modern OS that seamlessly ties together desktops, laptops and smartphones. Microsoft calls it not just another release of Windows "but a new generation of Windows built for an era for more personal computing, from Raspberry Pi to the holographic computer, where the mobility of the experience is what matters, not the mobility of the device."

Cut costs on third-party comunication apps - Use Skype for Business

One of our customers was struggling to cut down costs on communication which at one point shot up to unmanageable levels. While they were already subscribers to O365 plans that included Skype for Business, their users were ignorant of the capabilities of Skype for Business and so they kept using the traditional applications that came to them at an added cost. I showcased the features of Skype for business that contained more than what their traditional and costly applications offered. Now they are looking forward to a lot of savings as Skype for Business is their current app of choice for communication.

Here are some of the various productivity features that might make Skype for Business the first choice for internal as well as external communication:

Presence and app integration

  1. Show your presence and availability to others in the team, your department and the whole enterprise from any device from anywhere – just sign into Skype for Business in your Laptop or Desktop or Lync 2013 app in your mobile devices (iPad, Android tabs, Windows phone/ iPhone / Android phone.

  2. You can move your status to “Do not disturb” so that others may know you are busy – they can’t even ping you in Skype for Business when you are in Do not disturb status.

  3. When you start a mail or reply to a mail, stop and think twice – you can connect with the respective persons through Skype for business if they are online and are available. Click on the person’s name from the To box and start a conversation. The Subject line of the mail (if any) will automatically become the title of the conversation window.

  4. You can do a lot in the Chat window to minimize the number of mails exchanged – all the texts exchanged are saved in the Conversation history folder of your mailbox in Outlook.

Ad hoc Meetings

  1. You can add people with just a Skype id to your contacts list. They don’t have to subscribers to Office 365 services.

  2. You can create a federation with other client / customer Business enterprises (that have Office 365 subscription) at the admin level if you frequently communicate with them. (Kindly contact IT dept. for this). This will enable seamless communication between you and them.

  3. Start a chat with anybody in your Skype for Business contact list by just double clicking on the id and clicking on the Balloon icon.

  4. If you want to include one or more persons into an already open conversation window, click the Plus icon on the top right corner of the window  and search for the respective person from the contact list. You can also drag that person’s id from the Skype for Business window to the conversation window. Make sure he is available and inform him first before bringing him in.

  5. Click on the Phone receiver icon to connect with the participants through audio conferencing. Make sure you have a good headphones and a mic to have a real good audio conferencing experience. Your smart phone’s hands-free will suffice.

  6. Click on the Video Camera icon to connect with the participants through HD video conferencing.

  7. You can share your screen (desktop, one or more open windows/programs, White Board) or run a PowerPoint presentation by clicking the More option from the Monitor icon.

  8. Requesting for control, giving control and taking back control of the desktops and screens is possible during such meetings.

  9. Except for the text exchanges, nothing else of this ad hoc meeting is recorded.

Scheduled Meetings / Webinars

  1. You can schedule an online meeting by

    1. Clicking on the New Items option of the Outlook window and choosing the Skype Meeting option

    2. Opening a new appointment window from outlook calendar and clicking on the Skype meeting option.

  2. A “Join Skype meeting” link is generated on the notes area which will be required by the meeting attendees to join the online meeting

  3. This meeting request can be sent to the invitees irrespective of whether they have an O365  subscription / Skype id or not

  4. Attendees with a Skype for Business subscription will have a Skype window open during the meeting. Others who join from the meeting link will have a browser opened to attend the meeting. (Think of Remote interviews and On boarding of new recruits)

  5. Attendees can join the meeting from wherever they are  using any device that is audio and video enabled and has a connection to the internet.

  6. Up to 250 attendees can be accommodated in scheduled meeting

  7. This meeting can be recorded in its entirety – chat, audio, video and screen shares - and shared with the participants and those who missed it later on by posting it in SharePoint. External attendees cannot record the meeting, request/give/take control of the shared desktop.

  8. A Poll can be floated during the meeting to gauge the interest of the attendees and to gather their opinion

Skype for Business integrates with other Office 365 Apps

Skype for Business is tightly integrated with the other O365 features – Outlook, SharePoint and OneDrive for Business. So, when a user signs into Skype for Business, it reflects in all these applications for the user as well as for everybody else in the Enterprise who have already signed into Skype for Business. This seamless integration helps one to connect with others from any of the O365 application.

Here are a few scenarios

  • My colleague has sent me a reply to my mail. He has sent me some inputs I had requested on a certain project that we had been working together. I need some clarifications on his inputs. I intend to send him another mail asking for clarification now. His inputs will be useful to me only after he sends me these clarifications. I am in a hurry but I don’t know for sure if he would understand my urgency and reply to mail immediately! I am opening a reply mail window. Luckily, I see this colleague is available on line - his presence indicator is in green. Can I connect with him right away? I click on the email address and start Skype for Business session with him. Thankfully, the Skype for Business window that opened also bears the subject line of the mail on top, indicating that the session is about this topic. And his inputs will be recorded for me automatically in the Conversation History folder in my Outlook for subsequent reference. In a few minutes he can clarify to me everything I need. I can get going with my report right away. Truly, Skype for Business saves me a lot of waiting time.
  • I have posted a file in our team site’s Document library in SharePoint. I am in the library now. I see that one of my team members is on line with whom I need to connect regarding some points in the file. I see that she is online and available as I click on the Shared with option in the ellipsis (…). I start an IM session with her from this SharePoint library.
  • I shared a document with my Manager from my OneDrive for Business. I need to give some additional inputs to him regarding the content of the document. When I click on the Shared with option, I see that his name shows up with the indication that he is online and available. I don’t have to send a mail. I can connect with him now and give him my inputs. I am improving on my productivity and helping my Manager too.

Protect your PC from viruses

There are many preventive steps you can take to help protect your PC from viruses and other threats.

  • Use an antimalware app. Installing an antimalware app and keeping it up to date can help defend your PC against viruses and other malware (malicious software). Antimalware apps scan for viruses, spyware, and other malware trying to get into your email, operating system, or files. New threats can appear daily, so check the antimalware manufacturer's website frequently for updates.

    Windows Defender is free antimalware software included with Windows, and you can update it automatically through Windows Update.

  • Don't open email messages from unfamiliar senders, or email attachments that you don't recognize. Many viruses are attached to email messages and will spread as soon as you open the attachment. It's best not to open any attachment unless it's something you're expecting.

  • Use a pop-up blocker with your Internet browser. Pop-up windows are small browser windows that appear on top of the website you're viewing. Although most are created by advertisers, they can also contain malicious or unsafe code. A pop-up blocker can prevent some or all of these windows from appearing.

    Pop-up Blocker in Windows Internet Explorer is turned on by default.

  • If you're using Internet Explorer, make sure SmartScreen Filter is turned on. SmartScreen Filter in Internet Explorer helps protect you from phishing and malware attacks by warning you if a website or download location has been reported as unsafe.

  • Pay attention to Windows SmartScreen notifications. Be cautious about running unrecognized apps downloaded from the Internet. Unrecognized apps are more likely to be unsafe. When you download and run an app from the Internet, SmartScreen uses info about the app's reputation to warn you if the app isn't well-known and might be malicious.

  • Keep Windows updated. Periodically, Microsoft releases special security updates that can help protect your PC. These updates can help prevent viruses and other malware attacks by closing possible security holes.

    You can turn on Windows Update to make sure that Windows receives these updates automatically.

  • Use a firewall. Windows Firewall or any other firewall app can help notify you about suspicious activity if a virus or worm tries to connect to your PC. It can also block viruses, worms, and hackers from trying to download potentially harmful apps to your PC.

  • Use your Internet browser's privacy settings. Some websites might try to use your personal info for targeted advertising, fraud, and identity theft.

    If you're using Internet Explorer, you can adjust your privacy settings or restore the default settings whenever you want.

  • Make sure User Account Control (UAC) is turned on. When changes are going to be made to your PC that require administrator-level permission, UAC notifies you and gives you the chance to approve the change. UAC can help keep viruses from making unwanted changes. To open UAC, swipe in from the right edge of the screen, and then tap Search. (If you're using a mouse, point to the upper-right corner of the screen, move the mouse pointer down, and then click Search.) Enter UAC in the search box, and then tap or click Change User Account Control settings.

  • Clear your Internet cache and your browsing history. Most browsers store info about the websites you visit and the info that you provide, like your name and address. While it can be helpful to have these details stored on your PC, there are times when you might want to delete some or all of them—for example, when you're using a public PC and don't want to leave personal info behind.

    -Microsoft Help pages

Cortana – Your PA on the Mobile Phone

Cortana is your personal assistant on your Windows Phone. Like any good personal assistant, Cortana is ready to help whenever you need it, and she has a wide repertoire of things she can do. She's there to make things easier for you and keep you up to date on the things that matter to you.


Here are just some of the things Cortana can help you with on your Windows Phone:

•Make calls, send texts and stay organised – Cortana can help you make calls and send texts, see what's on your calendar this weekend and add events to it, set alarms and take notes.

•Interests – Did your favourite team win or did they get crushed? Is your flight running late? Let Cortana know what you care about – she'll find related articles, posts and updates on the web and have them ready for you when you want them. Keep on top of news, entertainment, weather, health and more. Your interests can even give you a glance at your day or help you prepare for a trip.

•Remind me – Need a nudge? Cortana can remind you to do something at a specific time, in a particular place or when you talk to a certain person.

•Get where you want to go – Cortana will give you help with directions or even let you know if traffic's bad enough that you should leave early to make your next appointment.

•Quiet hours and inner circle – Cortana will make sure you don't get calls or texts when you don't want to be disturbed (except from the people you tell her to let through).

•Cortana's Notebook – Your interests, reminders, favourite places, the music you've searched for, your quiet hours and inner circle – Cortana's Notebook is where she keeps track of the things you tell her about you. It's also where you'll find settings and where you go to turn Cortana off. When Cortana is on, some of the data in her Notebook synchronises to the cloud, where other Bing-powered services and apps will use it. To learn more, see the Managing Interests and Personalisation settings section in the Bing Privacy Statement.

•Get out on the town – Cortana can fill you in on events near you, help you pick a restaurant or tell you what's happening next month in Sao Paulo.

•Check the weather – Check the forecast for today. Or tomorrow. Or the week. In Dubai.

•Talk to me – You can chat with Cortana about whatever's on your mind. Ask her questions that you might ask a new friend, or tell her how you're feeling – she has opinions and stories to share. She'll even tell you a joke.


You can use your voice to tell Cortana what you'd like to do, who to call, what to text and more. Or if you're somewhere you'd prefer to keep quiet, you can type your requests. Cortana will then refrain from answering you with her voice too.


•Cortana is only available on phones with Windows Phone 8.1, and in some countries/regions. Check to see which software version you have and find out if an update is available.

•Some features for Cortana may not be available in all countries or regions.

•If Cortana isn't available, or you don't want to use her, you can still use the Speech functionality on your phone.

-Windows Phone pages from the internet

*Cortana is expected to be available on the iPhones and Android phones soon.

Spam, Hoax and Phishing Messages

Unwanted messages come in many forms, such as spam, hoax and phishing messages. Phishing Scams come in many varieties. Some are personalized, i.e. ‘spearphishing’, but most are sent out to the widest possible distribution. All these types of messages are broadly defined as unsolicited messages that try to deceive you and prompt you to act in a certain way.

You may be the target of a deceptive scheme if any of the following describes a message you receive, via messaging apps like WhatsApp or email:

  • The sender claims to be affiliated with the messaging app / WhatsApp.

  • The message content includes instructions to forward the message.

  • The message claims you can avoid punishment, like account suspension, if you forward the message.

The message content includes a reward or gift, such as an extended or free subscription. Please note, most of these app vendors work on a yearly service subscription model.

Beware of Phishing Scams that Spoof Legitimate Web sites

One phishing email in particular is circulating the internet disguised as a notification from the popular messaging service, WhatsApp. This message looks legitimate. Of course, one sure way to tell it is fake is if you do not have a WhatsApp account. (WhatsApp says in its official page that it does not use WhatsApp to send messages to you. It also states that it also does not send its users emails about chats, voice messages, payment, changes, photos, or videos.

You can also hover your mouse over the button and see what URL it will take you to without actually clicking on it. The links embedded in the email direct your browser to a malicious or compromised website run by hackers. Once you’re on the malicious site, malware is downloaded to your computer.

Don’t Click the Links! – Dangerous Downloads

As you can see in this example, the button wants to take you to livetonline.com, a website that has no affiliation with WhatsApp. If you click the ‘Play’ button or any of the links contained in the email, your computer may become infected. The link will takes you to a webpage that is telling you that you need to download Adobe Flash Player before you can see the message. If you already have Flash installed, especially the latest version, this should be another tip-off that this is a scam. (Mac and iOS users cannot be affected by this, as it downloads an executable (.exe) file, which only runs on Windows. The file most likely contains a virus, but Apple products are not affected).

This strategic and clever tactic is typical. These scam emails started appearing only one week after WhatsApp launched its web client. Before that, there were similar phishing scams circulating, appearing to have come from a WhatsApp mobile user. However, the timing of these new scams makes them seem more legitimate.

This is just one particular example. There have been other emails circulating around that look identical or very similar to the one above, though they may try to get you to download something else malicious, or even display a login page to collect your email address and password (this is a phishing attempt).

Kuluoz is one of the malware downloads associated with such a phishing scam. Kuluoz is a Windows targeted virus designed to stealing documents in Microsoft Word and Excel format. It is also capable of stealing all passwords stored in popular browsers like Firefox and Opera.

The Android mobile platform

Because of its popularity, the Android mobile platform has become an extremely profitable target for malware creators. Many times Android targeted malware is distributed through phishing scams. Malware sites associated with the ‘WhatsApp Messaging Service phishing scam’ can detect Android users and download a virus targeted at Android mobile devices. One such virus is droidFennec.out. The droidFennec.out virus allows an attacker to send text messages, make phone calls and access the internet using your device. The droidFennec.out virus can also enable permissions which would allow a hacker to make payments using your accounts.

What to do if I receive these messages

Prevention is the Best Cure.

Block the sender, disregard the message and delete it. To avoid exposing your contacts to potential harm, please never forward these messages to them.  

If you think that your computer may be compromised, go to the Microsoft Malware Protection Center for information on how to detect and remove the threat.

A necessary defense against this type of threat is antivirus software. Android users should ALWAYS run antivirus software to help defend against the increasing threat of infection posed by Android targeted malware.

Malicious attackers are becoming more skilled at ‘spoofing’ legitimate emails and websites. If you receive an email notification from a website, go to the site by typing the URL in the address bar of the browser yourself! If the message is from a website for which you have no account or you think it may be fake, simply ignore it.

Sway your way to interactive presentations!

Why make a boring PDF that is hard to read on a phone when you can make a Sway? You can reimagine how ideas come to life using Office Sway. You can quickly create and share your thoughts with a variety of multimedia using Sway’s polished, interactive, web-based canvas.

Who can use SWAY?

Professionals will be able to use Sway to save time at work and easily create engaging, eye-catching interactive reports, presentations, and more which flow responsively across all device types. For example, marketing plans/campaigns, blogs, proposals and sales pitches, project plans/updates, brochures/digital fliers, newsletters, weekly /monthly / quarterly / annual reports, training manuals, and so much more. Visit https://sway.com/smith_fashion for a sample.

In education, teachers can use Sway to engage students by creating and sharing interactive lessons and study guides, field trip reports, assignments and class project recaps, which they can also share easily with parents. Many teachers also document their best teaching practices with Sway and share them with colleagues. Students can have fun while learning and stay engaged by using Sway to breathe new life into reports, assignments, projects, study materials, and portfolios. Try this https://sway.com/0WDQZ9MXgWcRtczE for a sample.


Microsoft has started rolling out Sway to Office 365 business and education subscribers. Features relevant to business (and education) customers—including simultaneous coauthoring, creating interactive charts and embedding Office documents (such as Excel charts and graphs) are added to the preview version. Sway will initially support English, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese and Spanish, with more coming soon.


A “Sway” is what we call the canvas you create using Sway, and it’s much more than a document in the traditional sense. It’s built from the ground up for the web and devices. A Sway adapts to fit the device that it’s viewed on, large or small, so your ideas always get the best treatment.

Add your content easily

It is easy to collect your content from a variety of sources right within Sway. Sway shows you the stuff you have stored in the cloud: just tap or click, drag, and drop it right onto your canvas. Built-in content sources include OneDrive, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, your devices, or even embeds for your other content (coming soon!). And we’ll be growing that list over time.


Sway’s built-in design engine takes the hassle out of formatting your content by putting all of it into a cohesive layout as you create. This means that from the first word, image, Tweet, or graphic you add, your Sway is already being formed for you.

Working in a SWAY

You can adjust and customize the format Sway has created in easy and intuitive ways. Want a picture to stand out? Don’t worry about exact pixel heights and widths or whether you have the design chops to keep things looking good. Just tap or click the image in your Sway and tap or click the star icons to emphasize it. Sway takes your natural feedback and works its magic almost instantly. Want to rearrange your ideas? Just drag and drop any set of your content where you want, and watch your Sway react.

SWAY will shape the future of productivity for sure.

Outlook is more brainy – lists Action items in a mail

Let us assume that you have received a mail, If a phrase in the e-mail suggests a possible action, the Action Items app in Outlook 2013 and Outlook Web Apps creates a suggested Task for the user to review: All you have to do is click the Action Items arrow appearing near the top of the message to the left of a grey bar.


You can also flag the item for follow up and it will become a task in your tasks folder. Once the task is completed, you can either mark it as completed from the tasks folder or from the mail itself.

See the address in your mail, don't jut read it!

Let us assume that you have received a mail and it contains an address. The Bing Maps app for Outlook is part of the new version of Office, so it’s already on your computer. When you open an email message that has a street address, the Bing Maps app automatically appears in a gray bar near the top of the message.

Note; If the Bing Maps app doesn’t automatically appear, your administrator might have disabled it or you might not be able to use apps for Outlook. To use them, you need Office 2013 and Exchange 2013, and your administrator needs to have enabled apps for Outlook.

To see the address on a map, click the arrow next to Bing Maps.