Tip o’ the Week 319 – Reading list on Edge

clip_image001One of the nice features of the Edge browser in Windows 10 is the built-in Reading List – the idea being that if you’re noodling about on the web and want to mark something as worth reading, but just not right now, then the Reading List is the place to do it.

When you’re looking at a page you want to come back to (but generally only once, so you probably don’t want to clip_image002add it to your Favourites list), simply tap or click the star button on the clip_image003Edge menu bar, and you can add the current site to your Reading List, which can be recalled at any time by opening the Hub (the 3-line icon to the right of the star), then the icon that looks like a stack of paper. The featured item at the top of the list is the last one you were actually reading, and the ones below are the previously saved stories.

There is/was, in fact, a Windows app that could do the same sort of thing from any source – called Windows Reading List. That’s still a viable way of catching stuff to read later, though if you use Edge as your browser, then the same kind of functionality is built it. You can migrate your old Reading List entries into Edge if you so desire (the tl;dr version; open everything in your Reading List, then add it to your Edge browser’s Reading List).

Improvements have flowed to the Edge browser since Windows 10 release, especially in  the November TH2 update, version 1511 (press WindowsKey+R then run winver to see what version you’re on – OS build 10586 was the November clip_image005update, but Insiders may see version 1511 and build well into the 14xxxs now).

Syncing content across devices was provided, but disabled by default…

If you choose to enable Syncing, then you’ll see the Reading List on multiple machines (assuming you’re using the same Microsoft Account on them all), and even on your Windows 10 Mobile phone too.

clip_image006So, you can add stuff to your list whilst on the hoof (tap the ellipsis … on the bottom to access the Reading list or the menu to add stuff to it), and when you’ve read on any device, you can just tap/hold or right-click to delete that item from the list and it’s gone from everywhere.

Tip o’ the Week 318 – Read Maps on Windows 10

clip_image001The development of accurate maps was one of humankind’s biggest advances (after learning to talk) that enabled exploration and other developments. Mobile and online technology have advanced mapping (especially timely access to accurate maps) in ways that only a few years ago, most of us could never have imagined.

Automated maps in cars have been around for quite a while but it was only the widespread availability of GPS and the falling cost of electronics that made it feasible to think of sat nav as standard kit for lots of cars, though it doesn’t stop some gouging car makers from charging a healthy premium for installing a system that is years-old in design and will be completely obsolete by the time the user gets their next smartphone.

Most of us can remember the first time we saw Google Earth – spent a while looking up where we live, where we used to live, where we’ve been on holiday etc. Amazingly, though, Google didn’t know what they were going to do with the technology when they acquired it, but figured if they build it and people start using it, they’ll figure out how to monetise that later. And they did.


Bing Maps

Microsoft has its own mapping technologies, of course – sometimes developed in partnership or licensed from 3rd parties, and there are a couple of places where they stand out from those available elsewhere: the Birds Eye view in Bing Maps shows some cracking imagery, for example.


If you’re set to use Bing Maps in the UK (go to the gear icon on the top right, click Settings, Region and choose United Kingdom) then you’ll also get access to the Ordnance Survey* maps which show topographical features, footpaths, bridleways, landmarks and all sorts – see above map of part of an old bit of West Berks as an example.

Windows 10 PC & Mobile

clip_image004Windows 8.x had a Maps app that was interesting to a degree, but didn’t really offer much more than you’d get in a browser (apart from offline support). HERE Maps still publishes a decent app for PC users, though it’s still not a lot more than you’d get if you just went to a mapping site like Bing, or HERE.com itself. The new HERE site doesn’t even promote the Windows app, so make of that what you will.

clip_image005clip_image007There is a new Maps app for Windows 10 mobile & PC, that is quite a bit better, though. The app lets you download maps locally and will also function as a sat nav if you have a GPS in your device – so either a Windows 10 Mobile device (aka a phone) or some sort of tablet thing could be used in-car, with turn-by-turn directions, 3D views etc.  

There are essentially 3 cool features about the maps app that set it apart from others, especially when used on a phone with Windows 10 Mobile:

  • Traffic and Cameras – by turning on the traffic or cameras options, you’ll see what the state of the roads are, and if you tap on the camera icons shown, you’ll see a recent – but sadly not date or time-stamped – image of the scene
  • clip_image008StreetSide view – if you’re in the area covered by the subset of the world where a scene has been recorded by the StreetSide camera wagon, then you’ll see imagery on your device
  • Car favourites – don’t recreate Dude, Where’s My Car? – you can add a Favourite (press the hamburger icon on the top left, choose Favourites, and you’ll see a clip_image009list of favourite places, including Home, Work and, now, Car). You set the current location of  your car and optionally add a photo from the camera, so if you want to record the zone/row location sign in the airport, or the situ and registration number of the potential door-swinger parked next to you so you might have some proof when they ding your car…

* The Ordnance Survey is one of the oldest mapping organisations in the world, tracing its history back to the aftermath of some troublesome northerners planning to install an itinerant French waif as their king.

[Billy Connolly – ergo, seriously, NSFWhas a few words to say about BPC]

Tip o’ the Week 317 – The Wunder Years

clip_image001As regular readers know, ToW is often peppered with funny/stupid/obscure links to web content (videos especially). As it happens, one of the most commented (and most obscure) was a link to a Tenpole Tudor video called Wunderbar, back in ToW #227, referring to a feature in Outlook of the same name.

Which serves nothing more than a neat segue to this week’s topic – the wonderful Wunderlist. After being acquired by Microsoft in mid-2015, the Wunderlist product is still looking refreshingly independent and has a engendered a particular love from its avid users. And it’s available on lots of platforms too. And it’s basically free.

clip_image002Wunderlist Pro costs $5 a month and includes a bunch of extra features, like micro-manager subdivision and infinite assignment of tasks, custom background creation, etc, and your profile pic will have this fetching head ornament as a memento.

Now, most of what you can do with Wunderlist could also be done with Outlook (either natively or through addins from other providers) but aficionados will wax on about how much slicker or easier Wunderlist is. As usual with these things, it’s all about putting the theories you already know into practice, and seeing how the tools suit your own way of working.

Things Wunderlist is great at:

  • Cross-platform support. It’s got native clients for Windows, Mac, iPhone/iPad, Android, Windows Phone, Chromebook, has support for numerous browsers etc.
  • You can create lists (that correspond to categories or projects, whatever works for you) and invite other people to join in that specific project – so a Home group full of lists to do with your personal life could have other friends or family sharing in the task-oriented fun, or you could have work colleagues sharing collective To-Dos and clip_image004Go-Dos with each other.
  • It’s quick. It’s also very slick. Especially on a mobile device, it’s a lot better than using Outlook Tasks for a lot of things.
  • Wunderlist on Windows 10 supports the Action Center so you can get notifications of overdue actions.
  • The Ding. No, not the ‘Ding of the Turtle and the Three Bs, but the ever-so-satisfying little bleat the Wunderlist app makes when you mark an action as complete. It’s almost worth creating new ones, just so you can tick them off.


And now, there’s even an Outlook addin for Wunderlist, most commonly available through Office365 or Outlook.com. The addin can be used either in Outlook online in a browser, or in the desktop client, and adds a Wunderlist menu to the home tab, so you can very quickly create list items from within email.

It’s really easy to set reminders too – possibly even quicker than flagging an item in Outlook and setting a time to remind you by; with the added benefit that Wunderlist reminders show up in Action Center and you’ll also get an email when the action is due, so if you’re a habitual inbox junkie who finds it hard to use a separate task list, then somewhat perversely, Wunderlist might actually help you take your eyes out of the in-tray and remember to look at other things along the way.

Check out the Office Store for your Wunderlist addin or see more detail on here.


Tip o’ the Week 316 – Edge browser and Cortana

clip_image001A short and sweet tip this week, concerning the Edge browser in Windows 10.

If Windows 10 was “Threshold” and the November update was “TH2”, the next iteration of Windows 10 is being referred to as “Redstone”. Rumours have surfaced that the Edge browser is due to get some new features as part of the Redstone update, some of which are being tested on the Insiders program now or imminently. Interestingly, following last week’s tip about Windows 10 Mobile, there’s a new ring on Insiders that’s more cautious than “Slow” – “Release Preview”.

Even if the first “Redstone” update has started making its way into the Fast Ring, and that’s going to deliver extra tweaks to Edge, there’s still plenty to learn about the current version – like how it integrates with Bing or Cortana, for example. Cortana continues to add smarts at the back end too – ask her to “tell me an Oscar fact”.

If you right-click on something in Edge and have Cortana integration enabled (click on the … ellipsis on the top right of Edge, and look under Settings, View advanced settings), you’ll see a context-driven search for the term you’ve highlighted in a handy sidebar. It’s a brilliant way of checking the definition of a word, looking up supporting information on a person, product etc.


If you haven’t enabled Cortana & Edge, either through choice or because you can’t, then Edge will let you search Bing directly – and in practice, it may not make a lot of difference clip_image005between what The Blue One shows you and what you get from Bing. Answers on a postcard, please.