I learnt about …

  • When your WPF menu alignment is wrong

    I had a very weird problem where my menus on a WPF application were dropping down to the left instead of the normal to the right. Incorrect menu alignment It turns out it is due to having a tablet setting set to right handed … even though I don’t have a tablet. The answer was found on the link at the bottom of this post. To fix it:

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  • As part of our processes we regularly hold retrospectives. We used to do this all in a room with post-it notes - a fairly traditional approach. We would set up 4 areas: Liked, Longed, Learned and Lacked and proceed to plaster post-it notes over the different sections. Once everyone had finished we would organise each section into themes and then discuss and agree actions. Going fully remote has obviously meant we need to take a different approach and we now drive it from a shared document we create for each retrospective in Google Docs.

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  • A first encounter with sketchnoting

    One of the talks I attended at the Microsoft Build conference was called “Sketchnoting 101” and given by Nitya Narasimhan. It gave a very high level view of the approach and how anyone can quickly pick it up. Having seen the rough approach I think I have a preference for trying it electronically as it means I can make corrections and play around with layouts. It seems that the most common tool for this is Procreate however this unfortunately is limited to the Apple ecosystem.

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  • Rethinking conferences in a remote only world

    I recently attended the fully virtual Microsoft Build conference. There is no way I would have been able to attend the real “physical” conference due to the location, financial commitment and time required however this gave me an opportunity to benefit from something normally out of my reach. The conference as a whole was excellent despite the limitations of not only being virtual but also mostly broadcast from homes. The idea of running each talk multiple times to suit people in different time zones was brilliant and the variety of subjects and presentation styles was great.

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  • Whenever I work I am always jotting down things on pieces of plain paper next to me - this could be things to do, ideas, random thoughts, planning for meetings, etc.. Every week or so I do a cull of this stack of paper and then start on a new piece of paper. Recently I bought a small whiteboard for my daughter which she uses to plan her schoolwork. It seemed to work very well for her so I thought I would give it a try.

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  • I occasionally stop getting Gmail notifications on my Google Pixel 2XL android phone. I later find that I have a whole bunch of emails that I had missed. I am not sure what causes it however I have found a way to make it work again. Under Settings, select Accounts and then your Google account. Once opened click on Account sync. You will be able to see when it was last synced and you will probably find that it failed a while ago.

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  • Using Gmail on Android it is possible to support multiple email accounts. The normal way you can change which account you are looking at is by pressing on the account picture in the top right hand corner and then selecting the user. However I found a potentially quicker approach completely by accident. If you press on the picture as before then drag down you can cycle through the email accounts one by one.

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  • Finally a to-do app I use ... Microsoft To Do

    I have tried numerous to-do applications in the past; from the very simplest to the all-singing, all-dancing applications and they have never stuck. I used them for a week or so and realised a month later that I hadn’t used them for a while. The Microsoft To Do application seems to have hit a sweet spot for me. I have found myself using it regularly to track both my home and my work tasks.

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  • Yet another productivity book summaries site

    I came across an excellent site for summaries of productivity books. There are a lot of sites out there that provide summaries however the quality of the video summaries is excellent and seems to be updated fairly frequently. Links Productivity Game

  • Boost productivity with meeting free days

    It is very easy for your work week to become a random collection of meetings - all with different attendees and different agendas. For developers in particular this can cause a huge hit on productivity as their day becomes disjointed and they are unable to stay focussed for the longer periods they need for their work. We started seeing this with the team I am working with. Someone would see a big chunk of free time and schedule a meeting right in the middle of it.

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