Friday, 3 December 2010

Newsletter Issue 193, December 2010

Sam Young Newsletter

Issue 193, December 2010
Hi guys,
Do you feel like your manager is watching you through a sniper-scope, just waiting for you to put a foot wrong? Read Working with a Micro-Manager below.
Microsoft has finally tolled the death knell for Windows XP. Long Live Windows XP!
Don't forget, if you want to be taken off my mailing list, click here to send me a reply e-mail and I will remove your name.

Working with a Micro-Manager

Hands up if you have worked with a Micro-Manager. You know, one of those folks who gets so involved in the detail of how we do the job that they might as well do the job themselves.
They wear themselves out questioning us closely on exactly how we are going to do each job and second-guess us at every turn... and by so doing either make us feel completely inadequate or steaming mad.
The delightful opposite is the macro-manager. This is the person who tells you the big picture; the why of the outcomes they need, then they leave us to get on with it. We are very, very welcome to contact them if we have questions, are uncertain about choices or if the world throws up a curve ball; but it is our job, and they trust us to carry it out.
As a lecturer I have two macro-managers. It is wonderful! As long as I acheive the desired outcomes, they trust me to manage the process. Actually, I have nearly always had macro-managers... the few times I have worked with micro-managers, I have moved on very quickly. I guess like all things though, it is a continuum.
From my informal observation, I think the average Kiwi likes 90% macro, 10% micro. In thinking about it, I prefer to lead 90ma/10mi, but prefer to follow at nearly 100ma!
People's preferences when leading depends on how much trust the follower generates. When I don't trust someone to be do a job, my ratio would drop down 75/25. However, there are some managers who start at 60/40 and it just goes downhill from there.
It is easy to think that people are the same the world over, but Geert Hofstede did some great work with IBM staff in the 1970s, questioning, collating and summarising data on the different cultural dimensions displayed by different populations (though not specifically on how we lead or follow). He found that our leadership style preferences changed depending on which culture we were from. Some cultures were very individualistic, others collective; some more masculine dominated, some more feminine; some could tolerate a greater power distance, some preferred a more fair culture; some liked more certainty, some could cope with more ambiguity. Together, these measurements added up to each nation's unique take on "how we do things around here". You can read more about Hofstede at
New Zealand is a culture that, I feel, doesn't cope well with micro-managing. The US is probably less tolerant than we are, as would Australia be. Germany and Japan would be more tolerant.
I find it really interesting to spot the differences so we can better understand those around us; even with something so insignificant as a micro-manager.

Long Live Windows XP

Many IT professionals feel that XP is the most successful operating system in PC history. It had enough time from its inception in 2001 to eradicate most of the bugs. Because it was based on Windows NT, it was inherently more stable than the ghastly ME, or buggy Windows 98.
However, in October 2010, Microsoft finally halted Windows XP sales, after nine years. Support for XP will start to decline now that there is no more retail. Apparently most patch development ended in 2009, but extended support packages end completely in April 2014 for all XP versions.
What is REALLY interesting, however, is that XP still holds 60% of the market share, according to, which tracks online operating systems in use.
"Figure 1. XP use is declining, but based on a recent chart, it's still the dominant OS by far". From Windows Secrets Newsletter at

Quick Underline in Word

When you want to create a section break in Word, or to provide a logical end to a document, there are a set of three key strokes you can do to create a major underline right across the page.
Each of these lines will automatically become an underline for the last line of text you entered, and will have your standard 'after paragraph' formatting (eg, if your document has 6pts space set after a paragraph, that is what your line will have).
The quick strokes are as follows:
  • - - - then Enter, (hyphen, hyphen, hyphen, Enter) for a light line
  • ___ then Enter, (underscore, underscore, underscore, Enter) for a bold line
  • ``` then Enter, (tilde, tilde, tilde, Enter) for a wavy light line
  • *** then Enter, for a square dotted bold line
  • === then Enter, for a double line, top light, bottom bold
  • ### then Enter, for a double line, top line thick darkening from light grey at the top to black at the bottom, with a light black line underneath.

TLAs for SMEs

Here are this newsletter's TLAs (Three Letter Acronyms) for you:
  • UI, User Interface. The 'customer face' of software applications - menus, tools, dialogue boxes, message boxes - that you use to run each programme.

Please feel free to email me with any TLAs that you want to get the bottom (meaning!) of.

Tips, Short+Hot Keys
Over the next few newsletters, we are going to look at all you can do with Function keys. This time it is F5:
  • Excel, PowerPoint, Word "Restore the program window size" Ctrl & F5 or Alt & F5
  • IE, Frontpage, Outlook, Windows, Windows Media Player, Word "Refresh" F5
  • IE "Refresh the current Web page, even if the time stamp for the Web version and your locally stored version are the same " Ctrl & F5
  • PowerPoint "Run a presentation or carry out Slide Show command (View menu) or update the files visible in the Open or Save As dialog box (File menu)" F5
  • Publisher "Go to page..." F5
  • Publisher "Highlight the next page in the page navigation control" Shift & F5
  • Publisher "Highlight the previous page in the page navigation control" Ctrl & F5
  • Word "Display the Go To tab on the Find and Replace dialog box or update the files visible in the Open or Save As dialog box" F5
  • Word "Edit a bookmark" Ctrl & Shift & F5
  • Word "Go back to previous revision or to the location of the insertion point when the document was last closed" Shift & F5

Hot Linx
For those of us who need a laugh, check out this old clip of the comedy of Eddie Izzard, at YouTube at
A list of customer service ideals can be found at Read through the 95 Theses and see if you are remiss in any.
For an update on the doings of Uncle Quentin, Aunt Fanny, Anne, Dick, Julian, George and Timmy with lashings of ginger beer, head off to and read about all of Mrs Blyton's creations.
Who would have thought that the evil twins of standard greeting cards would fly? Check out designer Julianna Holowka's collection of Mean Cards at

                                Catch you again soon!! E-mail your suggestions to me here

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