Flexible Working in Vista: Part 1 – Presentation Scenarios

I recently read a great article on flexible working  which presented some great ideas on how to  maximise employee effectiveness when  away  from their desks whether in on out of the office.  Some of the things they mentioned were:

  • Eliminating dead time - time when workers are unable to work

  • Using small business server to connect users securely to company resources from remote locations

  • Connectivity to Outlook and documents anytime, anywhere with Windows Mobile 5

It got me thinking about some of the new features  in Vista that enhance the flexible working  experience even further and I thought it would be good to kick off a series of posts about these new tools detailing what they do and also how I use them in my work  every day at Microsoft.   Part 1 will look at scenarios where I present to an audience using Vista and my laptop computer.


Presentation Scenarios


Prior to using Vista, when I made presentations, especially to audiences outside of Microsoft, it would take me five minutes or so to setup  everything on my computer ready for the audience.  This would include selecting a "suitable" wallpaper for my desktop, disabling  my  outlook and messenger toast (aka pop-up  notifications), and finally configuring, display  settings for outputting to a projector.


All in all this experience was a pain, because I would have to open up a variety of apps to configure them and all this whilst entertaining my  patiently waiting audience with small talk about the weather or some other witty retorts.  Whilst this is a good technique for building rapor  with your audience, I would rather be able to do this whilst completely focussed on them and not my laptop.

Now, when I present in Vista I simply use the built-in presentation mode.  When I tell Vista I want to make a presentation it quickly applies  my global presentation settings which define how I want Windows to behave during my presentation.  To reach presentation mode and it's  settings I simply search for and open Mobility Center in the start menu and it's right there ready to go.


In the settings I can configure the following:

  • Turn Presentation mode on/off

  • Enable/Disable screensaver

  • Adjust volume of my computer when presenting

  • Show a specific wallpaper - so I can show the corporate brand instead of my holiday snaps!

  • Specify which currently connected display device to send the presentation video signal to

Things that happen automatically when I put presentation mode on:

  • Live Messenger notifications (toast) are suppressed

  • Outlook email notifications (toast) are suppressed (CHECK THIS again)

  •  Battery notifications suppressed, when batter reaches low, the icon will change to a red overlay that flashes.


Now, using Vista my presentation setup times  are greatly reduced (normally abort 5 secs max!)  so there are no awkward ad-lib sessions  necessary and no increased stress levels whilst I turn off toast (pop-ups) from Outlook and the like.


One of the other cool things I can do is connect to a projector over the network.  This requires that the projector is network enabled, but  effectively means I can connect wirelessly to the project - meaning that I'm not restricted when choosing where I present from - I'm free to be  anywhere in the room.



Things that don't happen when I use presentation mode:

  • Office Communicator uses its own mechanism for suppressing alerts like:

  • Running full screen apps like powerpoint set communicator to Do Not Disturb - i.e. No alerts

  • This can be configured from 1) Actions > Options > Rules > Change my status to Do Not Disturb when I am running a full-screen  program and from 2) Actions > Options > Alerts > Suspend alerts when my status is Do Not Disturb.

I have it on good authority that the Vista team have been working closely with the Windows Live team to make this happen, and they are  also now talking to the office team to ensure that we see the best use of the presentation mode feature in the Office 2007 System.


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So we can provide our end-users with a consistent experience when using Presentation Settings, make sure your apps suppress any  distractions like toast notifications so that your users can make more effective presentations.  I'm going to post soon about how to develop with presentation mode in mind - so stay tuned.

Comments (4)

  1. Anonymous says:

    I was at a customer the other day, presenting on .NET 3.0, and the desktop background image on my computer…

  2. Anonymous says:

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  3. Anonymous says:

    Hello everyone! One of the features we improved in IE8 is the ‘new tab’ page, which is the page you see

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