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Windows Vista

Mobile Computing in Windows Vista : Configuring Presentation Settings & Understanding Windows SideShow

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Attaching an External Monitor

If you have a second monitor nearby and your notebook or its docking station has a VGA port, you can connect the monitor and extend your notebook’s desktop onto the second monitor. This is a great way to expand a small notebook screen. Here’s how it works:

1.
Attach the external monitor.

2.
Right-click the desktop and then click Personalize. (If your desktop is nowhere in sight, click Start, Control Panel, Adjust Screen Resolution.)

3.
Click the icon that represents the external monitor (it’s the rectangle showing the large 2).

4.
Activate the Extend the Desktop onto this Monitor check box.

5.
Adjust the resolution and colors, if necessary.

6.
Click OK.

Configuring Presentation Settings

The portability of a notebook or other mobile computer means that these machines are now the first choice as the source of content for presentations, from the boardroom to the conference room. That’s the good news. The bad news is that you always need to (or should) tend to a few chores before starting your presentation:

  • Turn off your screensaver. The last thing you want is your screensaver kicking in while you’re spending some extra time explaining a point.

  • Turn off system notifications, including alerts for incoming email messages and instant-messaging posts. Your viewers don’t want interruptions by these distractions.

  • Adjust the speaker volume to an acceptable level.

  • Select an appropriate desktop wallpaper image. Your desktop could be visible before or after the presentation, if only briefly. Even so, you probably want a wallpaper that invokes a professional image, or you might prefer a blank desktop.

If you’re a regular presenter, changing all these settings before each presentation and reversing them afterward is a time-consuming chore. However, Windows Vista comes with a new feature called Presentation Settings that promises to take most of the drudgery out of this part of presenting. The Presentation Settings feature is a collection of configuration options, including screen blanking, system notifications, speaker volume, and desktop wallpaper. You use Presentation Settings to specify the configuration options you want to use during a presentation. After you’ve done that once, you can use Presentation Settings to turn those options on and off with just a few mouse clicks. Presentation Settings is available for all versions of Vista except Home Basic.

To configure the Presentation Settings, follow these steps:

1.
Select Start, Control Panel, Mobile PC.

2.
Under the Windows Mobility Center icon, click Adjust Settings Before Giving a Presentation. Windows Vista displays the Presentation Settings dialog box shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1. Use the Presentation Settings dialog box to configure the Vista settings you want to use while you give a presentation.


3.
Use the following controls to set up your notebook for presentations:

  • Turn Off the Screen Saver— Activate this check box to prevent the screensaver from kicking in

  • Set the Volume To— Activate this check box and then use this slider to set the volume level you want

  • Show this Background— Activate this check box and then select a background or (None)

4.
Click OK.

When it’s time to make your presentation, you have two ways to switch to your saved settings:

  • Open the Mobility Center and select Turn On in the Presentation Settings section. Select Turn Off when you’re done.

  • Open the Presentation Settings dialog box, activate the I Am Currently Giving a Presentation check box, and click OK. Deactivate this check box when you finish.

Note

Another new presentation-related feature in Vista is Network Projection, which enables you run a presentation on a projector connected to a network. Select Start, All Programs, Accessories, Connect to a Network Projector. Enter your User Account Control credentials and then click either Choose from Available Network Projectors (to see a list of projectors) or Enter the Projector Address (to type the address of a specific projector). This feature is not available if you’re running Vista Home Basic.


Understanding Windows SideShow

Here’s a scenario that’s all too familiar for a lot of us: You’re on your way to an offsite meeting, and when you arrive at the building, you forget which conference room you’re supposed to go to. You have the information with you, but it’s stored in your calendaring program on your notebook. You have no choice but to boot your computer, load your calendar, get the info you need, and then shut everything down again.

No one likes to power up a computer just to check a quick fact—it wastes both time and battery power. To avoid this, many people simply write whatever important information they need on a sticky note and attach it to the outside of the notebook, but how low-tech can you get?

Here’s another scenario: You’re waiting in an airport lounge and want to listen to music or catch up on some podcasts, but there’s no AC outlet available. How do you listen to the audio without draining your battery entirely? One solution is to configure Windows not to go into sleep mode when you shut the notebook lid. The computer remains running, but the screen turns off automatically when you close the lid, so you save quite a bit of power. However, to control the media playback, you have to open the lid anyway.

One of the most intriguing innovations in Windows Vista is a feature that lets you view information without starting up your computer or resorting to sticky notes, and lets you manipulate a program such as Windows Media Player without having to open the notebook lid. Windows SideShow is a new technology that does two things:

  • It enables a notebook manufacturer to add a small display—called a secondary display or an auxiliary display—to the outside of a notebook case.

  • It enables Windows Vista to display information on the secondary display no matter what power state the notebook is in: on, off, or sleep.

If you use a clamshell-style cell phone, you’ve seen a similar idea: when the phone is closed, a screen on the outside of the phone shows you the current time, battery state, and other data.

With Windows SideShow, however, you get a much more powerful interface that can display a wider variety of content:

  • Developers of existing programs can choose to send data to the secondary display.

  • Developers can build new gadgets designed for SideShow.

Microsoft created an application programming interface for SideShow, so third-party developers should create a lot of programs and gadgets that you can add to your SideShow menu.

Using the Windows SideShow window (select Start, Control Panel, Hardware and Sound, Windows SideShow; see Figure 2), you decide which programs or gadgets you want to appear in the SideShow secondary display. The list of possible gadgets was not finalized as I wrote this, but examples include a calendar (for example, Windows Calendar or the Outlook Calendar), email (such as Windows Mail or the Outlook Inbox), and Windows Media Player. Depending on the layout of the secondary display, you choose which program or gadget you want to work with.

Figure 2. Use the Windows SideShow Control Panel to decide which programs and gadgets you want to appear in the SideShow secondary display.

Note

Windows SideShow isn’t strictly for notebooks. Microsoft has shown images of secondary displays running on keyboards, remote controls, and cell phones. Almost any device that can wirelessly connect to a Vista machine can transform into a SideShow-ready device with the addition of a secondary display.

Other -----------------
- Mobile Computing in Windows Vista : Managing Notebook Power
- Configuring and Customizing the Windows Vista Desktop : Working with the Sidebar (part 2) - Configuring Gadget Settings & Configuring RSS Feeds
- Configuring and Customizing the Windows Vista Desktop : Working with the Sidebar (part 1) - Managing Gadgets
- Configuring Windows Aero and Desktop Settings (part 3) - Configuring Other Windows Display Options
- Configuring Windows Aero and Desktop Settings (part 2) - Working with Windows Aero & Troubleshooting Windows Aero
- Configuring Windows Aero and Desktop Settings (part 1) - Working with Windows Display Settings
- Installing Windows Vista : Troubleshooting Installation Issues
- Improving System Performance (part 3)
- Improving System Performance (part 2)
- Improving System Performance (part 1) - Developing a Performance Optimization Approach & Managing Startup Programs
 
 
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