At a social event this week, a reader asked if topics for ToW’s were ever recycled – the answer? “Of course”. Well, not really recycled but sometimes revisited and updated – which brings us again this week to the topic of name pronunciation.
If people habitually get your name wrong, you could adopt an easier-to-say handle or just put up with people mangling your name and don’t worry about it. Or you can try to teach people how you pronounce your own name.
In the days of Microsoft Exchange Unified Messaging, you could choose to record your name, as you might have done in those old-fashioned conference call systems that announce your arrival into a call. Exchange UM let you call in to set your voicemail greeting, manage your calendar and so on. That made a great demo back in the day, but presumably didn’t get used enough as it has now gone away.
For a while, if your organization used UM and you’d bothered to set your name, you’d see a greyed-looking loudspeaker icon next to yours or others’ names in the address book. It’s not there anymore, now – too bad.
To make the recording, you’ll need to use the LinkedIn mobile app, not the regular browser view.
Look in your profile settings and you’ll see options like recording your name or listing your preferred pronouns, as well as the usual headline, title etc. After recording your name, others will see the speaker icon on your profile, and clicking it will play your voice.
Just tap on your own profile picture in the app, and you’ll see an option to edit it and also add a video.
Separately, on the topic of how to say various words, YouTube has a variety of pronunciation tutorials.
Many Office users rely so much on Outlook, it’s their most-used application by far. Over the years, numerous other apps – such as Yammer, Slack or Teams – have presented other ways to collaborate and communicate yet with billions of messages being sent every day, email just doesn’t seem to slow down.
The bones of the current Windows release of Outlook date back to Outlook 97, with some dialogs and settings having changed little since even if the main UI has been refreshed over the years. One recent change was the further evolution of Outlook 2003’s “Wunderbar”, the menu on the bottom left of the main Outlook window that switched views between mail, calendar, tasks etc (yes, it really was called that internally – look in the Registry).
By Outlook 2016, the navigation bar had collapsed into a series of icons along the bottom, which did the same thing but took up less screen real estate. It’s long been possible to use keyboard shortcuts to jump between the options on the navigation bar – CTRL+1 will go to the 1st one (usually Mail), CTRL+2 to the second and so on. You can reorder the options on the bar if you like, so CTRL+1 could be Calendar if that’s what’s most important to you.
Other apps can be pinned to the new bar, too – including things like the Org Explorer, which presents a much more graphical way of looking at the org chart than the old Address Book in Outlook.
Moving these icons to the side of the screen might help organize screen real estate; another option would be to collapse the Ribbon, so you only see the many icons and options along the top of Outlook, when you need to use them.
You could try Simplified Ribbon to reduce the size and hide some of the more esoteric functions.
Show tabs only reverts to a simple menu bar, and when you click on one of the options, the ribbon for that tab is displayed. You can toggle easily between Tabs Only and the full ribbon by pressing CTRL+F1. There are loads of other shortcuts for Outlook though some are a little obscure.
If you need to search your mailbox while in full-screen, press ALT to temporarily display the ribbon, and look for the highlighted keys that can jump to specific tab or function.
The internationally recognized distress signal “May-day!”, as used by pilots heading for trouble among other scenarios, was chosen as an anglicisation of the French “m’aidez”, or “help me”, due to difficulties of understanding other terms over poor quality radio.
With much less serious consequences, those of us with a technical bent might often be asked to help family or friends who have problems with their computer, and may turn to remotely taking over their machine – from desktop sharing in Teams or Skype, to using software that should be simpler for the technologically challenged to initiate so you can help them out.
TeamViewer is one such bit of software that’s relatively easy to install and configure, so it’s unfortunately a fave of the scammers who prey on vulnerable people by phoning them up and warning that Microsoft has detected a problem with their computer, and they need to get help to fix it.
If you do want to get or give help from a Windows PC, a venerable in-box inclusion called Quick Assist could be worth a look – it has recently been updated and is delivered via the Microsoft Store, which now has support for any Windows app and not just UWP and PWA. More on that announcement from Build, here.
The gist with Quick Assist is that you over the phone, you could talk your
victim friend through the process to start it up (Start -> type assist ENTER), then you do the same. The first screen gives an option to enter a code provided, or if you are the one doing the remote assisting, click the button to Assist another person, and you’ll be given a time-limited alphanumeric code to provide the other party.
They type this is to the dialog on their end, and a secure connection is established, whereupon they can choose to share their screen in view-only mode, or they can offer to give you control.
After a couple of prompts to validate that this is really what they want to do, you would see the recipient’s desktop in a window and have a variety of control icons around it, like a short cut to run Task Manager on their machine, shut it down or send messages back and forth between both of you. Unfortunately, the chat history is not preserved but it’s a good enough way to give short instructions.
“You’re on mute” became a catchphrase of 2020, even featuring in London’s New Year firework & drone display at the outset of 2021. A year later, Lake Superior State University added it their list of phrases that should be banned from the lexicon, along with “Deep Dive”, “Circle Back” and “New Normal”. Pioneer even sent aloft a loudspeaker saying “You’re on Mute” in several languages, symbolically firing it into space for good (though it went up as far as 30km, it did come back down again and space nerds will know that actual “space” isn’t regarded as starting until 100km from the Earth’s surface).
Some functional improvements in Teams have been released to help manage the state of being muted/unmuted; the applications can even recognise that you’ve started talking but your mic is off and will remind you of the shortcuts to switch it on again.
CTRL+Space is particularly useful if you just want to chip in a short comment on a call where most people are muted, rather than fishing around to click on the Mic icon within the meeting. Press and hold to talk and release to go back to being quiet.
We’ve all been in Teams meetings when someone has left themselves unmuted and presumably doesn’t realise – they start talking to someone else in their house / dog barks / they start eating a bag of crisps / sighing noisily etc. Social etiquette will often have the speaker ask, “Oh, does someone have a question?” or the slightly more direct instruction to mute yourself unless you want to talk.
By looking in the People pane to the side of the Teams meeting window, you can see who is making noise as their icon will have a halo around it. If you are the organiser or have been given Presenter abilities (as is often the default), then you’ll be able to silence the heavy breathers and furious typists by right-clicking their icon and muting them. It may be slightly passive-aggressive, but the offender gets notified and hopefully will feel a good sense of righteous shame. Unless they’re actually the current presenter, and someone else has pranked them by muting them in mid-flow.
Bear in mind that it only applies to “Attendees” (ie all “Presenters” can choose to make their mic / camera available any time) and by right-clicking on an attendee’s icon in the Participants list, an organiser can allow the Mic / Camera to be enabled for that user; note it doesn’t take them off mute, it just gives them the ability to unmute themselves. Just Imagine the horror if an organiser could switch on another attendee’s camera and mic without their involvement.
As we increasingly go back to hybrid meetings where remote participants will join a meeting room full of meatbags, it’s important once more to manage the microphone / speaker dance when several people in the same space join the same meeting. One best practice is to have people in the room log in to the online the meeting too, and potentially use the raise hand feature in Teams before they are asked by the organiser to talk, that way putting them on an equal footing with remote participants. But this will be bad news if those physical attendees don’t fix their laptop audio properly.
If you have multiple people in one place who have their mics and speakers on, you’ll have the bad kind of feedback loop, with escalating echo. You could get them all to mute their mics, but the main meeting room microphone will pick up the sound of their speakers too, with the same effect; so in-room attendees need to mute both speakers & mic.
Pay attention to the “yeah, yeah” video and audio dialog that most people will rush through when joining a Teams meeting; there’s a “Don’t use audio” feature which means you’ll join and have no worry about your own laptop causing problems in the meeting room.
If you have a Teams Room system, you might want to join with no video too or you’ll end up with a gallery of attendees who are facing away from their camera, as they look at other people in the physical meeting room.