Tag: office

Office 365 Activation Failure

We’ve been working to lock down our workstations … not “so secure you cannot use it”, but just this side of the functional/nonfunctional line. Everything went surprisingly well except I use the Office 365 suite for work. Periodically, it has to “phone home” and verify my work account is still valid. And that didn’t seem to go through the proxy well. The authentication screen would pop up and immediately throw an error:

No internet connection. Please check your network settings and try again [2604]

I spent a whole bunch of time playing around with the firewall rules, the proxy rules … and finally went so far as to just turn off the firewall and remove the proxy. And it still didn’t work. Which was nice because it means I didn’t break it … but also meant it was going to be a lot harder to fix!

Finally found the culprit — a new Windows installation, for some reason, uses really old SSL/TLS versions. Turned on 1.2 and, voila, I’ve got a sign-on screen. Sigh! Turned the firewall & proxy back on, and everything works beautifully. I think I’m going to add these settings to the domain policy so I don’t have to configure this silliness every time.

Office Whiteboard

One giant whiteboard is now hanging in our office — it’s 10′ long! It took all three of us to hold the board and get it mounted. The brackets are hidden behind the board, making installation more challenging but aesthetically improved over brackets jutting up from the board.

Did you know … you can chat with yourself in Teams?

I’ll admit it — I send myself emails. And text messages. And, back before smart phones, I sent myself voice messages too. That was one item where Teams was as step backwards — I had to make my own Teams space (with just me as a member!) in order to send myself notes here. But not anymore …
You can finally chat with yourself! Note that retention policies may be shorter in chats than Teams spaces … so you might still want to go the route of creating your own Teams space to ensure that note you send yourself for an end-of-the-year task or a list of accomplishments for your annual review are still around when you need them. But for quick notes so you remember something tomorrow (or next week, or three weeks from now), chatting with yourself is perfect for holding short-term reminders.


Did you know … Teams shows timezone offsets for individuals

Teams now shows the timezone offset and local time for individuals — because it’s always 2AM somewhere!

The contact card that comes up when you click on a user in Microsoft Teams now includes the current local time and time zone offset information for the individual — very useful to avoid ringing someone up at 2AM.

Reducing the Size of a PowerPoint File

Anya’s school work submission platform limits files to ten meg – when she embedded a dozen 3d images in a single presentation to create a seventy meg file? That was an easy fix – drop the 3d object down to a PNG. But her most recent presentation was just photos from the web, and it was just over the ten meg limit. Fortunately (or unfortunately in this case) the more recent Office document formats are already compressed … so you cannot just zip up the file to shrink it. We learned a quick way to reduce the size of a PowerPoint presentation.

Select one of the pictures in the presentation. On the “Picture Format” tab, find the “Compress Pictures” button.

If you know there is one really high-resolution picture (or a single picture where you cropped out most of it), selecting just that picture and leaving “apply only to this picture” checked makes sense. But, generally, I apply the compression to all images. Select a resolution that’s reasonable – we’ve used “Print” and reduced an eleven meg file to just over four meg. Using “Web” as the resolution reduced the file to just over a meg.