How to stay always “Available” in Microsoft Teams with Excel

How to stay always “Available” in Microsoft Teams with Excel

Or create your own Excel file by reading the text below (and copy / paste the vba code)

Why?

First it was a private joke, with this article it’s now a public joke.

Our client switched from Skype to Teams and it was a very cool improvement. My colleagues told me with a bit of fun: “Teams is cool, but you can’t change the time before appearing away!”. And it’s true, we can’t! Somebody said, “If you install a software who will click randomly on your screen, you will not appear away anymore”. Yes,.. but our software policy does not allow us to install anything on our computers.

It gave me an idea! Thanks to our very good old friend, Excel! People will say “Lazy is smart”, Arnaud is “funny” or any other reason. But I had fun with Excel and his perfect VBA editor.

My colleague Isabelle (and also Maslow) will say :

https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/if_all_you_have_is_a_hammer,_everything_looks_like_a_nail

My hammer is Excel and Code.. I agree.. (nail or snail.. it’s just a “s” who is missing)

I created a small excel sheet who will loop until you ask it to finish and will move your mouse cursor every 5 seconds.

My joy is shared between.

“I’m the Microsoft BI guy who uses Microsoft Office and VBA code to do a joke”.

and

“People will see me as a very lazy guy!! isn’t the name of his website!?!”.

Anyway, if you read this article, then it’s because I think you will pick the first idea. I’m I wrong? 🙂

Where can you download it?

You can download the excel sheet on my github repo.

(If you want your own excel sheet, the code is also available at the end of this post)

Thanks to Rafi for his 64 bits version!

How does it look like?

This is how it looks in Excel. You can start the timer by clicking on the start button or CTRL + l (like lazysnail) or start manually the macro named “DoNotSleep”.

To stop the timer, you have to press any key.

Do you have the VBA code?

If you are curious and want to build your own Excel, let’s copy the following VBA code:

Public Declare PtrSafe Function SetCursorPos Lib "user32" (ByVal x As LongPtr, ByVal y As LongPtr) As LongPtr
Public Declare PtrSafe Sub mouse_event Lib "user32" (ByVal dwFlags As LongPtr, ByVal dx As LongPtr, ByVal dy As LongPtr, ByVal cButtons As LongPtr, ByVal dwExtraInfo As LongPtr)
Public Const MOUSEEVENTF_LEFTDOWN = &H2
Public Const MOUSEEVENTF_LEFTUP = &H4
Public Const MOUSEEVENTF_RIGHTDOWN As LongPtr = &H8
Public Const MOUSEEVENTF_RIGHTUP As LongPtr = &H10

Sub DoNotSleepPlease()

Dim i As Integer

For i = 1 To 9999
    'For Info, number of iteration
    'Cells(1, 1) = i
    If Cells(3, 5) = "" Then
        SetCursorPos 200, 200 'x and y position
        mouse_event MOUSEEVENTF_LEFTDOWN, 0, 0, 0, 0
        mouse_event MOUSEEVENTF_LEFTUP, 0, 0, 0, 0
        WaitPlease
        
        
        SetCursorPos 300, 300 'x and y position
        mouse_event MOUSEEVENTF_LEFTDOWN, 0, 0, 0, 0
        mouse_event MOUSEEVENTF_LEFTUP, 0, 0, 0, 0
        WaitPlease
        
        SetCursorPos 400, 400 'x and y position
        mouse_event MOUSEEVENTF_LEFTDOWN, 0, 0, 0, 0
        mouse_event MOUSEEVENTF_LEFTUP, 0, 0, 0, 0
        WaitPlease
        
        SetCursorPos 500, 500 'x and y position
        mouse_event MOUSEEVENTF_LEFTDOWN, 0, 0, 0, 0
        mouse_event MOUSEEVENTF_LEFTUP, 0, 0, 0, 0
        WaitPlease
    Else
        Exit For
    End If
    Next i
End Sub


Sub WaitPlease()
    Dim sngWaitEnd As Single
    sngWaitEnd = Timer + 5
    Do
      DoEvents
      Cells(3, 3).Value = Timer
    Loop Until Timer >= sngWaitEnd
End Sub


How I optimized my learning time with Instapaper

How I optimized my learning time with Instapaper

Introduction

I am not a huge book reader, but I read a ton of different articles on the internet. They cover multiple topics like Power BI, SQL Server, DAX, Running, World news, High Tech review, Blogging, Self-improvement, and many other topics I want to cover at a specific moment. (Now, everything related to my house, design, …)

When I browse LinkedIn or Twitter, I find interesting articles, but sometimes I do not have time to read it. (Or maybe I am not in the mood to read them right now).

I also have a big trouble (and it seems that I am not the only one on earth). On a computer or a smartphone, my focus time is quite small. I like to switch between applications and topics, which decreases completely my learning curve. You know this little monkey in your head who tries to discourage you to finish something he thinks “too serious for him”.

On this topic, I kindly recommend you to watch this TED video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=arj7oStGLkU

I found a solution to solve that problem, and it is a technical solution which provides me much more fun.

This solution called “Instapaper” has also a killing feature!!! Let’s see together how it works and how it can help you.

Instapaper?

First of all.

Instapaper is an application available on smartphones (IOS, Android), PC, and your internet browser.

Follow this link to access Instapaper: https://www.instapaper.com/

What can you expect with Instapaper?

Instapaper provides a clear and simple interface to collect, store and read all the web pages you like.

My workflow

On a smartphone: When I see an interesting article, I send it to my Instapaper application. This article will be synchronized across the Instapaper servers and all my different machines.

On PC: When I have a question, I go to my favorite search engine and pick up 5 or more articles and send them to Instapaper.

Later (or not), I open it on Instapaper and start to read. It’s often on my smartphone when I have time. (In the public transport, sofa, waiting time, …)

5 features I like:

  1. Reader mode: Instapaper provide a better interface for you to read the article. Better format, font size, … A dark mode is also available, which is super cool!
  2. Highlight: I don’t use it after all, but I feel more concentrated when I Highlight important text and be happy to know that I can found it back if needed.
  3. Offline mode: Ok, now we always have an internet connection. We don’t also have a roaming fee in the EU. But it’s cool to be able to read your articles and disable your internet connection and be more focused. (Hey Instapaper dev team, if you read this post: A Pomodoro timer inside Instapaper could be a huge improvement!)
  4. Archive: I can archive the articles I liked (or I read) and find it back later. No more sorry when at the coffee corner we said. “I read an interesting article, I would like to share with you, but I don’t find it back”.
  5. Export a list of your links in an HTML format (easy to share with you colleagues or friends)

And I forgot to mention: THE KILLING FEATURE!! (At least for me)

Which is for me the best thing ever and the reason why I switch to the “Pro” / “Pay” version.

A nice Kindle integration!!

Instapaper allows me to send my unread articles to my Kindle. The configuration is pretty easy, and the result is very nice!

I receive the file through my kindle email address and can read all the internet articles with the beautiful E Ink screen.

On my kindle, all the articles are grouped in “one book” and each article is separated by chapter, which allows me to switch easily between articles. All Kindle features are available, you can highlight the text you want to save, search for a translation, or a Wikipedia explanation.

Reading with a kindle, I think there is no better choice to keep the focus on this task and it gives a different atmosphere to web articles.

I wanted to share with you because I simply think it’s super nice!!!

(BTW I’m not paid to promote their tool or the Amazon Kindle 🙂 )

If you like diversity you can also use:

Pocket: https://getpocket.com/

Microsoft Edge Browser with the reading list.

In the last 6 years, I used Pocket but I quit when I saw the kindle feature on Instapaper.

Please comment if it changes your life too (or not), or if you have more tips to add!

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