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Wav Surfing with E-mail Voice Alarms in Microsoft Outlook

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Herb Tyson loves a good mystery, but not when it comes to the seemingly arbitrary sounds emitted by his computer. When nonspecific new mail arrives, his daughter's seven-year old voice announces, "Hey, Daddy! You've got mail!" For users of all levels, Herb shows you, step-by-step, how to record voice alarms for use in Microsoft Outlook running under Windows XP. Whether you want a general alert that’s more informative than Windows' built-in notification, something specific for different senders, or both, this article tells you what you need to do and how to do it.
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Does this sound familiar? Does it mean anything special to you? If you were one of Pavlov's dogs, perhaps you'd be salivating. If you're an email junkie, however, you probably have the urge to check your email, to see what just arrived. It's the default sound for new mail notification in Windows XP. Or, if that sound is also assigned to other Windows events, it might have you scratching your head wondering what you did wrong.

I love a good mystery—but not when it comes to seemingly arbitrary sounds emitted by my computer. That's why you'll never hear my computer make that sound. Instead, when nonspecific new mail arrives, my daughter's seven-year old voice announces, "Hey, Daddy! You've got mail!"

My daughter is now 17 and a senior in high school. She cringes when she hears her voice from a decade ago. Not me. Thanks to the miracles of .wav files, her 7-year-old voice is forever captured and has announced email on every computer I've owned in the past 10 years.

This Is a Recording...

The first step is to record the sound(s) that you want to announce the arrival of email. I have one umbrella sound—my daughter's announcement—that I use for email that doesn't match specific criteria. I have other sounds for email from specific individuals and organizations.

To record your own sounds, in Windows XP, click Start, All Programs, Accessories, Entertainment, Sound Recorder to start the Sound Recorder shown in Figure 1.

Make sure that a microphone is connected, clear your throat, rehearse if necessary, click the Record button (the red dot in the lower-right corner), and have your say: Nonspecific Email Has Arrived.

Well, you get the point. Record a sound you want to associate with the arrival of email you haven't otherwise categorized. When you're done, click the Stop button (to the left of the Record button). Continuing your leftward journey, click the Play button (the right-pointing triangle) to review your sound.

If you don't like what you hear, click File, New, and say No to saving changes. Then give it another go. When you're finally satisfied with your sound, click File, Save; navigate to a location you'll use for all of your mail sounds (to make it easier to find them later); give it a useful name (such as general email.wav); and click Save.

Next, think ahead to any specific email sources you want announced, and record a sound for each one. Go ahead. I'll wait.

Done? Good.

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