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Best Slack Features and How to Use Them

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slack logo on phone

Sarah Tew/CNET

More than 10 million people use Slack every day. The communication platform has helped businesses, companies and organizations stay connected during the pandemic as they adjust to hybrid workspaces. 

Over the last two years, Slack has added several new features to meet user needs. Here’s a list of Slack’s best features to help the app work best for you. 

slack-schedule

You can schedule a Slack message while using the mobile or desktop app.


Shelby Brown/CNET

Schedule Slack messages

Your team might not be on the same work schedule for a number of reasons — time zone differences, vacations, sick days. Scheduling Slack messages is an easy way to avoid pinging a coworker at an inconvenient time. You can even schedule messages to send to yourself, which is great for deadline reminders. Here’s how: 

1. Open Slack.

2. Type out your message in the text field.

3. If you’re using the desktop app, click the green down arrow next to the send button. For mobile, long press the send button to bring up scheduling options.

4. Click Custom Time and input your desired date and time to send the message. You can schedule up to four months in advance. 

5. Click Schedule Message.   

Slack Huddle for quick chats

Sometimes you need to talk to a co-worker and it’s too much to type out, but also not important enough to organize a Zoom call. Slack’s Huddle feature is an easy way to have real-time audio conversations. You can chat with just one person, or a larger group. Here’s how to use it: 

1. Open Slack.

2. Choose a conversation 

3. Toggle the headphone icon in the bottom left corner of your screen if you’re working on a desktop. To start a Huddle in mobile, tap the headphone icon in the top right corner of the screen.

Customize your Slack theme 

Slack is set to a light mode by default with a purple color scheme. If you’re not vibing this layout, you can choose from several different color palettes as well as dark mode. Here’s where to find it: 

1. Open Slack. 

2. Click your profile pictures in the top right corner. 

3. Click Preferences. This opens a notifications tab. 

4. Click Themes in the left menu pane.

5. From here, you can choose dark mode, different premade color schemes or build your own from scratch. 

slack-themes

Not feeling Slack’s default colors? You’ve got more options.


Shelby Brown/CNET

Change Slack’s font size 

Dark mode can make looking at a screen more bearable, but if the font is too small, color changes aren’t going to help much. If you prefer a larger font or a magnified interface, here’s how to adjust your Slack settings:

1. Open Slack. 

2. Click your profile picture in the top right corner. 

3. Click Preferences. This opens a notifications tab. 

4. Click Accessibility in the left menu pane.

5. From here, you can make your font larger or smaller. By default, the app is set at 100%, but you can go as low as 70% or as high as 200%. 

Change Slack notification sound

slack-notification

Slack has default notification sounds, but you’re not stuck with them. 


Shelby Brown/CNET

If you’re tired of Slack’s default notification sound, or you don’t want to reach for your phone when Slack’s commercial plays on TV, you can change up your notification sounds. Check out CNET’s article for a full notification settings breakdown for iPhone and Android. Here’s how to change notification sounds on desktop:

1. Open Slack. 

2. Click your profile pictures in the top right corner

3. Click Preferences. This opens a notifications tab. 

4. Scroll down to Sound & appearance

5. Open the drop-down menu under Notification sound (messages)

6. Click a sound to play a sample. From here you can choose a new sound, or no sound at all. When you’re done you can exit preferences and your changes will save automatically. 

Slack Connect 

Slack Connect lets you message people outside of your company, making communication with partner companies and clients easier. The feature sidesteps lengthy back-and-forth emails and streamlines messaging, scheduling meetings and sharing files. Here’s how to set it up: 

1. Click on Slack Connect, and click Create a Channel.

2. Name your channel and add an optional description.

3. Choose whether to make the channel private or public. (Note that once you make a channel private, you can’t switch back to public.) 

4. Make sure the little box that says Share Outside of [company name] is checked.

5. Click Next, and you can automatically start sending invites by inputting email addresses for folks outside your organization, or within your organization. Add a short message if you want, and click Send

6. Slack Connect will confirm that the invite’s been sent and will let you know that the people you invited must accept to join.

7. If you no longer need the channel, you can Mute it in Slack Channel Details (click the little “i” or the arrow next to the channel name to access the info screen). You can also leave a channel or group by going to the info screen and then selecting Leave.

Use custom slack emojis

Here’s how to create a custom emoji in Slack.


Karisa Langlo

Okay, so this tip isn’t exactly geared toward productivity, but it is fun. Slack has more than 2,000 emojis available, but you can also make your own. Unfortunately, you can’t make custom emojis through the mobile app, but here’s how to do it on desktop: 

1. Open Slack.

2. Click your workspace name in the top left corner.

3. Click Customize.

4. Click Add Custom Emoji.

5. Upload an image and name it.

6. Click Save.

For more information, check out CNET’s tips for working from home and how to make Outlook more like Gmail


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Overwatch 2 Beta Begins Tomorrow: Start Time and What to Expect

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Overwatch 2 starts its second beta on Tuesday, June 28, for PC and console players. The beta begins at 2 p.m. ET/11 a.m. PT and runs through Monday, July 18. Sign-ups are still open for a chance to participate, and you can still get guaranteed access if you’re willing to spend some cash.  

The next beta will be our first look at Junker Queen, a new tank hero who first appeared in posters on the Junkertown map that was released in 2017. Fans have been hoping to play her ever since, and five years later, we’re finally getting the chance. The new beta also adds a new hybrid map, Paraiso. The developers have laid out their goals for the beta, which include testing server capacity and hero balance. 

Overwatch 2 is the sequel to Blizzard’s class-based shooter, featuring two teams of five players fighting over objectives. Overwatch devs announced in June that the game will be free to play and will launch in early access on Oct. 4. The first beta injected a frantic pace into the game, which was a welcome change from the slower, more grinding pacing that’s plagued Overwatch in recent years. The free-to-play PvP element will bring the game more in line with other competitive shooters, like Valorant and Apex Legends.

How to sign up for the Overwatch 2 beta

Anyone can sign up for Overwatch 2’s second beta, but it’s not technically an open beta. The game will add people gradually as it ramps up server capacity, and the first big wave of beta access will happen on July 5, according to the beta FAQ page. Even if you were in the previous beta, you’ll need to sign up again. 

Here’s how to sign up:

1. Go to the Overwatch 2 beta site.
2. In the top right corner, log in to your Blizzard Account.
3. At the bottom of the Overwatch 2 beta page, choose your platform (and region for PlayStation players).
4. Then hit Request Beta Access.

If you want guaranteed beta access on June 28, you can purchase the Watchpoint Pack ($40). In addition to beta access on day one, you’ll also get two legendary character skins, a unique player icon and enough digital currency to buy the first two battle passes.

How do I download the Overwatch 2 beta?

Blizzard hasn’t released details on downloading the second beta, but it should follow the same process as the first beta. Here’s how that worked:

1. Log in to your Battle.net account and navigate to Overwatch on the game launcher.

2. In the bottom left, click the Game Version drop-down.

3. Select Overwatch 2 Tech Beta to install.

4. When the download is complete, hit the blue Play button to start.

Junker Queen spinning her axe

Junker Queen’s ultimate ability helps her close distance and end fights quickly.


Blizzard

Junker Queen abilities

The new beta finally gives fans a chance to play as Junker Queen, a hero we’ve all been excited about and/or thirsting over since she was first teased on the Junkertown map. Here’s what we know about Junker Queen’s abilities, from the Overwatch Twitter account:

New Hybrid Map: Paraiso

The beta also adds Paraiso, a new hybrid map that explores Lucio’s home, including the DJ’s Clube Sinestesia. As with all hybrid maps, players will start by attacking or defending a control point, and if the attackers succeed, players will spend the rest of the map attacking or defending a payload. 

An underground club with light-up floor

Clube Sinestesia is where support hero Lucio found fame as a DJ.


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For more Overwatch 2 news, check out everything we learned from the Overwatch 2 reveal event.



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Icebergify: How To Create an Iceberg of Your Most Listened to Spotify Artists

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Been on social media today? Seen those bizarre musical Icebergs floating around in your feed? You’re not alone. Screenshots like this have been doing the rounds today, particularly on Twitter. 

It’s all created via the magic of a website called Icebergify.

Using the data from your Spotify listening habits, Icebergify creates an Iceberg of your most listened to artists ranked by popularity. At the tip of the iceberg? Your favourite “mainstream” artists. Your Taylor Swifts, your Beyonces, your Drakes, etc. The further down you go, the more obscure it becomes. It looks a little like this…

If you want to see your own iceberg, you can head to the website directly. Be warned: it does require your Spotify log-in. 

The Icebergify website was developed by Akshay Raj, a freshman studying Computer & Data Science at Rice University. He says he has no plans to monetize the site or use the data collected — which is limited to your username, Spotify account ID and the top 50 tracks and artists listened to over the past few years. 

How does it work? It’s fairly simple. Icebergify takes your most listened to artists and sorts them according to popularity rankings. Streams, shares, saves, likes, and followers are all taken into account. This is why Beyonce might be at the top of your iceberg, but lesser known artists are at the bottom, beneath the ocean. Also worth noting: It seems like Icebergify is being flooded due to its surprising popularity. Head back later if it doesn’t immediately work.





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Apple’s First Mixed-Reality Headset May Sport New M2 Processor

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Apple’s first mixed-reality headset could come with the company’s flagship M2 processor, just one of the “deluge” of new products the company is expected to unveil in the next year, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman reported Sunday.

The M2, unveiled in June, features redesigned central processing units and a significant memory increase, which would provide a significant boost to the much-rumored headset over the previous M1 chip.

The much-rumored headset incorporating both virtual and augmented reality environments is expected to provide a boon to the gaming industry. Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said earlier week that the headset — expected to be announced in January 2023 — would be the most complicated product Apple has designed yet.

Apple CEO Tim Cook has been vocal about his excitement about AR. Earlier this week, he explained that the tech industry is still in the “very early innings” of this technology’s possibilities.

“I couldn’t be more excited about the opportunities we’ve seen in this space, and sort of stay tuned and you’ll see what we have to offer,” Cook told China Daily.

Other products Gurman expects to debut in the next 12 months include four iPhone 14 models, three Apple Watch variations, several Macs with M2 and M3 chips, iPads, updated AirPods Pro earbuds, a fresh HomePod, and an upgraded Apple TV. 

Apple didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Read moreApple AR, VR Headset Rumors: WWDC, Release Rumors, M1 Chip and More



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