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March 31, 2014
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Siri can't say my name. Can I teach her?


My name is Allyson, and I go by Ally. Siri, on my phone, refuses to pronounce my name correctly — she always refers to me as “A Lie.” Can I convince her to pronounce my name correctly?

Actually, teaching Siri to pronounce first names correctly is easy. Whenever she “says” a name, you can prompt her with something like, “You said that name wrong.” Siri will ask you to say the name correctly, and from then on, she’ll get it right. (We were unable to get Siri to learn pronunciations for last/family names, but people say online that it’s possible. We tried and failed.)

You can teach Siri a lot more about yourself, as well. You can say “Call my brother,” for example, and if you have not yet indicated who your brother is, Siri will ask you to identify your brother. Once you have done so, she’ll ask if you want her to remember that that particular contact is your brother.

Once you’ve set up this relationship, you can then ask her to “Call my brother,” and she’ll know what to do.

Before you can set up these relations, however, you’ll need to tell Siri who you are.

You can do that in Settings-General-Siri.

Email spam filters/white lists aren’t working

I need to receive emails from my bank, and so I set up a “white list” in the email client (Microsoft Outlook) on my computer. The problem is that often, emails from my bank end up in my spam folder in Outlook. What’s going on? Why isn’t Outlook doing what I asked?

Although we can’t tell you exactly what’s going on without investigating your email specifically, we have a good guess. If you’re using Outlook, most likely you’re retrieving email from an email server like Microsoft Exchange or Outlook.com, or even Gmail. Each of these email servers provide their own spam filtering and their own sets of rules that control what they do with email as it arrives.

You’ve also set up a white list in the email client on your computer. When someone sends you an email, it first arrives on your email server, gets processed there, and then, when you ask Outlook to retrieve your email, Outlook performs its own spam filtering.

The simplest solution is to add any white lists you want managing your email filtering on the server, not on your client. There are two reasons why this is a better solution than asking Outlook to perform this task.

Remember that the email server gets “first dibs” on handling the email. If the server determines that the email is spam (even though you think it isn’t), the server will filter the email and treat it as spam.

If you set up the white list on the server, then the email server can correctly classify the email as you intend, before it gets sent down to your email client. Also, if you perform this sort of spam filtering on the server, than every email client you use (including your desktop computer, your phone and your tablet) all inherit the same email filtering rules.

Each of these client applications retrieves email from the same server, and if the server handles filtering, then each client gets the benefit of the server’s spam filters. If you set up a white list in Outlook, only Outlook “sees” the email filtering, and all other clients see the filtering on the server. This can lead to confusing situations in which email appears on one device, but not another.

We suggest that you always attempt to perform any email filtering on your email server. If you’re confused about how to do that, either speak to your email administrator (assuming you have one, if you’re working at a company that handles your email), or search the Web for something like “email white list Exchange server” (substituting your email server as necessary).

You’ll always get better results doing as much work as possible on the server rather than directly in your email client.

Hear Doug Behl and Ken Getz’ tech tips on KNCO radio weekdays at around 8:21a.m. and 5:38 p.m.; find full write-ups including links to the products they mention at http://blog.techtipguys.com. Submit your own technical questions to questions@techtipguys.com.


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The Union Updated Mar 31, 2014 12:02AM Published Mar 31, 2014 12:02AM Copyright 2014 The Union. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.