Saturday, November 14, 2009

I hate Outlook

Well... I like it when I use it myself. But hate it when I or any of my peers needs to troubleshoot a client problem.

I do not really hate it now. I did before the 2003 edition, this one was ‘alright’ and presented a very useful interface and set of features. The most recent one is even more capable and useful than its predecessors, obviously; and most of its hidden features still lay dormant waiting to be discovered by most of us.

MS-Outlook is the most ubiquitous email program there is on businesses Windows computers: Although the 98 and previous versions seem to have disappeared entirely; I've seen 2000 editions, 2002 (XP), 2003 and up to version 2007. Outlook 2003 seems to be the most predominant version used nowadays.
Even so, most users do not know the real capabilities of the program. Most of us simply use it as a very basic email tool, and although we manage to quasi-configure it for our likes, or are able to change the main signature and a few other minor tweaks; less than 20% of its capabilities are put to work on an everyday basis.
From the technological behind-the-scenes point of view, there are so many items in the wish list and unanswered questions. Among them:
+ How come Microsoft did not make the installer for 2003 and mainly for 2007 convert the old PST file format version to the new at install/upgrade time?
+ How come it does not compress the files automatically?
+ Why it does not backup the files automatically?
+ How come the ribbon is only present when creating a new item and not on the main interface?
+ Why do we always have to have the main file open and it becomes kind of cumbersome to switch to a different file; if we so wish?

Although I use a couple of different product for my email; I’ve started to like Outlook for the other features such as calendar, to-do tasks, contact and mainly because of all the plug-ins and add-ons capable of taking advantage of Outlook. Needless to say, synchronizing to a Domino or Exchange server makes it even more powerful.
I’m eager to see the 2010 version which surely addresses most of these questions and wish list items (according to MS people, the 1st beta is “around the corner”).
Will this version convert me to an avid Outlook user? It depends: the price is still bloated and I’m used and very comfortable with the other products I use for email, contacts and calendar.

So, let’s see. The, umh, outlook for Outlook 2010 seems promising.

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