Outlook is great. It’s great. So great, in fact, that someone just asked me to blog one of their greatest Outlook concerns. Not quite sure if anybody on the Outlook team gives a rip, but… here’s what Derek sent me earlier:
“When I put pictures into an Outlook HTML email, they are much less quality and significantly larger, even though Outlook reports that they are 100%. Images also seem to gain 300% more in file size (kb). Comparing them to the Image and Fax Viewer or other image editing software at 100%, Outlook inserts the image at 30% bigger. After doing some research, MS is using the Word Editor – which assumes images to be inserted at a DPI of 96, although most digital cameras go between 72 DPI (Mac’s standard) and somewhere around 200 DPI. Images inserted at 72 will be upsampled (using MS’s rather poor upsampling engine). Images larger than 96 dpi will appear smaller than the original image. To change the DPI (or PPI) value, you must open the picture with a non-Microsoft product, then resample the picture to the 96 DPI, just to have the image appear in the email appear correctly. Even some pictures with a DPI value of 96 will still be upsampled. This is a tremendous inconvenience for those doing email newsletters, and I can assure you novice users will not know why their images are changing in quality and size.”
I really wish Microsoft would issue an interim release of Outlook, much like they did with Outlook 98 (fixing with it countless bugs). This is just, kinda… irresponsible?
Stop the presses – I’ve finally moved from Outlook 2000 to Outlook 2007! Granted, I didn’t have much choice in the matter. The decision was reached after I tried using Outlook 2000 on Windows Vista – and that experience was painful, at best. Then again, my Windows Vista experience has been nothing short of “so-so” to this point (far too many ghosts in the machine).
I’m still getting used to Outlook’s haphazard UI, but at least most of the speed issues with it have disappeared. Search is only as good as the last time the index was updated, however – which is frustrating if a message has just arrived and I can’t find it again by keyword. I’ll miss Net Folders, too.
Despite leaping to the new version, my outlook on Outlook remains the same; Microsoft needs to overhaul their PIM. And don’t even get me going on the mess that’s Windows Mail – as opposed to the slightly-more usable Windows Live Mail Desktop. Thunderbird kicks their respective digital asses (though none of ’em are true personal information managers).
Not sure how it happened, but I ran into The Holy Grail of Synchronization – how to synchronize Microsoft Outlook (multiple locations), Google Calendar, Gmail, iPod, and mobile phone with Funambol, ScheduleWorld. I took the time to dig deeper, largely because I’ve been wanting to sync Outlook with Google (and Google with iCal) for a while now – and I’m still using Outlook 2000, which keeps certain syncing tools out of reach.
Standards to the rescue! Engtech, as described, pointed me to ScheduleWorld: “An experiment in a new kind of rich Internet application, built on the foundations of open standards that enables you to access your data from virtually anywhere using a growing number of interoperable devices and software.” Yes, it’s absolutely free – and absolutely 100x more useful than you may realize:
- Sync between countless devices, platforms (iPod included!)
- Simple and fast Calendaring, Scheduling, Tasks, Notes
- Global address book (LDAP!)
- Java Micro Edition (JME/J2ME) Client for mobile phones
Whoa. As recommended, I downloaded the Outlook SyncML client (which runs independently). Took a small bit of troubleshooting to get going, but the problems were remote – and cleared up quickly by Mark Swanson (ScheduleWorld mixmaster). In no time at all, I was able to do what I’ve always wanted to do – sync calendars, tasks, and notes through simple software, as well as have a network-accessible address book. Dude, ScheduleWorld is absolutely amazing – and free.
Evolution finally runs on Windows! Looks like they released something a few months ago, although it just hit my radar this afternoon (in an email from Matt Hartley). “Evolution is an incredibly versatile email / calendar / PIM that took the Linux world by storm a few years ago.” I’m excited that there’s been some movement forward on this project, but I’m disappointed that Evolution for Win32 sports a nasty-ass UI. Of course, if Linux developers are trying to be more like Microsoft by making inconsistent and aesthetically-challenged interfaces, they’re succeeding. Here’s to hoping that Outlook 2007 won’t suck as much.