in IT general

Scoble on Outlook

Robert Scoble lives in Outlook. Outlook is an app that really has this potential, but I’m not using it that way, regardless. Here’s why:
Security. Outlook is probably singlehandedly responsible for the most malicious virii in the history of the Internet. I can understand the developers’ temptation to allow for that kind of extensive scripting, but the security implications should have been obvious. They’ve worked on that, but the beast is still there – it’s only hidden under a blanket.
Lock-in. Microsoft has always been known for proprietary standards, but the fact that I cannot get my 20000 mails exported should I chose to use a different mail client makes me refuse to even try it.
You don’t need to know. Outlook is always trying to be clever and hide stuff it thinks unnecessary from the user. Examples? In email, it dispays the senders name (if it is in contacts) instead of the email address. That way I can never be sure if I’m sending something to a person’s private or business account. Sometimes that’s a big difference. Same holds true for contacts – sometimes a contact’s email address is being shown as the person’s name. What’s that supposed to be good for?
Standards. The quoting style, just as an example, is a pain in the ass. If you try typing text between these colourful quoted lines, you’ll find it hard to create unquoted text, the lines always follow you
Compatibility. Ever sent a meeting invitation to a non-Outlook user? It’s not exactly easy to read. Why not send it in human understandable text and send the technical stuff as an attachment?
Common sense. I have never understood how the birthday functionality in contacts is supposed to work. Nearly every person in my contacts has a spouse and/or kids – where am I supposed to enter these? I’m not going to have a separate contact for each of them, so I’m forced to record birthdays and anniversaries elsewhere. Suggestion: allow for multiple birthday records per contact, or do derived contacts where you only enter data that differs (i.e. first name, birthday) and the rest is inherited from the master contact.
In general, Outlook tries to force its ways onto you, which is something I don’t like. I’m sure there are people that would like to use it given the possibility to configure it to behave, and have the opportunity to get their stuff out of it if they don’t like it.
Robert, do you want to take this to the product managers and see what they can do? There’s an opportunity to pull me over. I’m currently only using it for contacts, as it’s the only software that is supported by every sync software on the market – as I’ve been known to switch PDAs and mobile phones once in a while, that’s a killer feature.

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