Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Microsoft Outlook 2007: Craptastic

I've used every version of Outlook since it wasn't even Outlook (in 1995 or 96, it was Windows Messaging) and it's generally gotten better with each new release. No more.

I upgraded to Outlook 2007 recently because the previous version of Outlook was not correctly interpreting the time for appointment requests that were sent from my coworkers (who use Macs and iCalendar). They'd book a meeting with me for 10am and it would show up on my calendar at 4am instead. Also, the new version of Outlook promised calendar sharing without Microsoft Exchange (we're a small company so we use our ISP's POP3 mail instead of a dedicated email server).

Initially, Outlook 2007's calendar sharing feature worked fine. I could tell it to publish my calendar to our internet web server and I could then use Google Calendar to view that calendar when I worked at a client without my laptop. But then, after a few weeks, I realized that when I viewed my calendar on Google Calendar, it was sorely out-of-date. At first, I thought it was a problem with Google Calendar but I later figured out that it was a problem with the icalendar file (.ics file) produced by Outlook 2007; for some unknown reason, the file produced by Outlook 2007 is now produced in an invalid format that can't be parsed by Google Calendar or any other third-party ics validator (the UID field is broken into two lines which is a violation of the icalendar spec).

So, my primary reason for upgrading Outlook 2007, to take advantage of the calendar sharing features) is no longer working. Add to that, Outlook 2007 has several annoying habits:
  • If I shut it down and then hibernate my computer too soon after the shutdown, when I start it up again, it tells me that it "failed to shutdown correctly" and I have to wait several minutes for a fruitless and pointless error check to complete before I can use Outlook again.
  • It crashes randomly - for the last crash, all I did was close a Note window and boom.
  • It's terribly slow - much slower to start up, much slower to deliver mail.
  • I can't delete bad nicknames because the MS article that explains how to do this is wrong and I can't figure out where the new nickname file is stored.
  • Because I can't delete bad nicknames, it has this annoying habit of not sending some emails - they get stuck in the Outbox because the email address is invalid but there is no visible warning to me that they're there.
I'm just hoping that Microsoft hurries up and delivers a service pack that fixes these problems soon.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007