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Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Microsoft Outlook

I have simply never used a program that was so lousy or buggy as Microsoft Outlook. I'm not a big email guy, I use Gmail for all my personal stuff and only use Outlook at work because our server prevents me from gaining POP3 access to it for unification into Gmail.

Also, as I've said before, I'm not anti-Microsoft. I use Vista at work and like it reasonably well. I use other Microsoft Office products that I enjoy (except Groove, which I've discussed before on this blog). All my coding work recently has been done in various Visual Studio IDEs (Visual C#, Visual C++, Visual Web Developer and Visual Basic), which I like very much. To put into perspective, I hated code completion features that I had used in the past, but I learned to love them with Visual Studio.

But Outlook is terrible. For professional, pay-to-use software, it's miserable. If I could find an alternative that did what I needed it to do, I would switch in a heartbeat and light the installation CD on fire so I couldn't ever use it again. Not a day goes by where the software doesn't hang, or freeze, or stall. Some days it crashes in the middle of an operation, and the program just disappears. Other days, it freezes up and I can't make it go away at all. It is a terrible hog of my internet bandwidth, and slows down all the other programs on my computer in a significant and noticable way when it is connecting or interacting with the server.

Today, it helpfully told me that all my emails were overdue. I didn't even know any of them had due dates, much less that they were expiring. I've never gotten this message before, and suddenly all thousand items in my inbox need my immediate attention. So I click "Dismiss All" to make the stupid message go away. This was a mistake, apparently, since now the program is locked up and completely unresponsive while it traverses it's database dismissing all my apparently-overdue emails.

I click the red 'X', and nothing happens. So I click it again, and a dialog pops up to tell me that the program is unresponsive, and asks if I would like to close it. As I move my mouse to click "OK", the dialog disappears. The dialog disappears, the titlebar loses the "(Not Responding)" tag, the window which had been a faded white color to show that it was unresponsive suddenly lights up. In short, a few things happen that make me think that the program is responding again. Not so, as my next click does nothing, and the click after that makes the program unresponsive again.

Every day when I connect to the server, it asks me for my email address and password. I provide both, and click the box "Remember me". Every day, it doesn't remember. Why even have the checkbox there if it doesn't do anything?

Not a day goes by when I don't have some kind of problem with this software, and I hate it so much. It is, without a doubt, the absolute worst part of my job.

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