March 13, 2004

Sorry Microsoft, but Outlook 2003 doesn't make the cut

I'm sorry but Outlook 2003 is just not the productive application Microsoft wants you to believe it is. I know Robert says its his god-send for productivity, but after using it now for over a month and a half, I have to agree with Chris and nuke it. I just can't stand how it STOPS my productivity. I even tried asking for help earlier on my blog, and got a few concerned emails from people... but no one had a clue how to diagnose and fix this. And I just can't put up with it any longer.

I was looking SO forward to using Outlook 2003 with Business Contact Manager it wasn't funny. I tried EVERYTHING I could think of to get it to work for my needs, but its just impossible. Let me explain why it sucks so bad...

IMAP over SSL polling freezes. It actually HANGS Outlook 2003 on me, preventing me from reading email in other folders as its checking for mail. I can't even flip over to my calander while a polling event is occuring... its just that badly designed. Compound that with the fact that Outlook is polling for me every 2 minutes... it means basically that Outlook is hung MOST of the time.

This is a sad state when an app of Outlook's sophistication can't even handle multithreading between views, folders or even messages. What is WORSE here is that Microsoft KNOWS about this! In Microsoft Knowledge Base Article 826807 they say... and I quote: "When you work with an e-mail message on an Internet Message Access Protocol (IMAP) server, no other action in Microsoft Outlook occurs until the current action that is being processed is finished. If you do not want to wait for the process to complete, the only way to stop the process is to force Outlook to shutdown in Windows Task Manager.". They go on to say it could be a latency issue (not likely ... its on a 100 MB backbone with the server being 6 feet away), and leaves my to shudder in fear any time it tried to get mail.

If you put your tinfoil hat on for a moment, you start wondering if this is on purpose. This doesn't exist on Exchange servers. And their IMAP polling in Outlook Express works fine. Funny how that works isn't it? It's just got to be a conspiracy to covertly get people to move to Exchange. *sigh* Ok, maybe not... but I can't fathem why mail polling is this poorly designed for IMAP in outlook, but works fine in Outlook Express.

So in the interm, I installed Thunderbird and giving that a try for mail. Works great. Super fast, no hanging, I can read messages while its downloading others etc etc.

Now I just got to find a separate app that will control my calander (Mozilla calander sucks), contacts and Business contact management (perhaps I will look at GoldMine or Act again) and sync to my Handspring Prism.

You lost a customer today Microsoft. I wanted so badly to have my desktop running purely the latest and greatest from Microsoft on a daily basis. But when I can't even check my mail without Outlook freezing, its time to move on. Hell, even Pine or mutt would be better than Outlook 2003. And that's saying a lot.

Posted by SilverStr at March 13, 2004 03:50 PM | TrackBack
Comments

Omar Shahine, a program manager at Microsoft, posted this interesting comparison of IMAP clients last month: http://blogs.msdn.com/omars/archive/2004/02/19/76061.aspx.

Thunderbird comes out well ahead of Outlook. It's a shame, because Outlook 2003 is a great improvement over XP when run on Exchange.

Posted by: David James at March 14, 2004 03:10 AM

If some company would make an IMAP/MAPI wrapper that let Outlook act like it was talking to Exchange when it's talking IMAP, they'd make a sweet killing at $40 a pop. I swear.

(I have tried a wrapper in the past, I believe it was called Bynari Insight... but it didn't work very well at all)

Posted by: Nick! at March 14, 2004 04:48 PM

How recently did you try the Bynari Outlook Connector? I was going to give it a try.

There is also an interesting Outlook Connector project on SF, but its got a ways to go yet:
http://sourceforge.net/projects/otlkcon/

Posted by: Bill Boebel @ Webmail.us at April 16, 2004 07:44 AM