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- To: addseaoc(--nospam--at)euken.com
- Subject: Fwd: MS Office 97
- From: rlewis(--nospam--at)techteam.org (Richard Lewis)
- Date: 30 Jul 1997 14:32:19 GMT
This is a multi-part message in MIME format. --------------43081BD141B1 Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit A message was posted yesterday asking about the e-mail program in MS Office 97. The attached article from Wall Street Journal offered a good answer. Chang chen --------------43081BD141B1 Content-Type: text/plain; charset=iso-8859-1 Content-Disposition: inline; filename="OFFICE97.TXT" Content-Transfer-Encoding: quoted-printable X-MIME-Autoconverted: from 8bit to quoted-printable by berry.epix.net id IAA19518 February 27, 1997 Microsoft's New Organizer Is Great Idea, Poorly Executed IT'S NOT OFTEN that Microsoft brings out an entirely new piece of=20 productivity software, as opposed to a new version of a familiar=20 program. And it's especially noteworthy when that new software merges a=20 couple of existing product categories. So the company's new $95 Outlook=20 97 program is worth a careful look. Outlook, which works only on PCs running Windows 95, is Microsoft's=20 latest calendar and address book program -- a "personal information=20 manager" in computer-industry lingo. But Outlook offers a new twist to=20 the PIM category: It incorporates a full-featured electronic-mail=20 program as well. That means you don't have to maintain separate address=20 books for tracking contacts and e-mail recipients, and offers other=20 potential advantages as well. The combination is so tempting that=20 Microsoft incorporated Outlook in its showcase $190 Office 97 suite of=20 software, and rejected the PIM label for it, calling Outlook a "desktop=20 information manager," or DIM. ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Walter S. Mossberg answers readers' questions in Mossberg's Mailbox. Sen=20 your questions or comments by e-mail to mossberg(--nospam--at)wsj.com. ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Sadly, that unfortunate acronym is apt. Outlook 97 doesn't live up to=20 its potential. It's a great idea, poorly executed. The much-touted=20 e-mail function is nearly clueless about the Internet, and about the=20 needs of dial-up e-mail users in general. It is really suited only for=20 big corporate networked e-mail systems where armies of in-house techs=20 can help folks get it up and running. Even in such big businesses, users=20 will be confused by Outlook's dense, daunting interface, which is=20 cluttered with complicated commands and icons and with wordy, complex=20 forms and dialogues. Outlook has some clever features and functions. But it is much harder to=20 use than leading PIMs like Starfish Software's Sidekick and Lotus=20 Organizer, or popular e-mail programs like Qualcomm's Eudora Pro. In=20 fact, for people using Internet-based e-mail, Outlook pales before=20 Microsoft's own unheralded Internet Mail program (which will soon be=20 renamed Outlook Express) that is distributed free with the company's=20 Internet Explorer Web browser. MICROSOFT UNDERSTANDS at least some of Outlook's drawbacks and is=20 working to correct them. The company plans some modest upgrades to the=20 e-mail portion of the program for this spring. A more fundamental=20 overhaul, including a simpler user interface, is planned for the next=20 full version of Outlook, but that won't help buyers now. Outlook's big advantage is its integration. If you have a person on your=20 contact list, you can simply drag her name with your mouse to the e-mail=20 in-box icon and the program will automatically open a new e-mail form=20 with her e-mail address already filled in. If you drag her name to the=20 calendar icon, Outlook will open a new appointment form for her and drop=20 the entry into a calendar. If you're planning a meeting, you can=20 instantly invite potential participants via e-mail. The calendar and contact modules are fairly standard, with most of the=20 typical features. They are fully customizable, with multiple ways to=20 look at data. For instance, in the contact list, you can see more or=20 less detail on a person, and sort entries in various ways. In the=20 calendar, you get day, week and month views. I also found that Outlook=20 did a great job of importing a large number of addresses from Sidekick. There are some cool touches throughout. When entering a new contact, you=20 can just type his full name and Outlook in most cases can intelligently=20 parse it into separate first, middle and last name entries. The program=20 also tries to do the same with street and city addresses, though with=20 less success. In the calendar, if you type something like "third=20 Wednesday in April," Outlook figures out the date and enters it. In the=20 e-mail module, the program automatically displays the first few lines of=20 unread messages. But overall, the interface is puzzling. The various modules are listed=20 on the left, but there are separate entries for "in box" and "mail,"=20 which ought to be the same thing, and a button called Outlook, which=20 hardly makes sense because that's the name of the whole program. The=20 icons and menu choices arrayed across the top are also mysterious. For=20 instance, there's no icon for checking your e-mail. That function is in=20 the "tools" menu. There are two icons with prominent pictures of=20 magnifying glasses, a common symbol for searching for information, but=20 neither performs a search. The real search icon looks like a clock. THE E-MAIL MODULE is the worst. It is built atop Microsoft's unfriendly=20 Exchange mail system. Setting up Outlook's e-mail requires you to=20 navigate Exchange's unfamiliar terminology, geared to corporate-network=20 administrators, even if you just want to use an Internet e-mail account=20 you've already set up in Windows. Microsoft plans to allow users to=20 unhook Outlook from this Exchange system in the next version, but it's a=20 mess now. Even after you get past setup, there are problems. In my tests, Outlook=20 insisted on repeatedly dialing in to check my e-mail even after it=20 reported the line was busy. Eventually, the dialing function just froze=20 up. I finally had to use a separate program to dial in and then manually=20 get Outlook to retrieve my e-mail without first dialing. Even changing e-mail options is hard. Some are in a menu called=20 "options," others in a menu called "services." Microsoft has a history of doing a poor job on the first version of new=20 products, and Outlook fits that pattern. But Microsoft usually gets it=20 right, eventually. Wait to buy Outlook until that day arrives. ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Return to top of page=20 Copyright =A9 1997 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved.=20 --------------43081BD141B1-- --- Internet Message Header Follows --- Received: from server1.seaoc.org (bqe.com [18.104.22.168]) by host1.texramp.net (8.8.5/8.8.5) with SMTP id HAA10731 for <rlewis(--nospam--at)techteam.org>; Thu, 27 Feb 1997 07:43:20 -0600 (CST) Received: from grape.epix.net by server1.seaoc.org (NTList 3.02.10) id ca004630; Thu, 27 Feb 1997 05:42:14 -0800 Received: from lspt-66ppp74.epix.net (lspt-66ppp74.epix.net [22.214.171.124]) by berry.epix.net (8.8.5/8.8.5/970130Scott Paul) with SMTP id IAA19518 for <seaoc(--nospam--at)seaoc.org>; Thu, 27 Feb 1997 08:37:00 -0500 (EST) Message-ID: <3315B965.33F9(--nospam--at)epix.net> Date: Thu, 27 Feb 1997 08:42:13 -0800 From: Chang Chen <apollo(--nospam--at)epix.net> Organization: Apollo Consulting, Inc. X-Mailer: Mozilla 2.0 (Win16; I) MIME-Version: 1.0 To: seaoc(--nospam--at)seaoc.org Subject: MS Office 97 Content-Type: multipart/mixed; boundary="------------43081BD141B1" Reply-To: seaoc(--nospam--at)seaoc.org Error-To: seaoc-ad(--nospam--at)seaoc.org X-Loop: seaoc(--nospam--at)seaoc.org X-Info: [SEAOC] Owner: seaoc-ad(--nospam--at)seaoc.org X-POP3-Rcpt: seaoc-ad(--nospam--at)seaoc.org X-Sender: seaoc-ad(--nospam--at)seaoc.org Precedence: list X-ListMember: rlewis(--nospam--at)techteam.org [seaoc(--nospam--at)seaoc.org] __________________________________________________ Richard Lewis, P.E. Missionary TECH Team rlewis(--nospam--at)techteam.org The service mission like-minded Christian organizations may turn to for technical assistance and know-how.
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