I Actually Miss Outlook

I never thought it would come to this but I actually miss Microsoft Outlook since converting to a Linux-based desktop at my new role. I’m using Evolution but it just falls short in several ways and none of the alternatives do anything to reduce my frustration in dealing with email.

Evolution Hangs

Evolution hangs for 20-30 seconds when attempting to view large HTML emails (specifically long back and forth threads from Service Now). Every. Damn. Time.

Evolution Doesn’t Word Wrap Properly

Evolution doesn’t word wrap properly… unless you’re using an ancient ~80 characters wide terminal. I’m sure there’s an RFC out there somewhere that contradicts my assertions regarding email and word wrap but show me another email client that implements word wrapping in the same way that Evolution does. I’ll be waiting.

Evolution hard word wraps outgoing messages at 72 characters by default with no way to change the default. You can select all the text on a reply and change the paragraph type from “Normal” to “Preformatted” to un-wrap the text but there is no way to make this the default behavior. Additionally, the “word wrap” menu option doesn’t do anything in Preformatted mode (or any other mode?), which makes me wonder why the email client even offers such an option. I want behavior where there is no hard wrapping but allow window-width based word wrapping like every other modern mail client (including web mail). And configurable defaults for these options.

Evolution Lacks “Quick Steps”

Evolution lacks the “Quick Steps” feature of Outlook where I can click one button (or use the corresponding keyboard shortcut) and have multiple actions occurs on the currently select email(s). My most common use case is to forward an email to my Trello board and then move it into a folder for archive. Quick Steps offers a very efficient way of working with email. Evolution lacks any of this efficiency.

Thunderbird and Co. are a Mess

Thunderbird/Lightning/ExQuilla/DavMail, etc. feel loosely integrated. Failure of any one component means the whole experience breaks down. ExQuilla is subscription-based add-on to Thunderbird that provides Exchange support and to be fair, I haven’t even given ExQuilla a fair chance using the 60 day trial. I might go back down this path to see where things are at today but without any specific hope of success. It’s very unlikely I’ll ever pay for Exchange support in Thunderbird.

Outlook Web Access

Outlook Web Access is workable but lacks anything that makes working in Outlook efficient. I also hate webmail because I’m locked in a browser and the number of web applications or browser upgrades that require regular restarts of my browser to refresh a session or install a plugin/add-on/update make having a consistently open email client somewhat frustrating.

Outlook in a Virtual Machine

Outlook in a VM is almost tolerable but is still painful when working with attachments.

Sticking with Evolution

Despite all my complaining, I’ll likely stick with Evolution… and be bitter about it.

Career Development

Career development is a funny thing for me to be writing about. A few years ago, it wasn’t something I really thought about too much. It’s not that I wasn’t aware or cognizant of the benefits of thinking about it and spending time considering my future, it’s that I was younger and a lot more focused on the “now”. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t get old overnight and I still value the philosophical concepts of my youth but I now see additional value in also paying attention to the future.

Today, I’m on the brink of making another significant career move and career development is front and centre in my day to day thoughts. Hence, rant.

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iPad & Tablet Thoughts From Your Friendly Neighbourhood Irrelevant Internet Guy

Let me preface this by saying that I do not own an iPad nor do I own any other “tablet” like device. I’ve played with an iPad and some of the older generation of Windows tablets (Laptops with swivel screens and stylus input running a “Tablet Edition” of Window) but I have no exceptional experience with anything I’m going to rant about. That said, I’m still going to talk about them.

I’m going to try to address various talking points I’ve been reading in articles, comments and blogs but don’t sue me if I miss anything.

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