Archive for January, 2007

Outlook Categories and Labels

Wednesday, January 24th, 2007

Another kick in the pants today now that I’ve switched over to Outlook 2007 (I’ve been using Office 2007 betas for a while but not for email/PIM).  I’m the kind of person who dots an ‘i’ and crosses a ‘t’, whenever I see one.  Likewise I fill in the categories on calendar appointments and tasks in Outlook. 

Outlook 2002 category and label

When I assign a task I give it a category to enable me to track it.  If I schedule a meeting I make sure that it is properly marked up with the appropriate category for the project as well as an appropriate label in the calendar before I send out the invitations.  This enables me to see at a glance what’s what in my calendar.  As a busy working Mom with many roles, sorting the ‘me’ appointments from the ‘family’ appointments was vital.  I also used those labels to mark calendar items as important or to highlight special events that are going on but that I’m not actually attending myself. 

2007_screenshot_categorize_In Outlook 2007 that label data has become virtually useless.  The labels are now reassigned purely as ‘colors’ with no text attached and these labels mixed in under the ‘categorize’ option.  (How do you differentiate a label from a category?)  All the label data has been lost.  The label titles, which were editable at least for your own use (eg you couldn’t send the edited title with an appointment)  has been lost.  To see what the labels were I need to open my old PST files in Outlook 2003 and correlate ‘purple’ to ‘kids appointment’ and ‘green’ to ‘important meeting’.  (Not everyone will have access to multiple versions of Office of course – thank heavens for VMWare!) 

Of course there are pluses to this change.  The new category labels can be edited so you can assign a name to the color.  They can also be applied to tasks as well as appointments, etc.  The labels in previous versions were only a superficial visual cue and couldn’t easily be sorted.  These can.  My only gripe is that my previous label colors  were lost, along with the titles I had applied to them.

It’s a lot to get used to and I doubt I’m the only one that’s struggling with it right now.  I’m really puzzled at some of the glowing reviews I’ve read for Office 2007 – I wonder if the reviewers had actually used previous Outlook versions to realize those they were losing alongside the added features.  I’ve also wondered whether there were any actual beta testers for Outlook 2007. There obviously were as I was one myself, but all the bug feedback I sent in to the beta team came back with that familiar old refrain ‘that’s not a bug it’s a feature’ … well all I can say to that is that Office 2007 is then a very fully featured product…!

Gadget fest!

Tuesday, January 9th, 2007

Here’s some exciting news, well for me anyway!  I’m taking over Total Gadgets which is one of the founding B3H3 blogs and the only blog in our network to have fallen by the wayside.  (Not bad going for the first year really as most blog networks have a much higher loss rate than that, especially at the start.)

So I’m looking forward to getting started on some gadget reviews very soon!!

Family History destroyed by flooding!

Tuesday, January 9th, 2007

Remember chromatography in high school?  I got a wet surprise when I reached for a pile of papers on my desk … Adrian’s water-cooled PC has spung a leak.  Everything’s soggy, and it’s not just water either; it’s coolant, which is so much better at leaching out every last drop of ink from every sheet of paper leaving only a giant blue smear.  Unfortunately it was a pile of mixed paperwork, containing everything from contracts to website design plans. Never mind, at least I have an excuse not to do any work now!

The only downer is that my entire family history back to 1776 has returned to the murky smudge it was before I started my research. (And to my second cousin twice removed, sorry Neil I’ve only got your email address after the @ now …  )

Oh well.  At least his PC didn’t catch fire… I have had my concerns about the sense in putting liquid inside a PC so it's nice to know that the only thing that resulted from a leak was only a rather icky mess to clear up (the stuff feels horrible on your fingers).

Right, I’m back to work building a little dam out of modelling clay in case there’s another high tide any time soon ...

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