While we’re on the subject of Outlook 2013 and outgoing email delay…

Dear Microsoft,

Why did you decide to make outgoing email delays a rule instead of an email account option? The change is a bother because it has no benefit and only costs. All outgoing email is now delayed, and I used to set this option by account, so I’ve lost flexibility. In addition, outgoing email is delayed rule is satisfied. In earlier versions I could force the email to be sent by clicking “send all,” which I often want to do. Therefore, I’ve also lost an important piece of control I used to have.

Changes that result in less flexibility and less control with no balancing benefit make me very, very cranky.

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Outlook 2013, edited and resent email does not go out

Outlook 2013 (desktop) bug

If you have a rule on your outbox that delays outbound email, then you may have run into a problem whereby an edited and resent email never goes out.

This happens if you edit the email and resend it while Outlook’s focus is on the outbox. If you set the focus to, for example, the inbox, then click send, the email will be marked as outbound and leave when you expect it to.

Steps to duplicate the problem:

  1. Set up a rule to delay outbound emails. Click here to see how (and why) to do that
  2. Create an email message, and click send
  3. Click on Outlook’s Outbox
  4. Open email created in step 2.
  5. Click Send

Notice that the email message is now shown in regular text, not italics. Messages use italics if they are queued to go out. If you edit message and save it, but don’t click send, you see the same behavior.

To work around the bug, before clicking send after editing the email, click on another Outlook folder such as the Inbox. Click send on your email, and it will be properly queued.

From Outlook’s point-of-view, this may be by design, but, in my opinion, it’s a bug. It’s a change in behavior from (all) earlier versions, and the behavior is different depending on whether the Outbox has focus. In fact, this bug occurs just by going to the Outbox and clicking on, but not opening or editing, the email.

Using, or not, Windows File and Folder Encryption

Recently, I found out the easy way, thankfully, that there is a critical reason for not using Windows file and folder encryption. The files and folders will be unavailable if the drive on which they reside is moved to another computer!

I had to revive my previous laptop in order to run an old version of software incompatible with Windows 7. I felt inordinately smug that 1) I hadn’t yet cleaned and dumped the laptop, and 2) I use a removable hard drive for many of the tools my two laptops would need to share.

Luckily I was only stuck slightly when, on-site at a new client’s, I couldn’t get to information I wanted to use from the removable drive. The files had been encrypted on the drive while connected to the other laptop.

I say luckily, because, while searching for a work around (or reality check) I read posts from people who found out only when a computer had died and they installed the old drive in a new system. Yikes.

I expect this may seem obvious to some of you. It wasn’t to me. And it effectively kills any reason whatsoever to use it. Indeed, I’d go so far as to call it a danger.

I haven’t settled on an alternative, so if you have a personal favorite, I’d like to hear about it. And if I’ve just missed the work around, I’d be pleased to hear about that, too.

A plea to bloggers and tutorial authors–especially Microsoft

Please, please, please date your writing and include the versions of the products you’re writing about. Make it very obvious. It’s not helpful to find a tutorial that doesn’t include the version information, only to find that it doesn’t still apply, has been superseded, works differently, or needs, oh, say, updated namespaces and project references. I’m looking at you Visual Studio 2010 Prism and MVVM and MVC.

Blackberry, schmackberry

I’m eagerly awaiting the quickly approaching end to the my indentured servitude to my current cell phone contract. I’m not sure what I’ll go with next. I’m resisting the iPhone that with all my might, though the interface and open API is tempting. Besides, I’d like to stay with Verizon, however, their smart phone selection is underwhelming. I wish I could keep my Blackberry Pearl, which I love. So, why change?

  • The cost of Blackberry web connections is shocking. I haven’t started researching current costs, however, so perhaps it’s in line with the competition.
  • For a supposedly premier business tool RIM’s software for Blackberries looks and operates like first generation software. Very hard to see how they expect to compete with the likes of the iPhone.
  • RIM technical support is a misery.

Would I have selected a different phone if I had previewed the Desktop Manager before I bought into BlackBerry? Maybe since I do love the Pearl. I would have felt less aggrieved, though.

p.s. What *is* up with contracts anyway? I don’t understand why we are putting up with it. But then I don’t see why people put up with the prices cable and satellite TV charge.

HTML email and Outlook 2007 summation

My journey into Office 2007 land is finally at an end. For which my client is happy, I expect. To recap, I have a modest ASP.NET (1.1) application that displays one simple webform, on which there are about two dozen TextBoxes and a dozen CheckBoxes. Users fill in some information, check or uncheck some email addresses and the send the form off to the requested email addresses.

The form is simple. There were a few formatting and required entry validators. Before I send the email, I remove a few control that aren’t needed, but other than that, it is a straightforward project. It was maddening that such an autocratic descision as to change the HTML rendering could complicate things so much (and cost my client money and inconvenience).

Here is a summary of what I had to change, how I changed it, and what I found out.

First, I found out that the only way to be sure of how Outlook would display the HTML was to install Outlook 2007. Word 2007 does not display the HTML the same way Outlook 2007 does. That alone should be enough to put the lie to the marketing fluff about user experience. And the validation tool doesn’t help at all either, since whether or not an element or attribute is supported has little to do with what the visual affect will be.

I also found out that unsupported elements are not ignored as MS states–at least not the way I define “ignore.” Input elements (ASP.NET TextBoxes, CheckBoxes, and so on are rendered as Input elements) are only ignored in so far as anything useful is concerned (say, the style attribute, or InnerHTML), but they will still render in Outlook as spaces delimited with square brackets.

In the end, I’m just glad it is a simple application, or I’d have had a nightmare. OTOH, if it was complicated I would have handled the emailed form differently. Anyway, here’s what worked for me:

  • Replace div and span elements with tables.
  • New 04/11/08: Replaced ASP.NET validators with server-side validation that registers a JavaScript alert if entries are missing.
  • Put all styles in-line.
  • Added Html label elements that pair up with TextBoxes and CheckBoxes (which render as text- and checkbox type input elements). Set display:none.
  • Before sending email, store text input element values in Html labels InnerText, and remove the input element. Store a “[X]” for checked checkboxes. (Very 1980’s.)
  • Removed Img element.

Note that in this I’ve lost the ability to have printer css styles applied, which isn’t fatal.

That’s it in a nutshell. In short, yes, I can shout an affirmation that Office 2007 sets email back five years. At least.