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.

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.

Email is not flawed, part 2

Monday, I criticized the idea that email should be used for only data and facts, because email with emotional content “is so often misunderstood” according to Mr. Edward Muzio. As if facts can’t be misunderstood or that the written word can’t communicate emotional content effectively.

As Mr. Muzio points out, we communicate through more than words. Tone and facial and body expressions contribute to meaning. So do pheromones. Most of us are unaware of this while we’re speaking. Often communication fails [1] no matter what medium is used, and even if people have a common history or culture. I contend that misunderstandings are more common than we suppose. Fortunately, we are unaware of many of them.  Blaming email for the failures that result from misunderstandings is like a prospector failing to find gold and blaming his mule.

Redundant communication systems, plasticity of meaning, and the relative unimportance of most of our communication saves us from more terrible consequences than we already have. Most everyday communication is mundane, without mortal consequences. Plasticity and redundancy means we can understand the gist of what someone is saying without having to understand it exactly. Normally, we understand well enough, if not perfectly.

Know What I Mean?

Whatever medium we use, misunderstandings occur for any number of reasons. I find they occur most often because at least one of us has made a bad assumption about the other person. Common assumptions are about a person’s state of mind, willingness to understand, ability to understand, and veracity. If I assume you are telling me the truth, and that you want me to know something, but you’re lying or you don’t really want me to understand, well, there’s a problem. If you assume I’m really listening to you and not thinking about lunch, or that I have the vocabulary or experience to know what you mean, then there is, again, a problem. Most of the time we don’t have the inclination or wherewithal to analyze our attempts. However, if what you have to say is important, it does behoove you to consider the medium as well as the message.