Monday, January 30, 2006

Micro$oft Outlook, the Case for Unintelligent Design

Several months ago my employer switched to Micro$soft Exchange for corporate email and calendaring. That forced me to start using Outlook to for calendaring. There are quite a few "features" of the Outlook Calendar that are just plain bad architecture and design, starting with its use of email as a calendaring protocol.

The latest broken "feature" I've discovered is Outlooks annoyer reminder functionality. Every other calendaring application I've ever used had a person's meeting reminders controlled by them. In other words I could determine if I wanted reminders for meetings, or not, by default and by individual event. Not so Outlook: The proposer of meetings initially determines whether there is a reminder associated with the meeting and that determination overrides local settings. Talk about annoying, backwards, useless functionality!

One can go in and turn off or modify reminders by individual meeting once they've been scheduled, but there appears to be no way to have any kind of overriding personal default that says I don't want reminders or want them at some time different from what was proposed. The other option is to turn off reminders all together, but that doesn't help if one actually wants to use reminders selectively. That also does not remove reminders from the appointments which means they show up when those meetings get synced to my Palm Pilot.

So far I've not yet found a workable fix, hack or workaround. Please post if you know of one.

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