April 26th, 2014

Demons of stupidity

How to develop software

How to develop software:

1. Pick a popular, useful program.
2. Rewrite it from scratch with only half the features the old one had.
3. Add a couple of shiny new buzzword-compliant features.
4. Give it a completely new user interface using the UI toolkit of the month.
5. Add an import feature that doesn't actually import everything.
6. Launch the new version with great fanfare.
7. Discontinue the old version. For bonus credit, erase all mention of the old version from your website.
8. Whenever someone asks why the new version doesn't do something useful that the old one did, claim that the change is "by design" and then ignore them.
9. Go to step 2.

Today's particular rant is directed at Windows Live Mail, which is the replacement for Outlook Express. And is missing such fundamental features as a purge command for IMAP folders (without which it is actually impossible to delete emails).

Microsoft has also decided that instead of integrating with Windows Contacts (itself the replacement for the Windows Address Book), Windows Live Mail will instead use its own contacts directory. Which doesn't store anywhere near as much information as Windows Contacts does. So after importing the contacts I've ended up with email addresses arbitrarily (and usually wrongly) assigned as being the "personal", "work" or "other" addresses, except when a contact had more than 3 email addresses in which case it's actually created multiple contacts. With the additional contacts containing only the email address and not the person's name.

Except when it randomly chooses to import just an email address and not the name of a contact.

I'm close to just giving up on the whole thing and firing up Outlook Express in XP Mode, which despite all the hassle of essentially running a Windows XP virtual machine purely for email has the massive advantage of actually working.
  • Current Music
    Clannad - Caislean Óir [The Best of Clannad: In a Lifetime]
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Tall ships (porthole)

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While experimenting with Mozilla Thunderbird as a potential replacement email client (and finding that despite being able to integrate with Windows Contacts if you know which super-secret options to enable, it only supports two email addresses per contact - so it's also useless), I discovered that Hotmail accounts are now accessible over IMAP. This means that I can once again get Outlook Express to speak to my Hotmail account, and so if I want use that program for all my email accounts.

I've also found out that it's possible to use Bluetooth from within XP Mode, by letting the VM control the Bluetooth dongle, though this leads to the somewhat absurd situation of having to plug a second dongle in so that the real Windows 7 install can also use Bluetooth. This means that I can run the Nokia PC Suite software inside the VM, and so get it to sync my phone's contacts with the address book used by Outlook Express. This is part of the reason why I'm trying to find an email client that can actually integrate with Windows Contacts (as opposed to merely importing them) - the other main reason is Windows Contacts actually stores more information than almost every other contact database I've found so far.

The XP Mode approach is looking more and more practical...
  • Current Music
    Clannad - Saltwater - Chicane (Mothership mix) (feat. Moya Brennan) [The Best of Clannad: In a Lifetime (bonus disc: Clannad Chilled)]