The Unsinkable brian cork™

Brian Patrick Cork is living the Authentic Life

Microsoft Outlook reminds me AGAIN why I love Apple

January10

Background:

I’m looking for a platform-agnostic email, contacts and calendar solution that I can use on the web that is ubiquitous. so, for example, if I wanted to use a Chromebook (I love this concept), I could have just about the same utilization of my business emails, contacts and calendars using Chrome (browser). I was hoping that I could also do that on Internet Explorer, Safari, Firefox, etc., using any internet capable computing device I could get my hands-on.

the closest solution is Google’s App environment. while Gmail remains inelegant and can’t cleanly differentiate between email accounts, it’s really the only (only closest, to be fair) solution out there that suits my objectives.

I’m really pulling for Google these days. Larry listened to Steve Jobs and it’s showing as he matures into a heckua leader.

NOTE: the contacts issue alone regarding Outlook is a deal-breaker. If you are accustomed to using vCards (i.e. Apple Address Book or Gmail Contacts) you are hosed because Outlook.com and Outlook 2013 (PC) strip the pictures out of contacts when imported. this is ridiculous in the digital-age.

meanwhile…

outlook messageI feel like I got hood-winked into purchasing Outlook 365. as I’ve mentioned above, I have been looking for an web solution for calendar, contacts and email. I paid $99 to Microsoft for an annual subscription for the Office 365 Home Premium package. information offered throughout Microsoft’s website is very misleading. so is their sales team.

there are mixed reports from a variety of sources that state Outlook.com syncs with Outlook 2013. however, it evidently requires work-arounds to accomplish that objective. straight answers do not abound. I can’t even get Diane Poremsky, a legendary Microsoft evangelist, to help me in any meaningful way.

it took me three hours last night on the phone with escalating levels of expertise and accents (why in Gods name [Tosha Marks, is this blasphemy?] are companies still subjecting their customers to this insanity?) for Microsoft support to FINALLY admit two important things:

  1. 1. Outlook 365 is really just Outlook.com and an option to download Outlook 2013 to a PC or Outlook 2011 to a Mac. If you want to use Word, Excel, etc., you can’t do so via the web. They can only be used from the desktop. that’s stupid. it really is. I’m told that for the same $99 you can get a reach-around and a nickel bag off Peachtree Industrial. all of it’s trouble.
  2. 2. Outlook.com and Outlook 2013 (for example) don’t synchronize, easily simply. in other words, while you could reasonably expect the calendars and contacts to sync, they don’t. you can MANUALLY import calendar events from Apple’s iCal, and Google calendars, for example. but, no syncing. that is ridiculousNOTE: Getting Google calendars and iCal to sync is not perfect, but it works and appears fairly reliable.

[…sigh…]

I’m going to Linkedin this morning and posting a $1000 reward for the first person that can solve this puzzle for me. I am also contacting Microsoft support again this morning and requesting a refund of my $99. As I type this message into existence I’m wondering if someone is going to contact me and say, “oh… all you needed was the Office 365 BUSINESS Premium account. The MSFT elves were just being mischievous while they were insidiously undermining Steve Ballmer and making a mockery of refined software development and quality control.

I wish Microsoft went to the same level of effort and expense to refine their software as they do in putting misleading content on their website and in training their support staff to compound the problem when engaged. the Andy Kauffman inspired Latka lives, I’m telling you, here.

look… all this said… if I’ve missed something; or anything, I’m happy to admit my failings, and am very open to using Microsoft products. however, this morning I am reliving my conviction to be an Apple evangelist (while maintaining very high expectations for all the other platforms).

peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.

Brian Patrick Cork

apple has my back (up)

December8

Readers know that I’ve set aside my beloved Apple-oriented hardware (iMacs, Powerbooks, and iPhone) and have been working enthusiastically to drop the Android Operating system onto desktops. Never mind it’s already being done on a few laptops, and now tablets. I wanted a fast-starting and nimble desktop with a LARGE screen. So, being me, I set forth to make it so.

Along the way I started experimenting with different Operating Systems like Windows 7 and the Linux-leading Ubuntu (the truest form of Open Source that also works for the non-geek community).

All of this necessitated a broadening investigation into numerous applications for productivity and peripherals.

Apple was (well… is) great with everything wonderfully integrated in terms of how all your computers, iPhone, iPad, and iPod(s) can sync flawlessly (more on that in just a moment). But, I had already had to start using MissingSync for Android to sync my HTC EVO 4G to my Apples. In fact, much of this started because I was so fed-up with AT&T’s failing network I did not hesitate to jump over to Sprint and try an Android device. Thusly, the transition, or migration to other Operating Systems was really quite systematic, adventuresome and revealing.

So… The Ubuntu Operating System is pretty cool, and has become quite refined. You can’t use widely recognized email clients like Outlook or Thunderbird with it – although it comes with it’s own unique product called Evolution that is reasonably robust and packed with great applications. I’ll go into details around that some other time, maybe. And… Aside from the fact that it really does represent all things evil that are Microsoft (beginning with it’s foundation having been blatantly stolen from Steve Jobs) Windows 7 is actually pretty good. I’ve gotten accustomed to it, and I feel very comfortable.

Well… That was until I tried to use another third-party application called: syncing.net to sync my contacts, calendar events and tasks to my HTC EVO 4G. Things worked pretty well until we maxed-out our initial license (I have twelve people with about sixty PC’s and other devices) and needed to upgrade. Somewhere in the process data got crossed or corrupted and we found our computers involved with a horrific cascading event of lost data and information. All twelve of my people were stuck with contacts, calendars and other information getting erased when their newer PC’s went on-line and synced (this never happened with Apple’s).

Fortunately we had one lone PC in my own office that had not been synced for a few days. It had fairly recent information residing on it’s Outlook. Santi (yes, the very son of Raymond St. James, himself) suggested that I turn-off the office router and harvest the information from Outlook. That worked-out fairly well and we set ourselves to rebuilding other files. But, we were unsure how to sync all of our information around the world and rest assured it was safe.

It was starting to look like we might have to go with (gasp!) Microsoft Exchange – and, my people were quickly preparing to rebel against the insanity, clamoring for their Apple’s).

Out of desperation I tried Mobileme (http://support.apple.com/kb/DL769). Check it out. Do it! It comes with a Windows version (that halo effect continues to work it’s magic [read more about that here. seriously. do it now!]). I don’t know how many computers it will cover. But, for the moment, it appears to be working pretty darn well – all Apple-like.

Ironically, this means I’ve temporarily jumped off the Mac platform to Windows in an effort to expand my technology utilization horizons, and now find myself now requiring an Apple product to save my butt, and make things work.

Oh… And, I’m sure you have, collectively, followed Apple’s stock and know that it broke through three hundred and twenty dollars ($320) recently (and, thanks to the aforementioned halo effect, will continue to move North). Every day we draw closer to the Bank of brian (more about that later).

Apple always has my back.

Peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.

Brian Patrick Cork

What’s All This About?

"What am I looking at?", you might wonder.

Lots of stuff.

Meanwhile, here, I discuss events, people and things in our world - and, my (hardly simplistic, albeit inarticulate) views around them.

You'll also learn things about, well, things, like people you need to know about, and information about companies you can't find anywhere else.

So, while I harangue the public in my not so gentle way, you will discover that I am fascinated by all things arcane, curious about those whom appear religious, love music, dabble in politics, loathe the media, value education, still think I am an athlete, and might offer a recipe.

All the while, striving mightily, and daily, to remain a prudent and optimistic gentleman - and, authentic.

brian cork by John Campbell





photos by John Campbell

 

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