Time for another rave about the software from hell, Microsoft Outlook 2007.

Today it's about the address book. I have a mailing list in my local address book and I want to add a name to it.

So I open the mailing list, which is sorted by name as it was a normal contact, and then I try to drag an additional address into it.
No, that doesn't work. You can't drag and drop. Unbelievable. But I get over it. Actually, you can drag a contact into the name of the group, which adds a lot of spurious text to the group name, but you can't drag a contact into the group. That is insane.

Luckily the address book has an add button with a nice big plus. That's the universal sign for adding. So it must be what I need. But no. This dialog doesn't search the address book. It's for adding a contact by typing in their details, that is, it's for adding a contact which is not in your address book.it is not for adding contacts already in your address book, which would have to be 95% of what users want to do. So now I understand why Microsoft spends millions of usability studies. They apparently can't work this stuff out. Anyway, what do I do? Ah, there's another button in this insanely complicated dialog box: Select members. Finally I can search address books. Of course, it doesn't not search as I type. I put some text in, choose the address book I want, and then hit a another button. 

Why can't I drag and drop?

I don't rave about open source software which has problems, because you can file a bug. My bugs seem to always get fixed. Once it took two years, but it was fixed.  Who do you contact at microsoft? How can it make something as slow, complex and horrid as Outlook? It's not an accidental mess, it's a deliberate, complex mess. It's a perverse anti-masterpiece. 

Microsoft Outlook, the worst thing Microsoft ever wrote. Slow, complex, complex, slow.

Today's entry: searching for a name.

Seach for aaron. In All Address Lists.


Oh. No result. So let's try by specifying one of the Address Books.


Now it finds three hits, one of which actually exists.


a) this is crap

b) Under "Address Book", I can choose "All Address Lists". What is an Address List? Do they mean Address Books? Or is an Address List something different to an Address Book. Outlook is just horrible in a hundred million ways.

I now use Thunderbird v3 for my personal email on Windows. It's a revelation. Because Windows Vista takes five tram stops to boot up and Linux/KDE takes one tram stop, I prefer Kmail but sometimes one has to use Windows.

I don't have Windows 7, I have Vista. I noticed that Explorer windows have an option to "view by stack", and you can stack by date. "Stack?". I couldn't guess what they meant, so I tried it. (It needs Windows Search to be on for a fast response. I've twice tried Windows Search and twice turned it off because the content indexing becomes very intrusive, unlike Google desktop search). Turns out that stacking means presenting the folder content according to the criteria selected, such as file type or data modified. I tried mod date. The result is in the screenshot below. This is why people think computers are stupid, because I have only one file modified "yesterday" and everything else is a "long time ago"! This includes around four to five files modified in each of the last six months of 2009. A file modified in December 2009 is, as of Jan 3 2010, a "long time ago". Microsoft delays its releases for such a long time, and charges so much money for them, but what are they doing? Dear KDE, don't copy this.


A good open source utility to recover from damaged or corrupted camera memory cards (be they SD cards or MMC cards or other flash formats) is photorec, which for Debian and Ubuntu is in the package testdisk

A tutorial on how to use it is here,

although all you do is

a) plug your card in to your card reader

b) run as root from a shell (eg sudo does this)


and answer the questions.

My tips for answering the questions are, for a corrupt card used with a Canon EOS 5D are:

Partition type: None

File System: Other (because it's some kind of FAT file system, but all variants of FAT are included in Other)

I saved the files to my home directory. photorec

photorec actually created folders and saved the data in those folders.

An 8 GB card took about 30 minutes to process.

The point of this article is to help people find this free software, because searching for "undelete SD card" or even "undelete SD card open source", or "undelete camera card open source" leads only to commercial packages, which is annoying. Searching for "data recovery ubuntu" or "data recover linux" works better. I've used this software twice, once for an undelete and once for a corrupt card. Very happy.

I installed ClamXav anti-virus on my wife's macbook, and let it scan. To my surprise it picked up four viruses. Investigation revealed four attachments in her spam folder ... .exe attachments. Macintosh virus scanners need to look for Windows viruses in order to have something to do.