I have switched to a Microsoft created Application
Anyone that knows me, knows that I am an Apple fan. But when it comes to software, some do it better.
Typically my workflow involves an iMac, rarely do I rely on just a Macbook Pro. The Macbook Pro is reserved mainly for when I’m away from the desk and need to work. In the industry I am in, I rely heavily on emails flowing to and fro daily. For the past 5 or so years my main tool for email was the Apple Mail.app and calendars was of course the Calendar.app that is built into every device whether its Mac OS X or iOS. I have to say it has done the job well for me so far, with thousands of emails to synchronise daily and the same goes for calendar.
As for the task list I use daily that was handled and is still handled by a third-party application calledWunderlist which in by itself is an amazing application for getting everything organized.
With Wunderlist I can assign and track tasks and sync files seamlessly across devices.
Here is where the change is happening, over the last week while working out of a hotel room and at another office location. I have had to rely only on the Macbook pro for daily driving. As such I decided that I would start fresh, give something else a try because I now don’t have my multiple monitor setup to work with. Now I decided that I will switch from the default mail.app on the Mac OS X over to Microsoft Outlook. Yes you read that correctly I didn’t say Mailbox or something similar.
I have to say after relying on outlook for a few days I do like the fact that all of the things I use daily are actually located in a single application. Rather than switching screens and launching different applications that run in the background, I can safely manage my Mail, Calendar, Task list and also take Notes in the same application. (disclaimer: last time I used Microsoft products as a daily driver has to be some five to six years ago.)
At first sight Outlook 2011 was a little overwhelming for an Apple user, there are all these buttons and menus you have to drill down into, you there are so many advanced preferences etc. But after a few hours of customization, I have it all sorted and setup the way I would like it to be, that is make it look as minimal as the Apple Mail.app.
After the initial setup, it was smooth sailing from there on, it was so much easier to jump from mail to calendar to notes to task and back to mail again as needed in my workflow. I can prioritize what needs to be done today and quickly add that to my task list then move over to my flagged mail and sort them out by what has to be done today vs what i can put off to next week.
Working with the calendar application, I can safely lookup my the calendars of my peers and managers when scheduling meetings to see when they are free vs relying on sending an invitation and waiting for a reply. Also the meeting helper works very seamlessly when working with multiple calendars.
So there are no Cons?
Well of course there are cons, I couldn’t let that slip by that easily.
First off, the ribbon menu/button system is a mess.
There are so many things on there of which many of them repeat what another button does. Also about those buttons, there is no way to customize them and move them around the way I would like it, for example: the send and receive button in the dead centre of the application is not where i would like that to be, for me it should be the most left of the application. Ohh did I mention there is a second send and receive button on the menu bar above the button ribbon? Yup there is.
It’s the little things like this that would push more and more Apple users away, but because it is not intuitive doesn’t mean it is not powerful. I think if Microsoft can simplify the interface and make it less clogged than it would be a worth competitor the Apple installed Mail.app for a daily driver for most people.
All in, I am going to give it a few more weeks by switching to Outlook full-time on my daily driver work iMac and will report back the results in about a week or so. Wish me luck.