Was happy to see today that Outlook's web interface works great in Safari.

Outlook as an email client does strike me as a bit strange. Having vba in special function apps, like the ones I worked on in my previous job (ArcView and ArcIMS) and now in my new 8-6er (The Raiser's Edge) seems to make some sense for me in some strange way. I don't think I might mandating Windows when you're using expensive niche software. $150 for an OS isn't a big deal when companies are spending thousands just to get the software they want installed on their hardware. But something as ubiquitous as email seems somewhat tainted by having MS-specific extensions from formatting all the way to vba macros. Email should be free of MS's predatory-esque practices.

At the same time, the vba hooks mean that I should be able to do something about all the wacky, MS-specific things that MS thinks an email client to do. From wrapping quoted pastes and adding ">" prefixes to intelligently parsing "Outlook Rich Text" to plain text, it's all open and available. Now if only the same could be said for our Exchange server, which apparently isn't set up for IMAP4 or POP3 support. I can't even telnet into port 25 to play with the SMTP server, if there's an SMTP server of some sort in there. Aggravating.

All that said, I've been experiementing with Squirrel SQL when putting together reports with that MS sellout app at my new job. Nice open-source, Java app overall, though "--" comments don't seem to work right now. Guess that'd be an easy enough thing to add to the code, eh? :^)

The final bit of news is that I've given up on a new Mac. Hopefully the new iMovie (and maybe a devideon drive if things go well) and possibly a new hard drive for the half-GHz iBook will be enough to tide me over a while longer. The whole, "Let's upgrade 2x867 with 1x1000" just didn't do it for me. My "sector" of the Apple market got the short end of the stick with the latest upgrades, so I suppose it's time to do some voiting with ye olde pocket. As reported before, with Safari, OS X seems much faster in daily use, and other than incredibly slow Java compile times, the iBook, with its great software selection (when including open source software and the iApps), newly improved "consumer app" speed (email, browser, and word processing), and the true four-plus hour battery life really is a great laptop. Buy a new one that can use Quartz Extreme. They're not too shabby.