Sunday, August 1, 2010

Why I’m choosing to stick with Outlook 2007


By Bruce Schindler

When compared to my Outlook 2007 install, Outlook 2010 is lighter, faster, more streamlined, and can include updates from social networks like Twitter and Facebook. Outlook 2010 enables organizing communications from all these sources, including being able to ignore threads. By comparison, my Outlook 2007 seems cumbersome, and has a habit of crashing periodically. Late in the beta process, I downloaded a free late beta of Outlook 2010.

During the installation, there were instructions on how I could share my contact list and address book with the online social networks. I thought about the implications of this sharing for a little while. My business and social contacts are combined, and I eventually decided there was no way that would let that sharing happen.

While I was considering this, the Outlook 2010 beta crashed massively. At that point, I elected to remove the software.

Considering everything, installing Outlook 2010, even though it is no longer in beta, is not very likely. For me, there are two basic considerations for this: security and reliability.

For security concerns, any data held on the Internet can become a permanent feature of the cloud, and is therefore a static target. Any static target, given sufficient time and effort, can be breached. While having no delusions about my personal data being very high on anyone's target list, there is probably information about someone, on the "six links from anyone" principle.

Reliability wouldn't seem to be a relevant issue. Still, there are two critical ingredients for accessing the Internet: electricity and connectivity. A UPS can solve temporary power outages, but won't last for long. Our power here was out for two weeks due to an ice storm. The UPS gave up long before the power came back.

My location is not all that rural, but it is at the extreme edge of our wireless DSL. The DSL takes electricity to function, and while the company does what they can to keep it up, we're a long way from having redundant access. If one of the towers go down, we're done.

While Outlook 2010 doesn't require you to keep your information in the cloud, it's extra connectivity options have me worried. With the massive acceptance of the concept of keeping data in the cloud, my position may come across as being a bit of a luddite.

Nonetheless, I've got information I'd just as soon not share with the world, so I'll keep it to myself. Further, when I want my information, I need assurance of access to it. So it is that I'll continue with Outlook 2007, at least for now.

For those wondering, I do maintain a presence on Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks.

Bruce Schindler is a partner in the Double-S Horseshoe Ranch, retired Civil Service and National Guard, and continuing the search for that happy place where function and technology meet.