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Microsoft Looks At Integrating Forums and E-mail

Hemos posted more than 10 years ago | from the good-ideas dept.

Microsoft 462

prostoalex writes "Scott Hanselman shares a document from Microsoft Research internal Web site on Gina Venolia's latest research in user interface design. Since half of the e-mail conversations require reply and then further replies, the model is not too different from current Web forums. Future Outlook versions might integrate the nested interface for e-mail conversations." Gotta say, that'd be pretty nice to have.

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Why has this taken so long? (4, Funny)

ChaoticChaos (603248) | more than 10 years ago | (#7786797)

/. ran a story about this very thing from IBM's R&D who also came to the same conclusion.

Honestly, it's hard to believe that it took PHD "rocket scientists" to come to the conclusion that email is probably better interfaced as a forum. We've all known that for years. It's also hard to understand why there aren't "big name" email clients that already support that kind of interface.

Thinking of Microsoft's offering in this area, it would be nice if they automatically emailed the author of the worm that ravaged your system so you could conduct a forum-interfaced conversation with the person. Kinda like an auto-Friendster between worm-authors and worm-targets. ;-)

Re:Why has this taken so long? (2, Interesting)

Frymaster (171343) | more than 10 years ago | (#7786870)

Why has this taken so long?

it hasn't. we used to call it "usenet".

Re:Why has this taken so long? (4, Insightful)

Kaa (21510) | more than 10 years ago | (#7786996)

it hasn't. we used to call it "usenet".

Nah, not even close. Usenet is a free-for-all public discussion. Email exchange is an invitation-only private discussion. Big difference.

Re:Why has this taken so long? (2, Funny)

ChaoticChaos (603248) | more than 10 years ago | (#7787047)

Thank you! Finally, someone clarified the issue. It's amazing how many people are waving the Usenet flag around in this thread and that is an apples and oranges comparison.

A butt is a terrible place to store a head.

Re:Why has this taken so long? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7786937)

So, basically, what we are going to see is a case where big proprietary firms use existing Free Software as a roadmap for what to develop next? Doesn't emacs already have a consistent interface for newsgroups and email in the "gnus" mode?

Re:Why has this taken so long? (1)

terradyn (242947) | more than 10 years ago | (#7786953)

Well... I can't say that I like Lotus Notes, but it has had a "discussion thread" mode for viewing e-mails for a long time... It's pretty useful for keeping track of team conversations.

Re:Why has this taken so long? (1)

GregWebb (26123) | more than 10 years ago | (#7787013)

So did Netscape 4. Can't remember about Moz and don't have the mail client installed on this machine to check.

It wasn't absolutely reliable but worked fine most of the time.

FP FP FP FP (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7786798)

FIRST POSTPOSPOSTPOSTPOSTPOSTPOSTT # es before posting your own to avoid simply duplicating what has already been said. # Use a clear subject that describes what your message is about. # Offtopic, Inflammatory, Inappropriate, Illegal, or Offensive comments might be moderated. (You can read everything, even moderated posts, by adjusting your threshold on the User Preferences Page) Problems regarding accounts or comment posting should be sen

Uhm... (3, Interesting)

metrazol (142037) | more than 10 years ago | (#7786803)

Great, we're going backwards... this is USENET, isn't it? I love that people first complain that new technology doesn't do what they want, but rejoice when new technology does what the old technology did, just at four times the cost. Really people, can we invent something new for once?

Re:Uhm... (1)

akaina (472254) | more than 10 years ago | (#7786865)

Come again?
What's that you're trying to say?

Perhaps if there were some blue dots or a colored line of some sort THAT would help

Re:Uhm... (1)

deadlinegrunt (520160) | more than 10 years ago | (#7786891)

It will be "innovation" if this new USENET, err I meant Mail Forums, will eliminate the top posting bastards that usually have an OUTLOOK mailer header...Hey it would justify the 4x cost increase and possibly even get their thread scores high enough to get past a kill filter.

Re:Uhm... (1)

Burlynerd (535250) | more than 10 years ago | (#7786988)

RE: "Top posting bastards"

You are heading for a lifetime of frustration if you continue fixating on that issue. Herding cats is easy compared to your attempt to force humans to behave as you wish.

BN

Re:Uhm... (5, Insightful)

Albanach (527650) | more than 10 years ago | (#7786899)

It's interesting that Outlook forces you to use Outlook Express as a usenet client, rather than having the functionality built in. This is fairly typical Microsoft practise when they want to be able to sell you something, yet still say the functionality via open standards is available.

For example, in Outlook there are frequent problems when using lots of IMAP folders. To share calendars etc, you need to use POP3. Microsoft, however, can sell you exchange server to replace your IMAP folders and allow you to share calendars.

If Outlook had built in NNTP support, every office would have a local NNTP server doing this. Instead, they'll add a new feature to Outlook that will only be available if you're running it with MS Exchange. Big bucks.

Re:Uhm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7787054)

>It's interesting that Outlook forces you to use Outlook Express as a usenet
>client, rather than having the functionality built in.

It doesn't always pay. I had Outlook Express (came free with my ISP). I upgraded to Outlook and spent some time trying to configure it to do Usenet access. By the time I'd discovered, via Google, that it wasn't possible, I'd discovered Firebird, which does both, is better (no more junkmail, viruses, security risks etc) and is free. So I ended up using that and dumping Outlook!

Re:Uhm... (1)

shawn(at)fsu (447153) | more than 10 years ago | (#7786993)

Great, we're going backwards... this is USENET, isn't it?

Hey, look at it this way, it will be easy to show Prior Art...

Re:Uhm... (1)

Jugalator (259273) | more than 10 years ago | (#7787022)

Great, we're going backwards... this is USENET, isn't it?

The invention here is to represent e-mail in a threaded view. Although it's not really an invention since other mail readers can do this.

Anyway, the problem with switching to Usenet for this feature is that you need to switch.

Re:Uhm... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7787040)

While I wouldn't go as far as saying that this is 'new' technology, I would say that it's at least a different approach to something common using existing technologies. Email has been pretty much modeled the same way it has been since it was conceived in the 60s/70s. The 'mail' in 'email' implies the kind of model it follows, where one individual sends a message to another similar to mailing a letter. However, while with regular mail it takes several days (at a minimum) to receive a response, email responses can come within minutes and so it's not uncommon for people to have entire oonversations via email (hell, I've done that many a time). This sort of thing would be better modeled by something that came a little later -- an online forum or usenet.

This could be fairly easy to implement depending on how things go. Most email clients by default include the entire message you're replying to (and, sometimes, the email they wrote that reply in response to, etc) so it could just be a matter of reformatting information that is already there. Of course, this would rely on both clients using a standard way of presenting that information (ie. the '> ' prefix).

This way... (5, Funny)

Lane.exe (672783) | more than 10 years ago | (#7786804)

You can pinpoint exactly where in the conversation the worm came in!

It's all about trusted computing, people.

Re:This way... (1)

ptomblin (1378) | more than 10 years ago | (#7787050)

Trusting Microsoft with your computing is like trusting your dog with a steak.

Major difference: It's usually possible to convince your boss not to trust a dog with a steak. At least until the dog starts a multi-billion dollar advertising campaign.

If I understand this correctly... (5, Informative)

l-ascorbic (200822) | more than 10 years ago | (#7786806)

...Apple Mail has done this since Panther came out. Emails can be viewed as threaded discussions. It's clever, and doesn't just go on subject line, but also pays attention to in-reply-to headers (or whatever it's really called).

Re:If I understand this correctly... (5, Informative)

PotPieMan (54815) | more than 10 years ago | (#7786869)

Mutt [mutt.org] has done this for as long as I can remember.

Re:If I understand this correctly... (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7786879)

Indeed, the latest Mac mail has a "fancy threads" feature: http://www.apple.com/macosx/features/mail/ [apple.com]

Re:If I understand this correctly... (5, Informative)

SkArcher (676201) | more than 10 years ago | (#7786927)

Operas inbuilt E-mail client, M2, also already does this, integrating it with the usenet reader as well.

Opera can be set to a variety of preferences for how it makes threads, depending on reply-to's, users recieve, subject lines and matched text in the mail body.

This is not a new idea, it is just new to MS users.

Re:If I understand this correctly... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7787003)

So has every half-decent Unix mail client for years. Kmail, Emacs VM, emacs gnus, evolution, even Netscape!

It's amazing that apps like Notes and Outlook with huge dollars poured into them for years are finally getting around to implementing basic email functionality instead of just adding more bouncy bitmaps.

Next they'll be figuring out that proper quoting (rather than just tacking the latest on to the history) improves context and mailing list support.

Mozilla Has this (4, Informative)

nachoman (87476) | more than 10 years ago | (#7786809)

Mozilla already has this. You can set your email to threaded view and it looks just like it does when viewing a newsgroup. Newsgroups are really email meets forums. Forums just seem to be gaining more ground today instead of newsgroups.

There is nothing new here. Move along people, nothing to see.

Re:Mozilla Has this (1)

ChaoticChaos (603248) | more than 10 years ago | (#7786837)

Usenet is basically dead. Everyone has moved to forums.

It's interesting that no one has written software to syphon off new forum posts from all the forums you frequent so you can read them all in one place like Usenet software did.

That would be some mega-useful software.

Re:Mozilla Has this (1)

billysara (264) | more than 10 years ago | (#7786906)

They have... Mostly for Adult/Pr0n business forums though. Dare say it'll filter out to the rest of web sooner or later though...

Re:Mozilla Has this (1)

proj_2501 (78149) | more than 10 years ago | (#7786920)

that would be difficult without forum software. however, many forums allow you to receive email whenever your subscribed threads are replied to.

Re:Mozilla Has this (2, Insightful)

mr.capaneus (582891) | more than 10 years ago | (#7786967)

Usenet is most definitely not dead. There is a big spam problem in many newsgroups but there are also many active NG's with many contributors. It will be a sad day when usenet really does die.

Re:Mozilla Has this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7787007)

" Usenet is basically dead. Everyone has moved to forums"

I always have a good laugh when people say that.
Nope nothing going on there....

To all you beginners out there, he's right. There is nothing going on in Usenet land. So best to just stay away. Besides even if you were interested figuring out how to use and access Usenet is just too difficult. Don't bother.

Re:Mozilla Has this (1, Flamebait)

Smedrick (466973) | more than 10 years ago | (#7786861)

Um...the news isn't the threading format, it's that MS is going to add it to Outlook. Dumbass.

Evolution has this too (1)

TheLastUser (550621) | more than 10 years ago | (#7786944)


The article ends with:

Gotta say, that'd be pretty nice to have.

Which made me also think that the author was suggesting that this was somehow new.

Its never really "done" until MS does it. I guess because that's what everyone uses, so until MS does it, few if any have it.

frist post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7786813)

awwwyeahh

Wow. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7786815)

When I saw Hemos making a positive comment about this Microsoft product, I just paused there over my keyboard and in an almost exhuberant voice exclaimed "What? What's this!?" in wonder and awe at this lack of zealotry on this morning.

Hemos, you are my hero. Also, I do agree that it would be a fine thing to have.

Can you say... (0, Redundant)

lateralus (582425) | more than 10 years ago | (#7786817)

Usenet?

I can't believe I'm saying this, but... (0, Redundant)

TheBrownShow (454945) | more than 10 years ago | (#7786819)

Just use a Mac. Their email client pretty much does this already.

Re:I can't believe I'm saying this, but... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7786838)

yeah but I'm not homosexual enough for one

Re:I can't believe I'm saying this, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7786887)

so you are homosexual to some degree though?

Re:I can't believe I'm saying this, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7786924)

well, I touched a man once. but they still wouldnt let me have one

Re:I can't believe I'm saying this, but... (3, Informative)

derF024 (36585) | more than 10 years ago | (#7786895)

Just use a Mac. Their email client pretty much does this already.

Or use mozilla, or evolution, or kmail, or squirrelmail, or mutt, or any of the other email clients that already do this and have gotten the concept right. Apple's mail.app doesn't actually show you a nested discussion, it just groups messages by threads.

Welcome to 1997 email concepts Microsoft, we were all wondering when you'd get there.

Re:I can't believe I'm saying this, but... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7787023)

Or wait for the new Outlook and use a client that isn't shitty...

Feature already in Outlook (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7786820)

Isn't this feature already there in Outlook? Threading messages...?

Microsoft innovating again... (1, Redundant)

N4m0r (592310) | more than 10 years ago | (#7786822)

Oh wait, look at that. Apple's Mail.app has threaded email already...

MacOS X Mail? (2, Informative)

Pirogoeth (662083) | more than 10 years ago | (#7786823)

The latest version of MacOS X Mail [apple.com] attempts to do threading to keep back-and-forth discussions together.

Or get a mac (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7786824)

Apple's Mail already has mail threading.

Can anyone say... (1)

Devil's BSD (562630) | more than 10 years ago | (#7786828)

Mailing lists???

reinvent the wheel (0, Redundant)

OffTheLip (636691) | more than 10 years ago | (#7786834)

Here Microsoft goes again repackaging something as innovation.

What are the chances.... (-1, Troll)

noelp (524550) | more than 10 years ago | (#7786841)

...that this excellent idea (although I believe it has been bandied about before) will still be shot down by the /. crowd for no reason other than it is from MS?

Every day I hope for some modicum sensibility from the masses....still waiting....

Re:What are the chances.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7786909)

Proved you wrong again. Looks like we're shooting it down because the idea is from Apple and Mozilla!

Re:What are the chances.... (5, Insightful)

SoTuA (683507) | more than 10 years ago | (#7786918)

...that this excellent idea (although I believe it has been bandied about before) will still be shot down by the /. crowd for no reason other than it is from MS?

No, it will be shot down because it has already been done (in Mozilla and Apple's Mail.app, for example, not to mention usenet).

I have no problems with MS software. I have problems with MS claiming this is innovation, when it is playing catch-up. (like pop-up supression and tabbed browsing coming in XP SP2)

yay (5, Funny)

pardasaniman (585320) | more than 10 years ago | (#7786843)

Now we can spend minutes loading chain emails with 1mb activex controls, and several viruses all at once.

Microsoft: Where will u be able to go today?
Apple: Where will u go while we distract you with random graphics?
Linux: How will u go where you want today?

Threads (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7786846)

Evolution seems to support Threaded message view, am I missing something here?

mutt (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7786848)

mutt had this for years, right? It is called threaded view or something like that.
And oh please, don't put it in a web page-like interface..

How is this different from "threaded" view? (1)

jridley (9305) | more than 10 years ago | (#7786849)

Every mail reader I've used for several years will display messages like that. Admittedly, they've added more dancing clowns, but the view looks the same as in other readers.
Looks to me like they're just fixing stuff that they never got around to implementing in Outlook in the first place. This is one of the reasons that I've always thought Outlook sucked so bad. If they put in thread view, it'll suck a little less bad.

Re:How is this different from "threaded" view? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7786932)

Outlook has had this since at least the 97 version, so not sure what they're really talking about.

Just group by Conversation and order by Conversation Index

In Soviet Russia (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7786854)

Forums and email integrate YOU!

More Innovation! (4, Funny)

Elladan (17598) | more than 10 years ago | (#7786856)

Wow, next thing you know, they'll be inventing the command line!

I mean, just imagine... You could control a computer just by typing in text, almost like language! None of those bizarre manhandling a carpal tunnel creating mouse all day to point at primitive representations on the screen!

Er, oh wait. They are.

Why is it that whenever Microsoft "invents" something that everyone else has had for decades, it's "big news" and "innovation" ?

Re:More Innovation! (1)

skaap (681715) | more than 10 years ago | (#7786946)

Yep, just think, soon as they 'invent' threaded email viewing in Outlook & OE, I'd bet they'd make an attempt to patent threading.

Re:More Innovation! (1)

AsimovBesterClarke (701529) | more than 10 years ago | (#7787031)

I probably found this on /. , but:

"Look up "derivative" in the dictionary and see if that reminds you of how MS describes their "innovation"."

Hello, my name is (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7786857)

ROCKETBOY. Go ahead and steal my nick, I know, I know - It's too cool to be left alone. Some of you will steal it.

Anyway, MOSFET LIQUID! Now!

news needs a rebirth (2, Insightful)

mirko (198274) | more than 10 years ago | (#7786860)

For most old-school netizens, the newsgroups are the best way to get spammed.
Somebody once used Netscape to forward one of my private mails to a newsgroups.
Since then, this address has become useless : too much spam.
Now, if you want to integrate both systems, mail and news, you'd rather think of a non-obvious way to obfuscate email address.
I also guess it'd be a good idea for Google to just enable anyone to EASILY get some posts mentioning his own coordinates removed.
At least, they could detect email address and encrypt these.
Until then, you won't convince me to use the newsgroups anymore.

Re:news needs a rebirth (1)

mhifoe (681645) | more than 10 years ago | (#7786975)

Just use me@privacy.net for your email address when posting to newsgroups.
If you want other readers to be able to email you, put an obsfucated address in your signature.

Re:news needs a rebirth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7786994)

I get several hundred spam a week. I read almost none of it. Maybe if we focused more on intelligent agents, text-parsing, and machine learning this sort of stuff wouldn't be a problem at all.

Evolution already does this (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7786863)

Ximian evolution has done this, at least since 1.4.5 and probably earlier. My e-mail has been a lot easier to manage using this format. It must have been real tricky for Microsoft to 'think up' this idea, when an actual product already has it in use. Oh wait, that's what they do... They'll probably patent it now.

Re:Evolution already does this (1)

cr@ckwhore (165454) | more than 10 years ago | (#7787055)

Evolution has been able to do this for much longer than that... I'm using an OLD version (1.0.8), which also supports microsoft's new "invention".

Bah, set your priorities! (3, Interesting)

bazik (672335) | more than 10 years ago | (#7786872)

>Future Outlook versions might integrate
>the nested interface for e-mail conversations

They should better work on a noob-proof attachment handling and add a dozen of messageboxes when the luser double-clicks the attachment... 'Are really you sure you want to open nudeteens.jpg.exe?'

If they'd at least integrate a virus scanner... they did buy a AV company, why dont they use their knowledge?

Not that I use Windows or Outlook, but I am annoyed about the ~100 viruses I get every day... *sigh*

Outlook already does this (1, Redundant)

jameson71 (540713) | more than 10 years ago | (#7786874)

Doesnt outlook already do this if you choose to view the folder by thread?

Re:Outlook already does this (3, Informative)

YU Nicks NE Way (129084) | more than 10 years ago | (#7786930)

Not really. Outlook and other mail clients look at the mail header to define a conversation. This is intended to do a better job than that: it looks at the content of the mail as well and tries to infer the threading structure from that.

Re:Outlook already does this (1)

fruey (563914) | more than 10 years ago | (#7786997)

This is intended to do a better job than that: it looks at the content of the mail as well and tries to infer the threading structure from that.

That's only any use if your mailers are all broken in the first place and don't add "In-Reply-To" headers in the first place. Any piece of software could also analyze quoting and work out if an email was indeed a reply, but that's just silly. Mail headers were defined years ago for this sort of thing, people need to learn to use proper email etiquette (even Outlook/OE can do In-Reply-To)... and also STOP replying to some old message on a completely different subject too... that's the only thing that screws up threading for those of us who've been using it for years (mutt my personal favourite).

Did they really needed a research for that? (2, Informative)

ch3 (701440) | more than 10 years ago | (#7786881)

This is at least 1 year since Mozilla Mail has this feature, Thunderbird has it also and so has The Bat and Mail.app (OSX)...

I would like to know how much Gina Venolia got paid to find something so much obvious...

New feature? Hah. (3, Interesting)

Todd Knarr (15451) | more than 10 years ago | (#7786882)

This sounds a lot like sorting a folder by thread (in-reply-to/references, time, subject). Is there any non-MS e-mail program out there that doesn't allow for that? Pine does, Mutt does, Evolution does, Mozilla/Thunderbird does... does MS really need an R&D department to tell them that a 20-year-old standard feature would be useful?

Re:New feature? Hah. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7787018)

isn't it funny that M$ didn't decide to have this until Apple added it to their mail client!

trn? (0)

wfbush (136129) | more than 10 years ago | (#7786890)

... is how many years old now? This must be another one of those M$ innovations we hear so much about:

1 convert text-only threading clues to cute graphics
2 ...
3 profit!

Kudos (1, Funny)

mabu (178417) | more than 10 years ago | (#7786892)

Kudos to Microsoft for once again being on the cutting edge of copying 20-year old technology.

I hear next month they'll be introducing a text-only browser called MS-Hedgehog.

old news.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7786894)

Lotus Notes has had this since I started using it at v3 ..Nice to see microsoft 'innovating' again.

Errrrrrr......No. (2, Funny)

Bowie J. Poag (16898) | more than 10 years ago | (#7786904)



90% of my car trips involve buying something. Doesn't mean I want a cash-register in my car.

This is new? (1, Redundant)

AaronGTurner (731883) | more than 10 years ago | (#7786910)

Threaded email? It's hardly new. Many email clients can already do it.

its nested view, not threaded view (3, Informative)

kervel (179803) | more than 10 years ago | (#7786916)

i think they mean the same layout as ./ comments when you set view to 'nested' (not 'threaded')

5) Cmdr Taco... PROFIT!!! (0, Offtopic)

mosel-saar-ruwer (732341) | more than 10 years ago | (#7786925)


1) Release next version of SlashCode under "NOT-GPL"
2) Integrate Active Directory Support, rename it "SlashCode.NET"
3) ???
4) Sell to Redmond for use in Outlook-Longhorn-2005.NET
5) Cmdr Taco... PROFIT!!!

Nah, that just makes WAY too much sense...

Lotus Notes has had this for years (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7786928)

It's surprising how long it has taken Microsquish to catch up to Notes and Mozilla

Wow... (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7786936)

...Microsoft discovered threads!

Next, they will surprise us with hot water and sliced bread!

Good... or bad (4, Informative)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 10 years ago | (#7786948)

This could be useful, but it would really depend on how well it's designed (which is a big red flag, given that we're talking about Microsoft). You'd certainly need some way to disable it.

I work at a university, and I've got a few professors who use their inbox as their address book. So whenever they write to me, the message invariably has the same subject line - usually from a project that ended one, two, or more years ago! They pick that one because that's the first message from me they find in their inbox. I would imagine in this circumstance every mail I've ever gotten from the particular individuals would be concatenated into one long discussion - even though very little or none of it would be cogent to the current message or messages.

Oooh! (4, Funny)

Greyfox (87712) | more than 10 years ago | (#7786964)

After millions of dollars of research, Microsoft "innovates" the web-cached listserve that's been around for years. I bet they patent it, too.

To give them credit though, their interface draws lines between the messages for the thread, which none of the primative web-cached listserves do. Obviously this advance in user-friendliness justifies the research dollars put into the effort.

Outlook Forum (5, Funny)

Dark Lord Seth (584963) | more than 10 years ago | (#7786968)

Automatic "Standard reply" button included with the following options:

  • AOL reply: "me too!!!" with random capital letters.
  • Goth angst reply: 4 page poem describing death, decay and entropy on a personal level. Ends with "me too!!!" with random capital letters.
  • Teen angst reply: 4 page essay on how best friend's sister-in-law got pregnant from a 66 year old bum, End with "me too!!!" with random capital letters.
  • MS developer reply: 40 page EULA which basically means MS owns your house, car, soul and first born, ends with "me too!!!" with random capital letters.
  • Overclocker reply: 20 page essay on why your Outlook is faster because you changed the default desktop theme. Ends with "me too!!!" with random capital letters.
  • Script kiddie reply: Automagically hacks all Outlook apps on other computers using the forum, displays "me too!!!" with random capital letters in an endless popup loop.
  • Linux/Mac user reply: Formats HD, overheats CPU and lists you with the dept of HS as potential communistic terrorist involved with drug cartels. Automaticallly posts a flame claiming Linux is a travestite and RMS's beard is made out of pubic hair.

Re:Outlook Forum (1)

devphaeton (695736) | more than 10 years ago | (#7786995)

Linux/Mac user reply: Formats HD, overheats CPU and lists you with the dept of HS as potential communistic terrorist involved with drug cartels. Automaticallly posts a flame claiming Linux is a travestite and RMS's beard is made out of pubic hair.

Funny.. i give you that... But i dunno if you should lump the Linux and Mac folks together yet. They still don't mix together quite so well. ;^)

Call Me Cynical.... (1)

devphaeton (695736) | more than 10 years ago | (#7786971)

...but MS trying to pull this sort of thing is just what we need. Maybe i'm biased or pessimistic, but i'm sure that they will find some way to proprietize it (one) and leverage some way to (intentionally or unintentionally) break current email systems (two).

Case in point? Win95 splash screens extolling the ability to "personalize your email with RTF, different fonts and HTML". Because of this, 3 out of 5 email messages being sent appear to be purple MS Comic Sans text over blue background, with 180K of attached animated GIFs. Crap that, IMHO, shouldn't belong in email to start with.

Another? OLE's broken "virus protection". Sure, you can tell OLE to no open attachments. But that means ALL attachments. It doesn't differentiate between *.vbs and *.jpg. Furthermore, it nags the user to allow it to open attachments, therefore defeating itself. Most of them keep their "virus protection" disabled constantly and get nailed with the next email virus that comes down the pike.

Next? WinXP's MS MovieMaker touts "Movies made with MovieMaker are small enough to share via email.". Ugggh!! Around the holidays i can expect a huge rash of support calls coming in due to ppl trying to email each other 1.7Gb movie files.

Maybe i've got a bad attitude, or maybe i'm jaded by working in Tech Support, but it often sickens me the way that Microsoft tends to empower people to do things when they don't sufficiently understand the technology. I'm not trying to sound as if i'm l33+3r than though, or anything, but in the days when i wanted to do stuff, i had to work at it, and if it didn't work for me, i had to learn why. I couldn't just call someone else up and have a conversation like:

"I can't send email"

"why, what happens?"

"It won't send"

"What does it do instead?"

"It doesn't go."

"What are you trying to do?"

"I don't know. I'm trying to send my email!"
...and on and on. Worse yet, they will believe the error messages that their computer tells them vs. what i tell them. I can't win.

*whew*

Sorry.

Still looking for unified messaging (1)

Ars-Fartsica (166957) | more than 10 years ago | (#7786972)

IM, VOIP, email...we're still looking for a unified inbox here folks. If its all IP packets, it can all be managed in one place.

Groupwise (2, Informative)

BaronM (122102) | more than 10 years ago | (#7786976)

Groupwise has had this for a while now. I'm pretty sure Notes does too. And Mozilla. And Mutt.

IBM Remail project covers same ground... (5, Informative)

glawrie (663927) | more than 10 years ago | (#7786980)

An earlier Slashdot article ( Remail: IBM is Reinventing Email [slashdot.org] ) from December 9th 2003 discusses similar work done by IBM researcher's on an advanced email system. It too aims to put the 'user' at the heart of email processing, and has identified clever iconic images with dots and lines as a way to help navigate discussion threads. But IBM's project seems to be more expansive than the work reported here, covering more aspects of how we interact with email.

Give me a break (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7786982)

You know... I respect this forum.. alot.. except when every fucking response is someones elite way of sounding like 11th grade prom queens. Really guys, try and be* more intelligent in your responses, than just slamming MS, (wait, I want to be cool, should I type M$?) fuck your troll/flamebait tag, BTW, moderator. If the truth hurts that bad, than you can keep on telling yourself jerking off is just "a better way to keep the census down..." I really hate you all... really.

You can do this in Outlook 2000 (5, Informative)

Montag2k (459573) | more than 10 years ago | (#7786985)

I've set up my Outlook 2000 to do this. All you need to do is go to the Tools menu, mouse over Current View, and change the option to "By Conversation Topic". You can also add buttons to automatically "Expand all" or "Collapse all" conversations. Its very handy - as soon as a new e-mail comes in, the entire conversation moves to the top of your inbox and you can re-read the history.

Montag

Microsoft Central Command (2, Insightful)

manganese4 (726568) | more than 10 years ago | (#7786990)

Well for a true Web forum style Outlook to truly work, you would want a centrallized server storing the threads. Relying on client-only (or is standard email best described as peer-to-peer with the ISP just handling delivery) programs would lead to fracture of threads. So with the wonderful XP authentication system, Passport, Messenger and now outlook only being served out of Redmond, not only will MS have a large control of your communication pathways they will be ever so close to offering the dream of the internet-gurus/techno-prophets where are applications are server/portal based and client machines are simple tty boxes with expensive processors/memory plus flash card readers but no harddrives. Hell once the world is truly wireless you will just need you Pocket PC and a good calling plan and Bill will do the rest for you.

Re: Forum View??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7786998)

Um, don't people know you can sort messages by thread in Netscape and Mozilla? You have been able to do this since at least 1997. Has no one noticed? This is a freakin' stupid article.

Disaster waiting to happen (1)

bigberk (547360) | more than 10 years ago | (#7787004)

Microsoft had better overhaul their communications/Internet software (i.e. buy it from a proper software developer) before they try to merge forums into the rest of their 'platform'. It's already bad enough that Internet Explorer and Outlook are so tightly integrated.

Wonderful Great New Innovations (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7787009)

I'm a bit flabbergasted by this brilliant piece of research. If IBM
did exactly the same before, I'm doubly, nay, triply... nay I'm not
surprised at all, actually.

We've got usenet, we've got threaded mailers, and we've had it in
one form or another (think fidonet echos, for example) for years.

From way before september '93. It's just that somewhere in this
month all the new people failed to pick up the working technology
we had, and for the most part still have.

People, it pays off to read up on recent computing history now
and then. It does not pay to pay a big corporation to re-invent
it all for you.

Then again, if we all did that there wouldn't be big corporations
to admire how they empty our pockets for reinventing a squarish
looking wheel _again_. ... back to my medication.

Remember the IBM story... (1)

oneiron (716313) | more than 10 years ago | (#7787010)

This particular feature was actually the most interesting part of this article which was posted on slashdot a while back: http://slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=03/12/09/145521 5&mode=thread&tid=126&tid=95 It looks like IBM really did reinvent email. Their product might not be the one to do it, but they certainly got the idea out there before anyone else

How about something really new? (2, Interesting)

Feint (135854) | more than 10 years ago | (#7787015)

Been there done that in Mozilla. Nice but not worth the MS Marketing Engine.

How about something more useful like a generic "decoratable" PIM object? i.e. I get an email with somthing I need to do. I attach a date to it so it appears in my calendar. Not just a copy of the message text, but actually the email itself? Attach a priority and percent complete to it and it appears in my task listing. Thus it becomes "data" as opposed to "email".

And for the record, links or attachments from inside a task to an email object isn't the same thing.

Doesn't everybody already do this? (1)

Cajun Hell (725246) | more than 10 years ago | (#7787024)

It looks like someone has discovered a couple of good ideas:
  1. It's nice to be able to see what people are responding to. That's why people quote.
  2. Threaded display, in case someone forgets to quote.
The most innovative thing here, is their new usage for the word "innovative." The word now has a brand new definition. "Innovative: taking the best ideas from common knowledge and the past."

Like these clients? (1)

brunes69 (86786) | more than 10 years ago | (#7787053)

It's also hard to understand why there aren't "big name" email clients that already support that kind of interface.

Umm, you mean like this one [http] ?

Or this one [mozilla.org] ?

Or this one [ximian.com] ?

Just because MS has been dragging it's feet for years doesn't mean other people have.

Ximian (1)

AaronGTurner (731883) | more than 10 years ago | (#7787059)

What I would prefer to this is a version of Evolution for Windows so I can use a consistent client across various platforms. Currently I am using mozilla, but it's a fairly clunky mail reader. Evolution feels very nice, but I'd have to run it on Linux box and use Exceed if I was booted in windows, and then it is a case of finding a Linux box that can see email saved to local disk (as opposed to just on an IMAP server).

Additionally (and I don't think this is present yet) the ability for Evolution to read Outlook information. This would put Evolution at the mercy of Microsoft changing formats. The integration between servers and Ximian is interesting, though, if where you works runs Microsoft Outlook servers.

I suppose really what I want to see is the ability to synch my PDA and appointments in PocketPC, PalmOS, or whatever, to a calendering and email system that will work on whatever OS my work PC happens to be booted into at the time. Oh, and publish any business-related appointments to a web page so people who need to contact me can track my whearabouts. From the end user perspective it is the functionality that is the important thing. SynCE is getting closer, but it isn't there yet. Novell - take notice and work on this!

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