It's 4:37 and Microsoft still sucks - that yellow bastard

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July 28th, 2006

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2006.0728.1637::It's 4:37 and Microsoft still sucks
One of my co-workers just walked in to the cave with a problem. He had been working with a document in Microsoft Office some time ago, and very distinctly remembers saving the file under a different name. He wasn't able, however, to find the document under the "Recent Documents" listing, nor was he able to find it in "My Documents."

This sounded very familiar, so I asked him if he had opened up the file from his own hard drive or whether it was opened from the web or e-mail.

See, a few months ago, I was faced with a Pinky who was brought to the point of tears when she couldn't find a Powerpoint presentation that she'd worked hours on. I only managed to find it when I followed the steps that she herself went through to open the document--open mail, click on attachment, work on powerpoint, save.

It turns out that Microsoft Outlook, when opening attachments, saves them to a randomly-named directory under whatever is designated temporary storage for Windows, and then opens the appropriate program. When saving the opened-via-Outlook document, then, it will save any changes to that same randomly-named directory, unless told otherwise.

Now I know the power users reading this will say, "Well, duh--you should always check to see where you're saving things." Indeed, some of the programmers in the audience might say "Why should I go through the trouble of checking where someone's saving something so they don't shoot themselves in the foot?" Well, if you're a Microsoft Outlook/Office programmer, I respond, "Because that's your fucking job."

To begin with, Outlook should probably query the user on whether or not they wish to save/execute an attachment, given the prevalence of viruses and worms. And when any related application attempts a user-initiated save to temporary storage, it should probably ask "You know you're going to save this into temp storage, are you sure you don't really want to save to My Documents?" Hell, it's bad enough with all the stupid tooltips coming from the system tray and that fucking paperclip--where's the harm in adding one or two more actually-useful messages?

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