Ian Hoar – Passion for Technology – Geeking Out - Technology, Web, Toys, Games, Design, Entertainment, Gadgets, & Geeking Out

Outlook email newsletters and the AutoPreview pane

Cranking out email newsletters for Microsoft Outlook can be a pain, but if you are in the web business you may have to crank out the occasional email newsletter, and of course Outlook has a major market share. If you use Outlook you may know of the AutoPreview feature. This is a preview pane below the actual title that gives you the first few lines of content within the email. In many email newsletters you will get something like “View the online version of our newsletter”. This is probably not what you want to show up in the Outlook AutoPreview, and the way around it is quite simple. It’s also another chance to entice your audience into opening your email newsletter.

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Creating OFT templates for Outlook 2010

I wrote an article a few years ago on creating OFT files for Outlook. This was written for Outlook 2007, and since then, Outlook 2010 has been released and things have changed. The ability to view web pages within Outlook 2010 has been removed and the UI has also been redone, but fear not, the ability to make OFT files still exists, although it’s not as straight forward as it used to be.

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Document formats like odt and docx and what to do when they won’t open

For as long as I can remember doc format has always been around. The format didn’t really follow any open standards and was even used by WordPerfect in the 1980s. There were compatibility issues from one word processor to another, but for the most part they would open, even if there were formatting errors and everyone was happy.

Over the past couple of years two new open formats have appeared on the scene and they are causing confusion. OpenDocument also known as ODF or by it’s extension odt and Office Open XML or by it’s extension docx. Now in a perfect world you think one of these standards could have been decided on and transferred to the doc extension to make everyone’s life easier, but it’s not a perfect world.

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Outlook 2007, inline styles, and links

I recently discovered yet another weird Outlook 2007 bug with email newsletters. Every web designer has probably gone through the nightmare of Internet Explorer and then tried to explain to non-web people why it just plain sucks. Outlook 2007 raises the bar to a whole new level of awfulness, but enough with the ranting.

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Internet Explorer 6 and redirected anchor links

Why are my are my anchor links not working in IE6?

As a web designer I constantly run into browser bugs and 90% of these bugs belong to either IE6 or IE7. Remarkably these two browsers don’t even consistently break the same way. What is messed up in IE6 may be completely messed up in a different way in IE7. The standards compliant WebKit and Gecko engines used by popular browsers like FireFox, Safari and Chrome rarely see many of these annoying bugs, but the masses use IE, so we as designers and developers must make them work.

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Microsoft’s second ad with Bill Gates and Jerry Seinfeld a hit?

Microsoft’s second ad with Bill Gates and Jerry Seinfeld is out today. The first one didn’t do much for me, but this one is a lot better and after seeing it the first one also makes more sense as it kind of sets the stage for future installments. I’m now really curious to see where Bill and Jerry’s journey will lead them next. By the time this series is over I have a feeling we will be more attached to these two witty characters.

Bill Gates and Jerry Seinfeld

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Google to launch a web browser – Chrome is here

GoogleThe web is buzzing with news of a Google browser. The news was launched via a 39 page comic. The browser is called Google Chrome, and at last check the site was offline but rumour has it that it will be back online tomorrow. Google has also announced on their blog that they sent out the news a bit early by accident. Personally I think they may have just been trying to generate blog sphere buzz and it has worked

This is really big news and probably really bad news for Microsoft. Google has already released Gears a browser add-on which allows Google to jump start browsers ahead into more modern standards. Chrome will use webkit, the same engine that Safari uses, but it will not use the webkit Javascript engine. It will use it’s own, which should make apps run much faster and with more features.

Could this really be Google’s entrance into the desktop market? I believe the future of applications is online. Everything is headed in that direction. More and more people are accessing their apps and data in multiple places and on multiple devices, and right now the major player in that space is Google.

Update: Google Chrome – first impressions are the most important

More info at TechCrunch:
Meet Chrome, Google’s Windows Killer
First Images of Google Chrome
No Joke: Google Introduces The Chrome Browser With A Cartoon

Windows 7 and multi-touch

MicrosoftSeveral sources this week have reported on Windows 7 and its multi-touch features. Windows 7 will be the successor to Vista and no one is sure when it will come out; Microsoft dates can be slippery. That said I am a huge geek when it comes to new technology. Multi-touch is already a reality, but several years ago it belonged to the realm of Science Fiction and there is no denying that it is very cool. Playing with the Apple iTouch/iPhone for the first time is awesome as long as it’s not in the Apple store. Those things can get pretty nasty looking with Ebola boogers smeared all over them.

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Choosing the wrong web browser

BrowsersThe first browser wars ended years ago and now it seems they are back for a second round. I don’t think they will ever match the Netscape vs. Internet Explorer days, and today there are many more platforms to consider. Before reading this post further, I should mention that I am a web designer / developer and I have an axe to grind with Microsoft, especially when it comes to their browser. I will actually be completely blunt and say that this browser is downright horrible and the only reason it has any market share at all is because it is included with practically every mainstream computer sold on the planet. The very fact that Firefox has gained so much ground over the past three years against such incredible odds is testament not only to how great Firefox is, but also to how horrible Internet Explorer is.

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Leaving Windows Vista behind — the return to Windows XP

After over a year of non-stop problems with vista I have returned to Windows XP on my home computer and plan to do so at work within the next week. I know we all complain about Microsoft, but in the case of Windows Vista it’s exceeding well earned.

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