I've been using Windows on a daily basis for 9 days now. At Rockefeller, I kept it on a VM (earlier, on a physical PC) which I could easily wipe and reinstall. I kept the few installers I need on a Mac so I could easily reinstall and be back in business. Now I have to do much more in XP/Outlook, and I have many gripes.

Things I Miss

These are mostly lacks in Windows, although not entirely.

  • In the Alt-Tab task switcher, I cannot Hide (Command-H), Quit (Command-Q), or click an application's icon to switch directly to it. This is aggravated by the fact that icons in the switcher often correspond to windows rather than on the Mac, where they correspond to applications (each with one or more windows), so there are many more icons to Tab through, and often several indistinguishable windows (4 Firefox windows generate 4 identical unlabeled icons; so do 4 open messages in Outlook). Considering Windows has had this feature for longer than Apple, it's shockingly underpowered.
  • I cannot hide the current application (window) from the keyboard (Command-H), or Hide Others (Command-Option-H).
  • I miss BBEdit -- working with notepad and vi for now; UltraEdit's installer (recommended on TidBITS-Talk) doesn't work in my environment. This will get worse as I start writing and editing more (code).
  • BBEdit (particularly side-by-side diff and interactive reconciliation, which I should be able to find an alternative for, but sdiff isn't it).
  • bbedit (I miss opening files from the shell, including via sftp and from for loops).
  • ssh keys for authentication.
  • Seeing my personal email throughout the day -- the financial/SEC/Sarbanes-Oxley environment requires a lot more separation between personal and work activities.
  • Options (program-wide preferences) is not available from message windows -- only from the mailbox viewer window. This is true in Thunderbird/Mac too; presumably copied from the MS model.
  • Good filtering: Outlook's filtering is very much wizard-driven, but not very flexible (no booleans & very limited criteria available); two filters that try to file the same message will put 2 "copies" of the message in different mailboxes; some options are handled on the server, while others are only performed on the client.
  • BlackBerry filtering: The BlackBerry Curve shows everything in one mailbox; I'd like to see things grouped as I do on Outlook.

Things that bug me

  • I can make Outlook sort a mailbox with the newest messages at the bottom (the default is newest-at-top), but then when I click the mailbox, Outlook selects the bottom (newest) message in a mailbox, whereas I want to read oldest first.
  • I can make Outlook allow commas as address delimiters (which is what they are in the actual mail messages), but then I cannot type names, because we have autocomplete disabled and Outlook doesn't recognize a correct "Last, First" recipient when it's set to allow commas as delimiters (even though Outlook uses them once I click Check Names).
  • Keyboard nickname completion (Command-L in Eudora); I can't find a way to assign a keyboard shortcut to Check Names.
  • I try to keep my mailbox "caught up" or "clean" (all messages read). Outlook doesn't mark a message read until I deselect it. This means that when I'm done, to have it stop showing that last message as unread, I have to select something else.
  • When I'm reading a bunch of new messages, and Outlook selects one I don't want to read (see above about selecting the bottom/newest message), I have to click another message to get the Mark Unread contextual menu command; then I scroll up to the top and click on the first message.
  • AutoCorrect absolutely would not let me type "SAs" (System Administrators) until I killed it.
  • MS Office Communicator flashes in the Start bar and the Alt-Tab switcher, but it flashes the main window's icon, instead of the one for the conversation with new activity. That's just dumb.

Things I like

  • Outlook can show me mailing list (group) membership. It's called "Outlook Properties" in the menu, despite being maintained on the Exchange side, but after I got over thinking that couldn't be the right place, this is quite handy.
  • Outlook checks group memberships automatically when filtering; this cannot be turned off, so I cannot filter messages sent to a list separately from messages sent to a member of the list.