Saturday, February 18, 2006

Brokeback Entourage

To paraphrase a quote running rampantly through pop culture: “I can’t quit you, Entourage!”

Yup, gay-cowboy movie jokes aside, I find myself once more using Entourage for my emailing + calendar + contacts instead of Apple’s offerings.

Why? Glad you asked ;-)

1. Entourage has a nifty 3-column design. Mail doesn’t (if there is, I haven’t found it yet). This means I can read email without having to OPEN. EVERY. SINGLE. FRIGGIN’. EMAIL. MESSAGE. Yes, I’m aware that Mail has a read panel below the list of messages, but it’s no substitute for the good old “list of messages on the left, current message on the right”. If you want to get an idea of how well 3 columns works, get yourself a copy of Thunderbird. Go ahead, it’s on me.
2. I might be in the minority, but Entourage’s Junk Mail Filter works much better than Apple’s filter. Apple’s ‘learn as you go’ concept is pretty nice, but in reality, it’s a pain. Apple is saying: “you figure out what’s real and what’s junk” -- I don’t have time to read my emails PLUS train a stupid filter! In Entourage, Microsoft has done the work for me. I set mine to “Exclusive” and the junk mail is separated for me: it’s already trained :-)
3. Finally, invitations -- I can send copies of my schedule to my wife, who insists on using a PC running Outlook 2003. With Entourage, I can send her an invitation to one of my events, she can add it to her calendar, and I get notified when she does. Because iCal is separate from Mail, the invitations come to her as generic .ics files, and the notification seldom works properly.

I could go on and on with the nice little touches that Entourage has (faster Palm sync, better AppleScript support, a single database versus thousands of single files, better IMAP support) that pushes it over the top, but really, it’s no comparison: Entourage is the better client.

If you live and breathe email, you owe it to yourself to give it a try. The 30-day “test drive” is available here.

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