Most spam and phish-bait emails are easy to spot, but once in a while, some creative subject can leave you guessing whether a message is legitimate or not. If you're an Outlook user, the Productivity Portfolio blog recommends never opening those messages (and potentially proving your existence to said spammers); instead, use the "Message Options" dialogue, available with a right-click on any message, and check the reply-to address and header information for signs of fakery, such as slightly-spoofed email addresses (wa1mart.com, paypaI.com, and the like) and odd entries in the To: and X-Mailer field. You'll get a better chance of stopping the spam flow, and the satisfaction of not getting fooled again. Using Outlook Message Options
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Make it seem like you're sending email when you're really playing hooky with Outlook's built-in "defer delivery" rule. Tech blogger Dennis O'Reilly runs down how to set up Outlook to delay sending messages for a certain amount of time (like half an hour) automatically. You can also set individual messages to be sent on certain days at certain times in Outlook—good for scheduling future messages ahead of time. Delay the messages you send from Microsoft Outlook
A slow or error-prone Outlook might mean your Personal Folders—the place where all your appointments, messages, and other data are kept—are corrupt and in need of some fixin'. The How-To Geek shows you the ins and outs of using a built-in Outlook tool to back up and repair your data, and hopefully get Outlook moving a little swifter once again. The Geek's tutorial should work for most any running version of Outlook. For a backup-only solution, try another free Microsoft tool. Fix Your Broken Outlook Personal Folders (PST) File
If you're a Googlehead but you're in a Microsoft environment at work, you will be happy to know that Google's come up with a synching tool for GCal and Microsoft Outlook. The GCal product manager wrote about the tool on the Google blog today.Google Calendar Synch is a two-way syching tool which lets you add events in either calendar. You can download it here.You can choose 1 way or 2 way synching, and specify how often it should synch (every 10 minutes is the minimum).Once you've set up Google Calendar Synch, you'll be able to access the settings window by double-clicking on the calendar icon in the Windows System Tray.Sounds great. I'm not running Outlook, but if you try it out please let us know how it works for you in comments.
Microsoft Outlook user and GTDer Scott Hanselman uses flags and search folders to clear his inbox. Scott writes: I also try to get to ZEB (Zero Email Bounce) every day or so. This is when you "bounce" up against zero emails in your inbox... This doesn't mean that you've done all your tasks, instead it means you know what your tasks are.
Windows with Outlook only: The auto-completion feature in Outlook can be a time-saver, but only if you don't have to spend extra time making sure your message goes to the right John Smith. N2KView, a free Outlook modification utility, lets you jump into Outlook's auto-complete settings and view and delete entries, letting you free up those names you don't want to pop up when typing in addresses. Better still, using the guidance of the How-To Geek, you can pull off a quick export/import trick to actually edit your items, so you can assign whatever quick-type name you want to a contact. NK2View is a free download for Windows systems only. For more auto-complete wisdom, check out tips on avoiding auto-complete mix-ups. NK2View
Lifehacker alumnus Rick Broida posts a quick fix at the BNET blog for a quirk of Outlook 2003 that (still) hasn't really been addressed—compressed .ZIP files don't show up in the standard "Insert File" chooser used for email attachments. Rather than manually drag and drop every .ZIP file, Rick has this quick registry-tweaking fix:In Windows XP, click Start > Run, then type Command and hit Enter. In Vista, click Start, type Command and hit Enter.Type regsvr32 /u zipfldr.dllWait for a confirmation box to appear. Click OK, then type Exit into the Command window to close it.As always, making a backup of your registry file before changing it is highly recommended.
Outlook Fix: Attach Zip Files to Outgoing E-Mail
Microsoft Outlook 2007 only: If there are certain phrases or images you put in email messages, Outlook 2007's Quick Parts feature saves those up for easy reuse. The Productivity Portfolio blog explains how to save email bits—like a company logo, directions, company policy or signatures—to your Quick Parts gallery and drop them in email messages quickly to save typing. Of course, our homegrown application Texter can do global text snippet insertion (not just in Outlook), but Quick Parts sounds like a nice solution for quick image reuse in Outlook.
Outlook 2007 Quick Parts | Outlook Building Blocks
Outlook users who want to move to Gmail—or just back up their existing Outlook mail there—can do so using Gmail's IMAP access. Tech blog Digital Inspiration covers how. In a nutshell, set up IMAP access to Gmail in Outlook, and drag and drop your folders onto Google's servers. Simple. Export and Backup All Emails from Outlook to Your Gmail Account
The Productivity Portfolio blog covers how to email your calendar in Outlook 2007 in a format that anyone—even non-Outlook users—can open. Everyone's got wacky work and life schedules around the holidays, so you may want to dash off your calendar to a co-worker or client before you go. In short, Outlook attaches an .ISC file to the outgoing email, which the recipient can open in iCal, Google Calendar, or any app that supports iCalendar files. Handy. Emailing Calendar Info in Outlook 2007
If you use a free fax-to-email service or just get loads of PDF attachments from, say, HR each week, you probably put off printing each one the moment it arrives. A good friend of tech blog The How-To Geek offers up a customisable Virtual Basic script solution for Outlook that moves PDFs from a certain source into a "Batch Print" folder and lets you run a macro to print the attachments and then delete the messages. Those using something other than Acrobat to open PDFs, such as Sumatra or FoxIt Reader might have to change a line or two in the script, but it's otherwise a simple paste-and-save Outlook tweak.
Batch Print PDF Attachments in Outlook
Tutorial website Tech-Recipes has posted a handy guide for non-Outlook-ninjas to delete duplicate contact entries created by device syncing, importing, or other situations. The main tip involves getting Outlook (seemingly Outlook 2007, but perhaps other versions as well) to sort your contacts by creation date, which is not quite as easy as it would seem. While not quite a simple hack, it's definitely a time-saver compared with individually deleting contacts one by one. How do you prevent Outlook (or any email app/organiser) from creating duplicate entries? Share your tips in the comments.
The How-To Geek blog highlights a feature in Outlook 2007 that's tucked away but can eliminate the hassle of having to forward email replies to bosses or interested parties later. The tweak:Compose a new message, click the "Options" tab and choose "Direct Replies To."Check the box for "Have Replies sent to."Add additional reply-to addresses, separating with semi-colons and remembering to keep yourself in the list. Hit "Close."While the person replying can obviously edit the reply addresses, it saves those recipients at least one unnecessary email.
Outlook users: Instantly turn your Outlook 2007 tasks into appointments by dragging and dropping tasks to your To-Do Bar calendar. Doing so creates a new appointment with most of the important information—including date—already filled out. You've been able to generate new appointments by dragging and dropping emails or tasks to the Outlook calendar for quite some time (an extremely handy shortcut if you weren't already aware of it), but the new To-Do Bar streamlines the process even more by allowing users to drag the appointment straight to a day. It's not much of a change from the norm, but we've never highlighted drag and drop appointment creation in Outlook, and for those of you hooked (or chained, as it may be) to Outlook, it's one of the program's most convenient features.
Microsoft Outlook 2007 offers one-click access to a map of your contact's location. Fill in a contact address and click the "Map this" button on the contact tab to launch MSN Maps in your default browser, where you can get directions to and from the location. The question is, how do you change the map service to something other than MSN? First person to post how in the comments gets a cookie.
Tech site the How-To Geek puts Microsoft Outlook 2007's To-Do Bar through the paces, demonstrating how to create, categorise, complete, organise, and flag tasks using it. I haven't used Outlook on a daily basis since my escape to the freelance life, but most people with office jobs live in it. Are you using Outlook's To-Do manager to GTD? What do you love or hate about it? Let us know in the comments.
Pixar's latest movie, Ratatouille, opens in Australia today. To celebrate Pixar in all its geeky goodness, we interviewed expat Aussie and Pixar Image Mastering Engineer Dominic Glynn on his job at Pixar, the tech tools he uses at work and play, and of course how he landed a job with probably the most cutting edge animation studio in the world.
Read on for the full interview including Dominic's tips for working with images, and why his car doubles as a UFO. :)
Oh, and don't forget to enter our Ratatouille competition - it closes tomorrow!
If you've always wanted to ride your bike to work, but the list of excuses was just too daunting, then this list of commute-by-bike FAQs from the Sietch should get you going.
Too dangerous? Too far to ride? Too cold? Nah. Not only will riding your bike to work help you feel better, you will be saving a bit of the environment as well—not a shabby arrangement. If you ride your bike to work, please share in the comments how you got started and what has kept you going.
How To Ride Your Bike To Work