Can’t Stop Using Outlook

I have been trying to break away from corporate software and use more open source or independent programs for a few years.

Flickr

For web browsing on my computer I now use Firefox (mainly because of plug-ins), Opera, Chrome and IE. On my phone I use the one created by Nokia as well as Opera. When writing or working on spreadsheets I use both MS Office and OpenOffice. For graphics I’ve generally stuck with Paint.NET (I don’t do a lot and this suits me just fine) but sometimes used GIMP. When managing the networked machines in the house I connect with VNC. Photo storage online is split between Flickr, and Imageshack. Music played at home is done with WinAmp and iTunes and video playback is mainly through KMPlayer, but sometimes VLC. For tweeting I swap between Twitter itself (via SMS), TweetDeck and Gravity and when I search on the internet I now go via Google or Bing.

So, as far as being tied to one bit of software, giving all my data away to one company or only supporting the large corporates, I feel like I’m doing okay.

Formatting

There is one thing I can’t pull myself away from though: Microsoft Outlook. I find the way it handles email, schedules and to-do lists can’t be beaten. I’ve tried Google mail and calendar but I don’t get on with the threading of emails nor can I find a way to synchronise it with my phone (Nokia E71).

Oddly, the closest I’ve got so far is my phone. The calendar and to-do list on it work very well, and it’s actually got to the point where I only synch it with Outlook as a way of backing up (and doing the slightly more complicated reoccurring events). The real deal breaker is the email. I could set-up my contacts and filters on something like Google Mail or Yahoo, but where would I put all those old messages? My current history goes back to 2007 and I have archives of everything older than that. Not that I have ever found a reason to dig out a message from 2005, but things people have sent (or I have sent them) from a couple of years ago I do use.

Maybe when I change my phone (most likely to one running Apple or Google software) I’ll do something different, but for the next few months at least (and probably a year or so after that) I think Outlook is here to stay.

(Of course any recommendations or ideas are always welcome.)