Dear Bill

Your message
To: ''
Subject: Quiet data corruption by Outlook97
Sent: Fri, 31 Dec 1999 18:38:49 -0800

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Message-ID: <>
From: Tom von Alten
To: "''"
Subject: Quiet data corruption by Outlook97
Date: Fri, 31 Dec 1999 18:38:49 -0800

Hello Bill:

I've been using Microsoft products personally and professionally for more than 15 years now. There's plenty to like, but there are a lot of problems too.

One of my profound frustrations as a customer of yours is how difficult it is to feed information back to Microsoft and get any kind of meaningful response. I've looked for help many times in bundled documentation (almost always full of the obvious and unable to answer meaningful questions), the Microsoft knowledge base (a few really good hits, but a lot of misses) and among fellow users. When it comes to unresolved issues, however, there seem to be more obstacles than entries into your corporation. I can understand a desire to keep the riff-raff out, but at the same time, given the amount of time and money I've spent with Microsoft's products, and given the number of unresolved issues, it seems like there should be a better way.

What brings me to finally write to you is the rediscovery of something I found a while ago with Outlook97. I've been working around it for a long time, but I finally came to the point when I needed this basic functionality, so I tried it again.

It's still broken, unsurprisingly. And in a profound and disturbing way.

I have an automated job that runs on a unix machine and emails me the data every day. I move these messages to an Outlook folder. When it comes time to process them, I want to save the files as plain text. At first, I did them one by one, tediously. Then I discovered I could simply select several, and save them, and they would be concatenated into the target file.

Point and click is nice for onesy-twosy stuff, but this kind of bulk processing was just what I needed.

Deep in the middle of the data, however, I found that the many messages WERE NOT CORRECTLY CONCATENATED. Maybe it was just too big a job for Outlook, I don't know. There were between 100 and 1000 messages, about 5 - 10kB each. Inexplicably, and quietly, the data was corrupted.

As disturbing as such an undetected bug is, being unable to "contact the vendor" (as I'm told to do regularly by GPF error "dialogs") and get some kind of satisfaction for this defective product is profoundly frustrating.

Thanks for your consideration,

Tom von Alten

Thursday, 22-May-2008 12:57:56 MDT