Monday, September 25, 2006

Stick it!

After all the ballyhoo about Royal Mail's new digital stamp service, you get a slightly unpleasant surprise when you try to import names and addresses into it. The only options it allows are:
  • Microsoft Address Book
  • Microsoft Outlook
  • Microsoft Exchange
Even if you're a Windows fanatic, address books are scarcely the most convenient way to feed it. Moreover, the worst piece of Windows software is debatable, but for most people who know their computers, Outlook would have to score pretty highly. I don't think I've allowed it on any of my Windows boxes since about 1998, when I realised what a security headache it represented, let alone just how mind-bogglingly difficult those same save and export options were.

If you use a Mac, or linux or any other operating system, there's simply nothing there for you at all. Why no ldap (an open standard) import? Or how about a .csv (comma separated variable) import that everyone could use? Or get dead trendy with XML?

So how did they come to select such a dud set of options? Has Tony Blair flogged the Royal Mail to Micros**t on the sly? For those still buying sticky-back stamps down the post office, will Bill Gates's silhouette be replacing the Queen's?


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