Scott Hanselman

Improving Outlook Today with Jello.Dashboard

January 17, '07 Comments [5] Posted in Reviews | Tools
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We did a podcast called "A Better Outlook" a while back and talked about ClearContext, SpeedFiler, and Taglocity. I've also talked about TiddlyWiki and for a while, ran my home page on Tiddly. (If you, your parents, or your school thinks you need a blog, you might try TiddlyWiki. Once you get it, it'll blow your mind. Some folks are using it to take notes in class. Brilliant.)

Now, we all know that Outlook Today (the javascript-based home page) sucked egregiously, and that suckage continues to this day. It's not really it's fault, it's mostly the Outlook Automation APIs being slow.

On the issue of functionally sucking, well, it's javascript and the Outlook Automation APIs are ever-so-public, so a mysterious person named dr.Uqbar decided to create Jello.Dashboard, a complete replacement for Outlook Today with a distinctive bent towards Getting Things Done.

It installed fine - it's just HTML and javascript, but the little tool they include to make your Outlook Home Page point to Jello didn't work, possibly because of my combo of Vista and Office 2007, but that was easily remedied. Just right-click on the folder you want to set the home page for - I recommend the ROOT/TOP folder - and select Properties. Then click Home and browse to C:\Program Files\JelloDashboard\jelloDash.htm. All set.

Don't freak out and think it'll mess up your Outlook, you can detangle it from Outlook by going to the same Properties Dialog and clicking "Restore Defaults."

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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Thursday, January 18, 2007 1:32:20 AM UTC
I'm afraid I'm going to ditch my long love affair with Outlook with the release of 2007. Not sure if you've seen but they're ditching HTML support in Outlook 2007 and utilizing Word to render the HTML. There's no advantage to the end user experience; in fact, it's going to remove advanced CSS features as well as forms in email. Microsoft had a chance to really glow - instead they are minimizing the user experience. I'd love to hear your thoughts on how this came to be.
Thursday, January 18, 2007 1:12:23 PM UTC
Yeah, me too Dough. I'm going to switch to using a different mail client because people who design CSS email are going to have to work a bit harder to make all this crap in my box look _really_ snazzy. We will not let The Man screw us out of our html email like that. Then again, I have this thing called a job and Outlook is infinitely better at helping me do that than Thunderbird can really dream about. Choices, choices.
Koug Darr
Thursday, January 18, 2007 9:58:07 PM UTC
>> the little tool they include to make your Outlook Home Page point to Jello didn't work, possibly because of my combo
>> of Vista and Office 2007

Must be something else... I have a Vista and Office 2007 combo and it worked just fine for me. Vista warned me once that the tool may not have installed as expected but it worked just fine after I had ignored that warning.
Thursday, January 18, 2007 10:10:23 PM UTC
If you liked Jello try MyLifeOrganized (http://www.mylifeorganized.net/index.htm) - its a full blown GTD tool - think hierarchical organizer combined with a to-do list. My review is posted at http://www.notesfromatooluser.com/2006/12/getting_things_.html
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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in any way.