Friday, 23 May 2014

Day 4 of new computer ownership.

No comments yesterday - I spent the morning at the John Radcliffe hospital with my mum for her appointment with the heart specialist. She is now regularly been taking morphine (amongst a vast array of other drugs) and that seems to have reduced the problems of the heart both racing and skipping that she found so distressing. They were sufficiently pleased that she's been given a year until the next appointment.

So back to the laptop and Wait - how I've begun to read my abbreviation of Windows 8. That's not at all appropriate, and after the pedestrian Macbook this thing generally flies.

The REAL challenge has been how to import emails from the previous computer, and frankly, it's made me get a bit sweary inside my head at times. Back in the bad (read 5 years ago) days Microsoft offered Outlook for windows and entourage for OSX, and although in many ways they were similar, they stored and archived emails in incompatible formats (this may still be the case, but Office:Mac now uses 'Outlook' too, and I've not seen conversion tools for that).

So Outlook on windows uses the .pst file format and entourage the .rge archive format.

I was loath to pay for a converter program if I could help it for a one-off use (ain't NEVER going back there) so tried some of the various web rememdies and free conversion tools. Apparently it's possible to extract emails in .eml format from entourage by dragging & dropping on the desktop, but there's an upper limit of 200 emails per operation. I have >20,000 emails in 132 folders (yes, I do file them inbox is bloating at around 2500 emails) so that would mean probably 150 drag and drop operations with the chance of missing something important or creating multiple copies of junk.


Spent a couple of hours yesterday afternoon, then another couple this morning. I'd found a 'free' package that promised to convert emails for personal use from a few different formats. Entourage wasn't listed, but Apple Mail will import entourage email and it was, so off we went. That was a curious experience, because there were no progress bars available so had no idea if it was working until the fans started running hard on the Macbook for about 25 min. So the program was installed, 3Gb of exported Apple Mail .mbox files copied across and comnversion process run.

Outlook 2013 does not import .eml files. it would open them from individual (randomly named) files, but not import them.

Now in theory I could have attempted to im,port them into outlook express/microsoft mail/whatever they call it these days, but after multiple conversions between formats and stories on the www of corruption & reformatting happening, AND the time all this was taking for little forward progress, I decided to call it a day.

So about £22 bought me a tool that would stop me playing silly beggars any more - well, mostly.

See, when you import an entourage .rge archive file into entourage it brings across all the calendar appointments and address book too. Not so here. Next workaround then.

Entourage will apparently export contacts in a.csv file, which turned out to be a tab-separated file, and again, not compatible with Outlook. Now the quicker-witted will know that excel can import and convert tab separated files into excel spreadsheets, then export them as .csv files. Neat. Except where someone was too lazy to type contact phone numbers with spaces included into contact information - then in some contact detail cells Excel removes the first '0' and treated the rest of the number as a big integer. So my present task is to go through and put the '0' and spaces back in, checking through hundreds of contacts and thousdands of phone numbers.


This has made me a little more sympathetic to the W8 haters, because trying to find and work with unfamiliar tools when you're under time pressure isn't fun, and I'm very grateful for the space to learn & set up the new OS. I'm also getting used to a new keyboard, which is odd after the previous apple-specific device (different spacing, different placement of some keys, much longer key travel) which adds to the sense of a different environment. I have to say too, that settings in the new office suite are enormously extensive and complex, and while I admire the sheer sophistication built in, I can't help but feel this is all quite un-necessary for most people at work. It's made setting up mail accounts in Outlook more involved (messages can now be saved to unique outlook archive files for each account) and I sapent an increasingly angry 10min looking for 'undo' on the ribbon in excel, only to find it's on the title bar.

Learning and having unique experiences should keep a mind young - I hope it's true. It IS nice to use a computer that doesn't make you want to cross your arms and start humming while it sorts itself out, though.

I also notice the previous post about this was full of typos and spelling mistakes. C'est la vie, and this one probably will be too.

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