It has been quite some time since my last post already again. During my PhD years I really got used to the fact that I had loads and loads of spare time besides work. The main reason for this was that I was living about 15 minutes biking away from the university.

Unfortunately, at the moment I have a lot less time to work for example on SynCE or other things. There are two main reasons for this:

  • At the moment I have a commuting time of about 1.5 hours (one-way…. another 1.5 hours in the evening going back)
  • All the spare time that I have at the moment is spent on looking for a house

Whenever the second reason has been solved (i.e. we found a house), automatically the first one reason will disappear also :) Currently still in the process of searching though :)

One other major difference in my current working life, compared to my life at the university, is that I am forced to use Microsoft Windows, while at the university I was running Linux fulltime… Although I am customizing my windows computer in such a way that I can start working faster and faster with it, often I get reminded to why I was working with linux all of the time (and still am at home): weird things sometimes happen with the microsoft products…

Although I am not the biggest fan of Microsoft products, I do have to admit that Outlook (despite some weird issues) is a rather nice program. Fortunately, for all the things that Outlook cannot do, you have the option of writing the required functionality yourself in the extremely powerfull macro language provided. During my high school years I did quite some VBA programming to create al sorts of nice things for Microsoft Word.

I already created some nice additional functionality for outlook, some of which I will put online later on (when I have some time, but hopefully before I found the house :). One of the nicest features I added is the possibility of checking each message you send for possibly missing attachments. If you are sending an email that contains the words “attach”, “enclosed”, “bijgevoegd” (=attached in dutch :) ) and the message does NOT contain any attachments, you still get the option of cancelling the send and attach any file you forgot to attach. Though I did see that similar macros already existed, I have tried to make my macro a bit smarter to prevent false positives from happening (i.e. the macro thinks you forgot an attachement, but this was not the case). I will try to put this enhanced version online either this afternoon or this weekend.

Since at the company I work for not everybody is having the same outlook version, but most people were interested in using this macro, I ran into the stupid issues of deploying outlook macros. My current macro set is working for outlook 2002, outlook 2003, and outlook 2007 without any modifications. The users only have to copy the latest vbaproject.otm file from the network drive to get all the latest functionality. I even do a check whenever outlook starts whether the version of the macro the user currently has is the latest. If not, after a confirmation of the user, outlook is closed and the two folders where the user has to copy the vbaproject.otm to and from are opened. I wished I could do this part automatically also, but so far I have not found a possibility for this (i.e. updating the vbaproject file while outlook does not have to closed).

If anybody has a good idea on how to do this last thing, please let me know.