Windows Live Mail (or: let's just remove this vital feature for no reason)



  • As you might know, Microsoft has been including a free email client with every version of Windows for a long time (how nice of them, I guess it's more important than file encryption or changing your interface language). XP came with Outlook Express, Vista came with Windows Mail, 8 and newer come with the Mail app.

    Windows 7 does not. Instead, it encourages you to download Windows Live Mail, that also replaces Windows Mail in Vista. Fair enough, it's a program that requires online connectivity so that's hardly a problem.

    For reasons best left unsaid, I decided to give it a try. But after fiddling with it for a minute, something seemed to be missing. There's no way to make it run in the background! I thought that was one of the main uses of an email client?

    Indeed:

    It has this option in Vista, but it won't show it if it detects that you're running Windows 7. You have to trick it by enabling compatibility mode. WTF?!



  • Get back to me when you can minimize Skype to tray.

    I've been using tray software and minimize things to tray that don't need it just to spite this behavior.



  • I can do it... [spoiler] in Linux :stuck_out_tongue: [/spoiler]



  • @anonymous234 said:

    It has this option in Vista, but it won't show it if it detects that you're running Windows 7

    My guess would be that on Vista it uses the notification area icon to display information about unread mails, but on Windows 7 it display the same information on the application icon in the taskbar.


  • SockDev

    I guess MS assumed everyone uses the new-style taskbar, and has WLM pinned to said taskbar.

    Was Atwood involved in this decision?



  • That sounds like the stuff Microsoft does. I'm assuming some brain invented a "new concept" (everyone will pin everything to the task bar! It will replace the notification area), then some executive mandated that everyone implement it ASAP, before anyone could actually bother thinking of the implications of that (alt-tab? What's this?).

    Then they realize that it's fucking absurd, and it's quietly dropped in the next iteration.

    Remember CardSpace? Another half-assed thing that was going to revolutionize the web, if only they had bothered to tell anyone that it existed. And even W8's Modern UI fiasco followed a similar pattern.



  • @anonymous234 said:

    Remember CardSpace?

    Not me. Some sort of vCard thing as I understood from reading the first thing Google brought up.



  • @anonymous234 said:

    I guess it's more important than file encryption

    They'd had that for ages. Windows 2000 certainly had it.

    @anonymous234 said:

    But after fiddling with it for a minute, something seemed to be missing. There's no way to make it run in the background!

    Just start it up and... click into another program? All Windows programs run in the background by default. It's not a Mac 128k.

    @anonymous234 said:

    Are you frustrated that you can not minimize Windows Live Mail to the system tray in Windows 7?

    Wait, are you equating "minimize to system tray" to "run in background?" Because those are wholly different things. I hope you aren't a software tester.



  • @anonymous234 said:

    I'm assuming some brain invented a "new concept" (everyone will pin everything to the task bar! It will replace the notification area), then some executive mandated that everyone implement it ASAP, before anyone could actually bother thinking of the implications of that (alt-tab? What's this?).

    How does pinning stuff to the task bar affect alt-tab at all?

    @anonymous234 said:

    Then they realize that it's fucking absurd, and it's quietly dropped in the next iteration.

    Not a tenth as absurd as the posts in this topic.



  • They did the same thing with Windows Live Messenger, back when that was a thing. Windows 7 wouldn't let you minimize it to the systray normally, but if you enabled Vista compatibility, it would.



  • @Eldelshell said:

    Not me. Some sort of vCard thing as I understood from reading the first thing Google brought up.
    Some (read: military, European bank, and .NET Passport only) websites allow you to log in using a digital certificate instead of a username and password. This has always been supported by SSL/TLS, but is rarely used, as either the user needs to have a smart card and smart card reader, or the user has to purchase a cert and navigate a complex, often confusing browser UI to install and use it.

    InfoCard, now called CardSpace, was an attempt to take this digital certificate pig and make it easier to use, by draping it in an Avalon (WPF) dress and smearing on Indigo (WCF) lipstick for behind-the-scenes administration. Web providers like Google or state governments could just "give you a digital card" (an X.509 certificate file with a different extension) and you could "pick a card in your wallet" to log in. With things like Let's Encrypt and HTTPS Everywhere happening now, it would make things even more secure than they are already -- you'd need to break TLS itself; there would be no passwords an attacker could guess.

    But there were two problems with this. First, rather than be part of the existing security system, Microsoft implemented this as a brand new ultra-special Vista-only API (terrible for programmers) that popped up a dialog the same way as UAC (terrible for users), which ended up only being used for logging into Windows Live in IE (since no public-facing websites did client-side certificates and none wanted to start). Second, including the possibility of government-issued ID with online revokation checking got a bunch of privacy activists foaming at the mouth, as this would "tell the government what websites you visit" (as if they don't already know anyway!) and other FUDdy things.

    So InfoCard died a quiet death, only being installed by default on Vista, optional on 7, and removed from 8, leaving us to continue typing "hunter23" instead of actually being secure.

    Or something.


    Filed under: we need a new tag cloud to attack, Hey @codinghorror, wanna set a trend?



  • @hungrier said:

    minimize it to the systray

    ... minimize to Windows 95/98's volume icons/battery icons? Why are you running this component on modern Windows when this functionality is embedded in a COM component hosted in Cabinet (I'm sorry, Explorer) itself?



  • I mean this thing

    whatever it's called now if not the system tray.



  • @TwelveBaud said:

    This has always been supported by SSL/TLS, but is rarely used, as either the user needs to have a smart card and smart card reader, or the user has to purchase a cert and navigate a complex, often confusing browser UI to install and use it.

    I got my first (state-issued) certificate back in 2001. It was free, the instructions how to generate and install it were clear and easy to follow, and I needed the certificate to log in to my university's system to sign up for exams and view my results. I've since renewed it twice, and also use it with my current bank (it was also used by the first bank that I had, while the second bank used a calculator instead, although I ditched that when I found out that I can install their middleware and stick their ATM card in my cardreader, and log in with that).

    @hungrier said:

    whatever it's called now if not the system tray.
    It's still called the notification area, just like it was in Windows 95 when it was introduced. It was never called systray (that was just one of the programs that were commonly running in the background of Win95, which placed one or two icons in the notification area).


  • SockDev

    @hungrier said:

    whatever it's called now if not the system tray.

    never was system tray.

    but i'll let Raymond Chen explain:

    ... aww.... no onebox... :-(



  • Something something pedantic badge.



  • Huh.

    Now I know better, but you guys should get on this major problem:



  • @ender said:

    It was never called systray

    Actually,<made this sentence start with actually just for trolling blakey> it's pretty much always called the systray (or some variation). That's just not the name Microsoft gave it.


  • SockDev

    @boomzilla said:

    Actually, it's pretty much always called the systray [b]by idiots who never bothered to learn the proper name[/b]

    Which includes myself, btw. But then I found Chen's blog post (can't remember when, but it was a while back), and now I know, and knowing is half the potato.



  • Really though it makes more sense to call notification area the tray, than the specific Windows component that places a couple icons in there.


  • SockDev

    @hungrier said:

    Really though it makes more sense to call notification area the tray, than the specific Windows component that places a couple icons in there.

    Not really; it's the area designed for programs to use to provide notifications. A notification area, as it were :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:



  • @RaceProUK said:

    by idiots who never bothered to learn the proper name

    But also if you're talking to anyone who never learned what it was.

    ...in the notification area.
    The what?
    /sigh The systray.
    Why do you always use weird names?



  • I'd rather be understood than right.



  • @chubertdev said:

    I'd rather be understood than right.

    Sometimes.



  • @chubertdev said:

    I'd rather be understood than right.

    Crap. Another thing to fix on the Internet. It's going to be a long day...



  • @boomzilla said:

    Sometimes.

    In this case, yes.


  • SockDev

    @chubertdev said:

    I'd rather be understood than right.

    as long as you're willing to admit when you are wrong (unlike a certain :christmas_tree:) then i say more power to you.



  • @chubertdev said:

    I'd rather be understood than right.

    I've learned that the former never happens, so I may as well go for the latter.



  • I like how everyone is (mis-)interpreting the scope of my post in an attempt to be pedantic. My Knights of WTF title is well-earned. :laughing:



  • @boomzilla said:

    ender:
    It was never called systray

    Actually, it's pretty much always called the systray (or some variation). That's just not the name Microsoft gave it.

    "My computer doesn't work. Can you fix it?"

    • Yeah, probably. Drop it in, I'll have a look at it.

    "Do you need the whole computer or can I just bring in the hard drive?"

    Filed under: yarr, it's driving me nuts



  • @flabdablet said:

    "can I just bring in the hard drive?"

    They will then proceed to bring the whole computer, not realizing what a hard drive is.

    Filed under: I should watch more



  • That's the thing, though. They know perfectly well, as do all their friends, that the hard drive is that big black box with all the weird cables plugged into the back of it. You know, the thing with the cup holder on the front.

    The computer is that thing that shows all the pictures and writing and stuff, where the keyboard goes in front of. Doesn't everybody call them that?



  • @flabdablet said:

    That's the thing, though. They know perfectly well, as do <em>all their friends,</em> that the hard drive is that big black box with all the weird cables plugged into the back of it. You know, the thing with the cup holder on the front.

    The <em>computer</em> is that thing that shows all the pictures and writing and stuff, where the keyboard goes in front of. Doesn't everybody call them that?

    No, no, no, no, no. The thing on the desk that shows pictures of cats is the user's Windows.



  • @chubertdev said:

    I like how everyone is (mis-)interpreting the scope of my post in an attempt to be pedantic. My Knights of WTF title is well-earned.

    I'm a fan of how you interpreted my interpretation, which works for whichever scope you think I thunk.



  • @flabdablet said:

    The computer is that thing that shows all the pictures and writing and stuff, where the keyboard goes in front of.

    I've nearly got my (almost 8yo) son trained out of that. Ugh.





  • For shame.


  • SockDev

    @boomzilla said:

    I've nearly got my (almost 8yo) son trained out of that. Ugh.

    Thing is though, sometimes it's true:

    No, I don't own one; I have never and will never own a Mac.



  • @RaceProUK said:

    Thing is though, sometimes it's true:

    Not in my house.



  • Eh, though it might be a little confusing, since most of the computers here are laptops.



  • And then you have tablets. And then you have the Sony Tap 20.



  • True-ish...but he never refers to anything like that as a computer. Probably because they don't have keyboards or mice or anything like that.


  • SockDev

    To be honest, the term 'computer' is semi-meaningless anyway; all it means is 'something that computes'. A century ago, computers were people, and now they're PCs, laptops, tablets, Chromebooks, phones, consoles, handhelds, toasters, washing machines, cars, watches, remote controls, etc.



  • Yeah, pretty much. But he'd be amazed at how I could, e.g., move a window "between the two computers on my desk."



  • @boomzilla said:

    Probably because they don't have keyboards or mice or anything like that.

    Like I said:

    @Magus said:

    And then you have the Sony Tap 20.



  • @Magus said:

    And then you have the Sony Tap 20.

    About as much as I have that Apple abomination.



  • That sony one is interesting, because it's like the apple, except that it's actually portable and touch, instead of just looking like it ought to be. The thing has a battery, so you can set it on a coffee table and play board games on it or something. It seems like a good idea for a home PC for the average person.



  • @flabdablet said:

    The computer is that thing that shows all the pictures and writing and stuff, where the keyboard goes in front of. Doesn't everybody call them that?

    Difficulty: that thing is a computer. The on-screen menu of my Dell monitor probably has 100+ times the power of my old Commodore 64.



  • @anonymous234 said:

    Remember CardSpace? Another half-assed thing that was going to revolutionize the web, if only they had bothered to tell anyone that it existed. And even W8's Modern UI fiasco followed a similar pattern.

    Another great technology killed/failed due to Microsoft's marketing department. Part of .Net 3.0. Other parts only lasted because they were that important/good at the time.

    Quick refresh for those who don't know:

    After .Net 1.0 and 1.1 Microsoft released .Net 2.0 which was a side-by-side install to 1.0/1.1 It was not 100% backwards compatible and that fact was not, initially, very well documented and publicized at least on they sysadmin side of things. Basically, 2.0 would get installed on a web server and it would break most of your sites if you didn't know what you were doing to configure them. You had to set the site to which build you wanted to use. It caused problems for more than just web apps, but overall 2.0 was a good thing, but it took some effort to migrate too.

    Then Microsoft has a set of components they are calling "WinFX". It included (as they were known on release):

    • Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF, Introducing XAML For UI) (Formerly Avalon)
    • Windows Communication Foundation (WCF)
    • Windows Workflow Foundation (WF because WWF was trademarked, also using XAML for object initialization)
    • Windows Cardspace

    Now these set of libraries relied on .Net 2.0. To avoid any compatibility issues, no code was changed in .Net 2.0, even though it would have made some things much easier (such as Dependancy Objects, which is still more work than it needs to be). They did not want any fiasco with this so the new WinFX could be installed without any problems.

    But it was such cool technologyies, and such a big leap in UI capabilities that marketing though no one would pay attention with a silly name like WinFX, .Net 2.1, or .Net 2.5. So they decided they should call it .Net 3.0, even though it was just a library and tool set and required 2.0 installed to even work.

    Seeing the 3.0 did make people think it was a big leep. So much so that it made both SysAdmins and development managers remember the 1.1 to 2.0 problems and work and refuse to let anyone implement anything using 3.0 for fear it would break everything.

    Aftermath: Microsoft learned, sort of. Their next release added more capabilities, but did change the underlying 2.0 in a service pack. They called this version 3.5 even though it still sat upon 2.0 and changed it more than 2.0 to 3.0.

    Again, just another example of bad marketing on Microsoft's part killing great technology.



  • If I remember correctly, Systray.exe was actually used to drive the notification area in NT 4.0. I don't think this was true on 9x.


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