I have a Windows laptop, a Lenovo Thinkpad X1 of 2020 vintage. Mrs L had been using it at school, but it seems to have primarily retired now. So, I blew the dust off, started it up, and set myself up a user account.

First hurdle? All my files are stored on iCloud. Oh, wait. There's an iCloud App for Windows. I bet this will be an adventure.

Oh. It wasn't. It was a simple process. It's a lot like, well, the Apple App Store. The X1 keeps telling me that it can't sync some files in one of the directories because the path is too long, but it won't tell me which one(s), and at first glance, everything is there. In true scientific fashion, I've turned the notification off.

I have a Windows 365 account. Actually, I used to have an Office account, as I use Word and Excel for client work on the Macs, but that is now a 365 account. Sure. Whatever. The suite updated on the X1, delivering me nice, new shiny PWA. (Progressive Web Apps, don't you know?) I recoiled. Web apps? Web apps?

In fairness, my criticism of Microsoft apps has always been about how unwieldy and bloated they are. Does anyone really need all those options for a Word document? Creating web apps has certainly cut down the menus and dazzling array of options. Might this be a good thing? Not sure. I am migrating a client to a new set of templates for policies and procedures, so I'll get some hands-on experience.

What next? Ah yes. E-mail. Like it or lump it, e-mail is a huge part of work. In fact, as far as I can work out, some people do nothing but produce e-mail all day, every day. Outlook is bundled in with 365, so I set about putting all my accounts into the app. I'm not sure whether I'll keep everything there, but for the moment, why not?

Again, the set-up went well. However, my constant tinkering with email management has left a chaotic legacy. In addition to Outlook, Mail.app, Spark, and Sanebox.com are trying to categorise and manage my e-mail across multiple servers and numerous devices. Bravely, Outlook started trying to sync, periodically discovering new installations on new devices. Overnight, things settled down. I've disabled Sanebox and Spark, giving Microsoft sovereignty over e-mail categorisation. 

First Impression - it's fine. Five accounts in any mail client make for clutter, but I keep discovering tweaks I can make to the view that greatly reduce the cruft. Microsoft wants me to view Outlook as HQ. From here, I can launch straight into Calendar, Contacts and the rest of what used to be the office suite. In one click, I can respond to an email with a meeting request. Ha! That'll fix 'em. I suspect there's a lot in there for me to learn. How much of it I'll need, I don't know, but it will clearly do the job. 

By accident or design, Microsoft is chaining workers to their e-mail. Need to check your calendar? You go into Outlook. Looking up a contact? Same thing. Me being me, I close the app down and have notifications off, but I'm sure for many, that would simply not be possible or practical. Outlook will be open all day, ready to drag you into e-mail or fire you off into your other Microsoft Applications.

It is what it is, I guess.

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