“I came across this site a few months ago when my company was doing an upgrade to Outlook 98. We were using the ODK (Outlook Deployment Kit) for the rollout … needless to say, I ran into a few technical snags along the way. I couldn’t find the answers I needed on the Microsoft support sites, but Slipstick.com answered them all. It’s been on my favorites list ever since!” — Andy Stumph, MCSE, CCNA (The TechRepublic member who recommended this site for review).

Is this your Outlook?
As part of the Microsoft Office Suite of applications, Outlook has become the de facto e-mail, personal information manager, and scheduling software for many organizations and many more individuals. Unfortunately, when it comes to software, being the de facto anything usually means being less than completely user-friendly. Wading through a seemingly endless array of menu choices and dialog boxes trying to find a feature in Outlook can make even the most intrepid user weary. This is where Slipstick Systems and its Web site at slipstick.com come in. Featuring hundreds of Outlook solutions including links to patches, utilities, and user tips, Slipstick is a dream come true.

At the user end of the spectrum are several pages of tips, workarounds, and patches to make Outlook work more efficiently and effectively. There are tips on mail merging with Microsoft Word, publishing calendars as Web pages, and booking resources such as conference rooms. Of particular help to yours truly, there’s a workaround for a bug that prevents vCard exports from opening when forwarded in an e-mail. The workaround that allows the vCards to open properly is going to make my life a little easier.

Microsoft Exchange administrators will find information under Slipstick’s Administrators tab concerning recent security patches, links to Microsoft service pack releases, tips for speeding up Exchange servers that have bogged down, and downloadable files that include Outlook administration tools from the Microsoft Office 2000 Resource Kit.

Under the Developers tab, you will find several links to programming resources specific to Outlook. One of the prominent resources listed is Microsoft’s own Developer Network. In addition, there are links to several Webcast seminars on using Outlook and Office to produce collaborative business solutions.

What is Slipstick Systems?
According to the About Slipstick page on the site:

“Slipstick Systems was founded in 1994 by Sue Mosher, a 15-year veteran of The Associated Press, experienced journalist, technology manager, and software developer. Sue was recognized for her expertise in Windows support when she was named a Most Valuable Professional by Microsoft in 1994, and she continues to participate in the MVP program.”

Slipstick is centered in Moscow, but it also has a Web site in Washington, DC. The company claims its major purpose is researching Microsoft Outlook and Microsoft Exchange Server problems and providing solutions for them.

Nothing to argue about
Just like the rest of the Web site at slipstick.com, Slipstick’s mission is understated, efficient, and concise. The simple efficiency of the site, however, belies the usefulness of the information it contains. While Slipstick may not win any “best use of Flash animation awards,” it will provide any enterprise using Outlook or Exchange with invaluable information. This is a “must visit” site. Kudos to Andy Stumph for the suggestion.

A business consultant, Mark Kaelin also writes for TechRepublic and Louisville Computer News. For a diversion, he spends time on the softball field or the golf course and listens to rock ‘n’ roll.

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