Stop Processing More Rules

By default Outlook adds “stop processing more rules” to message filters. Eventually I run into the error:

The rule has a condition the server cannot process. The action ‘stop processing more rules’ will prevent all remaining server rules from being carried out. Are you sure this is what you want to do?

Well… That is what the condition is to do, right?

So, it turns out the message does not describe the problem very well. What it REALLY means is that the rule is a client-side rule and will stop processing server-side rules, but the server has no way to evaluate the client-side condition. So everything could get confused. So either stop using client-side rules or stop using “stop processing more rules”. The latter is a default, so it is applied to almost all the rules. The former is a small fraction, so easier to expunge.

Feel like I learned this when I was using Outlook at my old job and forgot it because I switched to Mozilla. So I am having to relearn it.

Institution Analytics #USGRockEagle13

Janice Hill, Columbus State University

  • Process:
    • Define KPI’s : grades,  starting degree, ending degree, and many more.
    • Design and Implement : ODI integrator
      • Subject area example : summation helps reports only pull one row per student.
      • Updating : degrees awarded only loaded at end of term.
    • Validation of data : Work with Institutional Research to figure out where wrong. Consulting with individuals who think data did not look right.
    • Production release : Start a new cycle.
  • Data elements:
    • Banner, PeopleSoft, Excel spreadsheets
    • student head count, student attempted credit hours, and about 30 others.
  • Dashboards : 8 in production, 2 in completed validation, 2 subject areas ready to be built. Changes to a dashboard not saved across sessions, so users need to export to a file.
  • Structure of Dashboard : Level prompts : College, department, program, major, term. Analysis. Footnotes.
  • Users with access : President, VP, Deans, Dept heads.
  • Export types : PDF, Excel, Web,
  • Errors: BI data loaded at 6am, so local data pulled at 9am WILL result in very small differences.
  • Progression dashboard : credit hours by term, avg GPA by class, avg GPA vs credit hours earned, demographic breakdowns, grades by academic level, grades by section
  • Retention and Graduation dashboard : after 1 year, after 6 years. Use both counts and percentages.
  • Talk with faculty about their data needs so can show it exists or build it into a report.
  • Individualized training. Understanding how to filter is a challenging concept.
  • User tracking enabled, so know how long they stay on a dashboard, filters used, the SQL used.
  • Try to use as little filters as possible. Her job to get the data. User’s job is to interpret.
  • Decisions and policy affected by this data.
  • Trying to get grade data to improve early warning.
  • What are the products for which they want analytics?
  • Using University System of Georgia requirements for retention, so pegged to Fall enrollment. “Some times you have to go past what makes sense to you and implement the rule.”

Excellent session!

Microsoft Outlook 2007 Wishlist

From 2001 to 2006, Microsoft Outlook was the email client I used for work (and on my home computer to access work stuff). Back then, Exchange was not available, so a number of the features were more hacks than reality. However, it worked pretty well.

When I changed jobs, Netscape and Thunderbird were the pre-installed clients. I opted for Thunderbird. It worked pretty well for me. Calendaring was in MeetingMaker. Everything worked pretty well.

Recently work shifted to Exchange, so going back to Outlook made sense. Maybe because I have so much experience, the transition was not as bad as it might have been. Still… These are gotchas which have annoyed me lately:

  1. Editable subject usability: The emails from our client issue tracking system put the description where its hidden. I was really pissed that I could not edit the subject until I figured out unlike most software which changes the shading to show it is now editable, Outlook just lets me edit at any time. Also, editing the subject after it is used by something else like a task results in the change in the email but not the task. (The main reason I want to change them is so it appears correctly in the task list. ) Copying to a second email results in the same problem. Apparently I have to either create a new task and copy-n-paste the subject I want or forward the email to myself.
  2. Spacebar moves to next message instead of next new message: I really like the Thunderbird method of skipping to the next unread message when I hit the spacebar at the end of the current message. It even will find the next unread message in another folder. Outlook just advances to the next message.
  3. Boolean is more than OR: I had this fantastic Thunderbird filter which looked for user@ AND domain.tld. Outlook only honors OR. We have 15 admin nodes and databases which send up reports. Alerts and tickets come from a different source and unaffected by this.
  4. Search ignores special characters: I thought in the past I had sent email to abc-defghi@domain.tld. However, the message bounced, so I searched my email for part of the address “abc-defghi” as its not in the address book. I got results which match “abc” not “abc-defghi”. So it ignored the hyphen and everything after. FAIL!
  5. Send email as plain text or paste a plain text: Yes, I know lots of people have HTML capable clients. I hate Outlook puts my replies in a sickly blue font. When I copy and paste from the elsewhere in the message, it changes the font. So then I have to go and do formatting to have a presentable email. I just want to type and send. I don’t care about fonts, colors, etc. If I did, then I would create a web page. … (Added 2009-JUN-03)

That’s it for now.

Relative Truth

Found an interesting comment on an article the state of Georgia observing the Confederate Memorial Day….

The truth of history means very little to those who are dead set against learning anything from it. No matter what the history books used in our public school system say, most will never believe anything other than their own opinion about the Civil War. History revisionist are the celebs of the day. As long as people like Rev. Wright, and David Duke exist, history’s truth will be filtered through lies and distortions. Few observe Confederate Memorial Day: UGA to display original constitution; state offices closed

Truth may very well be completely relative. Back during the US Presidential election, I ran across an interesting article in the Washington Post discussing research John Bullock did about the effects of misinformation and idealogical bias ties. I used to think it had to do with a handful of people stuck in their green, second ammendment, pro-life, pro-choice, capitalist, regulation views. My favorite pasttime in college was assuming positions contrary to others even when I agree with the others.

I doubt the effect solely affects conservatives as was proposed in the article. More likely everyone has some blindspots in determing truth from myth or fiction kind of like optical illusions. (Yes, even myself.) We have to choose which information to believe any time we interact with information. Much of the rules in philosophy and science are built around combatting the biases we have.

Rather than force ideas on others, I think we should be teaching children from an early age to recognize when others and most especially themselves are operating under a bias. Its the only way to find detachment.

Propaganda

Wow… I have been ignoring a lot of propaganda lately.

Work will often send email to all the employees. A filter sends those to my propaganda folder. I only have 5 for the first three days of September and 11 for the first three days of October. Not a promising start.

Of course, it is election season, so both the DNC and GOP are asking for my vote.

Meetings, meetings, meetings, meetings.

Event invitations from all corners.

Need to hit reset in my brain and boot from ROM.

Is the Media Left, Right, or Does It Even Matter?

Newspaper x is Liberal (aka favors the Democrat Party). Television show y is Conservative (aka favors the Republican Party). Neither claims to be biased. Both claim to be party neutral. You could go back 210 years and change x to the Federalist Party (y would need to be another newspaper), but the result is that the media was even then run by people who have an interest in telling the story of their side. If you wanted to run for office, then you should start your own newspaper.

Everyone has beliefs. Those beliefs filter what information gets internalized. No one who reads this and disagrees with me will remember it. So why the pretense of objectivity? I think its because we so highly value objectivity. We all feel its better to strive to bring no biases to the table. However, I question the value of lying about our objectivity.

Email Cheats

I was hoping this article might help me. However, I already use some of these. Maybe I just need to refine and use them a bit more?

Inbox Zero: Five sneaky email cheats | 43 Folders

  • The template
  • The link
  • The question
  • The “I don’t know”
  • The delete key
    (Ones I use in bold)

The template has been part of my arsenal for years now. The Outlook signature tool makes this useful without springing for plug-ins or dealing with MS forms. Since I do web design, I have made tons of FAQ web pages. Instead of re-typing that information, I pop into the message my tempate response which links to the appropriate FAQ entry. Responding to simple inquiries takes one minute not ten.

Deleting things is hard. However, I do delete pretty frequently.

I don’t like to say “I don’t know” too much. It would be a lot easier
to just say, “I don’t know”. I could do the “Do you still need this?”
more.

Another cheat I use is filtering. Perhaps too much so. I encourage customers who call or email me to use the appropriate online form. Results of those forms go to one of the folders under “to-do”. Bolded folder names with a number beside them warn me how many notices of certain types are waiting on me. Much easier than going through my Inbox for which are important and which can be ignored.