Microsoft Pulls Office for Mac 2011 SP2 Auto Update After Outlook Database Corruption

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Following the release of Office for Mac 2011 Service Pack 2 earlier this month, a number of users began reporting issues with corruption of Microsoft Outlook databases. In response, Microsoft early last week acknowledged the issue, providing a workaround for those who had yet to update their Office installations and a fix for those who had already updated and were experiencing problems with Outlook.

office 2011 icons
On Friday, Microsoft announced that it was taking an additional step and removing Office for 2011 SP2 from Microsoft AutoUpdate until the Outlook corruption is resolved. The update can, however, still be downloaded manually and installed once users follow the directions to rebuild their Outlook databases.

Our goal is provide the simplest update experience for everyone – so we have temporarily stopped pushing out the SP2 update through Microsoft AutoUpdate while we investigate the issue. Customers are still able to obtain the SP2 update via the Microsoft Downloads site by clicking here. We encourage you to either wait for the AutoUpdate, or follow the directions in the above blog post before manually updating to ensure you don’t experience issues. We will provide an update once we have more information to share.

Office for Mac SP2 is Microsoft's second major update to the company's flagship productivity suite for Mac. The release offers a number of security and usability improvements, with a heavy focus on Outlook, which was new in Office 2011 and replaced Entourage.

Top Rated Comments

Mattie Num Nums Avatar
114 months ago
Microsoft developers continue to ignore all of us who tell them moving the "Microsoft Users Data" to the Library where it belongs would solve some issues... but of course they don't need our he;p :rolleyes:
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
chrono1081 Avatar
114 months ago

It's not much of a slam when it's completely true. I've practiced Geophysics, aerospace engineering and computer science, and I can tell you that, in general, CS lacks all the appropriate education of reliability, durability, precision, customer responsibility, deference to reality, notational consistency*, thoroughness of documentation, and subjugation of personal pride to achieving mission objectives that are absolutely essential in a real science or engineering. The folks to whom I've spoken who say that CS is not less rigorous simply don't have the experience necessary to comment, or else they work on financial software. I've been fortunate to work with some of the best in the CS industry, but... aerospace is still an order of magnitude more difficult and demanding.

But it's clear you don't understand my point. So, to clarify:
I'm not saying software can't or hasn't make major contributions. I'm just saying compared to real engineerings and sciences, CS (and education in it) is unreliable, flimsy, poorly documented, and lacks proper customer-demand and mission-objective focus.

Apple and Microsoft's growing recent failures in each passing update only serve to prove my point. I only partially blame the tool sets. As iOS developers, we still don't even have tool sets which can search our code for syntax-context aware expressions, like "find all calls to a method named 'foo()' on instances of the 'bar' class". We're left with text searches and reg-ex searches which ask me to construct a syntax so dense and fathomless that the task is usually impractical. Performance profiling tools won't even tell me what the arguments were to function calls which take the most time. If I had run my 10,000 tests for my aerospace dissertation research and failed to match each test result with the data which went in to it, I would have been laughed out of the department, but that's the state of the art in CS. If there is any tendency to improve these failures in the CS industry, excellent. I kind of think maybe Chris Lattner and his team will deliver something incredibly useful like this at some point, but that might just be my little man-crush on him for bring us Obj-C-ARC.

And as for documentation, if a man-page or non-free Apple developer's guide even approached the kind of detail I get from a free data sheet from Digi-Key when browsing for electronic components, I would be shocked. The "header" style documentation I've seen is worse than RadioShack's 74xx series data sheets which sometimes wouldn't tell you which pin was which pin number. In fact, that might be a fair comparison, Radio Shack documentation is to computer science as digi-key's free data sheets are to rigorous engineerings. Apple's documentation on in-app purchase is about as good as it gets, and that amounts to handing me a sample implementation circuit.

And if you manage to prove me wrong, well then I'll just be happy, because things will be better than I think they are. :)

* Notational consistency as applied to science. Engineers are terrible at notational consistency, even in a single industry.


Thats a good way of saying a lot without saying anything :rolleyes:

I'm not even going to bother to respond. You, like other posters who write the same thing just seem to want to slam on CS majors for some reason.

I'm not saying that building planes or space shuttles or something is easier than designing software, but if you don't think CS is real engineering you just simply don't have enough experience in it. Go tell a chip designer at Intel his work isn't engineering.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Mac21ND Avatar
114 months ago
Prior issues with corruption in Outlook is why I switched back to Mail. Outlook is a bag of hurt all around.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
benspratling Avatar
114 months ago
That'll teach us

So when I did my MobileMe to iCloud transition, it lost my contacts from my iPhone that I'd collected over the past year. Microsoft corrupts outlook databases? but then who cares? who uses outlook on Mac anyway? I bet the five people who use it are as angry as I was when iCloud deleted my contacts (and then removed them from the iTunes backup before I had a chance to restore from it).

Can nobody properly handle contact data? Seriously, if this is the point we're at in the computer science industry, I think we might need to just all stop what we're doing and go back to basics. OR we need to inform these major software vendors that we don't rely on a paper rolodex for our contact information anymore. We rely on these software products for this information. If they fail to maintain high-reliability systems, the customers are the ones who get hurt.

But then, CS lacks all the rigor of proper engineering anyway...
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Lixivial Avatar
114 months ago

My office used to be on the floor above Bjorn Stroustrup. Sometimes it was all I could do not to run down the stairs and shout "WHYYYYY???" Those circumstances are less in C++11, but still present.

I love the name-dropping here. Perhaps you meant Bjarne Stroustrup (http://www2.research.att.com/~bs/bs_faq.html)?

As long as I'm "slamming" on CS majors, here's a fun anecdote:
We had a CS grad student writing software to do some (technical) simulations. I showed him how all of the physics-y aero-spacey stuff worked and it was his job to make it work in C++. At the same time, I was writing nearly identical software in Objective-C to make sure the calculations worked right, but the professor wanted it to be "cross-platform". It drug on and on with the cs grad student running in to development obstacle after obstacle. It came time to present our research findings to the air force; they asked when the software would be finished. The cs student answered with a lengthy version of "I don't know". Then I pulled out my iPhone and demoed it right there on the spot.

One anecdote does not validate your point and it's a logical fallacy to presume it does. Were you more familiar with the "physics-y," "aero-spacey" stuff than this CS student? Did you meet the requirements of ensuring it was cross-platform? But congratulations on getting the project done on your iPhone before a CS grad.

It's quite unfortunate, since I do agree with the core sentiment you're proposing. It's simply that your delivery comes across as smug superiority and is not all that beneficial.

There are many factors that make "engineering" and software development different and cause it to lack the robustness you outline. I would argue one of the crucial ones is the barrier to entry -- it's significantly lower for software development. All you need is a computer (or even just an iPad).

This is achieved in many ways, not the least of which through the levels of abstraction computer science inherently drives toward. I don't think it has much to do with ethos. Framing it in those terms makes it an inherently offensive statement.

Then again, in the sciences, there's always an inherent tendency to feel that one's scientific endeavour is somehow superior or conducive to the other. XKCD has already attacked that issue (http://xkcd.com/435/). Mathematicians still win. :P
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
benspratling Avatar
114 months ago

Oh ok you win my bad. Software isn't important, only hardware :rolleyes:


I'm beginning to think you're not in this intellectually at all. My point is that software is far more important that it's been treated. It's not being taken seriously enough.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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