Ever find a new feature in a tool you've been using for a long time. I do all the time and it's both exciting and annoying. It is exciting to figure out something new but I think back to all the times I could have used that feature and saved myself a boatload of time. Well, that is how I felt this morning when I "discovered" research services in Outlook 2003. The damn menu item has been there all this time but I never thought of clicking Tools -> Research. When you do this Outlook will open a research task pane that allows you to lookup a words in the dictionary or thesaurus, search the Web, or best of all get Translation services without leaving Outlook That's right I can now read all my foreign language spam e-mail.

With the research pane open and the translation service selected all you have to do is highlight the text and the translation shows up on the right. The translation are generally poor but that is typical of machine translations these days (at least until the new Google Translator). So from now on when I get an e-mail in Russian I can translate it right away without cutting and pasting into Babel Fish only to discover that they are selling spam or gym subscriptions in Moscow. Now if I can just recover the 2 hours over the last year that I spent translating these e-mails. Hey, at least I'm not the guy creating tables of content in word by hand (if you are that guy look here).