I’m a nomad these days — I split my time between two offices, one with a Windows domain, and one without. Because of this, I’ve decided to remove my computer from the domain to which it was attached. I still have my domain user account to access resources, but my laptop is now just a standalone XP Pro machine.
Managing Outlook became a problem. Outlook 2003 was not at all pleased with the concept of authenticating to the Exchange server without being attached to a domain and having an authenticated user logged in.
My solution: abandon the thick client completely and switch to Outlook Web Access (OWA), running in Internet Explorer. In building this, of course, Microsoft had the luxury of only supporting one platform (IE, though it runs “ugly” on others), and being able to using all sorts of integrated Windows doohickeys up the wazoo to create a browser-based experience as close the thick client as possible.
The result is that I’m just as happy as I was before (or, no more unhappy than I was, depending on how you look at it). OWA is extremely well-done, and if you try it for a week you realize how little use you have for the actual, installed Outlook client. (Of course, I lost plugins and add-ons, but that was okay because I didn’t use much of anything.)
In larger sense, this just points to the “application drift” from thick to thin client. I keep hearing that Yahoo! has a mail beta that’s just as good as any thick client. OWA has proven to me that that is entirely possible.