Thunderbird in 2010 by project lead David Ascher, who I met with a few days ago. I’m sticking with Thunderbird for this year, just hoping for some kick-butt Gravatar integration.
Filed under: Uncategorized
Hopefully this will help some future searchers. After the last iPhone update all the folders in my cPanel / Courier IMAP account started showing up in the Mail app, but I could not select them or move mail to them. I’d get an error like “mailbox does not exist” even though some part of the iPhone knew it did because it could see them. I Googled around and found that if you go to Settings > Mail > firstname.lastname@example.org > Advanced you could set an IMAP prefix to get everything working.
So I did, but nothing changed. However I deleted the account, reset it (hold down the top button), added the account back, set the prefix, reset again, and then all the folders started working. The advice I found worked, but there was some setting stuck somewhere that needed to be flushed out. Being able to file messages and read other folders from my iPhone is amazing. I was on the fence about the utility of the iPhone before, now I’m completely sold. It’s actually more fun than doing it in Thunderbird.
It is pretty annoying tha the “tag” system in Thunderbird bears no relation to any tagging system implemented within the past four years. It is, at best, a non-folder-based categorization system, and doesn’t even have a particularly good UI for that. Thunderbird 2 also took away the views dropdown, which was an eminently useful feature, and the only way I can find to replicate it is to create search folders, which are of course are a lot clunkier. Might be time for a downgrade. Update: You can add back the views dropdown from the customize menu. Sweet! PhotoMatt.net readers rock.
Filed under: Uncategorized
It recently became more important for me to sync my address book across several computers on various platforms. Solutions like LDAP seemed like a pain and had bad support in Thunderbird. I don’t want to go to a hosted app like Joyent or Zimbra, and I need to be able to work offline. Anyway in my searches I came across Plaxo. In the past I grew to hate the Plaxo contact update spam I used to get every day, so I had pretty much permanently written it off.
However this time when I saw they had support for Thunderbird, Mac OS X address book, and Yahoo and I got pretty excited. I tried it out, and I am now syncing a Mac Mini, a Powerbook, a Macbook, my Windows desktop, and a Vaio laptop to a single address book. It cleaned up dupes pretty well, and the online interface is surprisingly usable as well. This is also the best way I know of to get Thunderbird to use the OS X address book, so you get integration with all the other apps like Adium which feed off that.
What could be improved? Sync is really hard, and few do it well. My experience with Plaxo has been pretty good thus far—I think I’ve avoided spamming anyone for contact updates—and I’d love to connect other bits and pieces into the Plaxo cloud. They should open up their API so developers can start to integrate the system into other products and services, and it can become a de facto standard.
Update: They do have an API, I had just missed it. Cool!
I recently got my Sony TX690 back from the repair place, I asked them to wipe the HD to rid me of the plague that is Vista. Here’s the software I installed, in order, after getting it back: Firefox, Foxmarks, Thunderbird, Putty, TortoiseSVN, MIRC, Dreamweaver, Photoshop, Topstyle, AutoHotKey, iTunes, EVDO drivers, Filezilla. I will probably install XAMPP later for offline plane hacking. That’s all I need to do everything I do on a computer.
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My laptop is approaching a level of instability that only a truly borked Windows installation can match, so I think it’s time to make a list of my essential software so when I format and start over I don’t forget anything important and have to install it in a pinch later. So here is software I use on a daily basis and find important enough to reinstall:
Fin! Now if I can just find the restore CDs for my laptop, I’m good to go. Wish me luck.
Filed under: email
As you may have heard, Thunderbird 0.4 has been released, and it’s a delight. I’ve been using Thunderbird off and on since I first heard of the project. I snubbed 0.2, as it was quite clunky. 0.3 changed my mind and became my default email client over Outlook Express, and I also set it up for my mom. However it was not so much on Thunderbird’s merits of the time that I switched, because it was still quite rough in many areas, it was simply the least bad of all the IMAP email clients I have tried. (And I’ve tried them all.) However this new 0.4 version is a pleasure to use. The graphics have been completely revamped, which is a much bigger deal than I would have thought and really changes how I view the application. (Literally.) Of course they were pretty patchy before, it didn’t even have a separate icon for mail you had replied to. The other problem I had before was that the program would get hung up on something, I’m not sure what, but when it was nothing would work until I restarted the application, which was annoying to say the least. I haven’t even seen a hint of this problem for about two months now (I’ve been keeping up with the weekly builds).
It just does IMAP so well. Having all my email and folders on the server makes it easy to try different email clients and not worry about importing, exporting, or keeping my data in sync. A few minutes ago, just to make sure I wasn’t remembering things wrong, I opened up Outlook Express again to give it another go. That’ll probably be the last time I ever do. Moving IMAP messages to different folders in Outlook Express opens a dialog box that actually precludes you from doing anything else in the application, so if you’re moving a message with a large attachment or several messages you have to wait for everything to finish before you can do anything else. For someone who lives in their email client, that is simply unacceptable. Thunderbird does all that in the background, and it’s so fast with most things that the “IMAP lag” is gone.
It’s not perfect, there are a few things I hope the Thunderbird team addresses in future releases. First is the spell check, which rocks but always wants to spell check the name of the person I’m replying to in an email. Second when I forward a message inline it includes all the headers, which can often be twenty or thirty lines, most of it junk that isn’t important. Just give me from, to, subject, and when it was sent, and I’ll be happy.
Thunderbird understands that on some IMAP servers, including mine, some folders contain mail messages and some just contain other folders. Outlook Express would try to select these “holding” folders and return an error, where Thunderbird shows them in italics so they’re visually set apart from the folders that hold actual mail. Thunderbird is also supposed to have some great spam handling, but since I handle all that on the server side I can’t speak to that personally.
Bottom line: try it out. You have nothing to lose and you might just find that perfect email application you’ve been searching for. The best thing about it is I know that right now another version is in the works, and in a few months they’ll be a 0.5 I can rave about. Or I could wait until 2006 for a new version of OE to come out with Longhorn. Right.
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Well I tried out everything, except Eudora which for some reason wouldn’t install, and I’m back to using Outlook Express, which in my opinion is simply the best IMAP email client out there currently. The application I’m going to start looking at closer is Outlook XP, because I think it does everything I want it to do, it’s just clunky. Perhaps with some more customization it could be what I need though. Honestly though I’m glad I don’t have to deal with Outlook’s bloat anymore.