Thunderbird update and a word on the iPad

First, let me say that I’m glad this iPad tablet is out in the open. If I had to read another drool-soaked article filled with speculation and rumors I might just go crazy. I don’t think it is exactly revolutionary, but it is cool. Almost big enough to serve drinks on, then play some Doodle Jump. The one thing I’m curious about is the cable connection. Apparently this thing uses the standard iPhone to USB cable, but I thought Apple was in on the consortium that settled on micro-USB as the universal charging format for mobile devices!? Maybe they didn’t get invited to that meeting. That minor quibble aside, I’d like to try one. Let me know if you need my mailing address to send me a demo iPad.

A while back I upgraded to Thunderbird 3.0. It has been pretty successful so far. I found the tabbed interface confusing at first – I would close the whole app instead of a single message since I was used to standalone windows – but found the option to switch from tabs to windows and back. Now I am full-time tabbing in Tbird and liking it. My Lightning calendar plugin was finally updated to fit in with 3.0, just in time for me to not need it anymore, but I appreciate the update.

A few other Thunderbird notes: Some users have found that Thunderbird attachments function in a very different way than Eudora. I refer to this as an issue of “attachment permanence”. Eudora had a discrete folder for attachments, so that when you received a message with files attached they were stored in a permanent place. This meant that some folks would open an attachment from an e-mail, edit it, save it, and reply. This reply would contain the modified file, since the original attachment had been modified but kept the same name. I suppose this means that their original attachment would not exist in its original form, but that is a separate issue. Thunderbird doesn’t do this. Attachments are part of the message and have to be saved or detached before you can modify them. Then they need to be reattached to a new message. The same thing is true of our web portal at IWU. If you open an attachment directly from a message it opens in a weird temp folder. Saved changes will be lost. This adds up to be a little more cumbersome than Eudora. On the other hand, Eudora hasn’t had a bug fix since October 2006 and the 8.0 beta is just built on Thunderbird anyway. I don’t think this issue alone can keep anyone from moving forward from Eudora to Tbird.

A second issue with Thunderbird is the quoting of headers. If you reply to an e-mail in Tbird, you get the original message quoted, but not the headers. You don’t see the date or sender or subject of the original message in the text of your reply. This is a strange problem and I don’t understand why there is no configuration option to customize what exactly is quoted in a reply. I have found, however, that the headers are quoted when forwarding a message. So I have proclaimed this to be a workaround: Don’t reply, just forward. Then change the “FWD” to “RE:” in the subject and copy/paste the recipient address and all is well.

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