Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Operation Rolling Thunder(bird)

The best email client just got better. If you don't use Thunderbird, it may be about time you tried it. MS Outlook is a beast, scarfing your computer's resources like there's no tomorrow. Outlook Express does a decent job, but looks boring and has few features. Webmail is OK, but is slower than a desktop client and has fewer features. Thunderbird has emerged as a clear winner in the client wars, if you ask me. OK, you didn't ask me, but nevertheless.

Thunderbird has just released Thunderbird 2 RC 1, available here. Here are some of the new features:

# Message Tags: Create your own tags for organizing email. Messages can be assigned any number of tags. Tags can be combined with saved searches and mail views to make it easier to organize email.
# Visual Theme: Thunderbird 2's theme and user interface have been updated to improve usability and maximize screen real estate.
# Session History Navigation: Back and Forward buttons allow navigation through message history.
# Advanced Folder Views: Customize the folder pane to show favorite, unread or recent folders.
# Easy Access to Popular Web Mail Services: Gmail and .Mac users can access their accounts in Thunderbird by simply providing their user names and passwords.
# Improved Support For Extensions: Extensions can now add custom columns to the message list pane in addition to storing custom message data in the mail database.
# Improved New Mail Notification Alerts: New mail alerts include information such as the subject, sender and message preview text.
# Folder Summary Popups: Mouse over a folder with new messages to see a summary of the new messages in that folder.
# Saved Search Folder Performance: Search results for saved search folders are now cached, improving folder loading performance.
# Find As You Type: Finds and highlights message text as you type.
# Improved Filing Tools: Recent folder menu items for moving and copying messages to recently used folders. Move / Copy again functionality.
# Updates to the Extension System: The extension system has been updated to provide enhanced security and to allow for easier localization of extensions.
# New Windows installer: Based on Nullsoft Scriptable Install System, the new Windows installer resolves many long-standing issues.
# Windows Vista Support: Many enhancements and fixes for Windows Vista.

The best new improvement, in my opinion, is the tagging feature. Used to be you could only "label" messages with a single label from a list of only a few. Now you can create your own tags and give messages as many tags as you like. Tagging has become the most powerful way to search and categorize data and is a welcome addition to the email sphere.

You owe it to yourself to try Thunderbird, or get the upgrade if you're already a user. Enjoy!

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