Scott Hanselman

Not only does Firefox rock, but Thunderbird rocks as well

June 16, '04 Comments [4] Posted in Javascript
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The irony of this is not lost on me, as I introduced a large number of my friends and colleagues to the Joy of using Firefox (then Firebird).

In the many comments that were in the Spam Thread were suggestions that I use SpamBayes with Outlook and/or Thunderbird.

(It's worth noting that that original screenshot was on my little TabletPC, and that I DO in fact run Outlook 2003 in my real life.)

However, as IT Manager for my Family, I have to maintain the boxes of various cousins, great-uncles, wife, brother, etc.  So, God help me, they've been running Outlook Express.

Why is the Fam so behind?  Well, I can't give them all my MSDN Office Licenses, that wouldn't be "Right."  But, largely I have been moving them to free software so I can sleep at night (and they can eat ;) ).  Dad and Mom run http://www.OpenOffice.org and FireFox today.

I've been avoiding Thunderbird just because I'm REALLY not a fan of the whole "Mozilla" Suite.  Mind you, it's the SUITE, not the Apps.  But back in the day I tried the Mozilla Mail, and it just smacked too much of Netscape early on and I guess I got turned off.

But, I installed Thunderbird and I feel so strongly about it that I must reuse a metaphor - forgive me.

Comparing Thunderbird to Outlook Express is the difference between shooting a bullet...and throwing one.

I'm VERY impressed.  As I looked around for features within the menus, I found everything I was looking for.  Here's what I was most impressed with:

  • A Junk Email Filter that LEARNS.
  • VERY Advanved Rules/Filtering Engine
  • The ability to run in "Vertical" Preview Mode
  • Turning off of both JavaScript and inline external Images
  • Create Rule/Filter from Example Email
  • VERY Flexible Font Sizing choices, including a "Minimum Font Size" option (Very nice for Accessibility.  Even with Bionic Eyes, I still like a big font.)
  • Skinnable with Themes
  • Totally different way of thinking about addressing (a grid, rather than To:, CC:, BCC: boxes)
  • Popup "Toast" New-Email indicator

I suggest that if you have any relatives running Outlook Express, that you move them to Thunderbird tomorrow.  Thanks Readers, for forcing me to take a second look at this piece of software!

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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Wednesday, 16 June 2004 11:19:50 UTC
I recently jumped to Thunderbird as well as I was trying to avoid installing Office on my home machine (I only own 2002 and I just can't go back to it now that I use 2003 at work) and I agree it is a fabulous product. I found that the Junk Email Filter didn't learn as well as SpamBayes did so I managed to get Thunderbird, SpamBayes and avast! (free anti-virus) all working together nicely. If you or anyone else is after details of how to do this, check out:

http://blog.bartholomew.id.au/articles/313.aspx
Wednesday, 16 June 2004 12:15:04 UTC
I've been using Thunderbird for about a year now...I made the switch to Firebird (Firefox) and Thunderbird at the same time. Thunderbird KILLS Outlook Express in functionality and security. No contest.

I will say that I really like Outlook (not express) 2003, and Outlook coupled with exchange can't be beat. My only problem with Outlook is lack of newsreader.

But for home use, TBird is the way to go.
Wednesday, 16 June 2004 15:19:20 UTC
True about the newsreader issue in Outlook 2003, but I've hooked up NewsGator to NNTP and I'm happily downloading USENET News into Outlook. I use the Search Folders feature in Outlook2003 to watch for topics I care about.
Scott Hanselman
Wednesday, 16 June 2004 20:23:43 UTC
Great! I'm glad I wasn't wasting my time when I added my "me too" comment that you needed to switch to Thunderbird. I had the same hesitations you had, but once I gave it a try, I wished I hadn't waited so long. A definite must for family members you support.
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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in any way.