Sep 282006

Now that it seems that Firefox 2 developer documentation is “done” (in that there’s nothing that’s immediately in need of doing, to my knowledge), I’m moving on to other tasks.

I’ve asked on dev.planning if there’s any developer documentation needed for Thunderbird 2, but there’s been no response on that yet, so for now I’ll assume there isn’t.

I’m trying to get myself into work on my first “extension dissection” article, where I take an existing third-party extension and show how it works, but I’m having trouble picking the extension I want to pull apart. Nothing’s really grabbing me, shaking me violently, and saying, “Dude, dissect me!”

In the meantime, I’ve started attending the Gran Paradiso (Firefox 3) meetings, so I can start becoming aware of what’s going on there, since that’ll be the next major documentation effort.

I have several other documents I plan to write or update, and of course there’s always twiddling needed.

I’m not sure what to think. This is the first time… ever… I think, that I’ve been involved in documenting a product where we actually finished the docs before the product went out the door.

Of course, there’s still tons of documentation to write. Which is why we’re looking for a new tech writer to add to the devrel team. Know any good ones?

 Posted by at 11:38 AM
Sep 262006

I’ve just finished moving my blog to a new server. I’m pulling all my sites off a rather expensive GoDaddy server and moving them to dreamhost, which is saving me a ton of money. Hopefully it’ll all work out nicely.

I’ll be moving other sites I run over the coming weeks. So much fun!

 Posted by at 4:36 PM
Sep 222006

Here’s a list of the bugs in Bugzilla related to the things I found while playing with Thunderbird for the last few days. Some of these are existing bugs and others are bugs I filed myself.
I’m still using it, and am debating sticking with it despite the handful of frustrating issues, although I still suspect the lack of address book integration will finally send me back to Mail.

I’m not filing the basic issues with the UI being noncompliant with some UI guidelines, or about widgets being non-native, since that’s all well known and is hopefully going to be addressed in the relatively near future.

 Posted by at 1:27 PM
Sep 202006

The first thing I noticed this morning is that if the message list window isn’t in the front, and I double click on a message in the list, the wrong message opens up.

It’d also be nice if I could click on the “read” toggle next to a message without bringing the window to the front first. Just accept the click and move on.

More frustrating is that it took me a couple of minutes to figure out how to attach files to an outgoing email. I’ve gotten used to just dragging files into the content area of my messages in Apple Mail, and that doesn’t work in Thunderbird. Instead, it seems you have to click the little paperclip icon then select files. Maybe once the attachment list is open, you can drag into that. I’ve not tried it yet. This is really non-obvious to people that don’t have long-term experience with email software; the way Mail does it is, to me, much more natural.

I’ve not yet been driven back to Mail, although I will say that I’m pretty sure that I will switch back sometime in the next day or two. The spam filter in TB is clearly not as good as SpamSieve, and the lack of Address Book integration is killing me softly.

Other than those two issues, I could probably be reasonably happy in Thunderbird, although I’d probably grumble about the things I see as quirks or problems on and off.

This isn’t to say that Apple Mail is perfect (heck, no). It’s clearly designed for people with lesser mail handling needs than myself, but it does a pretty admirable job of coping with people like me, and I’m the type of guy that would rather accept limitations in capability over limitations in usability. So it works for me.

I really hope to see TB spiffed up to the point where I want to use it, because I still want to like it. And while I don’t hate it anymore, it still feels very old-school, reminding me a lot of the first email program I used on my first Mac back in 1994: Eudora Lite 1.3 or so.

 Posted by at 10:57 AM
Sep 192006

To my surprise, I’ve not gotten so frustrated with TB yet that I’ve reverted back to Mail. This is now the longest I’ve lasted in TB before doing so. Yay Thunderbird!

The latest little gripe: windows that pop up that I really wish wouldn’t.

I don’t want a window to pop up showing the status of sending a message. It seems to me the message should just send silently in the background, and I should have an icon that shows up in the status bar of the main window if there are any errors.

Likewise, I don’t want alerts to pop up every time an account connection times out. This happens all the time, and I just don’t care. I want it to fail silently, with, again, maybe an icon that appears in the status bar that I can click for details on any errors that have occurred.

I’d also like to be able to get rid of the little dragger handle at the bottom of the message list; I never use the preview pane and would like to reclaim those few pixels at the bottom. This isn’t a big deal, obviously, but it’s ever-so-slightly distracting that the bottom of the folder pane and the bottom of the message list pane don’t line up.

For that matter, just for a prettiness thing, I’d actually like the top of the folder list box to move down to line up with the top of the message list. This is just another silly little thing that I think could make the window look nicer. Not a big deal either way, though.

For a change of pace, a few things I do like about Thunderbird. I like that folders with new messages are shown in blue. I like that you can configure it to recognize and trust the information provided by SpamAssassin, which my own mail server uses.
I would like to be able to tell the spam filter to automatically delete messages written in scripts I can’t (or don’t want to) read. For example, my Japanese is painfully rusty, so it’s safe to assume that messages in that are spam. And I only studied Russian for a few days, so that can go too. Chinese I’ve never even tried to learn, having finally realized after attempting Japanese and Russian that I don’t have that kind of time. Given that almost half my spam is arriving in these languages these days, it would be nice to have those all tossed automatically.

 Posted by at 10:33 AM
Sep 182006

OK, a few more little things I’ve noticed while waiting for my TB2 build to run.

Maybe there’s a hidden pref for this, but I’d like for the quoted text in my replies to only contain what I selected in the original message, if I selected anything.

Despite having a close button in its window, hitting Cmd-W when looking at the Advanced Config window doesn’t actually close the window. Dialogs that look like regular windows are weird.

I don’t hate this as much as I did last time I ran it. Helps having people comment on my posts on my problems, helping me to find solutions.

 Posted by at 6:09 PM
Sep 182006

Doesn’t appear to be possible to Undo deleting a message in Thunderbird. Having to root around in the trash for messages deleted by accident is so distasteful. :)

Things are going a little better than last time. I’m building the current TB2 code now to try it out. Anyone out there using it already that can indicate how stable it is right now?

 Posted by at 4:52 PM