Making Mail

By Jim Louderback  |  Posted 2004-12-07 Print this article Print

Thunderbird also surpasses Outlook Express with its e-mail creation capabilities, at least on preliminary tests. It supports a wide range of HTML-style e-mail constructs, including tables, named anchors, and even a table of contents. It also provides more powerful image tools than those found in Outlook Express. Images can be easily resized and placed anywhere in the message. Like Outlook Express, Thunderbird includes basic text formatting and a spell-check feature. The Mozilla-bred e-mail client also includes what appears to be more advanced inbound-message processing. It includes a junk e-mail filter that can automatically flag messages it thinks are spam, with the option of automatically moving or deleting them. It didnt work very well at first, but the program can also be taught whats junk and what isnt. Thunderbird also includes a basic rule-processing capability—we found it equivalent to whats in Outlook Express, though with a somewhat different interface.

Mozilla has also made Thunderbird natively extensible—both in terms of functionality and look and feel. Although only nine Thunderbird extensions are available today, more are likely to be released over time. The current list of extensions includes the ability to control your music player from within Thunderbird and a nifty way to use mouse gestures, instead of the keyboard, to read e-mail. Thunderbirds look can also be changed through downloadable skins. We couldnt test this feature, however, because the skins available on Mozillas Web site havent been updated from the beta, and therefore would not work with Version 1.0.

All in all, Thunderbird seems like a better e-mail client than Outlook Express. If you use POP or Web e-mail, give it a try. Chances are, you wont go back.

With more than 20 years experience in consulting, technology, computers and media, Jim Louderback has pioneered many significant new innovations.

While building computer systems for Fortune 100 companies in the '80s, Jim developed innovative client-server computing models, implementing some of the first successful LAN-based client-server systems. He also created a highly successful iterative development methodology uniquely suited to this new systems architecture.

As Lab Director at PC Week, Jim developed and refined the product review as an essential news story. He expanded the lab to California, and created significant competitive advantage for the leading IT weekly.

When he became editor-in-chief of Windows Sources in 1995, he inherited a magazine teetering on the brink of failure. In six short months, he turned the publication into a money-maker, by refocusing it entirely on the new Windows 95. Newsstand sales tripled, and his magazine won industry awards for excellence of design and content.

In 1997, Jim launched TechTV's content, creating and nurturing a highly successful mix of help, product information, news and entertainment. He appeared in numerous segments on the network, and hosted the enormously popular Fresh Gear show for three years.

In 1999, he developed the 'Best of CES' awards program in partnership with CEA, the parent company of the CES trade show. This innovative program, where new products were judged directly on the trade show floor, was a resounding success, and continues today.

In 2000, Jim began developing, a daily, live, 8 hour TechTV news program called TechLive. Called 'the CNBC of Technology,' TechLive delivered a daily day-long dose of market news, product information, technology reporting and CEO interviews. After its highly successful launch in April of 2001, Jim managed the entire organization, along with setting editorial direction for the balance of TechTV.

In the summer or 2002, Jim joined Ziff Davis Media to be Editor-In-Chief and Vice President of Media Properties, including, Microsoft Watch, and the websites for PC Magazine, eWeek and ZDM's gaming publications.


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