Mozilla Messaging pushed the stable release of Thunderbird 3 out of the nest on Tuesday, and there's a lot to like in case you haven't been following the beta development of this Outlook alternative. The long-overdue Thunderbird 3 is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux, and it introduces several hefty new features and some long-needed improvements, including an overhauled search and message indexing, tab support, and a revamped setup wizard that's designed to make new account setup quick and painless.
Two key pieces of Google's effort to make Chrome a more competitive browser fell into place on Tuesday as Google released beta versions of the browser for Mac OS X and Linux.
Tuesday's software release is a version of Chrome that had previously been available only as developer preview software for Mac and Linux machines. "It took longer than we expected, but we hope the wait was worth it," product manager Brian Rakowski said in a blog post.
Macs are widely used, if not as common as Windows machines, and there's been some demand in … Read more
You wouldn't necessarily expect it, but Avast and Google Chrome might be the next peanut butter-and-jelly combo in the software world. Google's nascent browser has paired with one of the most popular free security programs in the world so that when users run the Avast installer on a computer that has neither Chrome nor Avast, they'll be offered a chance to install Chrome simultaneously. This is the first such bundling for Avast in its 21-year existence.
The Chrome option in the Avast installer does two things differently from the more familiar opt-out user experience that many programs … Read more
Mozilla updated its nearly-baked Thunderbird 3 Tuesday night, fixing one critical error and addressing three others. The critical bug fix affects the Windows, Mac, and Linux versions of Thunderbird 3 Release Candidate 2. It had caused the previous version to hang on shutdown, consume too much memory, and close all IMAP connections.
The other fixes in this version enable downloading new messages automatically by default for POP3 accounts, label the default theme as version 2.0, and fixes the "download more dictionaries" option, which had been failing to open properly.
Already a year off from its original release … Read more
If you enjoy photography, don't make the mistake I did.
Using my then-new SLR in 2005 and 2006, I photographed everything from my new son to otherworldly canyons we visited in Utah. The only problem: the photos were taken only in JPEG format.
JPEG is fine as far as it goes, and indeed for most folks it will suffice. But having rediscovered my enjoyment of photography in the digital era, I wish I'd used the raw image format that comes with SLRs and higher-end compact cameras.
My initial regret was from the realization that raw photos, although taking up about three times the storage space as a JPEG and requiring manual processing, offer higher quality and more flexibility. But what I've come to understand since then is a second advantage of raw: because processing software improves over time, raw photos in effect can get better with age.
For that reason, I've begun recommending friends who show some enthusiasm for photography that they should think about shooting important events in raw format alongside JPEG. You don't have to mess with the raw files today, but if it's an important event like a wedding, you might want them for later.
I've included below some samples of a noisy image shot in near-darkness at ISO 25,600 from my SLR. They may not convince you that shooting raw is a miracle cure for photo quality, but they do illustrate some differences with the camera's JPEG and that the raw-processing software isn't standing still. … Read more
Microsoft has begun a campaign to actively urge users of its 8-year-old Internet Explorer 6 browser to upgrade.
After launching IE 8 in March, Micosoft has concurred with critics that IE 6 is outdated. Many people have dropped the older browser, but the remaining users are often the tough cases--those who don't have a choice because of corporate computing policy or who aren't tech-savvy enough to realize there's a reason to move on.
It's this latter population Microsoft is targeting with a campaign that runs through June 2010 that touts its own IE 8 as a … Read more
Mozilla, determined to release Firefox 3.6 before year's end, is also determined to squeeze as many features as possible into the new browser.
The latest example: support for the File interface that adds more sophistication to uploading and some other chores.
Sometimes it's the little things that count.
The most prominent feature of Firefox 3.6 is Personas, which let you reskin the browser with thousands of different looks. But my single favorite change is a subtler change to the open-source browser's user interface.
Specifically, when you open a link in a new tab, it appears immediately to the right of the active tab. Before, the new tabs would appear to the far right of the strip of tabs.
Yup, that's it. For those of us who spend hours a day in a browser, though, the new tab … Read more
Mozilla Messaging has released the first release candidate of a Thunderbird 3, software it hopes will significantly improve how people read, write, catalog, and search their e-mail.
Mozilla released the software Tuesday for Windows, Mac, and Linux, several days later than predicted earlier this month but close to a year later than Mozilla planned in 2008. A final version of Thunderbird 3 is expected not long after the release candidate.
Thunderbird 3 has been years time in the making. For its next versions, the Mozilla Messaging group hopes to release new versions more frequently, said Mozilla Messaging programmer Dan Mosedale. … Read more
Google has opened up its gallery for developers to share Chrome extensions, a step that soon should make it easier for people to customize the open-source browser.
So far, only uploads are permitted. Google plans to let some testers use the gallery to download extensions, too "in the next few days," Zheng said. "We are making the upload flow available early to make sure … Read more