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The third Thunderbird

The third Thunderbird
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First Published: Tue, Jan 19 2010. 08 41 PM IST

 Click and install: TB3 is a good communication tool.
Click and install: TB3 is a good communication tool.
Updated: Tue, Jan 19 2010. 08 41 PM IST
Now this is what you call good news. Mozilla is back. Just like Gmail made Thunderbird 2 seem silly and archaic, Thunderbird 3 (TB3) makes Gmail seem utterly limited. The biggest reason for this is that at the end of the day, Gmail is an online email client; Mozilla has made TB3 into what can best be described as a “communication management” tool.
Click and install: TB3 is a good communication tool.
Google Calendar
Mozilla developer Bryan Clark has come up with an awesome extension that allows users to use Google Calendar in a separate tab in TB3. To get Google Calendar running as a separate tab in your TB3, visit Clark’s blog and scroll down to the 23 November entry on running “Google Calendar in Thunderbird tabs”. Clark has provided a link to download his extension in XPI format. Once you save the file to your hard drive, open up Thunderbird and go to Tools > Add-ons. Navigate to the Extensions tab and click the Install button at the bottom-left corner. In the pop-up box that follows, browse to where you have saved GoogleCalendarTab.XPI and install it in your Thunderbird. After restarting your Thunderbird, head to Tools > Google Calendar tab. Sign into your Google Calendar and you are ready.
Browse links
Mostly, when you get a link in an email, you invariably have to go to a different application—your browser—to open it. This is annoying, tedious and one of the main reasons so many people prefer to use an online email client such as Gmail, since you don’t have to switch the browser window at any time and every link just pops up in an adjoining tab. But that’s where Thunderbird differs. Thanks to its large open-source community, it has an extension called ThunderBrowse that lets you browse through sites and links right from your mail client. You can grab the extension from the add-ons manager or download it to your PC from Thunderbrowse.com and install it. Once installed, ThunderBrowse will give you options such as using auto complete, enabling Javascript and cookies. The add-on is highly customizable and you can go through the options to tweak it to your favoured settings.
Running Web apps
You can run any Web app you want—be it Twitter, Facebook or Orkut—from a tab in TB3. First, you go to Tools > Error Console in Thunderbird. In the box, type the following code: Components.classes[‘@mozilla.org/appshell/window-mediator;1’].getService(Components.interfaces.nsIWindowMediator).getMostRecentWindow(‘mail:3pane’).document.getElementById(‘tabmail’).openTab (‘contentTab’,{contentPage:’http://ABCDEFGH.COM’}). To browse to a Web app of your choice, simply replace the ABCDEFGH.COM to the site address such as Twitter.com or Facebook.com.
Download images automatically
TB3, for some reason, does not download images sent with emails automatically. How do you bypass this annoying feature? Go to Tools > Options > General Tab > Config Editor. The program will warn you that you are about to void your warranty; accept that. In the filter box, type “mailnews.message_display.disable_remote_image” and hit Enter. If the value is set to false, double-click on it to change it to true.
Sync contacts
To sync Google contacts with the address book for your Thunderbird, there is a handy extension that can help you out. Called gContactSync, the experimental add-on is available on the official Thunderbird add-on page at https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/thunderbird/addon/8451. Once installed, click on the extension in the add-ons pane and enter its Options mode. In the Accounts tab, click on the Add Login button and provide your user details, and hit OK. From here, gContactSync will take over, and within 10 minutes, you should have your Thunderbird address book synced with your Gmail contacts.
Import address book
If you use Yahoo Mail, Hotmail or some other email service, then grabbing your contact list isn’t as easy a procedure as installing an extension. In this case, first go to your email account’s contact list through your browser. Select all your contacts and look for Export in the various options available on the page. By default, most email services export your contact list in the CSV format, which both Outlook Express and Thunderbird can read. Once you download and save the file to your hard drive, go to your Mozilla Thunderbird and select Tools > Import. In the first pane, choose Address Book. Next, choose text file (LDIF, TAB, CSV, TXT). Browse to the file on your hard drive. Put a check mark against the fields that you want imported and click OK.
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First Published: Tue, Jan 19 2010. 08 41 PM IST