Thursday, January 12, 2006

Changing my mind about Thunderbird

Thunderbird 1.5 is getting on my nerves.

As I mentioned earlier, the News and Blogs (aka RSS/Atom) support is much enhanced over 1.0.x... but having used it for a few hours now, the interface really sucks. It really should be simpler to add, delete and organise feeds.

Not only that, but in 1.5 the News and Blogs folder defaults to loading the web page for each feed rather than displaying the textual summaries, so you have to be online all the time. I've got a web browser for looking at the web pages if I want to. You can change this (the non-obvious series of clicks is right-click News and Blogs -> Properties -> tick "By default, show the article summary instead of loading the web page") but you don't seem to be able to do it on a global basis for all the feeds you already subscribe to; you have to go through the list in Manage Subscriptions, edit each one, and tick the article summary option.

I know there are dedicated applications like RSS Bandit available. On my Linux workstation I use Liferea, which is really nice. I wanted to continue to use Thunderbird, since I already use it for newsgroups, and for managing IMAP accounts. At this rate, I'm rapidly going to lose my patience.

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Bill said...

I have been using 1.0.2 but I must say I am also extremely unimpressed. Here are some other pet peeves (some related to what you already mentioned):

* When you change to Article Summary from Browser mode, it only changes new items (it won't go back and fix the existing ones, even if the current feed still has those items)
* There is no obvious way to "reset". For example, when I tried changing to Article Summary mode, I was disappointed the old entries didn't come down as summaries. So I deleted the feed and recreated it. The new one would only download the last entry, not the 12 previous posts. Why?!

I hate to complain about software, especially software I am not paying for, but it seems silly to produce a product 90% of the way and then not finish.

Wait a minute, I do that a lot too.... ;)

Andy Piper said...

1.0.2 - pretty old I think. Probably worth upgrading for security reasons.

I am pretty sure I'm going to move off Thunderbird as a blog reader - there are too many inconveniences. One of the nice things about 1.5 is that I can export OPML, though ;-)