An Inquiring Mind Asks – Is Thunderbird Getting Harder To Use?

In my quest locating articles of significant interest that will keep my readership in tact, one reader sent me a list of potential topics he thought I should tackle. Being the humble man he his, he has chosen to remain anonymous , so I promised not to mention Richard Krohn by name. LOL

I was kind of surprised when Dick brought up the subject about Thunderbird getting harder to use. I actually think it is easy to use and is one of the better email programs.

I use two email software programs on my personal computer. I use Microsoft Outlook for both my personal account from my ISP and also a MSN account I must have as a requirement from Microsoft as a MVP. I use Thunderbird for my Google Gmail account in which I received and monitor Gmail alerts throughout the day. On average I receive approximately 250 emails a day from my Gmail account and Thunderbird handles the flow perfectly.

I started using Thunderbird after I upgraded my laptop from Vista to Windows 7. After the upgrade I was required to add an email program, because for some strange reason, Microsoft no longer thought it was necessary to keep Outlook Express as a part of Windows 7. In fact they changed the name of their email program to Windows Live Mail which I personally didn’t like. So I downloaded a copy of Thunderbird and have been using it now for well over a year.

I personally found Thunderbird easy to install and configure. I also like the uncomplicated user interface that is very similar to what I had previously used in Outlook Express. I don’t need a lot to monitor my Gmail account and only need the basics.

But there is one reason that I like Thunderbird and that is because it is free.

Comments welcome.

OK, Dick. Your turn.

Microsoft Plans A Major Overhaul Of Their MSN Site

Microsoft has been planning improvements for their MSN web site which originally was scheduled for release in January. But the company delayed the introduction until the Olympics and Super Bowl, but will now start releasing the updates to the site during the next few weeks. MSN currently has over 100 million users and the changes, which there are about 30, should improve the sites appearance and ease of use.

According to a recent article it also states that:

Headlines on the page will now be customized based on user behavior, so, for instance, people who tend to be more interested in entertainment news will be more likely to see those type of stories. The page’s new local edition—which features local weather, traffic, news stories, and restaurant reviews in one place—will now also include local blog posts and Tweets overlaid on a map. And Microsoft’s Bing search engine is given even more prominence than in the initial plans; the search box at the top of the page includes the words ‘web search’—in bright orange.

So if you are a MSN user get ready for some major changes which will include the following:

Bing, Bing, and more Bing. We’ve seen double-digit increases in Bing search queries coming from the new homepage. People wanted even more Bing, so we:

Increased the prominence of the Bing search box to make it easy for you to search from the MSN homepage.

Added a new TrendWatch feature to highlight the day’s top movers on Twitter.

Increased the prominence of Popular Searches, where our editorial team highlights the most interesting and topical searches of the day.

Increased editorial programming of search-related content, including videos and images.

And there is a lot more featured on the new MSN web site. Take a look here at what the new pages will look like.

Comments welcome.

First look, MSN new web pages

Article source

Outlook 2003, 2007 – Live Mail, Hotmail, MSN – Get Microsoft Connector

I have had an MSN account since October, 2000 and I normally access my mail through Outlook 2003. So on the 1st of September when it ceased to work, I tried a half dozen attempts to fix it myself. Since I have a free MSN account help is non existent and I couldn’t get Outlook to access my MSN account.

So I went over to my Windows 7 machine that I am running the preview of MS Office which happens to include Outlook 2010. While setting up the account I was asked if I wished to access Live Mail, which the statement also included MSN, Hotmail and Exchange services. I answered yes and I was directed to download what is called ‘Microsoft Office Outlook Connector’. After downloading the software it automatically setup the account for me and MSN mail started to flow once again.

So I went out on the Internet and located the software on Microsoft’s site and it stated that:

With Microsoft Office Outlook Connector, you can use Microsoft Office Outlook 2003 or Microsoft Office Outlook 2007 to access and manage your Microsoft Windows Live Hotmail or Microsoft Office Live Mail accounts, including e-mail messages, contacts and calendars for free!

Outlook Connector enables you to use your Live Hotmail accounts within Outlook:

  • Read and send your Office Live Mail/Windows Live Hotmail e-mail messages.
  • Manage your contacts in Windows Live Hotmail.
  • Use advanced options for blocking junk e-mail messages.
  • Manage multiple e-mail accounts in one place.

After installing the software my MSN account was once again fully functional in Outlook 2003. I hope that this helps someone else who may have this same problem.

Comments welcome.

Get Microsoft Office Outlook Connector here.

Bing Twice As Nice For Ad Marketers?

There should be an image here!Reading this article, one might surmise that Bing is not only catching up with Google quickly but that they are doing so with a lot of ad clicks in tow. But there is one important question we need to ask ourselves – can Bing sustain this momentum.

Perhaps equally important, can Bing sustain its ads along enough to keep all of those happy clickers going? I think this is open to debate as Bing does not yet have a history here to point to. With Yahoo or Google, the numbers are already there.

But for the sake of being really fair, assume that Bing can sustain all of this. Does this then mean that it makes more sense to put your efforts in Bing then than with Google Adwords? Not if you are looking to target a higher quality of click. Assuming that a fair portion of Bing users being past MSN users, than I think it is safe to say that they are not even aware they are clicking ads.

Microsoft Yahoo Deal Still In The Works

There should be an image here!Frankly I am not all that sure why Yahoo is in Microsoft’s sights any longer. Clearly, it cannot be for their search functionality, be it something that Yahoo does still have some of the market on.

No, it must be a content thing. News, ads, personals, creepy chat rooms. This is what Microsoft is buying? Yes, as Yahoo is still quite the portal to watch from a traffic perspective. So if MS is after eyeballs, I can see Yahoo being fairly appealing.

But what has me stumped is that I could have sworn this is what MS was trying to do with MSN all along? So are they simply going to buy their way out of that failure, too? It’s beginning to look that way to me. Well that and Yahoo search is not only bigger than Live Search, but Bing is still to young to be of any real threat.

AT&T Now In The Netbook Business

Ma Bell is entering into the Netbook business. Sorta of. They are going to start offering several different Netbook models starting at only $49.95 to $249.95. But there is a hitch. You have to sign up to get AT&T’s “Internet at Home and On the Go” broadband services. According to the AT&T press release it also states that:

AT&T today announced that in Atlanta it will:

  • Offer a variety of ultra-portable mini laptops with built-in AT&T 3G wireless capabilities at promotional prices starting at $49.99 with the purchase of AT&T “Internet at Home and On the Go” broadband services.
  • Trial 30-minute in-store technical support — part of the AT&T ConnecTech suite of services — at select locations for customers who purchase qualifying data plans.
  • Feature, as part of the same trial in select stores, an Internet at Home and On the Go package that combines home and mobile broadband starting as low as $59.95 per month, including access to the nation’s fastest 3G network and unlimited domestic access to the nation’s largest Wi-Fi network with nearly 20,000 AT&T Hot Spots.
  • Pre-install AT&T Communication Manager on mini laptops, enabling customers the ability to manage their mobile and Wi-Fi connections.

AT&T is offering similar mini laptop promotional rates with the purchase of AT&T DataConnect plans in eight AT&T retail locations in the Philadelphia area.

“Broadband is not just about speed anymore — it’s about mobility,” said David Christopher, Chief Marketing Officer, AT&T Mobility and Consumer Markets. “We want our customers to have Internet at Home and On the Go. Pairing mini laptops with AT&T’s home, Wi-Fi, and mobile broadband offerings enables consumers to get the most from their new devices, virtually anywhere, anytime.” 

AT&T will also offer various Netbooks for sale which include models from Acer, Dell and LG. The models can be purchased without signing up for any type of service. Pricing seems to be full retail.

So what do you think? Would you be willing to sign up for a service contract to get a deal on a new Netbook?

Comments welcome.


First Look At The Electric Cadillac

The folks at GM have unveiled an electric powered Cadillac that is very futuristic in its styling. See what you think.

2009 Cadillac Converj Concept Computer Generated Image

According to an article over at GM Volt it also states that:

Today GM unveiled its newest extended-range electric vehicle. This time the E-Flex technology, which has been given a new name called Voltec, has been married to a luxury coupe.

The car is beautifully styled, sleek, and clearly aerodynamic. It has been designed this time from square one to have the appropriate aerodynamics to allow it the same 40 mile-range as the Chevy Volt.

The vehicle will use a gasoline-range extender and lithium ion batteries.

2009 Cadillac Converj Concept Computer Generated Image

The press release:

Luxury coupe concept continues GM’s leadership in the electrification of the automobile

DETROIT – General Motors unveiled a further glimpse at the potential of electric propulsion today, this time in the form of luxury transportation, with the Cadillac Converj Concept. The Cadillac Converj was developed as a well-appointed grand touring coupe with a bold design and a host of interactive technology.

The four-passenger Converj concept is intended to show how GM’s revolutionary electric propulsion technology – called Voltec – can power a luxury coupe with a typically Cadillac “no compromises” design. The technology enables up to 40 miles of gas- and emissions-free electric driving with extended-range capability of hundreds of miles.

Bob Lutz, GM’s vice chairman of Global Product Development, said the Converj concept has production substance. “It’s a logical extension of our plan to reinvent the automobile,” he said. “It clearly shows what a Cadillac electric vehicle could look like, and clearly indicates that global luxury customers can have a car that has both strong design and electric propulsion with a total range of hundreds of anxiety-free miles.”

Cadillac’s extended-range electric vehicle (E-REV) concept has a new body style that is an evolution of the brand’s traditional Art and Science design theme. An aggressive, forward-leaning arc profile is the foundation for the sporting stance. And more than a Cadillac in form, Converj is also intended to be a Cadillac in substance, with the premium materials, technology and driving dynamics that are hallmarks of the brand.

I don’t think GM gets it. We need an affordable alternative. Not a $50k + priced vehicle. I personally believe that the auto companies need to file for Chapter 11 and reorganize. The top brass of the big 3 needs to be replaced. We don’t need new Mustangs, Camaros, Chargers or other muscle cars. Though the sub $2 gas per gallon is great, it won’t last forever.

Wake up Detroit!

Comments welcome.


Microsoft Will Strip Down Windows 7

When you either buy a copy of Windows 7 or get a copy preinstalled on a new computer, there will be some features that will not be present. What will be gone is Live Mail the replacement for Outlook Express. Also gone will be Windows Photo Gallery and Windows Movie Maker. So what is the reason for Microsoft to remove these from Windows 7?

Microsoft believes that it will force users to go to their Windows Live site where the software can be downloaded for free. Also Microsoft will have available other software for you. When I first read about this my first thought was why?

It seems that Microsoft feels that once users go to their Windows Live site, they may be tempted to use their other software, such as MSN search, and that they will be able to lure some users away from Google. Good luck with that. I think this may annoy a few folks when they have to download features that were previously included with Vista.

But what do you think?

Comments welcome.


PS Correction. Microsoft is not ready to release the pre-beta of Windows 7 to selected testers as of yet.


When you want to search the Internet for something, what do you do? Do you only use one search engine or do you look for results on multiple search engines? Various approaches have different results, but in most cases, you’re trusting machines to tell you what’s best. These machines really do a great job, but they’re not perfect. Social intervention can dramatically enhance the results produced by computers, and Scour encourages all of us to search socially. 

The nice thing about Scour is that it doesn’t completely discount search results from the traditional search engines, but instead, it builds upon them. For instance, you can view results from Google, Yahoo, and MSN, plus the results can be voted up and down and commented on so that Scour users can get perspectives on them from fellow users. After all, some human beings have at least a little more common sense than computers. Scour has also developed a points system that rewards you with Visa gift cards when you use the site to the fullest extent and invite your friends, but the amount of points that you have to accumulate is so high and will take so long to reach that you’re better off using what works best for you without settling if you don’t like what Scour has to offer.

Cuil Takes On Google

Cuil [pronounced cool] is a new search engine start up company out of Menlo Park, CA., that is taking on Google. The new search engine company claims to have indexed some 120 billion pages,with the added claim they know of over one trillian pages. How about Google? How many pages do they have indexed?

Google remains quiet about how their system works and shares little with the public when it comes to how exactly Google functions. One can only guess that they most likely are equal to or surpass Cuil on indexing. It is interesting to note that this new company also feels that once consumers try Cuil, they will make the switch.

So I went to the Cuil site and did several searches. It is fast and the results appeared to be accurate. I noted that when the results appeared they also provided a brief description of what the articles was about. Nothing more, or nothing less than what Google currently provides. Overall Cuil worked very well. I commend them for a job well done.

Much of the secret sauce of Cuil is in the way they index the web and handle actual queries by users. Both are costly to scale, and Cuil claims to have found a way to massively reduct those costs. That allows them to run the search engine a lot cheaper, even at Google-scale should it ever reach that point. By some estimates, Google spends a billion dollars a year to run the back end infrastructure of it’s search business.

Cuil also claims to have better search results than Google and others based on how they index websites. They do not simply catalog keywords on a site and then rank the site based on its importance. They also work to understand how words are related (France – cheese – wine, for example), to return more relevant results to users. This is a semantic approach to search, but very different from Powerset’s natural language approach. Powerset uses artificial intelligence to try to understand what sentences on a website actually mean. Cuil, by comparison, simply tries to properly categorize and file a web page, even if the category name doesn’t appear on the site
That means users search the same way they always have, but Cuil will try to return better results via refinements in a “explore by category” module to the right of results. A search for dogs, for example, will return category results for “water dogs,” “crossbreed,” “cocker spaniel,” etc. Some of these related terms do not include the term “dog.”

The one thing I did enjoy about using Cuil was that the searching interface is shown in three columns. The results also include an image of the site as well. Cuil can also recommend other search terms that may match what you are looking for.

The big question will be if Cuil can gartner market share away from Google, where Yahoo and MSN have failed miserably. Only time will tell how well Cuil will do. They have a up hill battle going against Google.

Give Cuil a ty and let us know what you think.

Comments welcome.


Did Anyone Really Think Microsoft Would Give Up On Yahoo?

During the past few months it has been a touch and go confrontation between Microsoft and Yahoo. Depending on who you wished to believe, Microsoft appeared to have given up on its hostile takeover of the search company. But did anyone really think that Microsoft was finished and was not going to make another move? If you thought that, than you don’t know how Microsoft works.

Microsoft has a huge problem. That problem is Google. The threat that Google has over Microsoft is not make believe. Google has the resources and brains to dominate the Internet like no other company can. Google also has the smarts to secure a place for free applications that few can rival and that includes Microsoft who has always been the top dog in town. But Microsoft realizes that in order to compete with Google, they need an established company with all of the parts in place.

That company is Yahoo. Microsoft has tried on their own but has met with limited success. Though the software giant has tried free email, search features, and all kinds of Live offerings, they just can’t break the Google stranglehold without help. Bottom line is that Microsoft needs Yahoo in order to succeed on the Internet.

In the next few weeks, months, whatever, we will see some sort of a Microsoft – Yahoo deal coming forward. A nice outcome for both companies would be some type of a joint venture that benefits both companies. But Microsoft will eventually get Yahoo on board.

But the real question will be if this going to be enough?

What do you think? Will a Microsoft – Yahoo deal be enough to catch up with Google?

Comments welcome.

[tags]microsoft, yahoo, deal, buy, acquisition, google, search, live, msn, [/tags]

Microsoft To Google: "You're A Monopoly!"

You do have to laugh. Now that the FTC has given the Google + Double-Click deal an OK, Microsoft is now attacking Google via the EU saying Google would be a monopoly. Apparently the approval of the EU is the last step that Google needs in order to close the deal. Yet Microsoft wants the EU to see this as anti-competitive and bad for everyone. Which begs one to ask. Who is this deal bad for? Consumers or Microsoft?

Microsoft appears to be getting frustrated with Google since the Googlers have an extended lead in the search field. They also command a lead in advertising dollars and have created quite a tidy empire for themselves. Microsoft has struggled with its version called MSN that hasn’t really put a dent into Google’s lead. Some are saying that the only way Microsoft can get back into the game is to buy Yahoo. Than maybe, just maybe, Microsoft can become a serious player.

I guess my question would be why? Why not let Google do its own thing? Does Microsoft have anything to really fear from Google? I know. I have read all the rhetoric about Google being a Microsoft slayer. That Google offering its online Web docs is going to hurt the sale of Microsoft Office. Or that Google could come out with a Linux based system that is going to clobber the Redmond giant. But is this just more wishful thinking by those who hate Microsoft?

Or is Microsoft doing it to itself?

What do you think?

Comments welcome.

Microsoft Hotmail and MSN Help Site

During the past six months or so, there have been many posts in the forums concerning the problems people are having with either their MSN or Hotmail accounts. The major issues seem to be with getting these accounts to sync correctly with a email program such as Outlook or Outlook Express. Microsoft have a help sites that may just help in solving some of these issues. On the site it states:

Just wanted to make everyone aware that the newest version of Live Hotmail (which is called M2) has now been released and is on all our servers. The next time you log in you’ll probably notice you have some new features and a slightly different interface.

In other posts it seems that more storage has been added to the accounts as well.

Take a look at the help site if you are having MSN or Hotmail problems.

Help site is located here.

[tags]microsoft, hotmail, msn, help, site, [/tags]

AOL – How Focus Has Changed

Seems like only yesterday AOL was a successful ISP to just about everyone. Today, AOL is a shell of what it once was. Going through changes in much the same way as Netscape has, it’s become more content-driven than ISP-driven in my opinion.

What I’d like to hear from each of you is whether or not you believe that this is the end of nationally run ISP? Could MSN finally decide that working as an ISP is just not worth it? I am seeing signs that is very probable. But again, do you see this happening? Will the ISPs out there only serve as reseller? You make the call, I have my thoughts, now let’s hear yours.