Saturday, November 17, 2007

Thunderbird's a go! Or email revisited

So I did a bit of research into how I can keep my hotmail and gmail accounts and have a desktop application that can access both, plus also access my contacts from Outlook (which I have to keep for my PocketPC synchronisation)...

I have been vaguely interested in Thunderbird for some time now for in case I ever want another desktop email client, so today I looked into whether this supports hotmail and gmail and lo! It was so! (And I already knew it supported Plaxo which is what I use to synch my contacts and calendars).

So I downloaded and installed and look! It asked me if I wanted it to get information from Outlook Express and Outlook - which I most emphatically do not - so I'm happy already! Then it offers to set up an account (one of its offerings is gmail! - but POP3 access where I want no), which I ended up cancelling out of.

There are plug-ins of course, like there are for my wonderful Firefox. These include Webmail, and then another addition to this for Hotmail. Instructions for setting up IMAP with gMail are available at google....and yay! It works.

Ooooh look! Thunderbird as tagging! And it brought across all the gmail ones, of course.

Now to see if I can get my Hotmail to work as well...I follow the instructions and more yay! Then I subscribe to all my folders at my hotmail account so I can see the emails in there (and promptly opened the biggest one...oh well!) and I can see them here and at hotmail. Bliss.

Now the final link: Plaxo for my contacts. Installed, clicked the button on the toolbar (after a restart) and I now have my Outlook contacts in Thunderbird.

I have everything I want! And of course the best part of all: it's all free (well....except for Outlook)!

Here's a pretty picture:

And now I'm going to have a look at some more extensions/add-ons that might be of interest.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Windows Live Mail is dead to me

Why, oh why did I let myself get tempted? I researched and read to find out if it supports two-way synchronisation between my Hotmail account and and Windows Live Mail, and the answer was yes. Great! Thinks I. I will be able to have quicker access and better formatting to my hotmail account - it's all a bit dodgy using the web browser. And also: no ads with a Desktop App! Yay!

So I install and launch. Lo and behold it has retrieved all my contacts from Outlook Express which I didn't want. Well, I'll just delete my mail account in Live Mail (to be safe) and then delete them all. What does it do? Deletes all the mails it retrieved from Outlook Express and deletes all my Contacts. From my Hotmail account, too. You'd think that removing my mail account would stop that, but noooooooooo. So I quickly kill my Outlook and Plaxo services in Task Manager and log into Plaxo to remove my synchronisation with Hotmail, so my good contact data doesn't get infected with this crap. Though this is not a good state of affairs - I like having everything synchronised...

So then I set up my Hotmail account as an email account again in Windows Live Mail and import all my Outlook contacts. But hey, this is a version 1.0 of an MS product, so of course the data doesn't bring across the data properly - the fields don't correspond with fields from Outlook - work and home emails are swapped around, for one. One effect of which is that all my Messenger contacts are once again lost. I have no friends in Messenger. Hmmmm....could assist in getting work done.... But again, not how I want it.

And now....I'm afraid to reconnect my Plaxo to my Hotmail contacts because what if they stuff up my Outlook data? Woe is me...

So let's see: I'll delete all my contacts in Live Mail and see how it goes updating from Plaxo...not that I can actually delete them such that they're deleted...

OK. Time to give up and uninstall the mongrel. Outlook it is. But maybe on some other day when I have patience with MS again.

ETA: Or not! Seems that using Outlook would require the installation of an "Outlook Connector" and this will synchronise my contacts as well - after seeing how badly that was handled by Live Mail, I won't touch it with a barge pole. Will just have to stick with the web-interface.