Thunderbird 3.0 Alpha 1 to Arrive Next Month?

If you’ve been following this site for awhile, you’ll know that I’m a big fan of the Thunderbird project.   The software is free and very comparable to Microsoft Outlook.  Ever since I first heard about Thunderbird 3.0, it instantly got my attention with the tabbed e-mails feature they were working on.   Truthfully, over the past year I’d kind of forgotten about it because all Thunderbird news seemed to be bad news.

That all changed today when I began reading a post over at Ars Technica that Thunderbird 3.0 Alpha 1 is due sometime in April.   While it looks like the calendar integration (Lightning) will not be included with this release, there should be some good stuff in store for us.

Anyone else looking forward to this release?

New Information About Mozilla Thunderbird 3.0

I’m a big fan of the Mozilla Thunderbird software.  I generally use a mixture of Thunderbird 2.0 and Microsoft Outlook 2003 to manage my 15+ e-mail accounts via POP3 and have no real complaints.   After looking at what is in store for Thunderbird users, I will be considering making the permanent switch to Thunderbird once version 3.0 comes out.

For more information about Thunderbird 3.0, I recommend you check out this post over at Webware.   Among the things we can expect are better searches, a built-in calendar (this is huge for me), and some new technology that is designed to take message beyond e-mail (IM integration, etc.).

Anyone else looking forward to Thunderbird 3.0?

The State of Open Source

If you’ve been blogging for awhile, you’ll probably remember Technorati’s “State of the Blogosphere” they would release quarterly which looked at blogging as a whole and talked about trends and whatever else was relevant in Technorati’s eyes.

Another industry that has been thriving lately is the open source community.   With the popularity of free software such as Firefox, Thunderbird, Linux, OpenOffice and the GIMP, it is no surprise that open source is doing quite well and quickly becoming mainstream.

In order to see how far open source has come and to look towards what the next decade holds, Bruce Perens has posted a great read titled The State of Open Source.  If you follow the open source movement at all, I recommend you check it out!

Ultimate Collection of Linux-Unix Cheat Sheets

Are you a Linux user?  Switching to Linux, the free open source operating system alternative, has become a popular decision lately among geeks.  Dell has even started offering the operating system pre-installed on computers in place of Windows Vista or XP.

If you’ve recently made the switch, it can require quite a period of adjustment, especially to those that aren’t very technology-savvy.   Scott Klarr has compiled a useful resource of Linux-Unix Cheat Sheets that you may want to bookmark for future reference.  Scott cites this as an ultimate cheat sheet, and after digging through it, I don’t think I could disagree.  If you use Linux or plan to, I recommend you check it out!

NewsGator Products Now Free…Giving FeedDemon A Try

I’m a big fan of both Google Reader and Bloglines, but I’ve made no secret of the fact that I feel GreatNews does the best job of filling my feed reading needs. I don’t need a web-based feed reader really and I like the extra features that GreatNews offers.

One thing I always wanted to try was the NewsGator desktop feed reader FeedDemon. It comes highly recommended from several people whose opinions I have a great respect for, but it has always had a cost associated with it. I’m certainly not opposed to forking over some cash for a product that will fill a need of mine (such as SnagIt), but it was a need that GreatNews was filling for free.

Today I noticed that anyone can now download NewsGator products for free, including their desktop feed reader, Feed Demon. I was of course thrilled to see this news so that I could give it a try. It only took about 5 minutes to export and then import my feeds between the two readers and I was up and running. So far things are great, but I want to give it a few days going through my routine before I decide if I’m going to stick with them. I also want to check out how it syncs up with its online counterpart, NewsGator online.

Have you tried Feed Demon yet? I’m mostly interested in getting the opinions of those that use desktop feed readers, but I’d like to hear from anyone that has tried Feed Demon before.

Transform Windows XP with the OS X Transformation Pack

Awhile ago we talked about the Vista Transformation pack, which allows Windows XP users to easily give their computer the look and feel of Windows Vista.  Well, now it looks like Apple fans that have Windows XP on one of their computers have an option as well, with the release of the MAC OS X Transformation Pack to give their computer a Leopard makeover.

The files included with the download:

– explorer.exe
– shell32.dll
– xpsp2res.dll
– mydocs.dll
– msgina.dll

Some screenshots provided by the author:

If you are interested, you can download the files you need here.

[via Brown Baron]

Over 40 GIMP Plugins

If you are like most of the world and can’t afford a copy of Adobe Photoshop, a popular free alternative is the open source software known as GIMP. I think most people would agree that Photoshop is still a much better software, but it is always hard to beat free. Another advantage that GIMP has over Photoshop is the large number of GIMP plugins that are available to improve the software.

Much like Firefox and WordPress, the open source community has come together and created several plugins that will improve the GIMP in several ways. TechZilo has taken the time to gather a list of what they feel are the 40 best GIMP plugins, which has been broken down into categories for easy reference. The main categories focus on adding features for photographers and web designers, but there is some other good stuff there for all GIMP users.

SnagIt Screen Capture Software Now Available….For Free

For close to two years now, I have been using SnagIt for all my screen capturing needs. Despite several free alternatives, I felt that this software did a better job of giving me the tools that I needed, so I dropped roughly $40.00 on this software and haven’t looked back.

Today I noticed that TechSmith has decided to give away free retail editions of SnagIt 7.2.5 with no strings attached, which is good news for people that have not yet experienced this software. For your reference, the most recent version is 8.2.

In addition to traditional screen capture, this software allows the user to capture scrolling long web pages, extract text from windows, annotate images and make fancy borders and stuff on your images.

In order to get the software, follow these two steps:

1) Download the demo version of SnagIt TechSmith FTP servers below:

2) Visit the TechSmith website and request a SnagIt 7 Software key – it should arrive in your Inbox pretty soon. Just key in the registration details and your trial copy of SnagIt will convert into a full retail version.

This free version is a complimentary copy of SnagIt (Version 7.2.5).  You can upgrade the software to the above mentioned current version 8.2 at half of the standard price if you’d like the updates from version 8.0+.

[via Digital Inspiration]

Avast Reaches 40 Million Users

Over the past couple of years, I’ve spent a lot of time talking about free software, mostly because I am very passionate about open source.   There is a ton of great freeware out there, and I actually believe that many of the free anti-virus software available is better than their paid alternatives such as Norton. 

I’ve talked to many people that love AVG, but I have always recommend Avast to friends and family.   I find it less intrusive, doesn’t use as many computer resources, and it goes a long way towards making me feel my computer is safe.  

Today I noticed that Avast’s Home Edition is celebrating 40 million users!  That is quite the accomplishment when you really think about it.   Between friends and family, I’m proud to say I’ve probably contributed at least 20 of those users. 

If you are still paying for your anti-virus software, I recommend you upgrade to Avast whenever you get a chance and don’t look back.  After all, its free, so why not give it a shot?  I don’t think 40 million people could be wrong!

Mozilla Launches InstantBird – New Instant Messenger

Mozilla fans rejoice!   Fans of Firefox, Thunderbird, and/or Songbird applications will be pleased to see that Mozilla has just entered into the instant messenger market with the release of beta version 0.1 of InstantBird, which is available for Windows, Apple, and Linux users.  This beta version still includes some bugs and some problems with Ubuntu versions of Linux, but seems to be pretty reliable.   The interface needs a lot of work as well, but I’m sure that will be improved once all of the features have been implemented.   It also includes Mozilla’s trademark add-ons, allowing users to build extensions for InstantBird.

For those that are interested in trying this out, it looks to pretty much be the equivalent of an early version of Pidgin.   It is based on the same code library as Pidgin (libpurple), and will serve as a multi-client chat program that connects to popular instant messenger services like Yahoo Messenger, AOL Instant Messenger, and Windows Live Messenger.

Mozilla’s future plans include attempting to compete with Pidgin by adding similar features, then add video and voice features.  Hopefully once voice is done, Skype compatibility will be included.