mozPod 0.2a1

mozPod 0.2a1 is available. It’s alpha because it hasn’t been as well tested as of yet. I wanted to get it out before Thunderbird 2.0 ships, and I’ve been getting a fair number of requests for it lately.

I’ve released MozPod 0.2a1 as an interim release for Thunderbird 2.0 users who want to use mozPod and see some new features. I decided to not support mozPod 0.1 on Thunderbird 2.0 to keep things easier to manage.

This is an alpha release and likely has some bugs. I wanted to get it out for those who want to start testing. This would be an ideal time as people want to move to Thunderbird 2.0.

Here’s the changes that matter:

  • Feature – Preliminary support for Lightning (if installed).
  • Enhancement – Thunderbird 2.0 support.
  • Enhancement – Some performance tweaks.
  • Fix – Sync all available AB’s.
  • Fix – Correctly handle notes that are more than one line.
  • Fix – Skip over LDAP servers in Address Book without failing.
  • Fix – Try to not hold lock on disks.

As usual, if you like it and want to encourage me to spend a little more time on it, feel free to do so. I do request some feedback. Let me know how it works for you.

I’ve got more extension goodness on the way. I’m planning to get to a real mozPod 0.2 release in the next few weeks. There may be a new extension on the way as well…

You download it from this link: mozPod 0.2

Lightning Strikes The iPod

I started working to implement support for Lighting (project to integrate Calendar into Thunderbird) to sync with Apple iPods via mozPod. Didn’t take to long before I had a successful sync. It’s not done yet, and likely some big evil bugs (read: including but not limited to loss of data or first born child), but it’s well on the way!

That’s right, we now have the ability to sync contacts and calendar to the iPod on Mac/Windows (Linux still on the todo list, though it’s mostly there). It will require Thunderbird 1.5 or later. No release date just yet.

How cool is that? 😀

mozPod 0.2 Status

I have slowly been working on a new mozPod release, it’s just not going very fast, as it’s still a lower priority project. So far, it seems to be pretty well accepted. Here are a few of the changes planned, or already completed:

  • Preliminary Lightning Support
  • Having an LDAP server setup in your Address Book won’t cause the sync to fail
  • Some code cleanup, optimization, and bug fixes

For the record, I will be dropping support for Thunderbird 1.0.x in mozPod 0.2. Most people seem to be upgrading, and it’s just not worth the hassle. Many (or most) seem to have had problems with MozPod and Thunderbird 1.0 anyway.

Yes, development is a little slow, but it’s free (unless you feel like saying thanks), so don’t complain ;-).

Update: It’s out.

Lightning Project

This is seriously big news. I’ve blogged about this before. This is great news. As I’ve said before, this is the missing link to penetrating the market. Going against commercial heavyweight Outlook.

One thing I didn’t see mentioned was Address Book Integration/enhancement. As I’ve suggested before, the Address Book has a nice feel to it, but it misses some features. And a key part of any PIM is the address book. For Calendar to really rock with Thunderbird, it’s going to need to integrate nicely with the address book. IMHO Address Book 2.0 reloaded should be included with this.

Hopefully Palm/PDA/Cell phone synchronization methods will follow shortly. I think #1 is getting Palm Sync going. Especially since Thunderbird already supports it for addresses and email. That way Palm users are 100% covered at this point.

I’ve started working in iPod support for Thunderbird, and do plan for Sunbird to be supported as well.

2005 Year of the PIM

2004 was without question the year of the browser. A year ago, for many people IE was the only browser they knew of. Now with tons of mainstream press, it’s becoming all too common to see Firefox everywhere. Even before 1.0 there were amazing, glowing reviews. Now with 1.0 out, the press is becoming hard to track. It used to take me a few seconds each day to round up all the Mozilla press and read. Now it’s becoming a tougher task. It’s quite a bit of reading. Next year, this growth needs (and I believe will) continue to grow. But it’s time to open up a second front in the war to take back the web.

The PIM is the heart and sole of the modern man. It organizes, tracks, coordinates, and communicates for the user. It’s no longer something for an executive, but even a humble college student. Our lives are busy, and they are only getting busier. 2005 is the year of the PIM.

Thunderbird is the core of the PIM, and already looking great. It’s a solid email client that keeps the spam out. It’s great at organizing, sorting, sifting through email. It’s quick and reliable. What we need is to get Sunbird up to speed and included. Things such as invites to meetings (outlook style), synchronization with popular products (Palm, Windows PDA’s, etc.) are still needed. Not to mention Thunderbird needs somewhat of an Address Book Overhaul. There’s quite a bit of work that needs to be done, but there’s quite a solid foundation already. Sunbird, while very quiet and low key is actually a pretty impressive. It’s just lacking polish and integration.

I think it’s time for people to start looking at PIM’s a bit more seriously. There is a giant desire for the perfect PIM, and really not many competitors. Most businesses use Outlook, which itself isn’t the greatest product. But there isn’t much competition. Personal use is even worse. I think it’s time for Thunderbird to pair up with Sunbird and help people take back their lives.

2005 is the year of the PIM. It’s a big market, and it’s about time we take it.

Thunderbird Address Book 2.0

I’ve discussed this a bit before, but I thought I’d take a deeper look into what the Address Book needs to “kick ass”.

  • More than just 2 Email fields. 2 initially appear on the form, but a button to add more. I’ve got a few people who I have a work, and more than 1 personal address. Additionally the ability to specify the preferred message format per address. Work uses Eudora, but home uses Thunderbird. Different prefs for each.
  • “Internet Names”, this should succeed the “Screen Name” field. The user is presented with 1 pull down menu containing a list of services, 1 text field, and a button to “Add More”. The user can select a service, enter the screenname/username/id. “Add More” adds another field (similar to how a filter is displayed). The last option in the service pull down is “Edit Services”. This should bring a window allowing the user to specify a new service, or modify an existing one. Do things like select an icon to show next to it (URL, or file), URL to link to (use text like %n to represent name), and the name of the Service.
  • Photos. The simple ability to drag/drop a photo onto the address card, and have it appear as the photo for the user. Store the photo in a directory within the profile.
  • View All Books. Many people simply use “Address Books” as a way to categorize addresses, for example “Work”, “Friends”, “Family”, etc. There should be a view option in to view them combined. So you just get a list of all of them. Would make it easier to sort/sift. This way, I can view them all easily, but still keep them orgamized.

This would make substantial strides from being an “Email Client” to a “Personal Information Manager”. Address Book is good, but it could be great.

Calendar in Thunderbird

I’ve been an advocate of making Calendar an Extension for Thunderbird. I think Calendar extension is important in a Mail client, as most business users are accustomed to this (Microsoft Outlook). As a result, it makes sense for Mozilla to offer such functionality.

Besides matching, it’s also quite convenient. What 2 Apps do most people keep open? Email, and a Calendar. Secondly, Calendar can integrate quite well with email (Appointment notification, etc.)

This really is a giant step in bringing Mozilla closer to the workplace.