Thunderbird 3; I’m Not Impressed

Suffice it to say I’ve always loved Thunderbird by Mozilla. I loved it from the first time I saw it, probably mainly because it wasn’t Outlook. I know other folks loved Eudora, but it just wasn’t for me. I found Thunderbird gave me everything I wanted and more, and was happy.

Then came this latest version, and I find myself less than impressed. Thunderbird 3, which is now 3.0.4, has made some significant changes, which they say make it easier for new users, and offers some features they’ve never had before. But they’ve also messed up some interfaces, and if you ask me, there’s only been one good consequence from it.

First, they set up the default so it looks like Outlook; what’s that about? The idea behind Mozilla was that it was the anti-Outlook; if I’d wanted Outlook I would be using it. Maybe that’s the “easy” part for new users, using something they’re familiar with.

Second, they changed how you could save email addresses. Instead of opening up one of those Properties menus so you could add information and put it in any special mail category you’d created, now when you click to save the email address and you get the edit form you can add information, but you can’t place it anywhere special. Everything goes into a personal address book, and you have to open your contacts and move it to where you want it after the fact.

Third, let’s talk about the Contacts for a bit. That wasn’t even included as a default in the toolbar, and now that I’m calling it Contacts, let me back up for a minute. When I added it to the general program toolbar it was called Address Book. When you’re in an email you’re writing it’s called Contacts. And I had to add both; that was irritating. Sure, it will remember email addresses you already have if you just start typing it in, but if you’re doing multiple emails, and you want to BCC them, then typing each address individually can take up a lot of time.

Something they changed, which is why they didn’t put it on the toolbar automatically, was putting those tabs onto the email you happen to be reading. That’s not so bad if you want to keep all your email at the normal size it defaults to. I’m one of those people who likes opening emails to the full size of my browser so that I not only can read it easier by making it larger, but that way I only see one email at a time so that I’ll focus on that one email. Thing is, when you open an email all the way, those tabs aren’t always there. Oh, some are, but not all of them all the time. I find myself every time having to open it up, close it back, then open it again to get all those tabs back. If they’d just left it alone in the toolbar I wouldn’t have had to deal with it.

What did they add that they consider something good? They added a search bar which will search through your email to find something. When you do it a new tab opens in the program, something like if you click on some links in Firefox, and it will give you lists of where that word appears throughout the program. To the right it’ll give you 10 choices in a particular folder, then More will be there so you can click it to get 10 more. It’s actually kind of freaky; I like to have a better way of doing it.

And that leads to my one very good thing. It works much better with Google Desktop, which y’all know I love. Now when I download new email, it instantly indexes it, so that I can immediately find that email. Yeah, I know you’re saying who’d have a need to find something that fast. Well, I have 9 different inboxes set up in Thunderbird, so sometimes I’m not sure where an email actually went.

Now, the Mozilla folks are smart, so I figure in the next update, whenever it comes, they’ll have addressed at least a couple of my issues. When that happens, I know I’ll be a happy camper once more. For now, though, I’d have to say that I’m less than impressed with Thunderbird 3, yet it still beats Outlook by a mile.

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An Interview With Marelisa Fàbrega

To say that I admire Marelisa Fàbrega’s blog and her writing style would be an underestimation of the esteem I hold for her. I don’t know when I discovered her blog Daring To Live Fully, which she started in April 2008, but I know I love the way she blogs and share her posts whenever I can. If you’re not reading this blog regularly, you’re doing a disservice to yourself, especially if you want to learn how to be positive. I’m so proud that she has accepted my request for an interview, and, if you’ve seen other interviews on this blog, you’ll notice that she has totally different questions to answer. She’s unique; we deserved to learn something different.

1. What was it that led you into blogging?

About five years ago I worked as a labor attorney for the agency that runs the Panama Canal. One day I was talking to one of the canal pilots, and he mentioned that he was reading a book called Rich Dad, Poor Dad, written by Robert Kiyosaki. The book sounded really interesting, so I ordered a copy through Amazon. I read the book, and I really liked Kiyosaki’s definition of wealth, which is being able to pay all of your expenses from passive sources of income.

At the time, all of my income came from the salary I was making as an attorney. I started thinking of different ways in which I could earn passive income, and I decided to start a web site. On the web site I offered several personal development products for which I’m an affiliate (products which I use and love). I started the blog as a way to draw traffic to my web site. As I wrote more and more blog posts, and started getting good amounts of traffic and comments from readers, I really started to enjoy blogging. Now I blog for several different reasons: because it’s a source of passive income; because it’s a creative outlet for me (I love writing); because I learn and grow with each post that I write; and because I feel that I’m helping others to get more out of life.

2. You have an interesting background, especially the law degree. But you seem to do many other things. Tell us about yourself and what led you in another direction?

I’m from the Republic of Panama, which is where I currently live, and I’ve also lived in Nicaragua, Costa Rica, the US, Egypt, England, and Italy. I hold a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., as well as a Juris Doctor from the Georgetown University Law Center.

I think that you need to be constantly looking out for any opportunities lying on the horizon, and then choose among those opportunities based on what you think you’ll most enjoy doing, and what will give you the most satisfaction. The Internet is a fantastic opportunity: you can be a one-man or a one-woman operation anywhere on earth, and you can have access to the world and make yourself look huge. I’m still doing some law work, but I’m looking for ways to spend more time and energy building a strong online presence.

3. Your posts are quite deep and thought-provoking; how long does it take you to research your posts before you start writing?

When I start reading about a topic which I find interesting, I always want to know more. I do research until I feel like I have a good grasp of the subject matter, and that I have two or three very useful “takeaways” for my readers. That is, I’m not looking to just add to my readers’ knowledge-base. Instead, I want to offer them concrete action-steps that they can take to improve their lives. Sometimes I get there after an hour of research. Other times I do research for three or four hours. As an attorney, doing research is second nature to me.

4. You’ve gone against the grain in writing long, yet beautiful posts. What led you to write in that manner, and how would you compare it to the so-called experts who say posts shouldn’t be more than 400 words?

I’ve read in several different places that you should write one or two short posts a day. However, I tend to write two or three long posts a week. I think that the key to blogging well, and the key to life in general, is to be yourself and to do what feels right for you. One of the things that differentiates my blog is precisely that I try to cover topics in depth.

In addition, I pay a lot of attention to the quality of my writing, even though I’ve read that people just skim blogs looking for ideas and don’t pay much attention to the writing. I want to give my readers a rich, positive, quality experience each time that they read one of my blog posts. I guess, in a way, I want “Abundance Blog” to be to blogs, what Rolex is to watches (without the hefty price tag).

5. Do you generate any significant income through your blog and other websites, or is most of your income generated offline?

There’s a steep learning curve to making money online; it’s certainly not easy. One of the objectives for my blog and my other online activities is to earn passive income, as I said earlier in this interview. I’m already doing that. Now I just plan to gradually keep setting higher goals for myself in terms of how much passive income I make online. In the meantime, I do generate income offline.

6. I follow you on Twitter and it seems like you pretty much write from anywhere; is my perception correct?

I write mainly from my home office. I also write from a club I belong to that has a pool overlooking the ocean. I can sit there all day and write. Then, when I want to take a break, I can watch the fishermen in their tiny boats, and the cruise ships and container ships waiting in line to transit through the Panama Canal.

7. How many books have you written, and where do you find the time to write so much?

I’ve written one eBook so far, How to Be More Creative, A Handbook for Alchemists. It’s a guide to living a more creative life, and I’m happy to say that it’s gotten a lot of very positive reviews. I’m also in the process of writing another eBook which should be ready soon: “How to Live Your Best Life –The Essential Guide for Creating and Achieving Your Life List.” The second eBook is going to help people create a bucket list—a list of all the things they want to do before they die–, as well as give them tips, tools, and resources so that they can get out there and achieve their life goals.

How do I find the time to write so much? One of the topics I write about on my blog is productivity, and I try to follow my own advice. 🙂

8. You use Disqus on your blog, and as you know, I’m an opponent of that and other services like it. How do you find it works for you overall?

I like Disqus because I feel that it makes my blog more interactive. For example, people can share their comments on Twitter and other social networking sites. In addition, once you create a Disqus account it’s really easy to leave a comment on any other blog that uses Disqus.

9. Your blog is well respected in the blogging community; you’re always showing up on some list I come across, and I even included your blog on one of my top lists. How do you feel about the accolades?

I love it when my blog is mentioned by others, whether it’s by linking to one of my posts or by including me in a list of “top” blogs. I get people leaving comments on my blog all the time letting me know that they just recommended “Abundance Blog” to their readers, or that they linked to something I wrote, and I just get a huge smile on my face every time I read that. It makes me feel like people enjoy and appreciate what I write, and that’s a great feeling.

10. What three short recommendations could you give to people who feel like they’re struggling with both their blogs and their life?

I would tell people to make happiness their number one goal in life, and that happiness is a choice. In addition, happiness is a state of mind, so it’s something that you can have access to at any moment, regardless of what might be going on around you at any given moment. Also, you need to persevere. The people who get what they want in life are those who know what they want, who keep their eye on the ball, and who keep taking the necessary steps to get there, no matter what.

Once again, I thank Marelisa for this interview, which I hope all of you read, then follow back to her blog. You’ll be a better person for it.

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Sunday Question – What Are Your Habits?

I have no siblings. My mother was also an only child. I moved around a lot as a kid, and as an adult, until I purchased my house, I had lived in 9 different places in 25 years.

When one pretty much grows up spending a lot of time alone, one starts picking up some interesting habits. When one follows another only child, those habits can be magnified.

For instance, I have times when I just won’t touch food. I have no idea when that mood is going to strike, but you can imagine how it messes up eating at home, or out at restaurants. There are certain foods that, in my mind, aren’t allowed to touch each other.

When I’m in the house by myself, I close the bathroom door. It would seem there would be no need to do it, but that’s how I am. I sleep on top of the bed, but when I go to bed, I have my head covered, the door totally closed to block out all external light, and every once in awhile I have to cover up the lighted clocks because knowing they’re shining bothers me. I stay up really late so that I will be totally exhausted so I can fall asleep; if I don’t do that, then a single stupid thought can keep me awake for hours.

I don’t like bugs; actually, it’s my biggest phobia, though I have many. I can’t even look at a picture of a bug, and that includes butterflies. I have different superstitions than what other people have. For instance, I count steps to make sure I end on my right foot. I count letters in sentences I hear and manipulate them so they’re divisible by 3. I have one cup that’s specifically for water, and nothing else. I believe all utensils must be washed in the dishwasher, or else they’re not sanitary. And I believe that I must have dessert, in some fashion, at least once a day; I’m betting my doctor wishes I wouldn’t stick to that one.

I have some good habits also. When I plan my time, I get a lot of things done. I actually complete projects, and if there’s a time frame, I’m usually finished early. I don’t worry about whether something is perfect before I put it out there. I’m always on time, though I had to learn not to be too early. I always wash my hands whenever I’ve been in the bathroom.

And I believe there are 3 things that every person can be judged on that I live by, and if any of these 3 are violated, you don’t get another shot: loyalty, trustworthiness, and truth. If I’m your friend, I’m loyal until you prove you don’t deserve it. I’ve actually put myself in dangerous situations to prove that my friends can trust me with their lives. And I will always tell the truth if I’m asked, won’t hurt people’s feelings if I tell them the answers, and if I feel I can’t tell you the truth, I won’t say a word; better to be silent than dishonest.

Everyone has habits good and bad. Some habits are eccentric; I certainly wasn’t about to mention all of mine. Some will protect you, more like intuition that, hopefully, you’ll listen to when needed. However, most of us will never allow anyone else to know even the most innocent of habits we have. I can understand some of them; if you’re what we used to call a freaky-deek, you just might not want to reveal what makes it so. Overall though, as I’ve reached this age, I realize that, overwhelmingly, habits are just what we develop that, in some fashion, makes us feel good in our own skin.

Do you have any particular habits that help you get by every day? Or some strange ones that might be a little bit funny? Do you have the guts to share?

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How To Tell A Post Is Spam

You know, I wouldn’t think that most people couldn’t identify spam when they see it. However, I’ve been to enough blogs and seen enough spam even on those blogs where people seem to usually monitor what’s going on in their comments area.

Heck, I know spam is getting pretty sneaky. Sometimes it’s hard to tell a good comment from a spam comment. If you’re not paying attention a new spam comment will show up on an old post, which is why I recently talked about making some posts private.

Still, you must be vigilant in fighting the great spam battle. If you don’t, not only will the spammers win, but those savvy visitors of yours that see you can’t tell spam from the real thing might decide to stay away. So, let’s see if I can help you out in some fashion.

1. Watch out for insulting spam. There are obviously trolls whose job, so they feel, is to make everyone else’s life miserable. Insulting spam is usually pretty easy to determine, though; it’s never on topic.

2. Watch for spam that’s not on topic. Maybe I should have started with this one, but I’m bringing it up now. There is spam that looks pretty good and you might miss it because you don’t read to the end. If a comment starts out intentionally evasive, it’s probably going to continue being so, or else it will introduce something that makes no sense whatsoever.

3. Set your spam filter to move a comment with even one link in it to your spam folder. Sure, every once in awhile you’re going to get a legitimate post in there, but what I’ve seen most often is someone following up a post with a link in it with a second post saying “hey, my post didn’t show up”, or something to that effect. I hope everyone checks their spam folders.

4. One line comments. Unless you know the person, you should probably just delete all of these anyway. Keeping something that says “nice post” is an insult to your blog, and is most probably spam.

5. Check out the email addresses. Most people aren’t using Hotmail anymore, but even if they are, if the name before “@” doesn’t make sense it’s probably spam. If the name you’re given is of one sex but the name in the email address is of another sex, it’s probably spam.

6. It used to be that spam didn’t come with images, but now it does. Make sure you read the comment instead of relying on the fact that there’s now a gravatar attached.

7. Now spam can come in your name. That used to be an easy tell as well, but some of the more sophisticated spam can read who the author of the post is and add it to their comment.

8. If the comment is written to the “webmaster”, it’s spam. Who really uses the term “webmaster” anymore anyway?

9. If the post is in another language and you’ve only ever written in one language, it’s most probably spam. Back in the day I used to copy some of those messages into translation websites to see if it was saying anything pertinent; just scrap it and move on.

10. Finally, if you’re not sure, even with these tips, you can always test the waters by sending an email to the email address. Write a short post saying something like “just seeing if this email is valid before I allow the comment on my blog.” If you get a rejection back, or heck, if you get nothing back, consider it spam and kill it. Even if it’s not really spam, if the person on the other end doesn’t respond, then they probably had no intentions of coming back to your blog, in which case you didn’t need their comment anyway.

I hope that helps. Of course, if you have Akismet on your blog it will help even more.

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Frank Kern’s Core Influence – The Beginning

My friend Kelvin swears by this guy named Frank Kern, who’s one of the top internet marketers in the world. I have to admit that I don’t know as much about him as I probably should. Anyway, Kelvin’s been trying to get me to look at this guy’s stuff for awhile now, and I’ve kind of poo-poo’d it off, not because I thought it was a sham or anything, but because time is not always my friend.

Anyway, I decided to finally follow him up on one of the links he provided where I could check out a short free video. It’s a link like this one, and let me get through this post before you think about clicking on it.

I clicked on the link and it took me to a 90 second video with Frank standing in front of water with waves splashing on the beach asking me to opt-in to this site so they can provide me with a link to a video. He also says I’ll have to do the double opt-in, as they’re going to send me an email so I can fully confirm.

That part is done, and now there’s a second page that comes up. Truthfully, as I write this, that’s where I am. There’s a short 2 1/2 minute video I’m supposed to watch first, then the main Core Influence video, which I guess is pretty long. Kelvin says it’s a great start and fully endorses it, so I figure I’ll go ahead and give it a shot. For full disclosure, by the time you read this I should have finished the video, as it’s the long holiday weekend here in the United States, and y’all know I write some of these ahead of time.

This means that at some future point I may have something more to say about it all. Now, about that link I gave you before. It turns out that there’s a Core Influence 2, and to get to see that you have to have at least 3 people click that link and decide they want to opt-in to see the original Core Influence video. Now, I’m not sure yet whether I’ll even want to see the second video, but you know, both videos are free, and it’s only the second video you have to do a little bit of work to see. So, if any of you are predisposed to click on that first link, all I’ll say is I’ve provided the conduit, and I’m good to go.

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