Year-end good news gifts: chandler, thunderbird, firefox, and UW email vacation service

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Back at the ranch after a great week on Maui (picture set here) – I come back rested and with my perspective well adjusted.

The year ends with some good news from different places:

Chandler 0.6 was released yesterday. This version is labelled as an “experimentally usable calendar” – that means it should be usable by those who want to try it for real use, but it’s not yet the feature-complete personal information manager that is envisioned.

One reason you travellers might want to try Chandler for calendaring is its support for time zones – when you enter an event in the calendar you can choose in which time zone the event takes place. Then when you switch time zones on your computer as you travel, the events show up in the right local time on the calendar grid. Very cool! Unfortunately, that causes a problem with importing events from Oracle Calendar, which keeps all of its events in UTC (Greenwich Mean Time) – so they show up on the right place on the calendar grid, but labeled with UTC times. If I get some moments over the holiday I’ll try to write a script to convert the UTC times to Pacific time.

Also new on the open source front is the production release of Firefox 1.5 – seems more responsive on my Macs and has some new goodies, including drag and drop of tabs and lots of new search engines (including Gracenote (aka CDDB) – if only they had allmusic.com too!).

There’s also a prerelease version of Thunderbird 1.5 – I’m very happy to see that they’ve added support for Kerberos authentication via TLS (which I specifically requested of Mike Shaver about a year and a half ago), and that when you select to forward multiple mail messages as attachment (as opposed to inline in the body of the message) it bundles them up as attachments to a single message. I do wish you could forward multiple messages inline in a single message, but I’ll take what I can get.

And last, but not least, I learned yesterday that the forthcoming version of the UW’s Email Delivery Manager will allow me to specify an end date for a vacation message – because I always forget to turn off my vacation messages until someone says “hey, did you know your vacation message is still on?”. Look for release sometime in the first quarter of the new year.

That’s great news all around!

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