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The Nice Little Differences

When you buy a computer it comes with a whole bunch of standard programs that we now take for granted, things like a web browser (IE for example) and an email program (Outlook express etc…) among many others.

Like most people, I was in the habit of just using what was included with the operating system and went on with my work, not ever considering the alternatives that exist out there.

You have to ask yourself, why are people bothering to create programs if the OS manufacturers (Microsoft, Apple) are including the same type of software for free? So one day, for whatever reason, I got curious.


If all you’ve ever eaten was crappy food, you’ll go through life never knowing that all your eating is crappy food! Sometimes it’s a good idea to look around and try out something new because you may come across something that may be a little better.

I recently decided to take a look at two of these alternate programs: a web browser (Firefox) and a mail program (Thunderbird). What I discovered was nothing revolutionary (IMHO,) but there were nice nuances about these two off-the-beaten-path programs.

I spoke about Firefox in a previous newsletter, so I won’t go into here except to say that I do find myself using it more and more.

The same people who make (Mozilla) Firefox make Thunderbird and so it is free too. After a quick little download (amazing how Mozilla programs are so tiny compared to MS equivalents) I was up in running.

One of the nice little differences is that Thunderbird will ask you if you want to important your current messages and accounts that you have set up in Outlook or Outlook Express – click a button and everything gets copied over!

It has several other nice options: built in junk filters, built text-matching filters that you can customize and other features that Outlook Express does not have.


It’s worth looking around and trying out new things. If you’re someone who uses tables to layout your web pages, try CSS. If you never looked at PHP programming because you thought it would be hard, boring or whatever … at least take peak at it. You may find something interesting and useful.

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