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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Computers all month !

Well this month turned out quite differently than what I intended. It’s been a month of computer woes both at home and with friends. But on the plus side, because I’ve always enjoyed learning challenges, I was able to deal with all the problems that came along. It’s such a valuable tool when you can learn even the basics of how your computer works.

First it was our laptops and all the drama around that. Then my friend tried to use her laptop as a football, well no, she didn’t really do that. She tripped and sent it flying.. Poor laptop. Needless to say, she now has a new one and is more than happy to have it. I helped her get it all set up and through a complete fluke, she thought she would try the power cord from the new computer on the old one, and it worked. However, by this time she was in love with the new toy. Thankfully we were able to get files transferred over to the new computer because of the experiment with the power cord, and life is good.

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Another friend was having endless problems with her email. Originally when she got her new laptop last year, I set it up for her and installed Mozilla Thunderbird for email. I, along with at least two others, tried to fix the problem, but it kept failing. Because of all the trial and error to get her email working, I thought it might be useful to someone out there to give a simple review of some programs I got to know during this exercise.

I have to stress that regardless of the problems I had with these programs, that doesn’t mean they won’t work for you. Every computer has a mind of it’s own and will decide what it want’s to do. The information below is only based on my own experiences and using Windows 8.1.

1. Mozilla Thunderbird:  Free  It has a nice clean look to it. Simple enough to set up and use.  You do have to know what your server settings are, and that is necessary for any program you use, but you can get that information from your ISP, usually via their website. This program initially worked fine, but for some unknown reason, it would crash and do some bizarre things, like discard emails in progress. Eventually, she called the ISP and discovered that Microsoft doesn’t support Thunderbird. They recommended using Windows Live Mail. 

2. Microsoft Live Mail: Free  Live mail of course looks like Outlook, but that’s as far as I could go. Every time I tried to open the program, it would right away shut down. Nothing I found online had a fix that worked and I wasn’t about to spend any more time with it, but I did see online that it’s a mixed bag of reviews, some had the same problem as me and gave up, others not a bit of trouble.

3.  Mail Bird:  Free  This is relatively new. It has a simple format and like anything else just takes a bit of time to learn the features. This would have been a good option, except that no matter what I did, the program simply would not send mail. The initial setup was correct for the ISP settings, I checked the firewall settings. Anything and everything I tried, just wouldn’t allow mail to be sent. It came in fine but no ability to reply to it.  The folks at mail bird offered suggestions, but this program just wouldn’t co-operate, so it was bye bye to this one as well.

4: eM Client:  Free  You would think by now I would give up, but I’m not like that. I have to make every possible attempt to resolve a problem. This email program like the previous one, just simply would not send mail. Checked checked and rechecked the settings, but it just wouldn’t play nicely in the sandbox. It also has a similar look as Outlook and offers a calendar and other features, but the mail just wouldn’t send. So these 4 programs were a fail in this case, but by no means should you avoid trying them if you need a program. Any one these could work for you, but not this time and not for us.

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5: Opera Mail:  Finally and also Free. Success…. Opera mail is by the same folks as Opera Browser. I installed this program and presto, it worked seamlessly. I put in the settings, and let it finish….done and dusted. It was a perfect install and immediately I sent a test email and success again. What a relief. What I can say about this program is this. The format is much like the look of Outlook Express from years ago. It does not have bells and whistles, but is clean and very easy to use. It’s a lovely basic program that gets the job done. If you aren’t looking for those bells and whistles, I would recommend giving this little program a serious look. You can customize  features to suit your needs, and so far I’m told that it’s working, no problems.

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I hope that some of this information is helpful to someone out there. I feel so much like a program tester. ;o) I thoroughly enjoyed all of this experimenting, Each time I do things like this, I learn something new, so it’s a win win.

While I was into all this computer work, I figured this was a good time to refresh and rework my website. I corrected things that weren’t lining up properly, fixed up links, updated some information and all kind of other things. Please drop by and check things out if you feel inclined and if you do find a link that’s not working, let me know. I worked on a page for the Mad Hatter that I really like and that’s on my doll site map. Just follow the links, I’ve laid things out in a way that makes it easy to get around.

Northbrook Designs

Monday I find out if I have jury duty, so can’t plan for February until I know, but I’ll have things to show soon. ;o)

2 comments:

  1. You are the computer Queen! I have Thunderbird on my MicroSoft computer and it wasn't updating properly (I guess 'cause Microsoft is being poopy and not supporting it because they are a competitor), so I just reloaded the file from the Mozilla website and it works just fine now. So if anyone else is having problems, tell them to try that Romona. I love Thunderbird!

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