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Yesterday’s excursions into the Blogosphere were preempted by an only occasionally harrowing e-mail migration activity in which I brought up Thunderbird 0.4 (couldn’t they have named it something like Gallo, or Bonnie Doon?) and Outlook 2003. The gauntlet is thrown. (Well, not quite; it was all so harrowing that after everything worked, I shut down the machine and went back to my old ‘puter…)

I am an IMAP user, and I have two major accounts; I only brought up one account (and through one wrong click, I initially set up a POP account and then downloaded all of my mail into it–exactly what I didn’t want to do–although I was able to copy a lot of mail back to the server).

So far, it’s a tie. I like the one-click design of the junk-catcher tool in Thunderbird, and I’m very impressed by the user interface for its rules tool. Outlook has it backwards; you don’t want to create a rule for every address–you want to create a rule and add addresses to it. Thunderbird’s design supports this better. I am really, really serious about rules (or filters, depending on your product–but you know how I feel about the word, “filters”!), so this was the second thing I looked at, after the junk catcher.

Still, Outlook 2003 is good, too–the new interface doth please the eye– and it has that whole “PIM” thing going on. I’ve long since become addicted to turning messages into contacts, notes, and appointments, and my PDA goes with me whenever I leave the house.

The tie-breaker may well be how well either product integrates with third-party sp*m-catchers. Norton Anti-Sp*m was part of the Norton suite I bought for my laptop, but I don’t have it running on the desktop yet. I wasn’t completely convinced by the interface; Thunderbird’s one-click junk-catcher is a major ergonomic plus. But I’m completely sold on yielding junk-mail decisions to an intelligent third-party, as long as I can rummage through the junk occasionally to hoover up misplaced messages.

Outlook 2003 also identified the folder where my ISP had been tucking IMAP messages over their limit. Now we’re both happy.

More in a couple of weeks, when I have some history with both products and am no longer able to lean on my crutch of old hardware.

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