Suggestions on NNTP Client + misc comments on the state of software
I've been using the IE 7 Beta for my browser for a while and really like it. I've contemplated using Firefox for a while but haven't been all that impressed. The main reason I even considered using Firefox is because Frans strongly advocates its and he always has good reasons to support beliefs he feels strongly about. But there's a few things I really dislike about Firefox. More than anything it's the arrogant "I'm better than you" tone that most Firefox users have when discussing anything related to the web. My friend and coworker Andy Lines recently tipped me off to what seems to epitomize this attitude. However just about every single day I find myself in a position where I'm talking with someone about a web page or an email I sent and they have some problem pulling it up. So I repeat the URL, username or password and then hear the inevitable "Yah, but I'm in Firefox and ..." I know, the problem isnt' with Firefox, it's with the fact that most sites are written for IE (and as Frans correctly points out, if standards were implemented in all browsers this would cease to be an issue) but it's nonetheless annoying. I guess the main reason I don't use it is that for a long time asp.net pages often rendered really strangely in Firefox. That seems to be a non-issue these days but habits are hard to break and I just don't get too fired up over browsers.
However and this is a big however, it seems like with respect to NNTP Clients, there's a lot of difference. Back when I was trying to teach myself Linux, I made the mistake of posting to Comp.OS.Linux.Advocacy using Outlook Express. So every time I posted something I was accused of being a 'Mafia$oft' spy or something stupid like that and pretty much realized that COLA wasn't the place for anyone that isn't willing to fall on the sword for Linux. As a looked to ther places, I got the same sort of flack and I've been told by a few semi-objective nonWindows users I know Outlook Express is looked down upon by everyone other than hard core Microsoft fans. I have to admit that I find Outlook Express very mediocre. Since it's a free product I don't expect much from it but I basically think that it gets the job done but that's about it. One of the thing that really annoys me is that Outlook doesn't have a NNTP Reader. There might be Plug-in or killer add-in like NewsGator that handles the integration but I haven't found one. So having to use Outlook 2003 *and* Outlook Express is a bit of a drag. So I just installed Thunderbird. I have to admit that I'm very impressed. Very impressed. I'm addicted to Outlook 2003 as my mail client so I won't be changing that but as far as a NNTP reader goes, I'm loving Thunderbird .
So what do I think makes it better? First off, it's a newer product so the UI has been redone and has a cleaner look and feel. But right off the bat when you reply it does some nice stuff, namely it fills in "So and So wrote" and then quotes their response and positions your cursor at the bottom. It also uses the whole screen instead of just using a small portion of it MDI style so it's really easy to quote the original message and post underneath each portion that you're responding to. Yep, you can do this farily simply in OE but unless I'm missing something, it seems a whole lot simpler in Thunderbird.
With that said, I'm just wondering if there are other clients that people really like out there (I'm sure there are, I'm just wondering what they are). Does anyone know of an add-in like Newsgator for NNTP and Outlook? Does anyone else use a different NNTP Client? If so, would you be kind enough to tell me about it and maybe a few of the features that you really like about the given product? I realize this is probably a pretty lame post, I just hadn't ever put much thought into it and just took using OE for granted. But it's a new year and I've started doing my typical new year inventory of stuff I may want to change. I typically look to those smarter than me (which is a pool of about 6 billion people), people like Frans for suggestions and he has a great example of a thought provoking article by Jon Skeet detailing why he feels Visual Studio .Net may not be the best IDE available. I'm still a huge VS Fan but articles like Jon's, as well as this eye opener from the inimitable Charles Petzold does offer some food for thought. So I figured while I'm at it, I ought to take a look at a few other products that I use without thinking about it.