Putting The Yahoo into Yahoo!

Via Digg I learned that clicking the exclamation point in the Yahoo logo elicits a yahoo yodel voiced by Wylie Gustafson, a country singer. Just make sure you speakers aren’t turned too high. And if you may want to save the Shockwave file used. Good entertainment!

Remember ultrafunk Popcorn, a light text-only email client? It used to be free. Then the developer decided it was shareware that supported only a single account. And then the software vanished. Leaving users like I, and many readers with the option of using a cracked build or retaining the last free version which was considerably feature limited. Well, not any more!

While browsing through the Version Tracker web site. I found a reference to Ultrafunk Popcorn 1.76 as freeware! That’s right. The best simple email client has not only gotten feature-richer. But is again available for free.

ultrafunk Popcorn 1.76 send mail dialogIf you have forgotten or never realized why I consider PopCorn R-E-D H-O-T. Here’s a quick recap. Popcorn was the first portable application”>Popcorn works as a client/server application reading mail “directly” from POP-enabled mail servers. It doesn’t physically download messages to your computer in the context of other POP clients like Outlook Express or Mozilla Thunderbird. But you can still read, reply or redirect messages in somewhat IMAP-style. PopCorn also works with SSL-enabled connections like GMail but to do so needs a free OpenSSL third-party add-in. If Popcorn is running when your download and install OpenSSL you have to restart Popcorn so it can register the SSL libraries. With SSL in place I’m now able to remote-check my GMail accounts as well. Except all my mail is presented as unread in one long view! Imagine viewing 2 GB of mail that way.

Support for multiple email accounts is built-in. You can choose the account to check via a drop-down (single) select box. Or use a account update checker that logs you into each (selected) account in turn and reports the message status and mailbox size. New in this version is a count of total messages held and new messages since last check. Once you have queried the server for message status, you can choose to delete the entire mail store. You can also delete the viewed message store’s temporary files held on the local computer.

Also new in this version is support for Windows XP ClearType fonts and text. And the developer fixed several bugs. One was a memory leak. Another caused Popcorn to crash when it received malformed (spam) message headers. Overall I found the message download, send and delete speeds much improved. And Popcorn would actually stop accessing a server when so commanded. My previous 1.62 freeware version would stop responding if interrupted. But Popcorn 1.76 seems to be missing its predecessor’s keyboard shortcuts. Ctrl+U to view account settings no longer works. You have the select the relevant menu item instead.

PopCorn 1.76 also lets you send attachments with your messages. But you can’t view message attachments which may seem a bit of a bummer. But this is intentional and helps protect non-geeks who don’t know how to handle possibly infected junk mail attachments. PopCorn also doesn’t support HTML-formatted mail. And instead displays such messages in plain text.

PopCorn was the first really ‘portable’ application I used. There are just 2 core files: the executable and the .INI with mail account information. You can also add an optional .CHM help file. Don’t delay (procrastinate?) any more. Download a copy (280 kB) before the developer changes his mind and removes the download link.

Mozilla Firefox 2 Beta 1 Visual Refresh 2 revised Preferences dialogThe second software reviewed this week is Firefox 2 Beta Theme 2 Preview. That’s luckily available as a direct download portable build that you just unzip and run. If you are wondering how someone who publicly stated he was too old and stressed out to deal with Betas. Well, a body can always change its mind can’t it? I decided to upgrade because the user interface has considerably improved. Even though to me the visual refresh seems modeled on Opera!

The active tab has its text displayed in bold along with a glossy-finish red ‘X’ close button. Inactive tabs are dulled but brighten when you mouse-over them. The navigation buttons too have improved. And the Home icon is now very one-dimensional with a red door. The Go button has been replaced with a green arrow. And the search dialog has been revamped with the sele3cted engine icon displayed on the left of the input box. In previous builds while attempting to switch engines you could launch a search and vice-versa.

If you open more than a preset number of tabs (defined by your monitor screen resolution and font size), tiny tab navigation arrows appear at opposite ends of the Tab bar. Along with a Tab Overflow button listing all open tabs. But unlike Maxthon, here the Tab bar doesn’t dynamically resize Tab widths depending on the number of tabs opened. It would be great if there was an option to wrap tabs into multiple lines. Along with the ability (again Maxthon-style) display tabs at top or bottom.

In this Firefox 2.0b1 (Minefield) build, session saver is integrated into the main Preferences dialog. There are also more spell checker options. The default (1) enabled the feature only for text areas. But via the about:config interface, you can modify the value (layout.spellcheckDefault) to ‘2’ to enable checking in multi-line controls and single-line controls as well. The spell checker used is identical to that used by OpenOffice.org and Mozilla Thunderbird. You can also download more dictionaries (only one can be active)

That’s it for now. So until the next time. Stay Safe!

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