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Eudora, an E-Mail What If...

In reacquainting myself with Eudora, I couldn't escape the thought that this program still suffers from institutional neglect. The Mac OS X version in particular looks like an antique, with a menu layout and preferences-window icons little changed since System 7.5. Looks aside, Eudora's customizable filters and fine-tuned search mode increasingly seem the wrong approach for mainstream users unwilling to master the operation of these precise but finicky instruments.

I have to wonder what a top-to-bottom renovation could do for Eudora. What if -- here I'm completely thinking out loud -- PalmOne bought the program and integrated it with its Palm Desktop software to provide a suite with the mail and personal-information management capabilities, but not the complexity, of Microsoft's Outlook? (Of course, that would require PalmOne to put some effort into Palm Desktop, which I haven't seen much signs of lately...)

_____Recent E-letters_____
Readers' Pros and Cons of Napster To Go (washingtonpost.com, Feb 22, 2005)
Napster To Go and a Look at Outlook Alternatives (washingtonpost.com, Feb 14, 2005)
Apple's Modest Mac Mini (washingtonpost.com, Jan 31, 2005)
E-letter Archive

User Feedback for Mozilla Projects

While I'm on the subject of how developers can react to users' concerns, I should note that the Mozilla Foundation recently set up a Web page that lets anybody submit a comment or complaint about its products, including the Firefox browser and the Thunderbird mail client without going to the trouble of filing a bug report. (A note on the explains the name: "Why 'Hendrix'? The late Jimi Hendrix is credited with making popular the technique of using feedback in the creation of music.")

I am a fan of developers doing whatever they can to pick their users' brains. A site like Hendrix is a good example of this. So are the error reports Windows and Mac OS X will send, with your permission, after a program crashes.

Treo 650 Update

PalmOne's Treo 650, my favorite smartphone organizer, is now available from a second wireless carrier. Cingular began carrying it on Wednesday for $450 (with a two-year contract) or $550 (without a contract). A $50 mail-in rebate cuts that price further.

Meanwhile, Sprint PCS, the first carrier to offer the 650, is still working on the update to the 650's Bluetooth software that I mentioned in my review. (This update will let you use a Treo 650 as an external modem with any Bluetooth-equipped laptop). A Sprint spokeswoman said the company has come up with price plans to cover Bluetooth modem use, but the software isn't far enough along yet for it to have a release date.

And before you ask: No, I still don't know anything else about what other wireless carriers might offer the Treo 650 next.

-- Rob Pegoraro (rob@twp.com)

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