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Bug of the moment 2007-10-25

I have been doing a spot of favicon design today, and I was about to e-mail off an icon to CSV. Click e-mail address link, click Attach, select icon file, click OK. What the?

<Obi-Wan>This is not the icon you are looking for …</Obi-Wan>

Anyone else notice that Alec Guinness pronounced “Obi-Wan” to rhyme with “pan”, whereas everyone else makes it rhyme with “one”? I only recently noticed and, as such, I now wonder whether Ewan McGregor copied Alec Guinness correctly. The Leah/Leia mix-up in Episode IV is also amusing.

Anyhow, since when does Thunderbird cache the contents of Windows icon files? I had previously had the Tub Queens icon on my desktop (copied over from my Mac) and Thunderbird remembers it, displaying it instead of the new file at that path. If I rename or move the file, Thunderbird will read the icon correctly:

But if I put the file back, Thunderbird naturally reverts to the old icon. While checking that, this message appeared:

See, Thunderbird has a retarded approach to composing messages. I’ve set Thunderbird to automatically save a mail in progress once a minute, as an obvious safety precaution. Unlike Mac Outlook Express, which encodes the attachment and files it away on the first (manual) save, Thunderbird re-reads the source file and re-encodes it every time. So a large attachment causes a periodic hang, once per minute, as it re-attaches, for the umpteenth time, the same frigging file. It’s not like I’m continuing to work on the attachment at the same time, although you could indeed get away with doing that.

This is why I don’t send large attachments. I also despise receiving large attachments (anything over half a meg) as Thunderbird chokes horribly on viewing mail with attachments. I have no idea why, it’s just an area of extreme unoptimisation. The program will grind to a halt or completely seize up until it’s finished doing goodness knows what with the attachment.

Sorry, I tracked the above down to an add-on used to read off the sizes of attachments. I had to give up that attachment. In keeping with the continuation of the rant below, though, Thunderbird has still not added this basic facility itself, while Firefox continues to integrate enhancements previously only available as add-ons.

Firefox, when I first started using it around 1.0.4 or so, was a miserable mess, but it’s improved substantially and although it’s not truly wonderful yet, it’s increasingly harder to fault it. Firefox 3 is looming and judging by what I’ve read so far, it’s going to be good. Every release gets slower and slower, but they even have some strong performance improvement milestones so it should still perform reasonably well on my old Pentium II.

It’s just long overdue Thunderbird’s turn to be revamped. It’s relatively well-designed and has got a lot of potential, but it just has a lot of rough edges to be smoothed. One of which, in conjunction with Firefox also, is the abominable text editing engine. I’m dreaming of a day when Thunderbird’s text engine is as smooth and advanced as the one in Microsoft Outlook Express for Macintosh, circa 2000. (See bug 368454.)

Posted 25th October 2007 – Comments and questions?