ALT.NET discussion group is quite active.
There are around 1700, to over 2000 posts per month. It’s easy to drown in the flood of information, and if you want to benefit from the group you need to develop a strategy.
I use Thunderbird, as my email client, and for the group as well. In its basic form, it’s not so well suited for the job of handling threaded discussion, but same as Firefox – you can expand its capabilities with extensions.
The first thing to do, even before you go looking for extensions is viewing your messages by threads. [via Lifehacker]
To do this, go to Tools–>Options–>Advanced–>General, and select “Config Editor”. Find
mailnews.thread_pane_column_unthreads and change its value to false. And you’re done. You should have now your messages grouped in threads and sorted by date, like I have on the screenshot above.
My favorite extension is QuoteCollapse. Its name is quite self-explanatory – it collapses quoted text in messages, so that you can only see what the person actually has written, without seeing all previous posts that you probably already read before.
The small picture you see on the above screenshot was put there by MessageFaces extension. It gets those images from gravatar.com, or some other places. I don’t exactly know, but it’s good to visually recognize the author of the message. Even if you remember the author as “tape-measure guy”, it’s still easier to connect those posts to earlier posts by the same author, at least for me.
SearchBar, is a small but useful extension that allows you to quickly find some message very easily.
Url Link, is an extension that I use in both: Firefox and Thunderbird, that allows you to click links that are inserted as plain text, like this: www.goo… eeeer I mean www.live.com.
QuickText allows you to easily insert parts of text, with some level of flexibility, i.e. you can do something like: [[TO=firstname]]. I use it for my header and footer mostly.
GMailUI sets a few usefull shortcuts, so that you can with one key, move to next unread message, mark all thread as read, and so on. I believe those are the same shortcuts as for GMail, but I’m to lazy to verify that.
And that’s about it. How about you? What do you use?