[gardeners] chat - monsterspit

Tom Clothier (gardeners@globalgarden.com)
Wed, 31 Dec 1997 19:34:20 -0600

Microsoft (MS=monsterspit) has made IE 4.0 available on a CD-ROM
holiday special for $4.95  --  it includes Front-page, Net meeting, and
lots of other goodies.  It can be ordered from their download page.

I had put off the upgrade all these months because:
I didn't think I could sustain a connection to my ISP long enough for the
22M download, and because PR about IE 4.0 gives the impression
that MS takes over your desktop and your life, and I had no interest
in active channels, and because I was quite pleased with IE 3.02,
I-mail, and I-news in all respects, especially with regard to Netscape
3.0 which I found a bit unwieldy with mail and news.

But I ordered the CD, and received it this week.  The total bill was
$5.29................I had 334M to spare, and was not afraid of the 40M
it was going to eat on my H-drive.  Installation was seamless, and
I chose the new desktop with some trepidation.  The appearance
and functionality appeared stupid, but I quickly found out that the
multitude of bells and whistles all had numerous options, not to
mention on and off switches.  After a little bit of fiddling around,
my desktop today appears exactly
as before with two exceptions.  The "favorites" list of web links
appears in the start menu so that I don't have to open the browser
to get to them, and four small (single click) icons have been added
to my taskbar which almost make me a "power user".

Outlook Express is the new combined I-mail and I-news program.
At first, the configuration is worse than stupid; it is unworkable
to say the least.  But again, after a few minutes of fiddling with
the options and the layout, I find it superior in functionality to
all of the mail and news programs I have used in the past.  There
are too many improvements to enumerate, but since this is what
we do most of all, i.e. mail and news, I wanted to report to you
that my fears have evaporated.  It does import your mailboxes
and sorting criteria and mail files from competing software.
Your responses can be typed on fancy stationery (included)
or Holiday stationery (which can be downloaded), but these
are useless except in private correspondence with someone
who has the very latest in mail and news software.  In addition,
it is necessary to force mail and postings in text, otherwise it
will send everything out in HTML.

I tried the active channels for a lark.  For persons whose computer
is connected all day, you have access to every scrap of breaking
news on any topic imaginable (that you specify) just as quickly
as it hits the WWW.  This is not for me  -- I guess I'm not a power
user after all; but it works.

So, if you can tolerate a relationship with monsterspit, be not
afraid.  The version I received is actually IE 4.71, so you can
see that most of the gremlins have been worked out.  New
computer users receiving IE 4.0 already installed are going
to make some poor choices (too many options in the face of
too little experience) when posting to our mail and news groups,
and will have to be gently led to our traditional format with some
understanding and patience (I predict).

happy new year!
zone 5a, NE Illinois, -21F Min