Ask Mr. Modem: Rumors of program’s demise best ignored, for now

Posted Tuesday, May. 13, 2014  comments  Print Reprints

Mr. Modem’s sites of the week


Find out what other people are paying for any of thousands of items in categories ranging from adoption services, to hip-replacement surgery, to yoga classes. Hint: You will always find someone who paid less than you paid. Always.



The objective of this site is to make history more accessible through interactive content. Here you will find more than 10,000 categorized events with accompanying time lines. There are several ways to navigate the site, though I primarily used the Histories and Timelines tabs. If you feel that you have a masterful grasp of history, click the Quiz tab. It’s very humbling.


How does the Internet work?

The World Science Festival created this short video that looks beneath the surface of a basic Internet information request and follows the packets of data as they careen from your keyboard, through circuits, motherboards, chicken wire and string, to a host server and then back again, all in a fraction of a second.

Have more to add? News tip? Tell us

I read an article that said that Thunderbird isn’t going to be around much longer, though the article didn’t give any details. Have you heard anything about Thunderbird’s demise? The program works great for me so I’d hate to see it disappear. Thanks for sharing your opinion.

As a longtime Thunderbird user myself, the program’s demise has been reported for at least the past five years. Some of the rumors surrounding its extinction suggest that future development will cease, to which I can only reply, “So what?” I think the program is excellent as it is, so I’m really not concerned if it develops or evolves beyond what it is now.

I feel the same way about a lot of programs. Sometimes updates and new versions serve no purpose for me. If I like the way a program performs, I don’t really care if a new version is released with a bunch of bells and whistles that I will likely never use.

That’s the way I feel about Quicken, which I have used since the late ’50s, back with my old two-cycle Briggs & Stratton computer. I used to buy the newest version of Quicken every year. A few years ago, Intuit came out with a new version that I thought was awful. At that point I made an executive decision and announced to no one in particular, “I’m done; no more,” and scurried back to Quicken 2007, which did everything I needed it to do. And that’s what I use today.

That’s my feeling when it comes to Thunderbird as well. It’s a great email program, but if development stops or if it is no longer available at some point, no big deal. What I have works very well and I will continue to use it until I can’t use it anymore, which could be years from now. When that day arrives, I will simply switch to something else.

Sure, I’ll throw the obligatory hissy fit and wail pathetically, “Why me?” But what’s a software change without a little drama? At that point, I’ll settle down and probably take the opportunity to switch entirely to Gmail, which I use a great deal anyway. But realistically, I will cross that digital bridge when I come to it.

What does the designation “app” mean? It seems to have eclipsed me somehow.

App is short for “application” and is another way of saying “software” or “program.” Particularly with smartphones, like the iPhone, Android or tablet computers, instead of referring to software, groovy hipsters like Mr. Modem refer to apps: “I found an app for ABC,” or “I’m going to download an app for XYZ,” etc. (Bonus tip: If you insert the word “dude” every three or four words, you will sound even groovier.)

Mr. Modem publishes “Ask Mr. Modem!” each week, featuring PC tips, tricks and plain-English answers to your questions by email. For more information, visit

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