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Author Topic: The Bat: Great program, terrible documentation and support  (Read 18023 times)
superboyac
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« Reply #25 on: January 31, 2011, 10:31:31 AM »

I just tried version 5 beta.  Just as I suspected.  There are NO attempts to fix anything that most people would notice.  Seriously, I don't think anyone can tell the difference between version 3 and version 5.

So MicroEd, that fantastic text editor that is supposed to be the greatest thing in the world, well, same old annoyances still exist.  For example, microed has the following options:
Automatic Wrapping
Automatic Formatting

I turn both of those one.  I paste a paragraph into Microed, and what does it look like?  See below:


So that's automatic wrapping and/or formatting?  So to get that to look like a normal paragraph, I have to do the stupid Alt-L thing, and I get:


And finally, to get it to look normal, I have to scroll to the left:


So my question is, what are the developers doing?  I mean, are we ever going to be able to fix the basics.  Stuff like the editor, manual, etc.?  Shouldn't they address those before adding some weird little feature for a particular template thing or whatever they are doing?

« Last Edit: January 31, 2011, 10:37:36 AM by superboyac » Logged

skwire
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« Reply #26 on: January 31, 2011, 10:41:36 AM »

I'm going to guess that auto-wrap and auto-format are not designed to work with pasted blocks of text.  My email client is the same way but it doesn't bother me.  I just highlight, hit one hotkey and it's formatted.  No big deal.
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superboyac
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« Reply #27 on: January 31, 2011, 10:45:18 AM »

I'm going to guess that auto-wrap and auto-format are not designed to work with pasted blocks of text.  My email client is the same way but it doesn't bother me.  I just highlight, hit one hotkey and it's formatted.  No big deal.
yes, but why can't they just fix it?  Why add an auto-wrapping feature and do a half-ass job of it.  So by adding an auto-wrap feature, they are basically saying, "well, it auto-wraps for some things, and not for others".  They should call it "automatic wrapping sometimes".

Ah...screw Microed.  I'm just going to use the windows plain text editor mode.  The only thing i like about microed is that the color formatting that's automatic gets applied as you type.  In Windows mode, sometimes the formatting doesn't work all that well.
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skwire
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« Reply #28 on: January 31, 2011, 10:55:35 AM »

yes, but why can't they just fix it?

In my case, I like that my client doesn't auto-format pasted blocks because there are plenty of times I don't want the pasted block formatted.
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superboyac
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« Reply #29 on: January 31, 2011, 11:02:13 AM »

Let's see what the bat's customer service is like:

So that means about 1200 feature requests have been made, and less than 200 of them have even been looked at.  Same goes for just the other items below it.  it seems like they just close issues without doing much.  This program seriously has not changed much over the years.  Anything they modify or fix are tiny little things here and there, such as:
"The main improvement of the new version is a significant speed up of message retrieving via POP3 servers".
Oh yay!  So they will fix that, but not the editor, which is what all users are dealing with 90% of the time while on the Bat.  It's basically the heart of the program.  it's email, after all, what else are you doing other than reading/writing emails?!


By the way, on their website in the news, I found the following quotes:
Quote
RITLabs had proven its supremacy once again
Supremacy in what exactly?  Yes, it's a great email program.  But it's hardly popular or even recognizable by most people.  I'm sure making it a little easier to use with a manual and good support would make that statement a little more true.

Quote
Early 2010 for RITLabs is rich in innovations. Freshly launched The Bat! 4.2.23 brings quite a number of improvements and fixes.
Oh yeah?  What could they be?  let's take a look:
Quote
01/26/2010
  • "Do nothing" option for the "Watch and send files" Scheduler's action to control execution of other actions
  • Improved speed of handling folder names. This may be noticeable on very large folder trees
  • Changed DEP detection algorithm for the operating systems prior to Windows Vista (e.g. for Windows XP with SP3 and Windows Server 2003)
  • If there were an invalid birthday date stored in the address book, The Bat! did only report error "invalid argument to date encode", without further clarification for the user what might have caused the error. Now more detailed information is given.
  • [-] Clicking the "How to register" menu item have caused the "File not found" error message
    [-] (#0007845) Error Message when exiting "save as" in Graphic Viewer
    [-] (#0007852) An error after dropping a dragged attachment to a Windows desktop
    [-] The Certificate Selection window and Certificate Search Results windows did save the coordinates to a wrong location in Registry
    [-] (#0007844) Font family not set in HTML mail
    [-] (#0007859) After renaming an account, folder structure is not saved
Great.
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superboyac
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« Reply #30 on: January 31, 2011, 11:06:10 AM »

yes, but why can't they just fix it?

In my case, I like that my client doesn't auto-format pasted blocks because there are plenty of times I don't want the pasted block formatted.
I understand your preference.  I'm not saying one is better than the other.  But to refuse to make the editor behave like any normal Windows text editor seems odd.  Look, they've already added the automatic wrapping feature.  Obviously it's something they considered and decided to implement.  So why not just finish the job?  Why leave it half finished?  The questions is not "Is wrapping a good thing?".  The question is "If we're going to have automatic wrapping, shouldn't it work even when text is pasted in?  Or should it only work as you type?"
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« Reply #31 on: January 31, 2011, 02:08:04 PM »

The actual Ritlabs forum:
This is the one on their website.  According to the rules, you can only say "positive" things about the Bat there.  Nothing else.  no bug reports, no support questions, nothing about beta.  Only "positive" remarks.

Something close to that was the original basis for my public spat with Bartels Media over Phrase Express.  In both cases, the respective company's attitudes are strange and pointless - because both programs are very good to excellent of their type.  The companies should have broad enough shoulders to carry comments and criticism, especially when it isn't even hostile criticism.
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« Reply #32 on: January 31, 2011, 02:09:45 PM »

If we're going to have automatic wrapping, shouldn't it work even when text is pasted in?  Or should it only work as you type?"

I'd have thought it was a case of offering both "Paste" and "Paste Special" commands for without/with formatting.
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superboyac
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« Reply #33 on: January 31, 2011, 02:41:58 PM »

It's nothing like that.  The problem simply is that the automatic wordwrap doesn't happen for pasted paragraphs because they missed that initially and now they just don't care to add it.  I've told them exactly how to do it and their response is:
Quote
I am sorry to say, but this is not a bug, it's a feature of MicroEd. Auto-Format works that way for years and we do not intend to change that...
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« Reply #34 on: February 24, 2011, 02:54:49 AM »

Some time ago, I decided to get a Mac and lose all those expensive Windows apps.

It took a while to migrate 50,000 email messages from a whole load of folders in TheBat, Outlook, ThunderBird and Outlook Express to Mac Mail. I'd say I lost maybe 5,000 emails or maybe 10,000 emails when I used Outlook Express and ThunderBird Sad

Ever since I used MacMail:
- I got a working address-book that syncs with my iPad, iPhone, Google, Yahoo and LAN here. No more Windows Address book problems!
- I never lost a sync or contact for past 6 months
- Email backup: almost automatic...
- There's a script to do remove duplicates, remove attachments, tag folders
- Automatic syncing between iPhone, iPad
- never had to bother with those WinMail.dat or HTML spam or EXE attachments ever
- There's tagging, color tagging,
- Working to-do lists,
- Calendar that syncs with Google, Yahoo.
- automatic filing with intelligence
- brilliant search feature
- IMAP compatibility. I can use Exchange with MacMail too

I especially like Mail, To-do list, Reminders and Calendar API integration system-wide.  Kiss
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superboyac
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« Reply #35 on: February 24, 2011, 08:43:06 AM »

Some time ago, I decided to get a Mac and lose all those expensive Windows apps.

It took a while to migrate 50,000 email messages from a whole load of folders in TheBat, Outlook, ThunderBird and Outlook Express to Mac Mail. I'd say I lost maybe 5,000 emails or maybe 10,000 emails when I used Outlook Express and ThunderBird Sad

Ever since I used MacMail:
- I got a working address-book that syncs with my iPad, iPhone, Google, Yahoo and LAN here. No more Windows Address book problems!
- I never lost a sync or contact for past 6 months
- Email backup: almost automatic...
- There's a script to do remove duplicates, remove attachments, tag folders
- Automatic syncing between iPhone, iPad
- never had to bother with those WinMail.dat or HTML spam or EXE attachments ever
- There's tagging, color tagging,
- Working to-do lists,
- Calendar that syncs with Google, Yahoo.
- automatic filing with intelligence
- brilliant search feature
- IMAP compatibility. I can use Exchange with MacMail too

I especially like Mail, To-do list, Reminders and Calendar API integration system-wide.  Kiss
I hear you.  A lot of PC developers don't care to make life easy for the end user.  They want to add features features and more features, and often ignore the little things that just make life a little easier.  I still often wonder what significant improvements/fixes the Bat has done in the last 5 years, and it's not much.  They still refuse to have a true forum, they don't fix any of the issues with MicroED that have been there for years.  They still don't have ANY documentation for anything.  It's funny; they have a Quick Templates feature that is very powerful, and it has its own syntax, it's basically a programming language.  Is there any documentation for this language?  Nope.  You just have to figure it out.
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J-Mac
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« Reply #36 on: February 24, 2011, 12:02:55 PM »

That does sound nice vizacc. Shame it isn't available on Windows.

Thank you.

Jim
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« Reply #37 on: February 24, 2011, 12:38:56 PM »

Quote
I hear you.  A lot of PC developers don't care to make life easy for the end user. 

Previously I used to do same, add feature upon feature without thinking... after I got a Mac and saw how they did things, I felt lot of difference how I did it vs. how they do it.

It was eye opening experience into usability vs. what you think the customer should do.

This leads to worse and worse Windows software that costs US$249, US$99, US$149 with developers saying they have very few sales, slow sales or non-existent sales...

While Mac OSX software sells for US$1, US$2, US$4, US$9.99, US$14.99 and amazingly, most of these developers earn hundreds of thousands a month just making their product well designed and simple to use.

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superboyac
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« Reply #38 on: February 24, 2011, 01:11:38 PM »

vizacc, firstly, is that the Terminator 3 chick?  She was bad ass.  Some of my favorite action scenes in that movie.

And about PC and Mac software, you are correct.  As far as money and business go, a lot of PC developers are shooting themselves in the foot.  It's not entirely their fault.  40hz's historical explanation today is very revealing and thought provoking.  The culture has already been long established with Windows software: more features are good good good.  Making things elegant and easy is ignored.  I don't think the developers think making things easy is bad, necessarily, but they ignore the need for it.  We pc users operate under the assumption that clicking around in windows and figuring out how a program works is a very intuitive, easy thing for everyone.  It's not.  Often times, what is happening is that the users and developers are getting a big kick out of interesting, but largely insignificant features being added to the program.  But they are not demanding that the everyday functions be improved or streamlined.  So little annoyances in programs remain version after version.

That's why I keep insisting that there's a good business opportunity out there for a developer who decides to address these issues.  There is a demand for this stuff, but who is the one that is going to fill the need AND make a living doing so?
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JavaJones
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« Reply #39 on: February 24, 2011, 01:45:46 PM »

The reason the percentage of PC developers who make lots of money is less than the percentage of Mac developers is because *there are way more developers on PCs*. There's a lot more competition. It's not so much about the price of the apps as that the income tends to be distributed among many possible competitors. On a Mac you may have one or two options for a particular tool, and so even if it only costs $10, 1000's of people are buying it. On a PC I have literally 100s of options for almost every single app I can think of, many of which are even free. Less freeware on the Mac side I find too (though certainly there is lots of freeware too).

But really the PC software market just dwarfs the Mac market in terms of overall revenue. Most of the huge, profitable software companies are either Windows-specific or Windows-driven.

- Oshyan
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tomos
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« Reply #40 on: February 24, 2011, 02:24:23 PM »

40hz's historical explanation today is very revealing and thought provoking.

where's that ? smiley
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Tom
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« Reply #41 on: February 24, 2011, 03:41:48 PM »

40hz's historical explanation today is very revealing and thought provoking.

where's that ? smiley

Yeah - I've been looking around for it too!

Jim
Oops - think I found it; the Ubuntu thread here.
« Last Edit: February 24, 2011, 04:17:49 PM by J-Mac » Logged

J-Mac
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« Reply #42 on: February 24, 2011, 08:25:32 PM »

Quote
vizacc, firstly, is that the Terminator 3 chick?  She was bad ass.

Yes, that is her. I am female and I think Kristanna Loken makes great role model for the younger generation.

Let's get back to topic... I used to use TheBat, Outlook, and formerly OutlookExpress and Thunderbird.

The biggest gripe about OutlookExpress is there is no backup. In the past, you could simply copy files from the \OutlookExpress\{GUID} directory to make backup until Windows XP came out, then you could not copy the files, OutlookExpress simply won't recognize the extra directories when you add extra files to the directory (TheBat does). OutlookExpress is so prone to viruses and auto-execution, auto-sending in the "Outbox" and lack of spell checker. In Vista, they renamed Outlook Express to Windows Mail but it was soooo slow after you have about ~10,000 emails and no easy way to move them to another computer. Sure... there's utilities like Outlook Express Backup or Outlook Express recovery but most of them don't work and you end up with lost email Sad

ThunderBird is more of a work-in-progress and I disliked it when I update ThunderBird and lose all emails because of incompatibility between versions.  Sad

The biggest gripe with TheBat is IMAP incompatibility, inability to send well-formatted email, editor problems (as discussed on this thread), inability to specify intelligent rules, tagging, folder issues, account issues.

The number one issue isn't due to TheBat itself - it's problem with IMAP compatibility. Suppose you have a Windows Exchange Server and 20 users on the network with mobile devices and these users want BlackBerry/iPhone/iPad/Android to play friendly with TheBat. Oops, nobody think about sync ability.

I cannot understand why TheBat has so many issues with Exchange and program inflexibility - such as moving IMAP folders, creating invalid IMAP folders, cannot retrieve emails or number of emails does not match number count on folder.

TheBat specific features, like color grouping does not persist into IMAP. Then you lose color grouping feature unless you take your email off-line.

There are rules in TheBat where email goes to different folders. Nobody think about a "review" feature where everything is the InBox, you click on a button and it auto-file it to the correct folder after guessing what you by previously moving email.

There is export issue. Select export message. What do you get? - MSG, EML and Unix Mailbox. Select "import message" - there's a mailbox import wizard to take all your email from Outlook, OutlookExpress, and other email systems. It feels like once you have your emails in TheBat, the developers didn't think about synchronization to other devices or server-based solutions. Did anyone think about export to Android or Nokia phone?

There's TheBat backup which is fine, but no server-based email backup solution, or archiving or even web-based solution. Once I got a Mac server, I replaced the very expensive Exchange Server with Mac Mail Server which was at least US$5,000 in savings.  tellme

The MicroEd editor is famous at making your text break or add annoying spaces in-between. I don't know why they think this is a good feature  Sad

TheBat has much going for it...

MacMail comes with considerably less features but seems to play nice with IMAP/Exchange, in-box review feature, colored emails that persists into IMAP, tagging @done, @todo, keywords, to-do list feature which persist into Android or Nokia or even iPhone or iPad.

I'm not asking for much. All I wanted is a simple straight-forward way to get my email archived, selected folders on-line (to sync with iPad, iPhone), working address-book, calendar and to-do list.

From emails, I need to create to-do entries, mark appointments or deadlines, get things done and have 10 years of emails I can look back into.

Take a look at the iPad or iPhone email client. It has much, much fewer features but makes an amazing email client.

Then go back to TheBat and wonder why the developers cannot focus their time on the features everyone wants instead of adding new features without much reasoning or thought and new versions every two or so years...



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superboyac
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« Reply #43 on: February 24, 2011, 09:49:33 PM »

great post, vizaac.  I don't know anything about Loken other than Terminator.  I'll have to read what makes her so special.  I haven't even hear of her since.

Some of your great points:
Quote
The MicroEd editor is famous at making your text break or add annoying spaces in-between. I don't know why they think this is a good feature  Sad
exactly.  They think it's a good feature because the only people they pay attention to are the beta testers on usenet, who are not exactly representative of people who like to make things easy.  Also, they just don't seem to care about really developing the software.  It seems like the code has remained pretty much the same for years, and very very minimal effort has been put in between versions.  I bet the programmers spend a few hours a year here and there doing stuff.  All the feature requests go unanswered.  The list bugfixes and new features that I have to assume is just the simplest, easiest things to add.

Quote
Did anyone think about export to Android or Nokia phone?
They will NEVER do this.  Waaay too much work for them.  they have difficulty adding a checkbox in the options menu, there's no way there going to do something like that.  only minor things will be modified.

Quote
Take a look at the iPad or iPhone email client. It has much, much fewer features but makes an amazing email client.

Then go back to TheBat and wonder why the developers cannot focus their time on the features everyone wants instead of adding new features without much reasoning or thought and new versions every two or so years...
yup.  Surprisingly, Apple tries to give an experience that a NORMAL person will enjoy.  The Bat tries to give an experience that will only be enjoyed by those who consider usenet as their preferred forum-type communication.  People who get really mad when you top-post.  People who get really really really mad if you don't do the proper dash-dash-space-enter delimiter for signatures.  That's who the Bat developers listen to.  If you want, say, the editor to work well...meaning the place where you write emails and spend 90% of your time while you're in the program...you will be ignored.
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« Reply #44 on: February 24, 2011, 10:36:51 PM »

It goes with other software too...

Take Trillian for example and how it has gone from the simple IM client to the mega-IM client with all bells and whistles... while getting slower, more bloated, more annoyingly colorful, seems to forget all your settings, has 101 features you don't need... and look at Audium for Mac.

You could drive yourself nuts over looking for that feature Trillian has to make it look normal and non-distracting or spend ages wondering wading through the plug-in list. Same goes for MSN Messenger. The latest version of MSN Messenger (v9) is just plain horrible and what were the developers thinking??

Same goes for some of the ShareWare/ASP developer software. They added so many features and then complain nobody buys their product.

Take any average image editor for sale - for Mac and for Windows. The Mac image editor is simply elegant, has almost everything you want (vector graphics, editable annotations, call-outs, shapes, human-usable image transformations, usable clip-art, human-usable features - like various wooden photo-frames, oil-paint feature and so on) Then look at Windows image editor - it looks like it was designed for zombies or has so many useless features...  Sad


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superboyac
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« Reply #45 on: February 25, 2011, 08:48:16 AM »

The Mac image editor is simply elegant
Yup, that's my new favorite word.  I hate sounding like a fanboy, because I am SO not.  But when it comes to interface, Apple beats pc software most of the time, and it's not even close.  Now, windows users will say "But we can do more, and windows stuff is more powerful"  which is true.  But from a business perspective, interface is what sells, not powerful features.  Powerful features sell to people like us who are hardcore software powerusers, and have a lifetime of experience with computers, but we only represent a very small number of sales.  But if you want to sell the maximum number of programs, you HAVE to make sure the interface is easy and is giving people what they want...i.e. what Apple does. Now, if you don't want to sell a lot but just want a powerful program, then you don't need to worry about it, which seems to be the attitude of most pc developers.  But if I hear that developers are wondering why their stuff doesn't sell more, all I can do is smirk and think "Look, if you want to sell more, you have to give people what they want.  Not what you think they should want."
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« Reply #46 on: February 25, 2011, 10:21:21 AM »

It makes you re-think how to write software...

For instance,
- are all those toolbars really necessary?
- are all those fancy buttons really necessary?
- does the customer need this feature? should it be designed in a better way? ...

Windows is going in complete opposite direction than Mac. There are so many technologies and UI interfaces for Windows - MFC, NET, WPF, Silverlight, Flash, RIA, Restful interfaces, browser interface, SOAP, Ajax and probably a dozen more UI toolkits for Windows...

Then look at the way how iPad and Mac OSX apps are developed. Then you say,
WTF were you doing all that time writing software without thinking about the user??


« Last Edit: February 25, 2011, 10:23:17 AM by vizacc » Logged
superboyac
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« Reply #47 on: February 25, 2011, 11:19:52 AM »

It makes you re-think how to write software...

For instance,
- are all those toolbars really necessary?
- are all those fancy buttons really necessary?
- does the customer need this feature? should it be designed in a better way? ...

Windows is going in complete opposite direction than Mac. There are so many technologies and UI interfaces for Windows - MFC, NET, WPF, Silverlight, Flash, RIA, Restful interfaces, browser interface, SOAP, Ajax and probably a dozen more UI toolkits for Windows...

Then look at the way how iPad and Mac OSX apps are developed. Then you say,
WTF were you doing all that time writing software without thinking about the user??
True.  I actually don't blame Microsoft as much as the developers.  The way I see it, we need Microsoft to do their OS the way they do.  In fact I think Windows OS is brilliant and don't have a lot of complaints about it.  Windows provides an environment where developers can pretty much do anything (unlike Apple).  The problem is the developers don't know how to wrangle in that complete freedom.  They need to take all that development freedom and present it to the user in an easy way.  That' why I get totally turned off by programs that like to use a lot of command line features to do their functions (i.e. The Bat's quick templates).  Instead, they should spend a little extra time and create some buttons, windows, and visual elements that turn that programming language into something that is easy to grasp and work with.  I mean, how far do we go?  If people were comfortable using command line stuff, they'd be comfortable just coding things themselves.  So if you truly want to help the average user accomplish a task, you take your expertise (programming) and convert that into something that is general and universal...buttons, icons, etc.

That's I get super pissed off when I tell the Bat developers that their word wrap in Microed doesn't work.  They say, "well just press Ctrl-L whenever it doesn't work".  The problem with that is most windows users don't think about word wrapping, it just happens.  Now, I have to always be thinking about word wrapping.  It's fucking annoying.  imagine if, as I'm typing this post, I had to remember to press a keyboard shortcut to make sure things get wrapped, otherwise each paragraph would be one long line.  It's not right, it's almost mean.  They are saying, I don't care about you kind of people...which is most of the people.
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« Reply #48 on: February 25, 2011, 11:46:11 AM »


Quote
annoying

I dunno, but they might want to look what iPad, MacMail, Android Mail, GMail and how others do it, but

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« Reply #49 on: February 25, 2011, 11:50:22 AM »

Can this Bat of yours be customised, plug-in'd or otherwise extended? If so there may be a way to shoehorn in a better editor while retaining all the other fine features of the program.
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