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Copyright © 1998, MCB UP Limited
In the last commentary I mentioned an elusive bug that prevented me from using Netscape, and gave an incentive to try alternative software. I now hasten to report that the bug has been cured by further re-installing and initialising of associated items of software. It was useful to have the stimulus to look into alternative software, and it is interesting to know that there are packages much smaller than the well-known Netscape and Mosaic and offering similar performance and facilities.
It is, however, convenient to standardise on one browser, and now that my installation of Netscape is working I will probably stick with it. A strong reason for staying with one choice is that browsers have a facility for storing addresses of Websites, under some such heading as "bookmarks", and the bookmark list of one browser is not accessible to the other.
It is difficult to identify the cause of a software bug with certainty, but I am fairly sure this one arose because I allowed my e-mail in-basket to overflow, and performed sorting of its records while in the overflowed state. For the version of the CompuServe Information Manager in use, the in-basket alters its behaviour when the number of stored messages exceeds a certain number. The number is quite large; no fewer than 2,047 to be exact. This would seem to be enough for anybody, but I have to admit that I exceeded it.
Presumably an overfull in-basket, like a cluttered office desk, is characteristic of a badly-organised user. Nevertheless, it is very easy (especially when looking out for material for Internet commentaries) to accumulate messages that might possibly be of interest, for example because they contain addresses of Websites that could be worth looking into. There is a strong case for installing software that allows the classification of saved messages and their subsequent storage in a number of separate folders. The facility I have been using allows only a single electronic in-basket and a single filing-cabinet.