Two different and equally goofy but interesting add-ons are in my personal news today:
Kent James released ToneQuilla, which I like to call “BiffTones!”, which allows you to set custom notification tones based on Thunderbird rules. Emails from the spouse make one sound, emails from the grandmother make another, etc. Neat!
Andrew Sutherland, on somewhat of a dare that I put in front of him (nothing like waving a red flag of visualization at a canvas bull like him) responded to the pretty but mostly useless Wordle meme which has been going around Mozilla circles, and built a wordle-like visualization of the database-driven queries that I blogged about a couple of days ago. If one can build an add-on to that in a day (well, a night without internet access), what couldn’t one do?
Both of these add-ons have somewhat of a goofy aspect to them, and both could evolve into something really useful. Notification overload is a huge problem in communication clients – it’s useful to know when something important happens, but useless to know when “a message was received” — tools like ToneQuilla can help. Simiarly, visualizations can provide insight into ones’ messaging history. See Themail for interesting research on the topic.