As part of writing a new mail client I'm wondering about how to change my email-life, and how other people process/handle their incoming email.
I sort my incoming email into folders at delivery-time using procmail. Mail is generally filtered into mailboxes on the basis of the company that sent it, the person that sent it, or the machine which generated it.
Because I manage a lot of machines personally I've split things up so that I have a folder per host. So on a morning I might have unread mail in the following folders:
The per-machine mailboxes usually contain a single mail every day from LogWatch, along with output from any cron-jobs. For example today I received the mail:
From: Cron Daemon
Subject: Cron email@example.com /home/steve/bin/download-check
URL http://nodejs.org/ - no longer matches v0.10.9
Generally speaking I don't need to read the per-machine messages. I'll keep the most recent 100 for reference, but only need to look if something seems "off" on a machine. But if I don't look I'd not see the node upgrade notice, so find that I do read them after all.
This suggest to me that email isn't the right way to handle this kind of thing. Instead I should use a notification system - at work we have a central service called MauveAlert (yes, Red Dwarf reference). Mauve receives "alerts" of various kinds, via UDP. The alerts are then fanned out to appropriate people via XMPP, Email, or SMSs.
I have a similarly-inspired system I use on my Debian Administration cluster. A (node) service runs non-stop collecting UDP messages and showing them on a dashboard. I look at it throughout the day to see when slaughter runs, etc.
Anyway in conslusion I get a lot of mail. Some of it is related to random projects, and all ends up in the steve.org.uk/ mailbox, some of it relates to machines, and gets filed away, and I have regular conversions with folk so I have a .people.kirsi/ folder which receives a lot of attention, for example.
ObRandom:daily() - Mark ~/Maildir/.machines.*, etc, read.
Tags: email, lumail, random
11 September 2014 21:50
Last night I was looking for an image I knew a model had mailed me a few months ago, as we were talking about rescheduling a shoot at the weekend. I couldn't find it, even with my awesome mail client and filing system.
With some free time I figured I could write a little utility to dump all attachments from email folders, and find it that way.
It did cross my mind that there is the simple mail-utility for dumping headers, etc, called formail, which is distributed alongside procmail, but it doesn't handle attachments ..
I was tempted to write a general purpose script to dump attachments, email header values, etc, etc but given the lack of time I merely solved my own problem.
I suspect there is room for a "mail utilities" package, similar to Joey's "moreutils" and my "sysadmin utils". However I note that there is a GNU Mailutils which does things differently than I'd expect - i.e. it contains a POP3 server.
Still if you want to dump attachments from emails, have GMIME installed, and want to filter by attachment-name, or MIME-type, you might look at my trivial attachment-dump program.
Related to that I spent some time last night updating my photography site, so the animals & pets section has updated images at least.
During the course of that I found a bug in my static-site generator, templer which stopped it from automatically populating image height/widths when called in a glob:
Title: Pets & Animals
Images: file_glob( "*.jpg" )
This is the page body, it now has access to a variable called 'images'
which is a HTML::Template loop-structure containing name/height/width/etc
for each image in the current directory.
That should now be resolved, and life should once again be good.
Tags: email, gmime, mime, templer
18 October 2014 21:50
Yesterday I received a small rush of SPAM mails, all of which were 419 scams, and all of them sent by "Mrs Elizabeth PETERSEN".
It struck me that I can't think of ever receiving a legitimate mail from a "Mrs XXX [YYY]", but I was too busy to check.
Today I've done so. Of the 38,553 emails I've received during the month of October 2014 I've got a hell of a lot of mails with a From address including a "Mrs" prefix:
"Mrs.Clanzo Amaki" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
"Mrs Sarah Mamadou"<email@example.com>
"Mrs Abia Abrahim" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
"Mrs. Josie Wilson" <email@example.com>
"Mrs. Theresa Luis"<firstname.lastname@example.org>
There are thousands more. Not a single one of them was legitimate.
I have one false-positive when repeating the search for a Mr-prefix. I have one friend who has set his sender-address to "Mr Bob Smith", which always reads weirdly to me, but every single other email with a Mr-prefix was SPAM.
I'm not going to use this in any way, since I'm happy with my mail-filtering setup, but it was interesting observation.
Names are funny. My wife changed her surname post-marriage, but that was done largely on the basis that introducing herself as "Doctor Kemp" was simpler than "Doctor Foreign-Name", she'd certainly never introduce herself ever as Mrs Kemp.
Trivia: In Finnish the word for "Man" and "Husband" is the same (mies), but the word for "Woman" (nainen) is different than the word for "Wife" (vaimo).
Tags: email, names, random, spam