Month: March 2012

Using Gmail anti-spam with mutt

Posted by – 29/03/2012

OK, this is not another post on how to use Mutt and Gmail. This is just to comment on a feature I found in Mutt that was not obvious, and that helped me to stop running my own anti-spam tool.

So, for a number of reasons, my company stop filtering spams. I was setting up dspam to take over that job when I decided that it was just too much pain for a single account. Besides, although I am spammed a lot, I would never possibly be more efficient than Gmail anti-spam, given the load of emails their users classify everyday.

I am not migrating my old emails over to Gmail, though. And I am pretty comfortable with my current email work-flow… I am simply not going to use a webmail (even one as powerful as Gmail). OK, I am using GNOME 3 after being a Fluxbox and Bluetile user, but everything has a limit…

But how to keep the best of both worlds? And, more important, how to do that with minimum disruption of what I already have (my own IMAP server and Mutt managing my account there as spoolfile)? The answer is a little known trick using the “mailboxes” directive in .muttrc.

This directive accepts a fully-qualified imap mailbox address. So I just added something like:

mailboxes 'imaps://[Gmail]/Spam'

and added some shortcuts to save email from my inbox to that mailbox (the same as train-as-spam) and to rescue email from it (the same as train-as-ham):

macro index <F3> ";Wo;Wn;simaps://[Gmail]/Spam\n" "Train as SPAM"
macro index <F4> ";Wo;Wn;simaps://\n" "Train as HAM"

and that was it. In my IMAP machine I got a fetchmail downloading emails from Gmail’s INBOX so I can get trained-as-ham and new emails (all emails arrive first in my Gmail account) into my IMAP server. All my sieve rules are in place and nothing changed in my email work-flow.

It’s been working flawlessly for a week now. The only drawbacks are (1) Gmail knowing everything that arrives to me (not a big deal, since unencrypted emails aren’t private anyway), and (2) not getting the spam-count once Mutt is run: I have to change into that mailbox to log-in to Gmail.

Update: Mar 30, 2012 @ 18:15: I just found out that drawback number (2) above can be fixed by adding the following to .muttrc:

unset imap_passive

Annoyed by F10 key in gnome-terminal?

Posted by – 23/03/2012

I am one of those people that like to map Fx keys to special functions. After all, that’s what F-unction keys are for, right?

So, one of the first things I do once I have to configure a new Desktop is disable F10-capture by gnome-terminal. It has been working flawlessly, until I begin using GNOME3. No matter what, F10 was still being captured.

I found that this is a bug and that adding the following:

@binding-set NoKeyboardNavigation {
	unbind "<shift>F10"
* {
	gtk-key-bindings: NoKeyboardNavigation

to ~/.config/gtk-3.0/gtk.css serves as a workaround.

Hope this helps people with the same problem.

GNOME 3 is like Vim.

Posted by – 22/03/2012

You might know that I am testing GNOME 3. So far, so good. I was a little annoyed by the not-obvious and undocumented have-to-add-user-to-pulse-and-pulse-access procedure and the keyboard-shortcut-settings-bad-design-bug, but now sound works and my usual shortcuts are in-place…

I found myself liking the environment, but not sure about why I was liking it. I was always a minimalist user. At one time I convinced myself X11 (or Xorg) served as a terminal multiplexer… but now, GNOME 3 is changing that with its unobstructiveness (is there such a word?).

One thing that might be selling GNOME 3 to me is that it resembles Vim, my beloved text-editor and multipurpose IDE. Just think about the “Overview” mode as a command-mode in Vim. While working in Vim, I focus in one thing at a time, and everytime I want to do some “meta” thing, I Escape to the command-mode. It’s just the same in GNOME 3: “Overview” let me do “meta” things and gives me the whole power of the Desktop in one screen.

I am not sure I am going to keep GNOME 3… But thinking it’s like Vim is a compelling argument.

Time to change Window Manager again?

Posted by – 18/03/2012

Ten years ago I was a fan of NEXTSTEP desktops and a die hard user of Window Maker. I love dockapps, and used to collect them.

Things changed, and, as I moved from Desktops to Laptops, I began using simpler Window Managers. The powerful keyboard-shortcuts Fluxbox along with its capability to join windows with tabbing won me over and I began using it in my Laptop, while preserving Window Maker in my Desktop. In time, Fluxbox were used in both sides.

Then the netbooks came and I bought an EeePC. The screen was so small that even the non-obstructive nature of Fluxbox were not enough. I began to try tiling window managers and I settle for Awesome. I was using Fluxbox in my Desktop and my Laptop, but Awesome was running in my Netbook. Tiling was making a lot of more sense and I could be productive, even in a small Netbook. Eventually, I started using Bluetile in my Laptop. Also, Bluetile was written in Haskell, and I was interested in Functional Languages by that time…

Now I got a new Laptop, and, since it features a Realtek 8191SE Wi-fi card, I had to install Wheezy (in my laptop, I usually run stable). Wheezy comes with the new GNOME 3 desktop, of which I read a lot.

I decided to give it a try. I am missing advanced tiling (it seems that GNOME3 tiling works just in the side-by-side approach)… and I also think that creating custom launchers should be improved… but so far I am not disliking it, which is a good step toward adopting it. I’ll give it a week to convince me. Let’s see how it works its charm on me 🙂

Windows Laptop with Debian Recovery Partition

Posted by – 15/03/2012

I was playing with my new Laptop (a Philco 14E-P686WP) that comes with (argh!) Windows 7. I was gathering information in order to avoid surprises with regards to drivers and hardware-compatibility so I can proceed with the Debian installation… By doing that with a new machine, I, usually, peek and poke everywhere, including the Recovery System.

I was shocked to find out that this (argh) Windows 7 laptop has a bootable recovery partition loaded with a customized Debian just to run Partclone which installs a Windows factory image. I was about to take some pictures of the process, but I managed to find some in a forum post.

Debian is being used to re-install (argh) Windows… How sad is that! 😉

Migrating from Mephisto to WordPress

Posted by – 12/03/2012

Just as I promised yesterday, I pushed a new git repo with my fork of the tool I used to migrate my old Mephisto blog to this new WordPress one.

I forked because the tool have not worked the first time. First of all, I was missing uuidtools gem, and to install it would be a pain inside the jail system I used to run my blog. Too much trouble just to get a UUID we can get by other means… so I just added an environment variable UUIDGEN anyone can use to point to a tool to do the job. I know this have performance implications, but I am not talking about 10-thousand entries…

Then, I found out that, for some odd reason I still have to understand, WordPress was cutting my articles everytime it read a “à” character. I could study the subject, but I just added a #gsub in mephisto-to-wxr code and moved on. I was about to remove it from the repo, but I left it there since it could help other people. Also, since there might be other similar occurrences, leaving it there serves as a heads up.

Also, I added support for Categories and Tags to mephisto-to-wxr, that seemed to be limitedly accepted (I translated Mephisto Sections into WordPress Categories).

All other activities were just clean-up. That tool generated a .WXR with all the articles and comments from my Mephisto blog. Everything I had to do was import it using WordPress import tool.

I am back, again

Posted by – 11/03/2012

Wow! It’s been a lot of time since I last blogged. This have a lot of explanations. It’s quite interesting how things in life tend to happen in clusters. I surely hope the cluster of stressful things has ended and a new cluster of (hopefully) better things is beginning. Never mind… the past is the past.

Nothing better than to change blog engine (again) to mark the occasion. I finally give in and got into WordPress. It was a pain to manage the semi-defunct Mephisto I’ve been using. Please, don’t get me wrong, I still love Ruby (and Rails), but with so many things happening, I finally realized I don’t need the job of managing a blog engine. So I’ll just leave this to the people behing WordPress, since they are doing a great job so far.

The good thing is that WordPress has a theme that looks very much like the Scribbish theme I was already used and became much fond of… so people may not even notice the difference. The migration process has not been perfect though. Some things may still be broken (and if you notice one of these things, please drop me a note about and I’ll try to fix it). In another post I’ll tell how I did the migration, since this information might be useful to someone else.

It’s good to be back…