Skip to content

Blog

QuickArchiver on Thunderbird — Archiving Messages to the Right Folder with One Click

QuickArchiver icon

Even despite the dominance of webmail, I have long used a traditional desktop email client. I like having a local mail archive should “the cloud” have trouble, as well as the ability to exert control over the user interface and user experience. (That might be partly a euphemism for not having to see ads!)

Apple’s Mail.app built into macOS (going to have to get used to not calling it OS X!) has served me pretty well for quite some time now, alongside Thunderbird when I’m on Linux, and while Mail.app offered the most smooth interface for the platform, it didn’t always have all the features I wanted.

For example, being able to run mail rules is more limited than I wanted in Mail.app. I could have rules run automatically as messages arrived in my inbox, or disable them entirely. But actually how I wanted to use rules was to be able to cast my eye over my inbox, and then bulk archive (to a specific folder) all emails of a certain type if I’d decided none needed my fuller attention.

Recently, I moved to Thunderbird on my Mac for managing email and discovered QuickArchiver.

As well as letting you writing rules yourself, QuickArchiver offers the clever feature of learning which emails go where, and then suggesting the right folder to which that message can be archived with a single click.

It’s still early days, but I am enjoying this. Without spending time writing rules, I’m managing email as before, and QuickArchiver is learning in the background what rules should be offered. The extra column I’ve added to my Inbox is now starting to populate with that one-click link to archive the message to the correct folder!

It’s just a nice little add-on if, like me, you (still??) like to operate in this way with your email.

SaveTimer

About a month ago (whoops!), I released another open source project into the wild, SaveTimer.

This was one of those “wouldn’t that be a cool idea” moments that spontaneously resulted in a modest little project. The whole thing was conceived, built and published in the space of a few hours!

Save Timer

SaveTimer screenshot

Notify a user if they have not saved in a ‘watch directory’ for a certain interval.

Basic Description

This is a very simple application, written in C#/.NET 4.5.2, which observes a specified ‘watch directory’ on a given interval. The most recent file in the watch directory is examined to determine its last modified time. If this is older than the specified interval time, the user is shown a message reminding them to save their work. The user can suppress the messages for an indefinite period of time by right-clicking the icon in the ‘clock box’/system tray and choosing ‘Stop reminding me’.

This was written to support academic examination access arrangements, where users are intentionally only given access to a cut-down word processor such as WordPad, without spellcheck support. Unfortunately, WordPad does not autosave, so this application provides a regular reminder for the user to save. In this usage, the user is given a blank mapped drive to save in. In addition to the regular save reminders, the application also ensures that the user has saved in the correct directory to avoid data loss and ensure compliance with controlled conditions of where they must save.

SaveTimer logo

SaveTimer logo (the Dashicons clock, licensed under GPLv2 or later with font exception)

At the risk of sounding immodest, one of the most enjoyable things about this project was jumping right back into the C#/.NET environnment, with which I have spent less time recently, and discovering that I still had all of the intuition of how to build the functionality I desired. Perhaps this is testament more to Visual Studio’s IntelliSense suggestions and the simplicity of the application, rather than my memory, but it nevertheless was a rewarding feeling to quickly go from zero to an app that does a specific task quite well!

I’m also pleased to say it ran in… shall we say, production… without causing any issues. If it saves one piece of work, I think it will be worth it!

SaveTimer is released under the GNU GPLv3 or later. The code is available on GitHub and you can also download a ready-to-run executable, if you have .NET 4.5.2 installed. No installer required!

Adventures with WindowMaker and Debian

Back in my earlier Linux days, I would experiment and fiddle a lot with different setups for desktop environments and appearance, customising my Linux system to my heart’s content! An example: I loved the 3D desktop effects of Xgl/Compiz back in 2006.

Time moved on, and I ended up settling with the defaults that distributions provided. I liked Ubuntu’s direction with Unity, upon its release in 2011.

I have fallen out with Ubuntu and Unity more recently, however. The troubling privacy issues with the Amazon ‘lens’ and other changes to their corporate behaviour scared me off.

So, I moved over to Debian for my personal server and my Linux desktop systems, and I have been very happy with it. At the same time, though, I wanted to get back to my previous spirit of playing around with different bits of software instead of just going with the defaults and surrendering to a full-size desktop environment. Frankly, the way I use Linux means I don’t find an overwhelming need for a wide variety of graphical applications.

With that in mind, I have set up a very unusual, and minimalist, desktop experience, which I thought I would document a little here for those that might be interested.

WindowMaker screenshot, showing Iceweasel, Terminal and others

» Read the rest of this post…

Announcing Total Slider

Total Slider icon

I’m really pleased to announce that the WordPress plugin I have been working on with Van Patten Media, Total Slider, has now been released!

Total Slider is a plugin for WordPress from Van Patten Media that will transform your experience with sliders forever. Build your own templates in PHP and CSS, then preview the output in a beautiful WYSIWYG interface designed to blend seamlessly with the WordPress core.

Total Slider is released under the GNU GPL version 2 or later. We’d love your feedback, ideas, bug reports, translations and more.

Here is a quick 2-minute video introduction:

You can find out more at TotalSlider.com, and download Total Slider from the WordPress plugin directory.

The Very Simple PayPal Bridge

Just a quick note to say that I’m proud to announce the release of some more open source code, as part of my collaboration with Van Patten Media.

The Van Patten Media Labs site has all the details of the Very Simple PayPal Bridge — a simple way to connect to the PayPal API.

Interacting with the PayPal NVP API is something that a lot of e-commerce websites need to do. If you’re writing your own code for a bespoke e-commerce solution, rather than shoehorning in generic ‘Shopping Cart’ software, there is quite a lot to think about in order to communicate successfully with the API and provide a great payment experience for the site’s customers.

The Very Simple PayPal Bridge is a PHP class that, as the name suggests, provides a very simple interface for the PayPal NVP API.

In any situation where you need to interface more directly with the PayPal API, the VSPB provides a clean interface for the other layers of your code, dealing with all of the implementation details of sending requests via cURL, encoding and decoding the arguments, as well as offering full support for graceful error handling with PHP exceptions. It is great as a lower-level component of a wider PHP e-commerce solution.

For more information, see the post on Van Patten Media Labs and check out the code at GitHub!

Amalia is Now Open Source

Amalia

I am very pleased to announce that Amalia, the content management system I helped to develop for Van Patten Media, has now been released as an open source project!

Amalia is designed to be a content management system ‘for the rest of us’ and to make it easy to manage a small website. Amalia is a database-less CMS, so it doesn’t need the complexity, maintenance, and expense of a MySQL server, making it possible to run on even many of the most limited of web hosting packages.

There are, admittedly, some missing pieces in Amalia — and it certainly isn’t perfect. I am excited, however, about the possibilities of Amalia and its future potential as an open source project. We would certainly love your feedback, ideas, Core code, plugins, and any other contributions you might want to make.

Please head on over to project’s GitHub page for the code and to get involved. You can also check out the install guide (PDF) and an install video on YouTube.

WPGet 1.0 Released

It has been quite a while since this bit of software was updated, but please welcome WPGet 1.0.

As well as the milestone of reaching version 1.0, this version now sports a host of new changes, including:

  • Switched over to Perl regular expressions for better forwards compatibility
  • Ability to show only posts in a specified date range in WPGet&#8217s output
  • Ability to show only posts that match a specific search term in WPGet’s output.
  • Support for stripping links out of WPGet’s output.
  • Drops support for PHP 4

The best way to install WPGet if you’re setting up a new installation is to use the hosted WPGet Installer. Existing users can upgrade their installations by running only Step 1 (‘set up for the first time’) of the installer and uploading the updated wpget.php file that will be generated.

Alternatively, you may download the installer to run yourself from the WPGet project page (or even perform a manual install if you are proficient in PHP).

The new release is also available at the PHP Classes page for WPGet and at HotScripts.

Come on, Apple!

So I’m downloading the WebKit source code which I need for an upcoming FOSSwire tutorial. Downloading it from SVN is painfully slow, but then I can’t remember SVN checkouts ever having been that fast.

There’s another option to download – grabbing a .tar.bz2 of the latest nightly. Downloading that over HTTP is, guess what, also painfully slow.

Downloading WebKit progress

The top speed this connection can do on download is around 250 Kbytes per second. It’s downloading at less than 10% of that capacity, with no other activity on the connection. Downloads from other sites run much faster. Now it might just be me, but I can’t help thinking Apple are either not putting enough resources into WebKit.org, or they’re deliberately degrading the download experience.

I hope for their sake it’s the former, and if so, come on Apple, put some resources into it! You wouldn’t have a base for Safari if it wasn’t for the open source community, so let’s be nice back shall we?

FOSSwire 2.0

Thanks to the extremely hard work of Jacob (coding and architecture) and Chris (design), and not really me (I did keep posting though), FOSSwire has just relaunched!

Well, FOSSwire, we’ve had some ups and downs, but overall it’s been a good year. We now have quite a reader base compared to when we started.

But now isn’t the time for reminiscing. (really, never is the time.)

You may have noticed some changes around here. Did FOSSwire get a haircut? You’ll have to figure that out for yourself. But we did add several new features:

  • Tabs: Now, instead of a bajillion categories, we now only have five, and they are shown as tabs at the top of the page. Who doesn’t like tabs?
  • Tags: This is where the mass amounts of categories were thrown. We didn’t really know what to do with this new feature in WordPress 2.3, so we’re just using it as our new category home.
  • The Metabar: Chris calls this the Ãœberbar. To each their own. The important thing is this is home to many more features, including:
    • GNOME vs KDE vs XFCE wars
    • FOSSwire Video: Yep, we finally support video. Expect many more posts to have this feature.
    • PkgBase Automatic Installers: This is what we were suggesting with this post. You can now enjoy a one-click style install feature for systems that support it. And for those that don’t, instructions are given.
    • Expertise Level: Know before you read a post how difficult it will be to do. Most commonly used in the Tips & Tutorials section.
  • Post Ratings: For anything that can be reviewed, such as a software or game release, we can now assign a rating out of 10 to it.
  • Caching: You won’t notice anything (other than comments being delayed) except for the site running a lot faster. We’re using a custom-built caching system that is by far faster than WP-Cache.

Those are most of the features, but we’ve made some cosmetic changes here and there. We think you’ll like it.

This relaunch marks one year of FOSSwire, and I’ve been extremely happy to be a founding contributor and hope we continue to enjoy as much success as we’ve had (and hopefully more)!

One year.

Wow.

It’s gone pretty quickly, and in the past year I’ve managed to push out 210 posts. It isn’t quite one a day, sadly, but still, I’m pretty happy with how much I’ve put into FOSSwire personally.

Of course, I must again point out that the overwhelming majority of the work for this new release was not done by me! I’m not taking credit at all – not until content I’ve produced arrives 😉 .

So, here’s to the next year!