Because FLOSS is handy, isn’t it?

IMAP access to GMAIL with KMail

Posted by isilanes on February 3, 2008

I recently discovered that Gmail offers IMAP access to the service. I must admit that I have never used IMAP, but it is a very good idea for simplifying the access to one’s account from anywhere, and having your e-mail always up to date in any number of computers. You can think of IMAP as all the good things of POP3 (custom UI, great flexibility) and web-mail (central repository of messages) together, without their drawbacks.

Although I think Google is an evil company that wants to take the world over, I have surrendered to their superb e-mail service, Gmail, with its huge inbox and fast and reliable access. I was happy with POP3, go figure with IMAP…

Of course, I have had to configure my e-mail client, KMail, to use IMAP. For that, I have followed the instructions, e.g., in linux.wordpress.org.

First, you have to allow IMAP connection to Gmail. For that, you just need to go to Settings in your Gmail account, then Forwarding and POP/IMAP, and Enable IMAP (I think it’s on by default).

Second, create an IMAP account in KMail: Settings -> Configure KMail -> Accounts -> Add -> IMAP. You will be prompted for some info:

  • Account name: anything to let you identify it.
  • Login: your full Gmail address.
  • Host: imap.gmail.com
  • Port: 993

Small trick: the default Trash folder is “Local Folders/trash”. If you keep this, when you “delete” a message from the IMAP account, it will be moved to the “General” KMail trash. The problem is that it means moving the message outside the IMAP tree, and I have found that the IMAP mechanism (probably as a security measure) keeps a copy of the message in the original location (i.e., it is actually not erased). To avoid that, you can put something like “Gmail IMAP/[Gmail]/Trash” as Trash folder, and make the deleted message be moved to the Trash inside the IMAP folder. There, it is deleted exactly as if you access your Gmail account from the web and click on “Delete”.

Third, in the Security tab of the dialog window we have just filled, choose “Use SSL for secure mail download” in Encryption and “Clear Text” in Authentication method.

That’s it, you’re done!

So far I have only used IMAP at home (lousy 300 kb connection), and I think it is a bit on the slow side of the scale, but except for that, I am starting to love IMAP.


Posted in Evil software | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

Reflexión repentina y aleatoria

Posted by isilanes on February 1, 2008

Hay muy pocos problemas que los ordenadores no puedan solucionar. Y casi ninguno que no puedan crear.

Posted in my ego and me | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

Xau Euskadi Gaztean

Posted by isilanes on February 1, 2008

Euskadi Gazteko 17. maketa lehiaketa bukatzear dago, eta portadan ikus daitekeen moduan Xau-k abesti bat kolatu du bosgarren postuan (hau idazteko momentuan behintzat).

Aspaldi neraman Xau-ri buruz posteatzeko gogoekin, taldeko bateria, Julen, nire laguna baita. Baina Julenek ez dit eskatu diodan “prentsa rekortea” pasa (tío, give cuent!), ta beraz nire kabuz idaztera noa.

Xauren musika, WOFL estilokoa definitzen dutena, Jamendon topa dezakezute, taldea kultura librearen aldeko denez, beren kantak CC lizentzien pean jarri baitituzte. Horretaz aparte, MySpace-en orria dute, ta Web orri ofiziala ere badute.

Ez dut beraien musika ona edo txarra den esan nahi: niri gustatzen zait, baina Julenen laguna naizenez, beharbada nire iritzia ez da subjetiboa. Edozein kasutan, soinu freskoa eta alaia dute, eta gainera ez duzue zertan nire eritziari kasu egin: zoazte Jamendora ta entzun itzazue bertan!

Posted in Entertainment and humor | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Igalia en Telecinco

Posted by isilanes on January 31, 2008

Esta mañana en La Mirada Crítica de Telecinco han hablado sobre conciliación de la vida laboral y personal, y sobre el “teletrabajo” (trabajar desde casa).

Como ejemplo han mencionado Igalia, y han entrevistado in situ a un par de trabajadores de dicha empresa. ¿Por qué lo menciono? Pues porque Igalia es una empresa dedicada al software libre (hecho que los entrevistados han mencionado dos veces en la breve entrevista), y porque T5 ha dicho que Igalia factura un millón de euros al año (o sea, que funciona bien).

Al describir las facilidades (horario flexible, ayudas para guarderías, etc.) que daba Igalia a sus trabajadores, me ha recordado, salvando las distancias, a Google, que repite como mejor empresa estadounidense donde trabajar, según Fortune.

Cerraba el presentador diciendo: “[…] claro, no todas las empresas trabajan en un sector que esto pueda hacerse”. Se refería a IT, obviamente, pero se hace extensivo a, concretamente, el software libre. ¡Trabajad con SL, que se vive mejor!

Posted in Free software and related beasts | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

SpyPig: another annoyance against your privacy

Posted by isilanes on January 27, 2008

I’ve read in a post in Genbeta [es], about a “service” for e-mail senders called SpyPig. It basically boils down to sending a notification to the sender of an e-mail, when the recipient opens it. This way, the recipient can not say that she hasn’t read it.

I will deal with two issues: moral and technological. Morally, I think this kind of things suck. I have received these e-mails asking for confirmation of having been read, and I never found appealing to answer. But at least you were asked politely. What these pigs SpyPigs do is provide a sneaky way of doing it without the recipient knowing. Would you consider someone doing it on you a friend? Not me.

Now, technologically, the system is more than simple, and anyone with access to a web server could do it. The idea is that the sender writes the e-mail in HTML mode, and inserts a picture (can be a blank image) hosted at some SpyPig server. When the recipient opens the HTML message, the image is loaded from the server, and the logs of the server will reflect when the image was loaded, and hence the e-mail opened. When this happens, the server notifies the sender.

The bottom line of this story is that HTML IS BAD for e-mails. My e-mail readers never allow displaying HTML messages, and show me the source HTML code instead (of course, I can allow HTML, but why would I?). So this SpyPig thing will never work for against me. And this SpyPig story is just one more reason not to allow displaying HTML in the messages you read. Of course, for the e-mails you send, consider sending them in plain text. Your recipients will be a bit happier.

For more tips on what NOT to do on web/e-mail issues, check the e-mail/web tips section in this blog.

Posted in Evil software | Tagged: , , , , , | 7 Comments »

Answers Research Journal

Posted by isilanes on January 26, 2008

I have discovered the Answers Research Journal through a mention in Nature, and the ensuing humorous comments with my DIPC colleages. Basically ARJ is a pseudo-scientific journal, with dubious quality “peer-review” system, released with the aim of publishing creationist bullshit.

One of the latest articles, for example, deals with the fascinating question of on what Day of Creation did God create microbes.

I am seriously considering publishing two journals in the same vein: the IPUS (Invisible Pink Unicorn Science) and the PNJ Pastafarian Nature Journal).

Posted in Entertainment and humor | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

German government caught buying malware to intercept Skype calls

Posted by isilanes on January 26, 2008

I’ll parrot here the news shaking the blogosphere today: apparently the German government intended to obtain software to spy on Skype users. What’s next?


Posted in This evil world | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

I hit 30k tracks played

Posted by isilanes on January 25, 2008

I keep track of what pieces of music I listen to through last.fm since June 2006. This can be done automatically for you with Amarok, if you configure it to. As you can see in the following screenshot, I just listened to 30,000 tracks in this time!

last.fm 30k songs

(click to enlarge)

I listen to music continuously while I work, and I also count the music I listen at home too, so that’s why I have heard an average of 50-60 songs per day.

Posted in my ego and me | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Windows 2000 Server on a NAS? No, thanks.

Posted by isilanes on January 24, 2008

You would think that, as a researcher in a serious center like the DIPC, one would hardly ever encounter a MS product, at least in the server/cluster section (more than one fellow here has Windows in his/her computer, but don’t tell anyone, it’s a secret).

However, we do have some server running Windows, and its presence is almost transparent for the user (which is good). And I say “almost”, because it stumbled upon one of its “features”, and the sysadmin ended up confessing :^)

The thing is that I happened to try to create a directory with “CO” (carbon monoxide) in its name (it was a dir for a SIESTA calculation), when a dir with the same name already existed, except it had “Co” (cobalt) in the name. Well, the filesystem complained that a dir by the same name already existed! I could not believe my eyes!!

Basically the filesystem would not make any difference at all for different capitalizations. For example:

% mkdir testdir
% mkdir TESTDIR
mkdir: cannot create directory `TESTDIR': File exists

% touch testfile
% rm TESTfile
rm: remove regular empty file `TESTfile'?

The explanation? The directory I was in was exported from a NAS running… ta-da: Windows 2000 Server!

How incredibly stupid and annoying is it to have a filesystem that ignores character case altogether? And how error prone? Because if you are not aware of that, you might delete a file you didn’t intend to!! Someone could try to excuse MS by saying that, OK, that was in 2000. But, look, Linux could tell upper case from lower case since its inception in 1991, and Unix since the seventies! The root of the problem is the filesystem used by the OS, of course. But it so happens that the filesystems used by Linux since 1991 (beginning in ext and then many others) had this capability (and many more), and are free. All that MS had to do was to use them, instead of FAT or NTFS. But instead they chose to develop those (inferior) filesystems in parallel for almost 20 years now. I call that stupidity.

No need to say that the sysadmin of the DIPC absolutely regrets having been naive enough to ever buy that MS crap.

Posted in Windows no-nos | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Free magenta!

Posted by isilanes on January 21, 2008

I have just read at Barrapunto (Spanish version of Slashdot), that T-Mobile registered the magenta color (#FF0090) in 2000. Read more in Spanish at Tecnoaldea.NET, and in English at COLOURlovers. As Servicemarks comments, Red Bull also sort of owns a color.

Now, I ask myself how can a company register something like a color? I don’t know if registering is related to patenting, but for the latter you can not patent something if it is covered by prior art. And a color has certainly history: all colors existed before they were “discovered” or “invented”!

Blue panther from freemagenta.nl

No more Pink Panther, because magenta belongs to T-Mobile
(taken from freemagenta.nl)

Given this stupid situation, there even is a platform of people asking to “free” the magenta color: freemagenta.nl. That is the place I took the above picture from.

Posted in This evil world | Leave a Comment »