Sup Mail Client is Saving my life

About a month ago I decided to get very geeky and installed a command line emailing program: Sup. I started off by moving my main work account over to test it out and after a month of heavy testing I have now just moved my other accounts across.

So why?

Well, let me first state that Sup is no where near perfect. Crazy people out there still send me HTML email which obviously doesn’t display too well in a command line interface, but I can open those up in my browser. I still haven’t found a way to easily search and add multiple names from the address book to an email I’m composing. And there is that irritating thing that means if I’m writing an email, I can go back and view my inbox (note: this is probably my fault, I’m using a popup window’d emacs).

But the thing is these are all fixable. It is open source, so if these things really pissed me off then I should learn Ruby and have a crack at fixing them myself. And the thing is I like Sup so much I just might.

Also Sup is being actively developed. If you have a look on the Gitorius page you can see that Sup’s maintainer William Morgan seems to spend every weekend hacking away! Plus there is a large list of active developers.

Yet I didn’t move all my mail accounts over to Sup just because I can fix things and if I can’t then hopefully someone else will!

No, I moved them all over because Sup appears to be slowly, email by email, saving my life.

I currently have 1893 emails index, but of these 1893 email, only 12 of them are in my inbox. For me this is unheard of.

Sup has provided me with such an easy system of filing and organising my mail that I can deal with it pretty much instantly, clearing my inbox. And over the last month I have found that keeping a clean inbox keeps my head pretty focused. I’m not worrying about all the emails I have to deal with. I am finding I can handle more stuff, get more stuff done and still have a tidy head.

This is great news!

Having this confidence of being able to handle more stuff, I’m wanting to handle more stuff. I want to do more things, I want to push projects forward. I am now no longer wallowing in an unorganised mess! So thank you William and thank you Sup – you are saving my life ;)

More stuff? Bring it on!

More Sup posts

Simple tools produce powerful results


Sometimes I really love the Linux world. Sometimes it all fits so neatly together and lets you just get stuff done. Sure it might take a bit of digging around, but when it all comes together it really is beautiful!

I’m waxing lyrical today because I have just managed to fit all the pieces together for a certain aspect of a large project we’re working here at ibrow towers. This particular problem was a three parter:

  1. Users can FTP into a server into their own directory.
  2. These users should be created automatically (i.e. sign up on site, get details, ftp) and have the same login credentials as the rest of the site
  3. Uploads to the FTP server should be monitored and each file processed

To solve this three part problem, I utilised the following:

  • VSFTPD FTP Server using MySQL as the credentials database
  • incron as the directory monitoring
  • bash as the glue


Ubuntu Jaunty command line email: Sup, OfflineIMAP and MSMTP

Recently I’ve been getting increasingly frustrated with both Thunderbird. Don’t get me wrong, it is an excellent email solution, but lately I’ve been finding that it is slowing down due to the amount of emails I have. I do have a webmail package attached to it, which I use of Thunderbird has slowed to a grinding halt, but sometimes, and as hard as this may be to believe, I’m not connected to the internets!

Also, using Thunderbird is just not geeky enough.

So I was looking for something better, something quicker that allowed me to download emails, but keep in sync my IMAP. And don’t forget, something truly dweeby. For me, this meant the command line. I find the more I use Linux the more I am drifting towards the command line as a way of getting things done.

After a bit of searching around, I found a Rails package called Sup. This looked like the ideal solution from my point of view. The authors seemed to be coming from the same head space I am regarding email, so I thought I’d give it a try.

After several hours hacking about, I now have it fully working, and even sending email, and I’ll outline the steps I took to get it up and running. I’m running Xubuntu Jaunty, but hopefully this will apply to most Ubuntu and Debian versions.

(more…) new site launched

At last (at very long last actually!) we have just launched our new site for our online development agency. (Did you spot the SEO-ness there?!) Whilst it is a bit sparse at the moment, over the next few weeks and months we’ll be adding to it, endeavouring to keep it a bubbling hub of life at ibrow. Please pop along, and let us know what you think.

It’s been 40 years: why can’t I visit the moon?

One small step for man, one giant wait for mankind.

Well, it was something like that. Today marks the 40th anniversary since man first landed on the moon. 40 years. Forty years. Four decades. Fourteen thousand, six hundred and ten days. And I have one question:

Why can’t I visit the moon?

On September 12, 1962 President Kennedy proclaimed that man will go to the moon, as a challenge, a challenge that “is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win”. And they did. America went to the moon. America travelled 238,857 miles and into the future. And we are now further away from the future then ever.

In the past forty (40!) years mankind has acheived the most amazing things. We have mapped the human genome, we have developed an entirely new method of instant, collaborative communication, we have cloned a life, we have accomplished medical advances that would astound people from 40 years ago, we have invented travel at twice the speed of sound (and then decommissioned it), for the love of god, we have invented the waffle-sole running shoe!!

So, why can’t I fly to the moon?

Because we have lost the will. We have lost the will because we are focusing on the now. We are fighting amongst ourselves instead of realising we are more alike than we want to admit. We are squabbling over who has the most vengeful invisible friend whilst ignoring the glorious beauty of the universe we live in. We are blaming each other for making the planet slightly warmer instead of doing something about it. We have been sucked into worldly problems of survival instead of lifting our heads above the grass to look at the amazing view. We are waiting to see what happens. We are looking to the past, we are looking behind us to admire what we’ve done.

The human race is living out of it’s inbox and we are all missing the bigger picture.

I think the words of Kennedy summed it up best: “the United States was not built by those who waited and rested and wished to look behind them. This country was conquered by those who moved forward–and so will space.”

So this is a plea from a citizen of a fallen empire: Come on America. Stop waiting. Stop looking to the past. Stop reminiscing about previous greatness. You are the only country that can possibly accomplish the unaccomplishable You are the only country that has the will, the drive, the energy to do this.

America, fly me to the moon.

The impending death of IE6. Or is it?

At last, at long, long last, there appears to be a groundswell of opposition to supporting IE6. The revolution has begun! First Twitter began hinting to its users to upgrade to Firefox 3.5 (oddly, even if you were using Firefox 3.5 apparently). Next Digg announced that they might be “cutting back on development time” for IE6. And now it appears that YouTube will be phasing out support for IE6.

IE6 is the bane of most developers’ lives (including yours truly). A lot of people are getting very excited about the prospect of no more IE6. I would be one of the first to crack open a bottle of bubbly when the final installation if IE6 was wiped from this world. But is this tactic of “phasing out” going to work? (more…)

Twitter is bollocks

I’ll let you into a little secret: I’m a huge Twitter fan. I’ve been using Twitter for over two years now (excluding a month’s break to get some actual work done) and I find it is a valuable source of news, opinion and comment. However, the more I think about it, I can’t help but conclude that Twitter is bollocks.

“But how can that be?!” I hear you cry, “surely Twitter is a the archetypal example of a Kuhnian paradigm shift: exponentially changing the way humans communicate with each other forever more. Gad zooks! just look at how it is redefining collective interaction, stripping out the once hierarchical monoliths of a bygone age, and helping to rebuild in their wake the conversations of meritocratic individualism, whilst simultaneously aiding us in our quest to navigate the choppy waters of “the long-tail“. For Christsakes man! what about the democratic ideal it is helping to instigate – just look at Iran!”

Well, yes, that is all true. But Twitter is still bollocks.

And it is bollocks for 3 reasons:

Non-technical mistakes made by programmers: Number 6

I have just been browsing few development blogs and in two separate posts about two completely different topics there was an interesting crossover.

First I was reading a post on “Making Good Software” which lists the top 5 non-technical mistakes programmers make. Their top 5 list was:

  1. Lack of discipline;
  2. Big egos;
  3. Being a bad communicator;
  4. Forgetting about the customer; and
  5. Not prioritizing the work properly.

Have a read of it, it’s pretty interesting.

I was also reading one of Jeff Atwood’s latest posts – “Code: It;s trivial” and I thought that the main point of his post could be slotted in at number 6 for non-technical mistakes.

Essentially Jeff was saying that programmers always think about the code.

They (and I know this is a massive sweeping generalisation, in which I include myself) forget that only coders care about the code. Real people, instead, care about the experience.

So this would be my “Number 6″ for non-technical mistakes programmers make:

Forgetting that the code is the means, not the end.

WordPress: Multiple Content Columns

I’ve been working on a WordPress site for a client with one of our developers Tom Hartnell. The design of this particular site was that some pages would need content displayed over multiple columns. This content had to be updatable by the client, as such it could not be hard coded into the template files.

We had a look around and we found a potential solution on this blog post.

We played around with this for a while but found that, whilst it was a good solution, it wasn’t quite suitable for our needs. What we needed was a solution which allowed us to have any number of columns and for each column to contain completely different content. The solution in the post demanded that each column start with the same HTML tag (H2 in the example). We decided to rewrite the function described above, based on the same principals, but updated and improved so it would fit our needs.

To see what the end result is, you can see a demo page.