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Newest Blog Items (reflexions)

muCommander for Local and Remote File Management

I use muCommander on my Mac and Windows machines to manage local and remote files. I like that it's cross-platform so my brain doesn't need to switch gears when I switch machines. What I mainly like is that it has side-by-side panes that each display a view of a directory and you can easily copy or move files between these two directories. My most common tasks with muCommander are:

You can do lots more with muCommander, including run it on any platform that supports Java and access & manage files on servers running SMB, NFS, HTTP, Bonjour, and --  starting with version 0.8.5 -- Amazon S3 & Hadoop HDFS.

muCommander 0.8.5 was released on 2010 February 24. It's free/libre open source software (FLOSS) and it's free/gratis. Check it out at and

To run muCommander you need to have a Java runtime environment installed on your system. Mac OS X systems have a Java runtime pre-installed, but Windows 7 systems do not. What I did to install Java on my new Windows 7 machine was to go to and follow the directions on What is the offline method for downloading and installing Java for a Windows computer?

Note: You do not need to enable Java in your web browsers and I recommend that you do not (unless you need to run a Java-based applet inside a browser).

See also: and

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History of Blogging

I've been thinking about how to redesign my web sites and this got me thinking about what exactly is a blog. There are lots of articles about this, but here's my take on it. In 1997 Jorn Barger coined the term "weblog" when he titled his site Robot Wisdom: a weblog by Jorn Barger. His site was a "log of the web" and this was the original meaning of "weblog" or "blog." Examples of this type of blog include:
  3. Open Directory Project (
  4. Social bookmarking sites such as
These sites record or log interesting places on the web. The main goal is to curate the web, to help people find interesting web pages and sites.

The word "blog" quickly evolved to mean both: where:
"log" means "diary" or "journal" or "listing" or "notebook" or "record"
Today "blog" is used to describe almost anything on the internet that is periodically updated. You can even think of old-fashioned .plan and .project files, which are available via the finger command, as blogs.

This means that all the streams that I produce can be thought of as blogs. Here are some of my blogs:
  1. my Twitter timeline
  2. my timeline
  3. my Delicious bookmarks
  4. my Blogger blog
  5. my Tumblr tumblelog (which is not ready for public consumption)
  6. my Infinite Ink pages (which I periodically update, although it might seem that I've abandoned them)
The first two are usually called microblogs. The third (bookmarks) is sometimes called a sideblog, The fourth is always called a blog (except by people who refuse to use the word "blog" because they don't like it from a language perspective). The fifth is usually called a tumblelog. The last, my Infinite Ink site, is not usually called a blog, but if you believe what I wrote above, it is.

For more information about the history of blogging, see:

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Testing Blogger's New "Read More" Jump Break

On 9-9-9, Blogger's Sean McCullough posted You Might As Well Jump!, which you can read at Blogger Buzz or at Blogger in Draft. This post is to test this new feature. Here we go...
Read more »

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Hi From Windows Live Writer

I’m using a Microsoft Windows machine for the first time in a long time and I’m trying out Windows Live Writer. So far, it looks good. Here’s what I like:

Here are some bugs and wishes:

Writer seems better than all the other Blog editors I’ve tried and I’m hoping it will inspire me to start blogging again. It might even inspire me to switch operating systems (from Mac OS X to MS Windows)! Tags:

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Tweeting Comments About Blog Items and Web Pages in General

Inspired by Faruk Ateş's The Killing of the Comments (Well, Almost), I've set up so that you can now use Twitter to comment on a blog item. You can also still comment via the Blogger comment form or a backlink. The advantages of Twitter are that it's short & sweet, it isn't as intimidating as posting on my site, and it's easier to have an ongoing conversation on Twitter than on my site. If you use Twitter to comment, make sure that you include the following in your tweet:

@nm #item-hashtag #Re

So a tweet about this blog item should include:

@nm #tweeting-com #Re

This will make it possible to search Twitter for tweets about my pages. For example, to find tweets about this blog item, search Twitter for @nm #tweeting-com. To find tweets about any of my web pages, search Twitter for @nm #Re.

It's not perfect, but I'm hoping it will make it easier for people to comment on my writing. I get a lot of private email comments about my writing and almost all of these should be public. I'm still working on this and here are some of my plans:

Please tweet any thoughts you have about this! (Or comment here if you don't have a Twitter account.)

Updated: 28.04.09 11:15

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Reverse Bradley Effect

Yes, We Can As I mentioned in my last post, I'm in Seattle, in the USA, where I haven't been much over the last eight years . I'm here to vote, to catch up with friends, and to decide if I want to move back. I don't like talking about politics and, as you can tell from my blog, I'm much more comfortable talking (and blogging) about nerdy stuff. I have some Republican friends, especially small-government, fiscally-responsible type Republicans, and I've been dreading talking to these people about this presidential election. But, a miraculous thing has happened: Most of them are voting for Obama! This is completely surprising to me and seems to be an example of the Reverse Bradley Effect. For a good discussion of this, see The Reverse-Bradley Effect by Kathleen Parker. Here is an excerpt:
But equally significant this time may become known as the Reverse-Bradley Effect: whites who would never admit to voting for a black man, but do. And, expanding the definition somewhat, Republicans and conservatives who would never admit to voting for a Democrat, especially one so liberal. Whether these dynamics are in balance won't be known for a while -- or perhaps ever. That's because the crux of the reverse syndrome is a code of omerta.

[. . .]

I've received too many e-mails and had too many conversations that began, "Just between you and me," and ended with, "I wouldn't want anyone at work to know," to believe that this is an insignificant trend.
I, too, was told that this was "just between you and me." I'm optimistic about the future, thankful for my wise friends, and inspired by the Yes We Can Song. Yes, YES, WE CAN.

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Rafael Nadal as Religious Experience

Rafael Nadal I just flew from London to Seattle and during the 9 hours and 40 minutes flight, I watched movies, TV, and more TV.  As I posted in 5 Things You Might Not Know About Me, I basically never watch TV so it was random luck that I even looked at the TV options. One option was titled something like Federer, Wimbledon 2008 and I chose it because of David Foster Wallace's article Federer as Religious Experience.* I was focusing on Roger Federer and trying to see what DFW saw, but ultimately I couldn't keep my eyes off Rafael Nadal. To explain my ignorance, I had no idea who was going to win and had barely even heard of Rafael Nadal. This is remarkable considering that I was in Paris when the French Open was played in June and in London when Wimbledon was played in July. I was so mesmerized by this game, and especially Nadal, that I stopped watching the movie Baby Mama and switched back to the Sport channel and watched the game again. Over the 9+ hours, I think I watched it four times.

So thank you again David Foster Wallace for helping me to see something I was ignoring or forgetting about this glorious world we live in. If you're wondering what I'm talking about, read DFW and watch some Federer or Nadal, especially this greatest match ever.

*And/or, see a PDF of the print-version of DFW's Federer as Religious Experience.

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Economic Deflexions

As I posted in when things fall apart, I'm fascinated by what's going on in the financial world. To help me keep up, I'm collecting a list of blogs and sites that seem good at explaining what's going on. Here's my list so far: I'll keep updating this list until economics is no longer interesting to me, so keep checking back if you're also interested in this. Also, here are three videos that I recommend: These videos are all very good, but the last one with Nouriel Roubini is amazing. Fast non-stop flow of clear deep analysis - wow!

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Test post from Flock 2b2 -- ignore

Checking out the latest Flock. I wish it displayed my existing Blogger labels...
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test - please ignore

the goal: blog item looks good in email, feed reader, and tools that may not support css. i want to be able to use default HTML tags like

(paragraph) -- why doesn't blogger let me do this? this is also a test of the new 'Show HTML literally' compose setting

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Zimbra Desktop, IMAP, Yahoo, Microsoft, and Google

The big news today is that the latest release of Yahoo Zimbra Desktop can be used to access YMail messages via IMAP. For details, see Zimbra Desktop Beta 3’s New Features in the Zimbra blog. Here is an excerpt:
Yahoo! Mail users rejoice - There’s now IMAP access through Zimbra Desktop to all free, plus, and business accounts. You didn’t read that wrong. Normally only Plus accounts have POP access, but as a perk when using Zimbra Desktop the mail is synced via IMAP; which is a much better protocol for keeping your mail organized - and yes it’s available to free accounts as well. . . .
This release makes Zimbra Desktop available to a quarter-billion Yahoo! users with support for 20+ languages.
As always, Zimbra Desktop includes these features:
Lots more Zimbra Desktop features are listed on the Zimbra Desktop features page.

This is big news because it means that Zimbra Desktop -- and its soon-to-be millions of YMail users -- might have a real chance of overthrowing the Microsoft desktop email clients (Outlook, Outlook Express, Entourage, etc.) and eventually maybe even Exchange. This might be one of the reasons that Microsoft was so eager to buy Yahoo.

The surprise for me is that Yahoo beat Google at doing this. On 27 January 2005, in a comp.mail.imap thread titled IMAP for Gmail, I predicted Google would do something like this. Here's an excerpt of my post:
I bet that Gmail is creating their own desktop IMAP client and that they are going to release Gmail server-side IMAP simultaneously with the Gmail IMAP client.
I still think that Google is going to do something like this, probably based on Gears. I discuss Gears, Prism (which Zimbra Desktop is based on), and rich internet applications in general in my blog item titled The Cloud, WebApps, and Desktop Apps.

To learn more about today's release of Zimbra Desktop, see:

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Blogger's New Embedded Comment Form

Last week Blogger released a number of useful new features at Blogger in draft. This post is to see if the embedded comment form works with an FTP blog (a Blogger blog that is not hosted at Google).

For details about this and the other new features, see these Blogger in draft postings:
If it works, please try out the comment form and leave a comment.

Update: It worked! Comments are still welcome.

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NetNewsWire and Animated Sorting

Ever since NetNewsWire became gratis on 2008-January-09, I've been using it as one of my desktop feed readers. I just noticed something very cool. First, go to the View menu,  choose Sort Subscriptions By, and make sure Animate Sorting is checked. Then change your Subscriptions sort order and watch your subscribed feeds float up and over and around each other until they settle into their new position. This is so much fun that I've been clicking the Refresh All button way more than I used to!

In my preferences, I've  set my feed subscriptions to refresh "Manually only." I chose "Manually only" because I only wanted to look at feeds about once a day and then do the refresh at that one time each day (different time on different days, but only once a day). A positive side effect of refreshing manually is that I get to watch the animation. A negative side effect is that I'm refreshing about ten times a day now because it's so much fun to watch the animation. So beware of a possible new addiction/time waster.

While playing around with this, I discovered the sort by Last Update option, which is now  my preferred sort. I wish my email client let me sort my incoming mailboxes by Last Update. Actually, I wish that NetNewsWire were an IMAP client as well as a feed client! But for now I'm quite satisfied using it as a feed reader and as one of my web browsers. It's a pretty good web browser too.

Note: NetNewsWire 3.1.5 was released today, 2008-April-15.

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The Cloud, WebApps, and Desktop Apps

Cloud computing has been around since the beginning of the Internet and actually in the beginning it was just the cloud. Back then you telnetted to a host in the cloud and ran apps on that cloud-based host that accessed cloud-based data. For example this is how email, Usenet, and ftp worked. Let's call that Web 0.0. The revolution that brought the Internet to the masses was the creation of desktop apps that could access the cloud. Let's call that Web 1.0. With Web 2.0 there was a lot of excitement about moving apps off the desktop and onto the cloud. These web-based apps made it easy to run your apps and access your data independent of what desktop computer you were using. To me this was pretty much the same as Web 0.0, except instead of living in telnet windows, you lived in browser windows. Now people are getting excited about moving their web-based apps to the desktop. For example, look at all the desktop-based Twitter apps. And look at all the excitement about rich Internet application platforms such as Adobe AIR, Google Gears, Microsoft SilverlightMozilla Prism, all of which bring WebApps to the desktop. So are we back at Web 1.0 or is this Web 3.0? Or maybe Web 2.5?

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Comparing Social Bookmarking Services

The last post about my Procmail Quick Start being bookmarked 300 times at inspired me to look at other social bookmarking services and see how popular the Procmail Quick Start (PQS) is elsewhere. Here's what I found. It seems that is where the nerds hang out and it makes sense that every time I look around for a better bookmarking service, I decide that is the best choice for me, at least for now. Of the alternate bookmarking services I just looked at, Simpy looks the most interesting, especially the link history page, which includes a graph.

What do you think? What social bookmarking service(s) do you use and why?

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Procmail: Still Popular After All These Years

My Procmail Quick Start, which started out as part of the Filtering Mail FAQ in 1994, is still popular after all these years. This week its primary URL was bookmarked for the 300th time at The top of its history page currently looks like this: · Procmail Quick Start: An introduction to email filtering with a focus on procmail by Nancy McGough
this url has been saved by 300 people.
Thank you to everyone who has bookmarked it, sent me feedback, or participated in Procmail discussions over the years!

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htaccess excerpts and notes

Here are some excerpts from my .htaccess files. I'm posting these because I often need to remember the syntax of these commands and it's easier to look at the commands here on my blog than to ssh to my DreamHost or Verio web-hosting account and look at them there. Also, I hope these excerpts and notes will be useful to others.

Note: In the code below, a line that begins with a single hash (#) is code that is commented out and a line that begins with two hashes (##) is a comment about the code.

Used Everywhere
## Block viewing of .htaccess files
<Files .htaccess>
order allow,deny
deny from all

## Do not let IP address access (GET) the site
## Uncomment these 5 lines if someone or something is abusing the site
## Note: 'GET' can be replaced by 'GET POST PUT'
# <Limit GET>
# order allow,deny
# allow from all
# deny from
# </Limit>

## If a directory is requested, do not list the files in the directory
Options -Indexes

## Next is sometimes needed, but might already be set in the server configuration
# AddDefaultCharset UTF-8

## Next is needed if you use Rewrite rules
## (examples of RewriteCond and RewriteRule are in the sections below)
RewriteEngine On

## Next Rewrite option is often already set in the server configuration
## Uncomment if Rewrite rules don't work
# Options +FollowSymLinks

The next sections include examples that use the Apache mod_rewrite module. If they seem confusing, it's because they are! As Brian Behlendorf, one of the primary developers of the Apache web server, said:
The great thing about mod_rewrite is it gives you all the configurability and flexibility of Sendmail. The downside to mod_rewrite is that it gives you all the configurability and flexibility of Sendmail.
This quote, along with some other good quotes, is on the Apache Documentation mod_rewrite page.

Used at
## Specify the MIME type of unknown file extensions
## This is needed because I use extensionless URLs at
## If default is HTML, use:
# DefaultType text/html
## If default is PHP, use:
DefaultType application/x-httpd-php

## If URL points to a directory, serve the first of these files that exist
DirectoryIndex index index.php index.html index.atom

## PHP include files are located in this directory
php_value include_path "/path/i/do/not/want/to/publish/on/my/blog/_shared"

## If '' is requested, remove 'index'
## The goal is to get people & machines to link to 1 & only 1 URL for this page
## Details at Wikipedia's URL normalization (aka URL canonicalization)
## Another examples of URL canonicalization is in the Infinite Ink section below
## Note: '^[A-Z]{3,9}\ /' matches GET POST PROPFIND etc, followed by space slash
## This RewriteCond avoids infinite loops
RewriteCond %{THE_REQUEST} ^[A-Z]{3,9}\ /index\ HTTP/
RewriteRule ^index$ [R=301,L]

## Redirect this URL-path to the current URL
Redirect permanent /messaging/blogs/

## For details about these RedirectMatch lines, see
## Twitter, TinyURL, Dots, Dashes, and My htaccess File
## Note: The order of these 5 RedirectMatch lines matters!
RedirectMatch 301 ^/(2008/../[^.]*)\.([^.]*)\.([^.]*)\.([^.]*)\.([^.]*)\.([^.]*)$$1-$2-$3-$4-$5-$6
RedirectMatch 301 ^/(2008/../[^.]*)\.([^.]*)\.([^.]*)\.([^.]*)\.([^.]*)$$1-$2-$3-$4-$5
RedirectMatch 301 ^/(2008/../[^.]*)\.([^.]*)\.([^.]*)\.([^.]*)$$1-$2-$3-$4
RedirectMatch 301 ^/(2008/../[^.]*)\.([^.]*)\.([^.]*)$$1-$2-$3
RedirectMatch 301 ^/(2008/../[^.]*)\.([^.]*)$$1-$2
'301' is equivalent to 'permanent'

Used at Infinite Ink
## If the requested hostname is anything other than,
## rewrite it to
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} !^$
RewriteRule (.*)$1 [R=301]

## Remove trailing 'index.html' from requested URLs
## See Note above about the regular expression '^[A-Z](3,9}\ /'
RewriteCond %{THE_REQUEST} ^[A-Z]{3,9}\ /([^/]+/)*index\.html\ HTTP/
RewriteRule ^(([^/]+/)*)index\.html$$1 [R=301,L]

## Redirect this local URL-path to the current URL
Redirect permanent /communicate

Comments, suggestions, and questions are welcome!

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Twitter, TinyURL, Dots, Dashes, and My htaccess File

After a number of experiments and reading & participating in the twitter-development-talk mailing list, I can now tweet about updates to my pages without Twitter converting my URLs to TinyURLs. First, here's what I've learned about Twitter and TinyURLs:
If a URL path in a tweet contains only forward slashes (/), dots (.), and alphanumeric characters, Twitter does not convert the URL to a TinyURL.
I plan to start tweeting about pages when I update them and if a page's URL contains dashes, tweet it with the dashes replaced by dots. For example, the tweet about this blog item uses this URL:
The .htaccess file on my server includes this line:
RedirectMatch 301 ^/(2008/../[^.]*)\.([^.]*)\.([^.]*)\.([^.]*)\.([^.]*)\.([^.]*)$$1-$2-$3-$4-$5-$6
which redirects the URL to this:
which is the actual URL of the blog item. This way I maintain control of URLs that lead to my pages and TinyURL does not get to track and profile people who visit my pages via my tweets.

If you have a suggestion for a better way to do this, please post a comment. For example, I'm wondering if it would be better to use RewriteCond & RewriteRule rather than RedirectMatch in my .htaccess file. Some thoughts about this are in WhenNotToUseRewrite in the Apache Documentation Wiki.

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Using Alpine in an X11 Terminal

Alpine is my primary IMAP, NNTP, & ESMTP client and for years I've used it without a mouse. Using the keyboard is usually an efficient way to navigate, manage, and write messages, but sometimes I dream about being able to use a mouse. With the release of Alpine 1.10 on 2008-March-18 and my recent upgrade to Mac OS X Leopard, I decided to try using it in an X11 Terminal again. In the past I've failed to get it to work well, but today I succeeded! Here are some details about how I got it to work.

Important: These instructions worked on Leopard, but will probably not work on Tiger (or earlier) because the X11 configuration is significantly different in Leopard than in earlier versions of OS X. Details about X11 on Leopard are here and here.
  1. Install the latest Alpine. For details, see my blog item titled Building and Installing Alpine (Apache-Licensed Pine).

  2. In a window, run
    xterm -e alpine &
  3. In Alpine, go to Main > Setup > Config (MSC) and set this feature:
    [X]  Enable Mouse in Xterm
    Read Alpine's built-in Help about Enable Mouse in Xterm (by typing Ctrl-G or ?), but note that in Leopard you should not explicitly set the DISPLAY environment variable. Instead, it will be set automatically when xterm runs. This is one of the changes in Leopard.

  4. Read the built-in Help about the following two features and decide if you would like to set them. Here are the settings that I use:
    [X]  Enable Newmail in Xterm Icon
    [ ] Enable Newmail Short Text in Icon

  5. In Alpine, go to Main > Setup > Kolor (MSK) and set
    Color Style
    Set Rule Values
    --- ----------------------
    ( ) no-color
    ( ) use-termdef
    ( ) force-ansi-8color
    ( ) force-ansi-16color
    (*) force-xterm-256color
    After you set the color style, use the Space and - keys to navigate the SETUP COLOR screen and choose colors that you like.

  6. Save your settings and quit Alpine.

  7. Quit X11.

  8. In a window, run
    xterm -e alpine &
    and check that the mouse and colors are working.

  9. If you plan to run Alpine in an X11 Terminal regularly, set up an alias in your ~/.bashrc (or ~/.bash_profile) that you can use to launch xalpine with the xterm settings (fonts, geometry, etc.) that you like. For example, here is the alias that I'm currently using:
    alias xal='xterm -fa DejaVu\ Sans\ Mono -fs 18 -geometry 116x32+0+0 -e alpine &'

Tip 1: The DejaVu fonts, which include the DejaVu Sans Mono font that I use in my 'xal' alias above, are libre and include many Unicode characters. To see if the DejaVu fonts are installed on your system, view this DejaVu Testing page in your web browser.

Tip 2: Cmd-double-clicking anywhere on a URL in an xterm will send it to your default web browser.

Tip 3: To select text in xalpine, you need to hold down the Shift key while using the mouse to select the text. After the text is selected, Cmd-C can be used to copy the text.

Tip 4: To paste text into xalpine, you need to first type Ctrl-\ to turn off Alpine's Xterm mouse tracking, then middle-click (Alt-click) at the location where you would like the text to be pasted. Note that in order for this to work you need to go to X11 > Preferences > Input and check 'Emulate three button mouse'. 

Please post any tips, suggestions, or questions you have about using Alpine in an X11 Terminal. 

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Using MacVim Almost Everywhere in Mac OS X

MacVim 7.1 snapshot 24 was released on 2008-March-14 and includes built-in [*] support for the ODB Editor Suite protocol. If you activate "External Editor" in the MacVim >Preferences > Integration panel, a menu item named "Edit in MacVim" will appear in the Edit menu of lots of Mac OS X applications, including the apps listed here. This is fantastic and has made Mac OS X much more fun for me. For example, I'm currently editing this blog item in Blogger running in Safari. If I want to mess around with the HTML of this blog item, I can do this: 
  1. Click the Blogger "Edit Html" tab.
  2. From the Safari Edit menu, choose Edit in MacVim.
  3. Use MacVim to edit the HTML and then use the Vim command :wq to write and quit.
  4. The focus returns to the Blogger blog item text box, which now contains the text that MacVim wrote out.
This makes Blogger blog editing infinitely easier and possibly means that I can stop my search for another blog editing tool. And maybe I'll start blogging more!

Tip 1: To tell  MacVim that you are editing an HTML file, you can either use the following command within MacVim:
:set ft=html
Or put this line in your .vimrc:
autocmd BufRead *.safari setfiletype html
This autocmd works because Safari uses the extension .safari for the name of the temporary file that is read by MacVim.
Tip 2: For more HTML+Vim tips, see the thread HTML editing and tag completion that I started in the vim_mac mailing list.

[*] In Snapshot 23 and earlier, the ODB Editor could not be activated in the Preferences panel but instead needed to be activated via a complicated sequence of commands.

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A Blogger And Twitter Experiment

This is step 1 of an experiment, the title is currently A.Blogger.And.Twitter.Experiment. Details after I find out what happens...

Update 1: Step 2 is to change the title to A Blogger And Twitter Experiment (dots replaced by spaces).

Update 2: Here's what I learned: If you change a Blogger blog item title, the original URL is preserved. You can use this trick as a way to create a blog item URL that does not contain the dash character (-) and thus won't be TinyURLed by Twitter. The URL of this blog item is and I link to it from this Twitter item.

But, I'd rather that Twitter gave users the ability to turn off TinyURLing!

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Subscribing to a Google Group Without a Google Account

I just subscribed to the Twitter Development Talk mailing list and it took me a while to figure out how to subscribe without signing in to my Google account. To make it easy to remember how to do this, I'm posting the details here. The first step is to go to the About this group page and look for this line:

Group email
Next, use your email client to compose a message like this:

Subject: subscribe
where the From: address is the email address that you would like to receive the list mail, and the To: address includes the string -subscribe before the @ symbol. After you send this subscription request, you will need to confirm the subscription request.

Note that not all Google Groups support email subscriptions.

See Also: Google Help > Google Groups Help > Getting started > The basics > How do I subscribe to a group?

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Hi from ecto

I'm still searching for a desktop blog editor. Today I'm trying ecto 3 βeta 24, which is $18 and runs on Mac OS X and MS Windows. Today is day 1 of my 21-day trial and so far it seems pretty good.

BTW, Happy New Year, Gung hay fat choy, Sun nien fai lok, Xin nian yu kuai, Godt Nytår, Gelukkig nieuwjaar, Aide shoma mobarak, Bonne année, Aith-bhliain Fe Nhaise Dhuit, Gutes Neues Jahr, Hauoli Makahiki Hou, Shanah tovah, Nyob zoo xyoo tshiab, elamat Tahun Baru, Buon Capo d'Anno, Akemashite Omedetou Gozaimasu, Godt Nyttår, Maligayang Bagong Taon, Szczesliwego Nowego roku, Feliz ano novo, La Multi Ani, S Novym Godom, Feliz Año Nuevo, Wilujeng Tahun Baru, Gott Nytt År, Yeni Yiliniz Kutlu Olsun, Blwyddyn Newydd Dda!

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when things fall apart

I'm fascinated by what's going on in the financial world right now and just exchanged email with a friend who has given me permission to post his thoughts (anonymously). First, some background thanks to MetaFilter: To me, the comments from Malor are especially insightful. For some technical background, see: Now, here are some excerpts of our email conversation. I said, among other things:
I think what's going on with my psychology is that when things are going up, I'm just waiting for the turnaround, and dreading it. When things are going down, I feel better because I'm no longer holding my breath waiting for the crash. ... I wonder what it says about me that I feel better once the pop happens. What about you, are you feeling better or worse now that this pop is happening? How did you feel when the dotcom pop/crash happened?
Here is my friend's reply:
when things fall apart there is a bit of, what's it called, schadenfreude, I think it is. Usually, though when things come apart it pretty quickly becomes scary and painful, even if one really disliked all the dumb-a** stuff on the way up. These big waves, like the dot com thing and now the real estate thing made me feel as though everyone is living in some weird other reality.... it is like the whole run up to the Iraq War too... it's like, "what's happened to reality?" "is everyone mad?" and so on. It's very uncomfortable... and I suppose if it were not, then market waves wouldn't have such power... It's group-think and since we are all social animals it is very hard to resist unless you've been dropped on your head at an early age. I certainly didn't feel happy about the Iraq War outcome, even though I feel I pretty clearly anticipated just how it would go and alas continues to go... and in this crash, I guess I'm glad to see the crazy excess begin to get driven out of the markets and maybe too out of the neighborhood too! but, lots of perfectly nice people get ground up in these things as well, so one can't go around feeling that being a little bit right sometimes is doing anyone much good. But, too, it is easy to just be too pessimistic all the time and so to miss the upside and to really profoundly also to miss what is going on -- so, balance, insight, intuition and so on....
It's nice to have wise friends.

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Blogging with MarsEdit

MarsEdit: Powerful Blog Authoring Made Simple. I'm still searching for a good desktop tool to manage my blogs and today I'm trying MarsEdit. I've resisted MarsEdit because it's not cross-platform (it's Mac only) and it costs $30. In a perfect world, I'd use only cross-platform FLOSS software. I want cross-platform because it makes it easier for me to switch platforms and it also makes it easier for me to support people who are not using one of the platforms I use. I want FLOSS because I think that's the way software in general is moving and I think it's more likely that a FLOSS app will be around in a few years. Also, it helps that FLOSS apps are usually gratis! But, I'm not very happy with Bleezer, which is cross-platform, or Flock, which is cross-platform and FLOSS, so I'm trying out this single-platform non-FLOSS app.

So far I like it. I especially like that:

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1Password and Browser Independence

I use lots of web browsers, mainly Camino, Flock, OmniWeb, & Opera right now, and I'm constantly on the look out for tools that make it easy to switch between browsers. I've known about 1Password, which used to be known as 1Passwd, for a long time, but always resisted using it because I didn't want to pay $30. Last week I finally broke down and tried it, and it has made my browsing life much much better. I was thinking that I might actually buy it after my trial ends and then today, thanks to the Opinions section on the 1Password page at IUseThis, I learned that you can get a gratis 1Password license at this 1Password+Mac Gems promotion page. I don't know how long this promotion will last so if you're interested, I recommend that you sign up right away.

As you can read about on the 1Password site and blog, 1Password has won many awards and is a nominee for one of the Macworld 2007 Readers' Choice Awards.

See Also:  Dancing With the Web Browsers, where I discuss strategies I use to make it easy to switch between browsers, and IUseThis: Social Networking for Nerds, where I discuss why I use IUseThis.

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IUseThis: Social Networking for Nerds

I pay a lot of attention to software as you can tell by looking at the sidebar on the home page, where I list tools and services that I use or that I'm considering using. I recently started using to track the Mac OS X software that I use. It's an easy way to find out about updates, to learn about tips & problems from other users, and to learn about other software that I might like. Lots of people blog about the OS X software that they use and I often bookmark such posts in my bookmarks with the tag OSX, but it's overwhelming to go through these posts and decide what software I might actually want to try. IUseThis is a fun way to browse through software lists and quickly get a sense of what software might be useful to me. To me, IUseThis is an example of social networking for nerds. If you're a nerd like me and wondering what all the excitement about social networking is about, I recommend that you try IUseThis or some other object-centric social network service.

To learn about social networking, see:
To learn about the distinction between object-centric social networks and ego-centric social networks, see:
I'm mainly interested in using object-centric social networks, such as IUseThis and social bookmarking services, and my guess is that this is also the case for my fellow nerds.

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Flock changes the appearance of my web pages

Now that Flock 1.0 is out, I'm experimenting with using it as my default browser. There are a lot of things I like about it, especially the built-in blog editor, which I'm using right now [*]. I'm not sure if I like the way they've hooked it into, the social bookmarking website, though. Normally when I go to my bookmarks page, I see this:
your bookmarks | your network | subscriptions | links for you | post

But now that I've used Flock's built-in "Favorite This Page..." command to post some bookmarks to, I see this:
your favorites | your network | subscriptions | links for you | post

Notice the difference? Yuk! I don't want Flock messing around with the appearance of web pages, especially changing words! [**]

I'm hoping there's a way to fix this -- please let me know if you know.

[*] I've temporarily edited Flock Preferences > Advanced > Sharing so it looks like this:
[X] Include "Shared with Flock" text when sharing
It's nice (and essential to me) that this is configurable, which is not the case in Bleezer.

[**] Unless I've requested it in the Flock Preferences, e.g. using the minimum font size.

Blogged with Flock

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Trying Flock, the Social Web Browser

I'm experimenting with Flock, the social web browser, and this post is mainly to test Flock's built-in blogging tool. Flock is based on Firefox and is produced by a for-profit company named Flock. The Flock browser is gratis, but I'm not sure how libre it is. If you have thoughts about Flock, please post a comment.

Update: According to the Flock (web browser) page at, the Flock browser can be licensed under either the GPL license or the MPL/GPL/LGPL tri-license, so it seems that it is FLOSS.

To learn more about Flock, the company, see Flock at and at

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September 2003 - March 2007 News from the All About Pine page

As I mentioned in my previous four posts, I'm cleaning up my web pages. Here are the News items that used to be listed on All About Pine: POP, IMAP, NNTP, & ESMTP Client for Unix, MS Windows, and Mac OS X.

These Pine-related news items are displayed only on the permalink for this item.

[green pine icon]
2007 March 12 On this page, added Wish #1: Feed Wishes.

[alpine icon]
2007 March 2 The University of Washington (UW) released Alpine 0.83, Pico 4.93, Pilot 2.99, UW IMAP Toolkit imap-2006f,
and mailutil 2006f.6 for αlpha testing. To learn about the Alpine Message System, which is basically Pine 5.0, and to help test it, see the UW Alpine Information Center.

[green pine icon]

2007 March 2 SeaMonkey Suite 1.1.1 released. The SeaMonkey Suite IMAP client is a nice complement to Pine and I discuss it below in SeaMonkey Suite and Thunderbird versus Pine. I've written about why I use SeaMonkey Suite in SeaMonkey Suite 1.0.1 and Send This Page in my blog, and in Re: Seamonkey mail vs Thunderbird in the newsgroup.

Note: SeaMonkey Suite 1.1+ supports many (maybe infinitely many?) IMAP keywords. IMAP Keywords are discussed in Setting Up Keywords (Labels) on the Power Pine page.

[alpine icon]
2007 January 30 In my blog, I posted an item titled Building and Installing Alpine (Apache-Licensed Pine).

[green pine icon]
2006 December 6 The University of Washington won a $100,000 Mellon Award for Technology Collaboration (MATC) “for the development and support of IMAP/PINE email tools.” To learn more about this, see MATC 2006 Winners Announced, MATC Winners 2006, and UW a Recipient of the First Annual Mellon Awards for Technology Collaboration. Congratulations to the Pine Team!

[green pine icon]
2006 November 24 On the Power Pine page, added a section titled Privacy Configuration Settings.

[green pine icon]
2006 November 19 At Slashdot, there is a discussion about Eduardo Chappa's Patches For Pine Going Away. As usual, some Slashdotters are commenting without reading the referenced page (which is mirrored here).

[purple mulberry]
2006 September 20 and 25 Cyrus Daboo released Mulberry 4.0.6 and I posted a blog item titled One-Click Tagging in Mulberry. If you would like to really understand IMAP or IMAP keywords (which are discussed on the Power Pine page), I highly recommend that you use Mulberry as one of your IMAP clients. Mulberry is an excellent complement to Pine and I discuss it in IMAP Arena 1: Mulberry versus Pine below.

[purple mulberry]
2006 August 20 Mulberry, which is a very good cross-platform email and calendar client, is now free/gratis and version 4.0.5 has been released. This is great news for IMAP users, especially if you use IMAP keywords (discussed on the Power Pine page), LDAP address books, or the Sieve filtering language. Mulberry is an excellent complement to Pine and I discuss it below in the section IMAP Arena 1: Mulberry versus Pine. I discuss the trend towards making software free (both gratis and libre) in my blog in the item Freeing the IMAP Clients.

[green pine icon]
2006 August 18 On the Power Pine page, updated the sections Using the Incoming-Folders Collection (aka Pine Shortcuts) and Using Pine's incoming-archive-folders Variable. I also started a discussion thread in about Understanding Pine incoming-folders and incoming-archive-folders. Please join the discussion if you have any questions or comments about Pine incoming folders.

[green pine icon]
2006 August ~2 The University of Washington (UW) launched the Alpine Information Center. Alpine is the name of the upcoming Apache-Licensed Pine and includes Unix, Mac OS X, & MS-Windows desktop versions of Pine, and a web-based version of Pine (formerly known as WebPine). I discuss the history of, and problems related to, the current Pine license in the section Free/Libre Open Source Software and Pine below. I discuss the trend towards making software free (both libre and gratis) in Freeing the IMAP Clients at

[green pine icon]
2006 June 19 On the Power Pine page, added a section called Using a Shell Script to Launch Pine.

[green pine icon]
2006 June 9 has a poll about What's your favorite email application? Check out the discussion and the poll results (currently ~1% of the votes are for Pine). And vote!

[green pine icon]
2006 June 7 If you use Pine on Mac OS X, check out today's blog item, which is titled Clicks, Colors, and Speed in Terminal and iTerm. This discusses why I run Pine in Terminal rather than iTerm, and includes some useful Mac Pine tips. Related Mac Pine tips are in Mac url-viewer tips on the Power Pine page.

[green pine icon]
2006 May 17 In my blog, I posted an item titled Server-Side Message Labels, which describes how I use labels to help me manage my email. I discuss how to use labels in Pine in Setting Up Keywords (Labels) on the Power Pine page.

[green pine icon]
2006 May 11 Mark Crispin posted a message to gmane.mail.imap.uw.c-client message in which he said:
“imap-2006 will be a major update... There's a major update to Pine in progress as well. The two will be released together, as has been our practice for the past several years.”

[green pine icon]
2006 May 6 On the Power Pine page, updated the Collection Tips section so there is now an explanation of how Pine represents directory names and dual-use names (aka hybrid folders). A dual-use name is a single name that is used for both a mailbox and a directory.

[green pine icon]
2006 February 26 In Reading From Multiple News Servers on the Power Pine page, added information about how you can use Pine and the Genecast NNTP server to read feeds, including my bookmarks feed.

[green pine icon]

Starting 2006 February 23 In comp.mail.pine, there is a discussion titled Do people still use Pine? This thread includes more than 35 messages -- don't be shy about posting your thoughts!

[green pine icon]

2006 February 4 On the Power Pine page, updated Fun with Color and Kolor so it now includes a subsection called Index Color Rule and Virtual Mailbox Example. The new subsection includes:

  1. an example index color rule, which I use to color solicited-bulk-email messages blue on my Pine MESSAGE INDEX screen, and
  2. instructions for creating a “virtual mailbox” of messages that match this rule.

[green pine icon]

2006 January 23 In my blog, I posted a blog item titled IMAP Tip: Use a backup-all mailbox. A backup-all mailbox has many uses, including providing an easy way to have an instance of Pine notify you about all your new (RECENT) incoming messages and a good place to experiment with and learn about Pine saved searches (virtual mailboxes). Details are in the blog item.

[green pine icon]
2005 December 16 In comp.mail.pine, Chris Game posted a message in which he said:
Every time I've tried to read through [the Power Pine page] in search of some useful tips, I've lost the will to live well before the end!
I know that that page and this page (which are both more than ten years old BTW) are overwhelming and out of control, and I plan to move them — and all the Infinite Ink pages — into a searchable modularized groovy wiki in 2006. I hope we can all maintain the will to live until then! (:-))

[green pine icon]
2005 November 28 In comp.mail.pine, I posted instructions for installing the UW pre-built pine-bin.osx-10.4.Z on Mac OS X Tiger. If you want to build Pine yourself, for example if you want to use a PASSFILE or if you are using a system for which there is no pre-built binary, see the Build Tips in Using a PASSFILE with Unix and Mac Pine on the Power Pine page.

[green pine icon]
2005 November 25 As I announced in a blog post titled Turning on Comments or My Own Private Usenet, I have enabled comments in my blog. Your comments are welcome!

[green pine icon]
2005 September & August On this page, added Wish #1: List the Relevant INBOX in every IMAP FOLDER LIST and 4 [New!] wishes to the Miscellaneous Pine Wishes below.

[green pine icon]

2005 September 28 As announced here, the University of Washington (UW) released Pine 4.64, Pico 4.10, Pilot 2.0, and UW IMAP Toolkit version 2004g. To see what's new and to download the Pine Message System, go to

Important: Because of a buffer overflow problem in earlier versions of UW IMAP and Pine, it is recommended that everyone upgrade to UW IMAP 2004g+ and Pine 4.64+.

[green pine icon]
2005 August 25 In the Gmail Tips section of the Power Pine page, I added a tip about how to “bounce forward” (redirect) archived messages to Gmail. Now that Gmail lets users customize the 'From:' address in outgoing mail, many people, e.g. Jeremy Zawodny (but not me), are switching to Gmail.

[green pine icon]
2005 August 19

[green pine icon]
2005 July 30 - April 4 Eduardo Chappa posted a Pine Tip of the Day. These tips are available via the web (HTTP) or via a web feed (RSS/XML).

[green pine icon]
2005 July 2 On the Power Pine page, added Step 6A, which is about the default-fcc variable, and combined Steps 6B & 6C into Step 6C.

[green pine icon]
2005 June 26 On the Power Pine page, added a tip to the Speeding Up Pine section. This new tip is currently #28 and is especially useful if you have a slow connection to the Net and run Pine remotely in an ssh window. This tip includes a sample slowpine alias that you can use to launch Pine when you have a slow connection.

[green pine icon]
2005 June 1 On the Power Pine page, added a section called Using the Rename Command to Move a Mailbox.

[yin yang symbol]
2005 May 8 On the Power Pine page, updated the section Using Pine's Built-In Fetch (#move) Ability so it now includes a subsection called The Metaphysics of a #move Folder: Noun or Verb?

[green pine icon]
2005 May 2 On this page, added Wish #2: Filter Wishes. On the Power Pine page, updated the section Using a Pine Filter to Automatically Move Messages.

[green pine icon]
2005 April 28 As announced here, the University of Washington (UW) released Pine 4.63, Pico 4.10, Pilot 2.0, and UW IMAP Toolkit version 2004e. To see what's new, go to

[green pine icon]
2005 March 9-12 On the Power Pine page:

[green pine icon]
2005 February 13-22 On the Power Pine page:

On the Compartmentalizing and Sharing Your Pine Configuration page, updated the...

[green pine icon]
2005 January 18 The University of Washington (UW) released Pine 4.62, Pico 4.9, Pilot 2.0, and UW IMAP Toolkit version 2004c. This version of Pine satisfies a lot of my Pine wishes, including my (now former) #1 Pine wish and part of my #2 Pine wish, and includes a new way to check the current and stay-open mailboxes for recent messages.

[little green bug]

2005 January 17 On the Power Pine page, added a section called Bugs and Debugging.

[green pine icon]
2005 January 4 On the Power Pine page, I updated the section called Using the incoming-folders Collection. While updating this section, I realized that:
You can think of your Pine Incoming Folders as your Pine Bookmarks or Favorites or Daily Reads.
And I added that bit of insight to the Incoming-Folders Tips.

[green pine icon]
2004 November 20 On the Power Pine page, I added a section called POPping Gmail is Different. This describes how I use Pine to move a copy of my Gmail messages to an IMAP server and lists five ways in which Gmail is different from other POP service providers.

[green pine icon]
2004 November 10 In the article Google Brings E-Mail Client Access to Gmail, Matt Hicks said that today (Nov. 10) Google “began providing free POP3 (Post Office Protocol 3) access on Gmail accounts.” I discuss using Pine with Gmail in the section POPping Gmail is Different on the Power Pine page.

[green pine icon]
2004 October 28 Steve Hubert, a member of the Pine Team, posted a message in comp.mail.pine, in which he said that in the next version of Pine (4.62), the aggregate select command (;) will be able to select based on a pre-existing rule. This will make it possible to create saved searches or virtual mailboxes. Thank you to Gopi Sundaram for suggesting this great feature.

[green pine icon]
2004 October 26 On this page:

[green pine icon]
2004 October 16 On the Power Pine page:

[green pine icon]
2004 September 28 Updated the section below called IMAP Arena 2: SeaMonkey Suite and Thunderbird versus Pine.

[green pine icon]
2004 August 7 On the Power Pine page, added 2 important SMTP notes. One of the notes is about Sender Policy Framework (SPF), which is an extension to SMTP that helps fight email address forgery.

[green pine icon]
2004 July 15 As announced here and here, the University of Washington released Pine 4.61, Pico 4.8, and UW IMAP Toolkit version 2004a. These include many bug fixes and new features, including:
  • quote-suppression-threshold variable, which tells Pine to hide some, all, or no quoted text in the default MESSAGE TEXT window
  • prune-uses-yyyy-mm feature, which makes Pine use a purely numeric date for a pruned mailbox name extension
  • the ability to bounce forward a message and use a role to specify the SMTP server, the Fcc mailbox, and the Resent-From header. This is useful for 1) updating remote greenlists, bluelists, and other filter-related files that are used by Procmail or Sieve running on a remote system; and 2) ensuring your bounce forwarded messages are not considered forgeries by SPF (Sender Policy Framework).
  • easier procedures for attaching or exporting multiple attachments

[green pine icon]
2004 May 10 As announced here and here, the University of Washington released Pine 4.60, Pico 4.7, and and UW IMAP Toolkit version 2004. These include many bug fixes and new features, including:
  • support for Format=Flowed (aka f=f). For discussion about f=f, see the Editor Tips in Step 6D on the Power Pine page.
  • rendering of UTF-8 messages into the user's local character set.
  • support for piping, sending-filters, and display-filters in PC-Pine, which means that PC-Pine users are now able to use external filters such as LOAF. (Unix Pine users have been able to do this for ~10 years.)
  • support for "external categorizer commands" in rules, which means that a rule can pipe a message through an external program and have the rule's action depend on the result of the piped command.
  • support for IMAP keywords (labels). For information about IMAP keywords, see Setting Up Keywords (Labels) on the Power Pine page and this item & the the item below it in the section What to Look For in an IMAP Service Provider on the IMAP Service Providers page.
  • three new commands in mailutil: delete, rename, and prune. mailutil is a command-line tool that helps manage mailboxes. It ships with both Pine and the UW IMAP Toolkit.

[green pine icon]
2004 March 19 Maciej Ceglowski announced that he and Joshua Schachter are working on LOAF, a GPL'd distributed-social-network filter that seems to be a robust and private way to greenlist a correspondent and limelist a correspondent (of a correspondent)n, where n=1,2,3, etc. It currently works with Procmail and Pine. (If you are a PC-Pine user, you need to wait for Pine 4.60, which will be the first version of PC-Pine that supports sending-filters; Unix Pine and Mac Pine have supported sending-filters for years.)

If you use Pine and Procmail, and would like to help find a general solution to the spam problem, I recommend that you try LOAF and participate in its development. [ icon] I am collecting LOAF-related links at / / Messaging / LOAF.

[green pine icon]
2004 February 23 Added a section called Avoiding False Positives With Greenlists and Bluelists to my Procmail Quick Start. If you use Pine for email, you can use your Pine address books, which are discussed in this section of the Power Pine page, to create and maintain procmail-accessible greenlists and bluelists. If you want to do greenlisting entirely within Pine, you can use a Pine filter and the From or ReplyTo is in address book? condition.

[green pine icon]
2004 February 19 Lars Magne Ingebrigtsen created a graph and table of user agents posting to Gmane and Pine is #7.

[green pine icon]
2003 December 24 In this blog item, Russell Beattie blogged about using ssh on a mobile phone and included a picture of Pine running on a mobile phone!

[green pine icon]
2003 September 25 Heinz Tschabitscher, of, reviewed Pine 4.58 - pinus secura and gave it a [4 out of 5 stars] rating.

[green pine icon]
2003 September 19 and September 3 Added sections named Snagging Viruses and Using SpamAssassin to the Procmail Quick Start: An Introduction to email filtering With a Focus on Procmail.

[green pine icon]
2003 September 15 Added four [New!] speed tips to the Speeding Up Pine section of Power Pine so there are now a total of 34 speed tips! The new tips are #4, #16, #24, and #25.

[green pine icon]
2003 September 10 Pine 4.58 released. This version fixes two exploitable overflows that are in version 4.56 and earlier. To see what else is new, see

[Notable] The old Pine-related news items that used to be on this page are archived on my blog on the page called Pre-October-2003 Deflexion & Reflexion from the All About Pine Page.

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