Tag Archives: address

goobook: Command-line contacts

My workplace relies heavily on Google Documents and GMail right now, and so something like goobook should come in handy.


What you see there is very primitive, but as I understand it, goobook is mostly intended as an ancillary tool for mail agents, like mutt or perhaps alot. Adding goobook to those tools means you can manage Google contacts without the need for a browser as an intermediary. Which is always a good thing.

goobook needs a little configuration before it can get started; at the very least, you can add your e-mail address and password to .goobookrc, and if you need more help than that, It will generate a template for you with goobook config-template > .goobookrc. I was able to get to most of goobook’s functions just by uncommenting and editing two lines in that file, although the help pages show how to properly encrypt your password and so forth.

From there, you should be able to build your local cache (or refresh it) with goobook reload. Adding addresses works with goobook add, and so forth.

goobook probably looks simple and for what I’ve seen, it is. But I also feel like the usefulness with goobook is in splicing it with your mail client. So don’t mark it down just for seeming basic. That’s probably intentional.

goobook is in AUR in several flavors; I don’t see this in Debian but I don’t think it would be hard to add by hand. 🙂

citadel: So many things to explore

I am completely unfamiliar with citadel or its supporting community, but was told by a long-time reader of this site that it had a long list of console goodies tucked under one title.


This I find to be very true, although I suspect that my cursory efforts to get it up and running didn’t really expose me to more than a fraction of its potential.

citadel offers e-mail, messaging, calendar and other software bundled as part of a groupware project that has evolved through the 1980s and 1990s. This much I deduced from the descriptions on the Debian and AUR pages. If it looks like BBS interfaces from those decades, it did to me too.

I never connected citadel to a live system, so the image you see above is just looped back into my own address running the daemon in Mint (my Arch builds didn’t work). I did that partly because I am a shy and timid creature :\ , and I wanted a chance to explore without an information overload.

The downside of that being, as you can see above, there’s not much in the way of real data shown. I can navigate the “rooms” and “floors” of citadel and access a few of the features, but my safe little sandbox doesn’t do much in the way of real interaction.

I leave it to you to connect citadel and put it to real use; for what I see from elsewhere on the web, there are companies that use citadel or a variation thereof as a means of collaborating between developers in different geographic locations. So it may be that you use it already.

As a full-featured suite of tools all rooted in the console, I can only give a solid thumbs-up to citadel … even if my own experience was rather brief. 🙂

rolo: Shrugging off a decade of dormancy

I like finding old programs that still work, and still do a good job … and don’t require a huge amount of effort to make functional. 😉

rolo is a rolodex tool that apparently drifted away a decade ago, but with a little prodding, will still do like it’s supposed to.

2014-11-01-6m47421-rolo-00 2014-11-01-6m47421-rolo-01 2014-11-01-6m47421-rolo-02 2014-11-01-6m47421-rolo-03 2014-11-01-6m47421-rolo-04 2014-11-01-6m47421-rolo-05

rolo stores its data in vCard format, which is either good or bad, since rolo is working with version 3.0, and might be missing out on something that the newer renditions offer.

Be that as it may, it will keep your rolodex in ~/.rolo/ in an easily editable .vcf file, for all the world to see. You can add, edit, delete or otherwise manage the contents of that file with rolo’s help, and as you can see above, it’s nothing intimidating.

rolo also does a couple things that I always like: First, it descends into your $EDITOR when you actually make adjustments to a file. I see this more in older software than in recent programs, although that’s hardly a fair generalization. I may end up eating my words on that one. 🙄

rolo also has onboard help, a nice status bar and overline that cues your keyboard options, all of which make it a decent interface for navigating cards.

rolo is in AUR, but will crash when trying to build its libvc dependency. That can be fixed by commenting out the patches in the PKGBUILD that it tries to pull from a Debian source. Or I suppose you could manhandle it and try to point it toward the newer vc packages in Wheezy or elsewhere. I opted for the former, because it’s quicker to insert a few hash signs than play footsie with vagrant patches.

And once libvc was built, rolo ran perfectly. My only disappointment was that the first run left me with no cues on what fields were available in its expected format, so I had to scalp the example above from Wikipedia. Use that as a template, if you like.

As an address book rolo is at least as good as abook, and probably offers a lot more flexibility. It lacks a little visual flair (I found no color 😦 ) but does quite well, considering it’s a decade out of its prime. 😉

lbdb: Looks can be deceiving

I mentioned bbdb last week along with charrington, as an address book tool for within emacs. Out of fairness, I feel I should mention lbdb as well, although it doesn’t look like much from where I sit.


lbdb, for what I can tell, is mostly a search tool for address books, whether created by your system or by other software. As a scientific guess, I would reckon from the configuration file that lbdb is prepared to scrape through about a dozen different address files and mail systems, as well as your /etc/passwd and other local system files, to find the person you’re looking for.

Above you can see what little there was for it it search in my .addressbook file, created by re-alpine and compatible with its “m_pine” search method. You’ll need to copy /etc/lbdbrc to .lbdbrc, add the method you need to the METHODS line, and make sure that the remainder of the variables in that file match your setup. For example, since my .addressbook file is actually at ~/.addressbook, I didn’t need to adjust line 84.

After that, lbdbq "name" would search through the file and return anything matching “name.” Easy as that.

But also as simple as that. I experimented with lbdb and its incorporated tools for about a half an hour, but what you see in that screenshot above is about the best I got out of it.

I know it’s not very impressive, but my .addressbook file is not very impressive either. If I had a few more names and addresses, then I would probably find lbdb a little more useful.

And of course, if you’re working on a system with a multitude of address and e-mail tools available, for several users or perhaps multiple systems, lbdb might give you more pause than it did for me.

Like a lot of things I come across, I have a feeling lbdb only looks unassuming because my own system is so terrifically meager. And looks can be deceiving. 😐

bbdb (and charrington): Or is it charrington (and bbdb) … ?

It was hard for me to decide who gets top billing today, since bbdb was the title I was chasing, but I didn’t get too far without charrington. On the other hand, charrington isn’t specific to bbdb, even if it did make bbdb a lot more useful.

I should explain. bbdb is a rolodex-ish address book utility for emacs. I understand it has a 13-year history and has quite a few provisions for specific address details.


It installed fine, required only two lines in my .emacs file and seemed to be working fine with M-x bbdb. Unfortunately, I had no addresses in my .bbdb file, so as you can imagine, I didn’t get far.

Enter charrington, which extracts contact information from a GMail account (GMail users will probably pay attention now). Ideally it exports to a .bbdb file, but can supposedly handle mutt format too (mutt users will probably pay attention now).

charrington took only a few minutes to figure out. It needed python2-gdata from the Arch extra repo, and would run from python2.7 charrington.py.

Next, I copied the example charrington.conf file to ~/.charringtonrc, edited it to include my GMail account name (not full address, so just k.mandla, not with the at-gmail-dot-com) and plain-text password. Yes, I know, it’s plain text, but I figure I’ll only use it once or twice.

Then I ran charrington again with python2.7 charrington.py -g >> ~/.charringtonrc, to get the URLs for each group of contacts. I edited the .charringtonrc file one more time to make the URL list match the configuration file’s style, and then finally, python2.7 charrington > .bbdb.

That was it, really. From there, I could search the address file from within emacs, and as you can see, it works much better when you have a few names to skim through. … O_o

I’m ashamed to admit that beyond searching and getting back results from bbdb, I don’t have anything to show. If there are ways to add, edit, delete or otherwise wrangle the database, I didn’t look for them, mostly because I spent most of my time wrangling with charrington.

Importing an existing list of contacts was more important to me though. I know it’s not the fundamentals, but knowing the emacs brigade, I have a feeling editing the database is really just opening it in emacs, and … editing the database. 🙄 And if it’s not, it should be. … 😯

rig: The random identity generator

I find rig terrifically amusing. I can’t tell you why; I just do.


I can’t wait for the next website that wants me to supply a name and address, probably while trapping me inside a lightbox effect, just to get an e-mail address or a 10 percent-off coupon.

The home page description is marvelously terse and you can learn everything there is to know about rig in a matter of minutes.

You can stick with male or female names, and demand a certain quantity beforehand. I’m not sure why the phone numbers are redacted, but that’s easy to barge through.

It’s a shame that rig, by default, only seems to handle addresses from America, but perhaps a quick look through /usr/share/rig/(whatever).idx will yield some ideas to get around that. Ideally, I’d love it if rig worked like polygen, and let you mold your own address rules.

No matter. rig is good for name generation, address generation and even city location. What you do with it is your business. :mrgreen:

adresownik: A crash course in Polish

I have no experience with Polish; I’ve never been to Poland, and never met anyone from there either, now that I think about it.

But as niski pointed out a month ago, adresownik works, even if there is no English translation available.


That’s okay. I have Google Translate. 😐

It’s simple, and maybe a little confusing if you’re like me and aren’t sure what it’s asking for.

And as niski said, other than name, family name and e-mail address, it doesn’t seem to hold much.

But it’s there and it works. 😉

abook: A simple and lovely address book

I like simple, well designed, clean and pretty software. That’s all I ask.

abook is all of those things: Simply designed, with a clear focus and a visual style that follows its physical analogue — an index card or rolodex.

2013-03-10-solo-2150-abook-01 2013-03-10-solo-2150-abook-02

Plenty of options and information to enter. Converting your traditional office address book to this digital format will keep the intern busy for weeks! 😉

Just kidding. Judging by the help page, abook was intended to interface directly with mutt.

It may be possible to incorporate it into other e-mail clients though. You try and tell me how it works.

I don’t have enough addresses to warrant keeping abook on my machine very long. And alpine has its own built-in address book application.

Which is doubly a shame, because this is clean and crisp software that deserves more use. 😐

P.S.: Take a look at the .abookrc file too, as there are a few customizations you can add, if, for example, you prefer a specialized data field, or autosave behavior.