Tag Archives: index

alot: With notmuch help involved, and little more

Up front, let’s say that alot is a “graphical” interface to notmuch, which you might know or remember as a mail indexer and search tool.

2015-04-14-6m47421-alot-01 2015-04-14-6m47421-alot-02 2015-04-14-6m47421-alot-03

And as you can see, alot has a lot πŸ˜› of the right stuff — good color, very flexible terminal space, on-screen help and an intuitive interface. Navigation is with enter keys and a few other mnemonics, and some keys have global behaviors, regardless of what you’re doing at any moment in time.

I would bet that, once your mail setup is complete, you’ll only need about three or four minutes to learn how to use alot, and after that, you’ll cruise through your mail folder at ludicrous speed.

A few things to remember though. … alot needs notmuch on board, which means you’re dealing mostly with the local mail concept, as opposed to relaying directly to an online mail source. If you’re looking for something that will pull down messages from GMail and let you pick through them, I don’t think this is it.

On the other hand, it does mean that you’re free to latch alot (and notmuch) on to your home-grown mail system — or as I showed above, latch notmuch onto something like offlineimap, which can yank messages off GMail and store them locally.

So technically speaking, there are options. The question becomes, how much do you want to step backwards through programs, just to take advantage of alot, when things like alpine can more or less handle the entire process in one fell swoop? Again, if you use a local mail system, alot might be preferable. For me … well. … 😐

All in all, I have to give alot a gold star for catching every point in my checklist for a good console application. I don’t think this is a game-changer for me though, since I’d have to rely on two or three other programs before alot became my mail reader, even if setup is fairly straightforward for all of them.

In AUR as alot and alot-git, but the git version wasn’t working at this exact moment in time. In Debian. And of course, as promised: ⭐ Enjoy! πŸ™‚

iimage: Index your images

A long time ago we looked at album, which ran down a directory of images and created a clickable album as an HTML page. Here’s one that does much the same thing: iimage.

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iimage is just a bash script that relies on imagemagick‘s convert to create thumbnails, and adds the remaining touches to a folder called .tmp. It does not alter or move your original files, but all my attempts (and the instructions) suggest you have to call the script from the folder where your images lie. Let me know if you find a way around that.

iimage’s output page is very clean and modest, so if you’re looking for something a little more outlandish, you might have some HTML editing in your future. iimage is nothing if not exceptionally neat, with all its product files arranged and ordered. I like that a lot.

Judging by the help flags, iimage can recurse through folders, but I didn’t try that, so I don’t know if recursed directories produce linked pages in the final product. iimage can also update files it has created previously, so you should be able to simply add or remove images to the folder, and generate fresh files without rebuilding everything from scratch.

iimage also will apparently generate an AUTORUN.INF file, which I believe would trigger a full desktop environment to open the index, if you were to burn all of this to a CD and spin it up. I might be wrong on that, but it’s an excellent addition if it’s true.

I see that the date on the most recent version is 2009, but I had no problems aside from dropping the script into the right folder to get everything built. I don’t expect there will be many inconsistencies or technical issues, at least until imagemagick or one of the underlying programs shifts gears.

iimage is apparently not in either Arch/AUR or Debian, which is a shame. But perhaps you can say you got something new from K.Mandla today. … πŸ˜‰

notmuch: “Not much” is relative

I do my best to tinker with all the local mail tools that I collect, even when some of them are well beyond my reach. notmuch is a mail indexer, that supposedly is extensible to a practical mail reader, with the help of some outside applications.

Here’s what it can do on its own:


If you keep a local mail folder but need something to search and sort, notmuch might work well for you. I did that little bit with the help of offlineimap and one Google Mail account, and it didn’t take much more effort to get notmuch working. On its first run, notmuch gave me an interactive configuration wizard, and in the space of a minute, I was picking through my .mail folder.

notmuch has only a few commands — like search and show above — that return mail results, and from there you can manage them as you need to. I see that there are also apparently provisions for tagging messages, and dumping and restoring, a la an e-mail backup.

notmuch is another tool that, by itself, is not much. πŸ˜€ It will require something to fetch the mail, and probably you’ll want to either incorporate it into another program as a mail reader — I see that both emacs and vim are possibilities, as well as the classic mutt — and there’s still the task of replying to mail before notmuch becomes a full e-mail suite.

That’s a little more than I have time for, and to be honest, if you’re the kind of person who manages their e-mail at the local level, it’s probably something you’re better at setting up than I am. No offense taken.

But keep notmuch in mind when the time comes to sort through 3000 e-mails looking for that one person who sent you a tip about an esoteric console program. … πŸ˜‰

mairix: Starting off rather weakly

Weakly on my part, not the application’s part. After some real-life intrusions yesterday that completely derailed any plans I had, and after sifting through the first dozen programs on my list and finding a lot of no-shows, I’m going to get the ball rolling with mairix, because I like the looks of it.

And oddly, I have nothing to show for it. πŸ˜•

One of my biggest shortcomings over the past year has been the inability to show a lot of clever mail tools, because I rely on web-based services and don’t run things locally.

I don’t think that’s terribly unusual, but it does mean that things like mairix are more hassle to set up than it’s worth — just to write four paragraphs and snap a screenshot.

It was exceptionally easy to set up though, and while I couldn’t do much but skim through a leftover message or two abandoned in the wake of my last session of re-alpine, mairix complied willingly.

mairix by all accounts should give you quick and painless searching of your locally stored mail, whether it’s maildir, MH or mbox format.

And what I see on the web site looks promising. That, plus the fact that it’s in Arch’s community repo, makes me a little more confident in pushing this to the forefront of the M section.

Even if my own setup more or less precludes getting it working properly. πŸ™„