The crud Lor (my wife) had last week has crawled into me. Lots of fun things going on with my body right now: Snot, cough, sore throat, and a persistent inability to sleep. The last couple of nights have been rough; I’m not sure how good this update is going to be.

Last week, I asked about mail software that implements the “Intertwingle” principle. Dan “Apathy” Fitch dropped me some science, and I checked out the links this weekend. My impressions are below; please note that I didn’t actually use any of this software, as I could tell none of it was what I wanted.

First, Pachyderm. This was the most promising of the lot, but (a) it seems pretty intranet/groupware focused and (b) you can’t use it unless you work for Digital. I’d like web access, but access from command line and small GUI (e.g., Perl/Tk) applications on my desktop workstation is as (or more) important, at least initially. And I don’t work for Digital.

Next, David Coppit’s Grepmail. Potentially useful, but doesn’t have the intertwingle nature.

AlphaMail is i386-Linux specific. Also, no screenshots, which is always disappointing. Under ‘Philosophy’, this idea struck me as a good one:

alphamail is based on the idea that it is silly to be forced to make archiving decisions for every single message and to organize messages into folders. Division into folders is roughly one-dimensional and does not represent well the underlying world of messages which is inherently multi-dimensional.

But I don’t want my mail archive to tie me to one mailer; I want the mail archive to be independent of my MUA choice, but closely integrated, so that I can archive, search, and retrieve messages into my MUA.

ExecMail is also i386-specific, and didn’t strike me as anything too special.

Æmail also didn’t do a whole lot for me. It also requires PostgreSQL and procmail, neither of which I use (nor desire to).

GMail is an MUA for the Gnome desktop (screenshot). It uses a MySOL backend to implement a vfolder data structure for mail storage. This is potentially useful, but for the following: (a) it’s an MUA and (b) I don’t want folders, I want keywords.

Anyway, long story short, I’m going to take a swing at developing a Intertwingly mail archive of my own. This weekend I drafted a database spec, whipped up a script to create the database, and hacked out a preliminary command-line mail import tool. Tomorrow at work, (during my “No carpal tunnel for me, no sir!” wrist breaks) I’ll actually try to write some of my concepts and goals down so I can post them here. Names for the new project are welcome; the current working title is mind-numbingly bad. (Current time to a usable version: Not distinguishable from infinity.)

Gimme I!
Gimme II!

Saturday, I downloaded Freeciv, a Open Source Civilization clone. It compiled without problem, but then I realized I really didn’t have time to learn some complicated new game right now. Hopefully I remember this in a couple of months…

The Database of Orphaned Open Source Software is an interesting idea. Unfortunately, they don’t have any orphaned software yet.

Study shows that as you age, you accumulate mitochondrial mutations. Cool! No cause and effect yet, of course. The article makes it sound as thought specific mutations were detected across the subject pool, which would be very cool. People need to get to work on this aging thing; I’m not gettin’ any younger.

Synthetic Zero has some interesting musings about information. The issues raised are also very relevant in the biological sphere, where Shannon’s classical information definition also doesn’t map so well.

Read this at some future point: Mechanical Web Authoring - using m4 to write HTML and Perl.

Salon’s got a rather scary piece about restraining orders today. A complicated issue, but the most enthralling thing for me was the lengths to which people of both sexes would go to punish and destroy their ex-mates lives.

This site is scary in a whole different light after the above link.

This week’s software advice/help request: Can anybody recommend a good web-based contact management solution? Preferably something with decent privacy, and easily parsed pages (for scripting). Mail with pointers.

Whole masses of links remain in my bookmarks (I think; it’s messy in there). Might be a good ‘blog week after all.

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