Removing duplicates in notmuch-mutt

Over the past few weeks, I've been working with Stefano Zacchiroli on a small patch to notmuch-mutt to remove duplicate search results. After several iterations, the patch was accepted and committed by upstream. It won't be in wheezy, but it feels good to have something committed and hopefully used by others in the future.

Currently it only removes actual bitwise duplicate results, but we've talked about adding removing duplicates by message-id too. Notmuch may be able to solve this problem for us, though, by adding a new search option.

posted: Aug 8 2012
tags: debian

Fastmail and exim

About a month ago, Fastmail made some changes to their SSL certificates that broke exim4 relaying to their servers. After I scrambled around for a while and futilely attempted to debug the problem, they eventually just fixed it on their side. This blog post is just a quick note on some of the commands I tried, just in case they come in handy some day.

Here are some of the commands I used to try connecting to their server and view debug and certificate output:

openssl s_client -starttls smtp -crlf -connect
gnutls-cli --verbose --starttls -p 587 -d 4711
gnutls-cli --starttls -p 587
  (type STARTTLS<return> and then hit ctrl-d)

To view a certificate:

openssl x509 -in cerfile.cer -noout -text

On a different note, while trying to track down the problem, I figured out it had to do with Fastmail's Diffie–Hellman prime key being 1024 bits. There was a Debian-specific patch that set the minimum accepted by exim4 to 2048 bits. Andreas Metzler was kind enough to send me the Debian bug discussing the reasoning behind the changes.

I ended up rebuilding the exim package without the patch until they fixed the problem. It was definitely cool to play with some of the tools used for that: quilt, dch, dpkg-buildpackage.

posted: Jul 6 2012
tags: debian

Goobook packages built for wheezy

After upgrading my computer to wheezy, I discovered I needed to rebuild my goobook packages for that distribution. I've uploaded those to my goobook directory.

posted: May 22 2012
tags: debian goobook

Chinese input once again

I recently installed the Opera web browser, and had strange focus issues that reminded me of the problems I had with urxvt and scim in the past. After trying their latest development version and lots of searches, and not finding any bugs, I concluded it was probably my set up again. I disabled scim and sure enough the problems disappeared.

After some research, I discovered a couple of other input methods: uim and ibus. I tried them both out and had better luck with ibus - I was able to get traditional chinese using pinyin input working better (using the Chewing module). It seems like uim and the ibus-pinyin module are using a Google pinyin input method which is probably better for natives but just confuses me.

Getting it working was pretty easy, just install the ibus-chewing package, run im-config and select ibus input method. Restart your window manager and then run ibus-setup to set the hotkeys and the input method you want to use. The only tricky part is that I had to enable chinese input and then click on the preferences icon the change the input keyboard to Hanyu.

For now, it appears my focus issues are solved.

posted: Apr 26 2012
tags: debian chinese

Mutt and smtp_url

Tonight I just learned the difference between smtps and smtp, along with port 465 versus 587 (for setting smtp_url in mutt). I've apparently been doing things the deprecated way for a while.

'smtps', or 'secure smtp' was a hack - not an official protocol. It's smtp run over an SSL connection, which servers listen on port 465 for. This is still broadly supported, but is deprecated.

The correct way is to use plain old 'smtp' and connect to port 587. This will negotiate TLS after an initial unencrypted connection to the server. This is an actual standard RFC 3207, on an official port. More details are also at wikipedia.

In any case, I have updated all my configs and my mutt examples on the site.

posted: Jan 20 2012
tags: tips mutt

The start of a new year

2012 is finally here. Hopefully it will be a better year than 2011 was. My twin brother, Cory, suddenly passed away at the end of October last year. It certainly changed my perspective and my life very quickly.

Right now, I was originally supposed to be studying Mandarin at Feng Chia for a quarter. That plan went out the window, but at least I've been able to spend more time with my wife and family over the holidays.

On other notes, today I cleaned up my web site a bit, to unclutter the home page and move some content around.

Recently, I've been reading more about HTML5 and playing around with Middleman with a plan to redo the TAE web site soon. Right now it's using rest2web which is basically dead.

posted: Jan 18 2012
tags: life

Recent projects

A few weeks ago I put together an OpenWrt router. I ordered a Ubiquiti RouterStation Pro and a nice case from Netgate.

It went pretty easily and now I have a cool router I can ssh into and configure directly. It's also nice knowing support (and security updates) won't stop because it was "discontinued by the manufacturer". I may put one together for our Taiwan condo too.

I installed the HTTPS Everywhere plugin (by EFF) into Firefox. It's a pretty innocuous plugin. Just install and it automatically redirects you to use SSL on many popular websites. It's solid enough I installed it on my wife's Firefox too, and she's had no problems with it. Nice to know her Facebook and other accounts can't be stolen as easily.

I'm trying out Convergence too. For more information see the BlackHat conference video. This plugin has been a bit more fickle. It's not quite ready for prime time but is interesting.

posted: Sep 21 2011
tags: life

Chinese Input Take 2

I've had a longstanding annoyance, which I thought was a bug in rxvt-unicode. In several reproducable situations, I would not be able to type in the terminal, despite it having "focus" by the window manager. After gnome-screensaver is unlocked, or after exiting Firefox or OpenOffice with the focus back on rxvt, no input was accepted by the terminal. Switching to another workspace or application and back fixed the problem, so it was annoying but not world-ending.

Xterm did not suffer from this problem, so I was sure it was a freak rxvt thing. I filed a Debian bug last November and then let it sit. Just recently, they marked it as non-reproducable so I got more serious about figuring it out. I started from a fresh account and gradually added in my old configs and settings until I was able to reproduce the problem. Surprising (or not so surprisingly if you read the title of this post), scim was causing the problem.

What seemed to trigger it was running

im-switch -s scim

This was creating an xinput.d directory in my home dir, and symlinking some config files for "scim" mode. After some investigation, I discovered that there were other "modes" that scim could run in. I also discovered there were other programs to set up xinput, such as im-config.

After playing with a few modes, I found that a 'scim-bridge' mode fixed the problem. It apparently has something to do with incompatibilies with C++ abi versions or some such thing.

I actually switched to using im-config and set it up in "auto" mode, but that appears to be running scim-bridge mode too.

posted: May 11 2011
tags: debian chinese

Life the last few months

Wow, it's been four months since my last update! What have I done since December?

From January through March, I took Chinese 202 at the UO every day. I commuted via bus each day, studied at the library after class, and then took the bus back. It wasn't crazy busy, but definitely controlled my schedule. Overall it was worth it though - my writing and reading improved a lot.

I purchased a B3 by Excito, to use in our Taiwan condo. I finished ripping all my CD's and transferred them all the to B3, so we'll have all the same music there too.

While finishing ripping all my CDs I created a script to scan, crop, and resize the CD cover. Imagemagick is truly an amazing tool!

For my birthday, I purchased a Reconyx HC600 HyperFire to capture wildlife outside our house. So far it's mostly capture deer, but there was a skunk picture at night.

Debian Squeeze was released. I upgraded my home server, and will hopefully update my rapidxen server to that release soon. One immediate benefit was better support for the home server ethernet - it has gigabit speed now.

posted: Apr 14 2011
tags: life

Goobook Packages

Last week I created some goobook debian packages. This was my first attempt at making any Debian packages, even though I read the entire Debian System book some time ago.

Also, thanks to the recent Debian training sessions and in particular the python packaging session, the job was made pretty easy.

I still need to hammer out the license for hcsutils, and add a manpage and some examples, but it's nice to have some packages as opposed to having pip poop all over my system.

posted: Dec 23 2010
tags: debian mutt goobook

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