Archive for April, 2007

Thunderbird Annoyances

Thunderbird 2.0 has been released! Huzzah. It’s like 1.5, but with slight changes! Right, enough of all that. Now I will complain. There are some things that have been bugging me about the new version. Some of them have been bugging me since v1.0. I first started thinking about them when I tried an early beta of 2.0, and I had hoped that would be fixed for the final release. Guess not.

  • Horizontal view
    • Re-sizes message list instead of current message
    • Message list items don’t get twice as high to fit more info in
  • The “from:” and “attachments” panes take up space at the top and bottom of messages. It would be better to move their contents in-line. It’s not like I’m going to forget who sent me the message halfway through. I’m also not fond of having my viewing space halved when someone sends a bunch of images. Can re-size both the from and attachment panes, (with a small button to target) but they still take up at space and it’s annoying.
  • If you sort a folder by date so that the newest messages appear at the top, that view *only* holds true for that folder. There is no way to set the view application-wide; one must do the sort manually for every folder. A subtle annoyance.

There’s probably more, but those are the major things that have been getting to me. Within a year, there will probably be some extension called “Thunderbird Mix Plus Plus” or some such nonsense which fixes all this and more. Else, it all gets corrected in a future release. I await either of those with impatience.

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Another Elaborate Prank Call

I now know that my anonymous prank caller has been reading my blog! Taking my advice, they have improved upon the previous call immensely.

Here is a quick, probably rather inaccurate recap of the conversation.

Her: Hey, this is [name I didn’t catch], and this might seem kinda strange, but I saw your hootenanny skit, and I thought it was really clever, and you seem to know a lot about debate, so I was wondering if you wanted to meet up? I have some questions I wanted to ask you about it.
Me: Um, Ok. Yeah. This is totally not a prank call.
(I should have asked her for her full name so I could mock it like Strong Bad)
Her: No, it’s not. Really.
Me: You’re calling at 1 am.
Her: Am I? Oh, yeah, I guess it is. Sorry, I didn’t notice. Also, I’m kinda attracted to you.
Me: You’re attracted to me.
Her: Yes, I am!
Me: This is a prank call. Besides, check Facebook, I’m taken.
(I should have yelled “Denied” in my moderator voice and hung up.)
Her: Oh. But I still want to meet you! Can we talk?
Me: I guess. You can email me.
Her: Want to meet at MSC? There are people there, that wouldn’t be weird.
(At this point, I’m giving her the extremely tiny, minuscule benefit of a doubt against my better judgment. Perhaps she is simply insane, or really, really tactless. In any case, meeting a random stalker in broad daylight tomorrow can’t hurt. She does mean tomorrow, right?)
Me: Sure.
Her: Ok! I just got out of the shower, give me time to get dressed and I’ll be down there in 15 minutes.
(Riiiiiiiight.)
Me: Can’t you just ask me the questions now?
Her: But I like to see facial expressions. The phone is so cold and impersonal, don’t you think?
(I am holding the volume-cranked headset away from my face. My roommate and I are laughing quite hardily.)
Me: Dot Dot Dot. No. This is a prank call. I’ve gotten like five within the past month. They all tell me to go down to MSC at either one or three AM.
Her: Really? That’s horrible! But I’m serious. Besides, this is at one fifteen, not one.
Me: (muffled laughter)
Her: Well, I’ll be down there anyway. I guess I’ll just wait for you for a while. You can come, I’ll wait anyway…
Me: I’ve enjoyed talking with you. Nice prank call, by the way.

Yes. This was totally not a ploy to make me walk to MSC in the freezing cold in the dead of night. At the end of this trek, I would find either (a) nothing. Or (b) a bunch of guys who would likely abduct me. Either way, it’s better to stay in the dorm. The calls are getting a lot more elaborate. This ranks high above the “This is maintenance, does your sink work?” call I got a few months ago.
So, if it’s the same person (or persons) pranking me, I now know they have a girl friend. During Hootenanny, there was a group of guys yelling “Turn the stage!” during several skits. I’m told that they yelled it during The Tree Skit, though I was too absorbed in the performance to hear it. This call might come from one of them. I do hope that they left the poor Cookie Skit girls alone. The cookie skitters suffered enough.

In any case, I give this call a four out of five stars. In addition to being rather humorous, my stalker paranoia level has been raised to “amber.” Well done!

Rehearsal #2 Thoughts

Taking a skit from a rag-tag band of Monty Python fans practicing original material at the campus duck pond to the same group of people performing the same skit on a rotating stage in an empty gym with bright lights shining in everyone’s eyes and the echo of the cast’s voices rolling across the vast expanse of mostly-empty chairs is a fairly substantial shift. I mean, I knew it wouldn’t be the same, but I didn’t expect to have this much trouble making the jump. Fortunately, after three or four run-thrus, things are smoothing out.

I am no longer developing stage fright and forgetting my monologs as soon as the stage spins round and the bright lights shine in my eyes.

This is partially because the bright lights are shining in my eyes and I can’t see anything.

This is also partially because we’ve been having a blast putting this little skit together the past few weeks (or has it been months?), and even if the audience doesn’t get a few of the jokes or enjoy it, we will. Immensely.

Finally, I believe our drastic improvement is due in part, if not mostly, to a little prayer session the cast had up in the commuter lounge shortly before the second rehearsal. Caleb had been Calebing his tales of failure, woe, and chaos, and the mood was generally what some might describe as “glum”. The glass is nearly always full for me, but I must admit that even I was starting to get a bit down. So we gathered around a chair and just started praying. I don’t know. I have difficulty praying out loud (what comes out sounds suspiciously like an un-translated version of my internal thought process), but when we prayed together, the Holy Spirit showed up. I just find that fantastic. God cares enough about our silly little play that he is actively empowering us to see it through. Then, we started improving. I mean, we’ve been incrementally improving for a while, but this was a noticeable difference.

So I’m pretty psyched about this. We’re following some great acts, and with God’s grace, we’ll rank among them. I am slightly disappointed that we, The Tree Skit cast, won’t have a good, reasonable reason to randomly get together and skit after this is over. But finals approach, and all good things must end, I suppose. Besides, I hear Brian has plans for a documentary about another relevant, age-old issue which will be filmed and submitted to a future film-fest. Perhaps we can collaborate on that, or something similar.

So, to Brian, Caleb, JB, and Micah; I have enjoyed working with you guys immensely. The show will start in less then twenty-four hours. Two things:

  • Let’s do this.
  • God-bless.

Read Your Exchange Emails With Gmail

My school, as well as many others, uses Microsoft Exchange server for email. It provides a nifty little web interface that resembles Outlook. Sadly, it does not feature a search function. This means that it is a severe pain finding old emails. Other drawbacks to using the school’s email system include loss of account after you graduate, as well as a 100mb storage limit. This may seem reasonable, but consider that you’ll be using it for the next four years. Possibly more, for some of us. After a semester and a half, mine is already a quarter full; I’m not even a heavy email user.

So, what is one to do? You could live with it, but I dislike living with annoyances. I believe I have found a better solution: forward all your mail to Gmail.

Unfortunately, Exchange provides no way to forward email. That’s ok. Gmail has a feature to automatically grab email from any pop-enabled inbox. Here’s how to do it.

  • Get a Gmail account. You can use your existing one, or set up a new one for this specific purpose. I opted for the latter.
  • Click on the “Settings” link in the upper right-hand corner of the Gmail interface.
  • Click on “Accounts”
  • See the “Get mail from other accounts” field? Go for it.
  • The address you enter for POP should be the address you go to for webmail, with the “exchange/” post-fix removed. The default port should be fine.
  • Note that you can opt to reply to email using the the university address. I’ve got Gmail set to do this for mail grabbed from the university account.
  • Also note that you can set imported email to be automatically tagged. Very, very nice.
  • Sit back and wait. Gmail will periodically grab email (starting with newest) from the account in 200mb chunks. It might take a while.

So, yeah. Gmail is searchable, Gmail dosen’t randomly mark emails from my parents as spam, and Gmail has about twenty-eight times more storage space then the school gives me. I really don’t have much reason to open up university webmail anymore.

I, For One, Welcome Our New Pidgin Overlords

Gaim development is really taking off. It’s flying these days. Seriously, what is up with AOL?

The Joys of Dorm Life

Where else but a dorm would someone call at 2am, do a very bad impersonation of a floor mate (Jordan L; aka, “English Major”) who left after last semester, and ask for CS homework help to round it off?

The great thing about it was, I was awake and coding at the time, and I enjoy a good prank, so I grabbed the bait. Sadly, it was nothing more then an ordinary prank call. No notes left down at MSC, and no spotlights or water balloons rained down upon me as I left the dorm. Seriously folks, if you’re going to prank, make it good. At least make the call come right before the sprinkler system actives.

Ok, I’m done now.

Note: On the off-chance anyone does actually want to get ahold of me at 2AM for HW help, try my AIM listed on Facebook. If I’m awake and/or feeling like free tech support, I’ll probably be on there.

Facebook April Fools

Yes, it’s April 1st (barely), and well known websites are going crazy with random jokes and pranks. On Facebook, the pranks are coming in the form of random humorous news feed items. Here are a few that were in mine.

You are on Facebook, reading your News Feed. 9:45pm

Meredith and McDreamy have changed their relationship status to “It’s Complicated” … oh wait … “In a Relationship” … oh wait … “It’s Complicated” again. 5:02pm

Bracket Buster: Ohio State and Florida have mutually agreed on a tie and will not play the championship game. 8:58pm

Two of your oxen drowned when you tried to ford the river. 2:32pm

Harry and Voldemort have set their relationship status to “Mortal Enemies.” 10:23pm

Introducing LivePoke™! 7:53pm
Facebook will dispatch a real live person today to poke a friend of your choice.*
* offer good for only the first 100 pokers in each network.


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