Monday, February 28, 2005

A long time since my last blog

I haven't blogged for a while now. I was practising for the Google India Code Jam and I had a bad shoulder pain (the doctor says muscle has gone into a spasm). Let's give a could shoulder to my shoulder (sorry, bad pun ;-). I had a fairly high opinion about my coding skills but the practise problems in the GICJ Arena and general Topcoder arena deflated my ego considerably :-(. May be I've rusted by 10+ years of coding in the industry, but it's more likely that I was never the coding guru that I was ;-).

Any way, I did participate in the evaluation round yesterday and managed to get a reasonably decent score. The server experienced lots of problems and the results are still not yet out. I think I'll make it to the next round, but I doubt I'll go much further. I was surprised at the amount of obvious cheating that went on in the contest.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Home DSL finally up

To cut a long story short, Home DSL is finally up now. I managed to configure my Reliance India Mobile connection up yesterday. After initial hiccups, connecting using the wireless modem was a breeze. The connection is slower than my 128kpbs, but felt faster than dialup. I pay by the minute, but at least I had net access home.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Home DSL access down

I have a BSNL DIAS connection at home. 128kbps; it's not broadband by any stretch of imagination. Broaderband is more like it :-). I don't do heavy duty downloading and with VPN access to my office and a setup optimized for local editing and remote compiling, so it's not too bad. Plus having a stable and always-on connection is much better than dialup. That is, stable, until now. Unfortunately my phone line has conked off.

This is not something new. I occasionally run into problems and it usually gets automatically fixed in a day. This time the line is dead for more than four days. I was not in town last weekend, so I didn't follow up. The line man was supposed to be at my home at 3:00pm today. I took a break from office and stayed at home from 3:00 to 5:00pm but he didn't show up :-(. Not that I am surprised. Looks like I need to stay at home the whole day tomorrow, without net access. I read somewhere that Frustration is searching for your glasses without your glasses. I can add waiting at home for your DSL connection to be fixed without your DSL connection.

Speaking of DSL connections, the line probably went dead last Thursday. I noticed that the modem sync LED kept blinking. Usually it gets fixed overnight. It didn't happen this time. I noticed that the phone line was also down only on Friday evening. Shows how frequently I use the land line ;-). Then I had to leave town, so it's now five days since the line went dead :-(.

Problems with balsa too

Balsa's IMAP support seems very sketchy. The FAQ says Balsa cannot automatically discover IMAP folders. I tried adding a "IMAP folders" account instead of "regular" IMAP account with a folder name. I did get a list of folders but the UI just hung when I clicked on a folder. Looking at the strace it appears that balsa is downloading the entire folder without responding to the UI. Not good :-(. I am sticking to sylpheed-gtk2 for now.

Monday, February 07, 2005

Sticking to Sylpheed for now

Despite the blocking behavior, I am sticking to sylpheed for now. Memory usage is pretty low and it's very stable. There are some more quirks I've noticed. It seems to ask for the passwords of all my accounts every day even though it's been running round the clock. May be this is configurable.

An anonymous poster has commented if I've checked out balsa. I've checked it out before but wasn't too happy with it. I'll take another look and post my feedback soon.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Problems with sylpheed-gtk2

Sylpheed appears to be single threaded :-(. Downloading messages appears to block the UI. Clicking on a folder appears to make sylpheed rescan the folder, resulting in a delay before the summary shows up. Memory usage is pretty good compared to the other clients. I am going to stick with sylpheed for a while before giving evolution/thunderbird another shot.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Looking for a good GUI Imap Client

This one qualifies as the first rant in my blog :-). I have been hunting for a good imap client to manager four imap accounts (yeah, I know that's a lot). Unfortunately I can't find one. My setup is somewhat unique. One of these accounts happens to be on myrealbox and since that's kind of a experimental box for Novell, the server keeps going down. Their imap server is also pretty lame (searches don't work) and has some strange quirks. The second problem is tha two of my accounts (including the myrealbox one) get too much spam. Less than 5% of the mails to these accounts are valid mails. Rather than filtering them on a GUI client, I have setup imapfilter with spamassasin to spam filter my mails offline. This results in mails suddenly disappearing from my inbox. Looks like some clients have trouble with that. I'll revisit my spam filter story some other time. Lets focus first on the mail clients.

Thunderbird is nice, seems stable, but bloats to 200MB of memory usage with just two imap accounts. That's unacceptable, so that's out. kmail did better on the memory usage front but it's imap support is pretty buggy. kmail appears to have problems with both unreliable servers and disappearing mails. I have been using it for quite a while but the problems still exist with the latest version I tried (KDE 3.3.2). So I gave up on it and tried evolution. Evolution seems nice but seems to take up too much screen real estate and too much memory. It also seems to have a strange quirk, showing an unread mail in the folder window when none exists (Evolution 2.0.3). I've used sylpheed before but it's still gtk 1.0 and looks ugly as hell. I found that the gtk2 version is packaged for debian. I am trying it now and liking it so far. I'll see how it goes.

Before I finish this rant, I owe a apology for the authors of these mail clients. I understand that bugs don't get fixed unless some one reports them first. I really should be filing but reports about the issues I found. I haven't done that yet.