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14 November 2007

Search folders on Thunderbird

Hi people,

Thought I should share something I found today. Mozilla Thunderbird's "Saved Searches".

Well, I found it because I googled for it because I needed to start using it. And I was fairly sure that Thunderbird would have some support for search folders.

Saved searches are virtual folders that contain the result of a permanent search filter through a pool of searchable data. These virtual folders are just a way to represent search results in a well known and user friendly way.
Since we are talking about Mozilla Thunderbird and it deals with email, Saved Searches in Thunderbird are folder representations of search filters performed on sets of email messages. Currently, the search filters for saved searches include the following criteria: Subject, From, Body, Date, Priority, Status, To, Cc, To or Cc, Age in days, Size, Tags, Attachment status, Junk status and a customisable arbitrary set of headers.

Ok, great, but how is it done? I mean, if it was intuitive, I would have found it by myself - no googling required... But it is not that intuitive, really...

Here's a quick step-by-step guide:

  • Step 1: Select a mailbox or an Inbox folder. Your saved search will be placed under this initial selection:
  • Step 2: Select menu "File" - "New" - "Saved Search...":

  • Step 3: Fill in the name of the folder and configure your search filter. I called it "Important messages" and I chose to search all messages tagged as "Important":

  • Step 4: Select the real mail folder(s) from which messages are to be be searched. I chose my Inbox. Multiple folders may be selected:

  • Step 5: Find your Search Folder under selection made in Step 1 with the respective search results updated whenever it is opened. See my important messages?:

Not as straight forward as being able to create a sub folder of the type "Saved Search" and configuring it from there...

Interface issues aside, this is still a great feature that is probably found on all decent mail clients.

Credit where credit is due. The following was the blog post that answered the question I googled for:
Cheers, PJ.

12 November 2007

Reading queue

Hey everyone,

Thought I should advertise what nice books I got this week and what is my current reading queue. I am not a book guy, I don't read books frequently, but recent events (my birthday) have built a reasonable queue (for my standards):

  • Richard Hammond: On the edge: My story (ISBN 0297853279);
My wife offered this book to me because she knows I admire Hammond and I too am a petrol head. She always gives me the best gifts... How does she do it? Thanks Mrs V.

Richard Hammond is one of the presenters of BBC's Top Gear - a program for petrol heads. Last year he had a major crash on the "Vampire" jet powered car just after breaking the British land speed record previously set by the same car. The crash inflicted serious brain damage and recovery would take a long time. He got better quickly and returned to his job in Top Gear, exactly as before. This book is his view of his (risky) job, the story of the accident and recovery, his comeback to Top Gear, his reasons for risking his life, very nearly loosing it, go back and keep doing it.
  • John Freeman: Collins Digital SLR handbook (ISBN 0007242107);
My friends gave me this one. I am also looking to learn more and more about photography and this will make a valuable addition to my knowledge. Thanks guys! Brilliant stuff!
  • Lucian Gheorghe: Designing and Implementing Linux Firewalls with QoS using netfilter, iproute2, NAT and L7-filter (ISBN 1904811655);
Beware! Highly geeky stuff inside! I bought it because Linux x Firewalls x QoS is one of my fields of interest. One which I haven't spent enough time investigating, hence the book. This is also a reference book, but I will give it a patient end-to-end read before getting my hands dirty. This is not my typical approach to learn on these kinds of fields... A gift from me.

Cheers, PJ.

01 November 2007

Curious warning message: password too secure?

This happened just a couple of weeks ago. I was trying to log in to some remote host to which I haven't connected for some time. So my password had expired and I was asked to change it. Fine. But after changed it, I got this warning saying that my password may be too complex for older windows systems.

"The password is longer than older versions of Windows, such as Windows 98 or Windows 95, can use. Press Cancel to enter a new password, or OK to proceed with this password." - Click on the screenshot to enlarge.

This is a warning message, so I am explicitly being made aware that my password is too strong. Knowing that the host is (a) running Windows Server 2003 and (b) not in a domain, let's consider this message for a moment - let's think about the possible meanings of it:
  • Should I choose a simpler password because I may access some service on one of these "older" systems with my current credentials?
  • Should I choose a simpler password because I may access this service from one of these "older" systems with my current credentials?
I understand that this is a result of a forever-standing compatibility policy. But let's be a bit realistic... Windows 98 or Windows 95? Who, in their right mind, would use Windows 95/98/Me in whatever corporate environment that absolutely requires inter-(windows)-system compatibility even in very controlled and very internal networks??

Sorry for bashing on Microsoft again, but this is just plain silly.
I know that I am given the choice of keeping compatibility or not, but that fact itself tells me that Windows 2003 Server retains compatibility with such older systems.

Security systems evolve because older ones are found insecure and thus made obsolete. This kind of warning message just leaks that Microsoft prioritises retro compatibility over breaking older APIs, even if important security enhancements are at stake. I guess it is just better for business.

Cheers, PJ.