GMail Tools

I’ve been thinking about moving some of my older email out of a rather large Outlook PST into GMail, mainly for backup purposes. However, since this is far from a unique idea, I decided to see what others have done to solve this problem.

First I discovered Mark Lyon’s PHP-based Google GMail Loader (GML), which in addition to loading email, it can also be used as a remote to backup tool (I think there’s a 7.5M file limit imposed by Google).

It doesn’t yet natively parse PST files, but Mark has made available a handy command-line tool called readPST that will convert a PST file into MBOX format supported by his script.

Cheah Chu Yeow, inspired by Mark’s GML, wrote his own GMail tool with a GUI in Python called gExodus. It also only supports MBOX mail files, but includes a nice feature for applying labels to your imported mail so you don’t clutter your GMail inbox.

Finally, in the works is a Windows-only tool called GmailerXP, which in addition to importing MBOX and PST mail formats will also act as a rich-client for GMail. Allowing you to read your GMail, apply remote and local filters, manage contacts and configure your GMail settings.

GmailerXP is certainly the most robust of the GMail tools. Yet I’d likely only use the import PST features. It’s not available for download yet, but it is being actively developed on SourceForge.

BitTorrent While You Sleep

Ray Slakinski put together a wicked little Python application called Nucleus, which will monitor a BitTorrent Tracker RSS file for .torrent files that match a series of keywords.

Once a match is found, the file is queued for download.

Using cron or the Windows Scheduler, you can program Nucleus to fire in the middle of the night downloading while you sleep :-)

In Ray’s example, he is using it to grab TV shows, but I suppose you can use it to grab any .torrent file — assuming of course that your tracker of choice has an RSS feed.

I’ve tested it from the command line under Debian and it worked well. Although I’m still having some problems getting it to run via crontab, but that’s on my end.

Ray is actively adding to Nucleus and I’m sure he’d appreciate your help.

IBM’s Web-Based Desktop Apps

Based on a story and /. thread, it seems like we’re “gonna party like it’s 1999” Again! (remember myWebOS)

However this time IBM may possibly be able to pull this off. I don’t think IBM’s effort will significantly deplete MSFT’s 90% market share of the desktop software market, but perhaps they will carve out enough to make it a viable and cheaper alternative.

From the story: “The new software, part of IBM’s Lotus Workplace strategy, is a bundle that includes e-mail, word processing, spreadsheet and database applications aimed at business users. The package also includes server-based management software, as well as software to run productivity applications on handheld devices.”

“IBM has also rounded up support from other software makers, including Adobe, PeopleSoft and Siebel Systems, which are considering making their Web-based business applications available through the new IBM client management software.”

“Mills downplayed the competitive angle with Microsoft. The announcement is “not about beating Microsoft. There is no business strategy of any merit predicated on beating competitors. It’s about how customers can save money,” he said.”

I liked the idea back in 1999 and I still think the model deserves merit — especially in conjunction with the latest chater regarding The Google Platform.

BitTorrent, Blogs and Web Proxies

Don Park gives a good overview of BitTorrent, but also provides an interesting perspective on how blog software in general could utilize BitTorrent technology.

“In my opinion, flash flood nature of blogs will be well served by BitTorrent. Likewise, link-happy nature of blogs will complement BitTorrent well. Ultimately, I think a tailored variation of BitTorrent should be built into blog clients and servers for download sharing of feeds, images, enclosures, and other blog-related resources. BitTorrent will encourage media-rich blog posts without applying power-law to the bloggers’ wallet. BitTorrent means blog torrents.”

I agree, but perhaps this idea shouldn’t be limited to just blogs. I believe it can be applied to any URI accessible resource.

It may have been said before, but I can imagine using P2P concepts like BitTorrent in a hybrid Smart Web Proxy.

For example, when a request for a URI is unavailable or times-out, the Smart Web Proxy would check trusted sources for a cached copy of the URI.

Specifically, these trusted cache repositories may well include: BitTorrent sources, Google’s Cache, The Way Back Machine, and perhaps even Freenet sources. Trusted BitTorrent sources can be determined by walking a list of peers culled from a users’ blogroll, which is of course managed via OPML.

Indeed, I’m taking the 500-foot view, but perhaps this is worth further investigation … note to self … see what you can dig-up on Google

Web Services: Script globally, publish locally

Jon Udell: “A picture can be worth a thousand words. But a URL can be worth half a dozen pictures. When application behavior is expressed [as a web service], you empower your community of users to share it directly. And Google, which can zero in on URLs and URL fragments in Web pages posted by those users, becomes your tireless and efficient helpdesk assistant.”

Lotus to offer Web services kit to developers

an interesting article detailing how lotus plans to offer it's collaboration applications as web services:

"The centerpiece of Lotus' announcements will be a Web services enablement kit that allows developers to take components of Lotus collaboration applications and embed them as Web services in other Lotus applications or in non-Lotus Web applications."

From: ZDNet: eWEEK: Lotus to offer Web services kit to developers