Power Up Your E-Mail with Mutt
So, what is all this tagging about? Mutt allows you to tag messages that you then can act on in one fell swoop. Think of it as a batch queue. Press T to tag messages into the queue, or use T to tag using regular expression matching. Then, use ; to prefix any command normally available to a single message, and all tagged messages will be affected in a batch.
Once messages are tagged, press ;-D to delete all tagged messages, ;-F to flag and so on. Again, pressing ? shows all available keystrokes. Imagine how quickly you now can delete the hordes of unread mailing-list messages.
Now, let's send a test message using the Gmail SMTP server. Press M to compose an e-mail message. Fill in the To: line, then the Subject: line. Your e-mail editor opens automatically. Write your message, save and quit. You will see a page that allows you to edit the Cc, Bcc and other fields. Finally, press Y to send the message.
Need an address book? No problem. By default, Mutt has support for alias, or contact, files. To start using aliases, create an empty ~/.mutt-alias file, then source and reference it inside your ~/.muttrc. Press A to save contacts while using Mutt. You can access contacts using Tab from the To, Cc or Bcc entry fields:
source ~/.mutt-alias set alias_file=~/.mutt-alias
Alternatively, you can use abook. By design, the abook address book program integrates with the Mutt e-mail client. Install abook using your standard distribution tools, or compile the source code available at abook.sourceforge.net.
Set up a macro for A that calls abook. Macros are powerful tools in Mutt. They can pipe data into shell scripts or executables and allow for the customization of any keystroke:
set query_command= "abook --mutt-query '%s'" macro index,pager A "<pipe-message>abook --add-email-quiet<return>"
With the new macro in place, press A to add a contact into your address book. You can query the abook contacts using Q.
Like most Linux power tools, Mutt is specialized. It manages e-mail very well and lets other programs worry about most of the rest. Editors and spell-checkers live outside of Mutt.
I prefer to use Vim. But, do you want to use GNU Emacs, GNU nano or another editor? Simply set it as your editor inside ~/.muttrc. By default, Mutt uses the $EDITOR environment variable if no editor is defined.
For spell-checking, I like Vim's spell-check as-you-type feature. Use these settings in your ~/.vimrc to underline misspelled words in red:
set spell set spell spelllang=en_us set spellfile=~/.vim/spellfile.add highlight clear SpellBad highlight SpellBad term=standout ctermfg=1 highlight SpellBad term=underline cterm=underline highlight clear SpellCap highlight SpellCap term=underline cterm=underline highlight clear SpellRare highlight SpellRare term=underline cterm=underline highlight clear SpellLocal highlight SpellLocal term=underline cterm=underline
Once Vim's spell-checking is enabled, you have these options available to you when your cursor is over a misspelled word:
zg to add a word to the word list.
zw to reverse.
zug to remove a word from the word list.
z= to get list of possible spellings.
Mutt has too many interesting features to outline in the scope of one article. However, one last feature I want to share with you is the bounce command. Bounce lets you resend a message to a new recipient. The message arrives at the new recipient from the original sender, not the bouncer. Why is this useful? Well, what if a ton of e-mail was sent to your work address instead of your personal e-mail address? Don't just forward the messages in bulk—bounce them. First, tag all the messages you want to bounce by pressing T and providing a regex search string that matches your selection. Use the sender's name, for example. Then, act on the queue by pressing B. Fill in your personal e-mail address, and press Enter to execute the bounce.
Practical Task Scheduling Deployment
July 20, 2016 12:00 pm CDT
One of the best things about the UNIX environment (aside from being stable and efficient) is the vast array of software tools available to help you do your job. Traditionally, a UNIX tool does only one thing, but does that one thing very well. For example, grep is very easy to use and can search vast amounts of data quickly. The find tool can find a particular file or files based on all kinds of criteria. It's pretty easy to string these tools together to build even more powerful tools, such as a tool that finds all of the .log files in the /home directory and searches each one for a particular entry. This erector-set mentality allows UNIX system administrators to seem to always have the right tool for the job.
Cron traditionally has been considered another such a tool for job scheduling, but is it enough? This webinar considers that very question. The first part builds on a previous Geek Guide, Beyond Cron, and briefly describes how to know when it might be time to consider upgrading your job scheduling infrastructure. The second part presents an actual planning and implementation framework.
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