Ming the Mechanic:
Personal Computer Archaeology

The NewsLog of Flemming Funch
 Personal Computer Archaeology2003-05-31 01:44
9 comments
by Flemming Funch

I'm shifting my personal computer activities from the Windows2000 PC I've worked on for the past couple of years to a Mac laptop. In part because I'm going to move soon, and I'll be shipping the bulkier computers. And in part because I feel way overdue about moving on to Mac OSX. My main machine used to be a Mac years ago, but it somehow seemed more practical to start working in Windows, as that's what I mostly did for money. And, I was sorry to admit at the time, Windows NT (and now Windows 2000) crashed less often than my Mac did. It has a lot of other annoyances, but the absence of crashing happens to be close to #1 on my list of requirements. I have lots of things open at the same time, and it takes me quite a while to get back to where I were if the machine goes down. Anyway, now MacOSX is the best of several worlds, allowing me to run cool server stuff under the hood, and having a graphical interface for dummies on the surface. And no crashes.

Now, switching platforms and copying all my stuff gives me the opportunity of having a lot of problems with differences in storage formats, and of discovering some things I had forgotten. For example, one reason my e-mail system is so clogged is that I've used it continuously since 1994 and there are lots of things I'm just ignoring because I no longer care about them. Such as mailing lists I'm still on, or programs I created at some point that are reporting things to me through e-mails that I no longer care about.

My clean-up efforts extend to my server as well. I've operated a bunch of mailing lists since 1994. You know, discussion groups of various kinds. Some of them I started and later lost interest in. But also I generously allowed a number of other people to set up mailing lists. So now there are a couple of hundreds lists on the server, in Majordomo. And I've paid very little attention to them for several years, because I now mostly live on the web, not in mailing lists. And I'm frankly not sure which lists are still active. But I still get loads of error messages, bounced deliveries, etc. from many of those lists. Which, again, I've mostly ignored. But I'll have to clean up and set up some fresh ways of dealing with these things. Does anybody know a good frontend for Majordomo? Oh, I just noticed MajorCool, so I'll check that out. Or maybe a good replacement list server, which handles bounced messages automatically, and which has a web interface?

As to the transfer of stuff on my own computer, here are some of the things I ran into:

I've been using Eudora for mail. I was considering switching to OSX Mail, because it handles spam well. But instead I settled on Eudora on the Mac, as I found a Bayesian spam plugin which seems to work. It is called Spam Sieve. It is already doing wonders. But also, just copying the e-mail mailboxes isn't all that straightforward. I got a good result by using a program called Emailchemy which is good at converting mailbox formats.

I didn't find a solution to copying my ICQ message archives from the Windows machine to the Mac. ICQ has a program called "ICQ Settings Importer", which I suppose might do it, but it crashes right away, so I'm stumped. My ICQ messages are possibly more important for me to archive than my e-mail messages, as that is where most of my to-do items would be found. I mostly deal with business customers through ICQ.

Aside from that I think I can get things done with Mozilla as browser, Interarchy for file transfer, Telnet Launcher for managing server sessions. I've got the Cisco VPN working fine, which I use for a bunch of servers I manage. The only thing I'm then really missing is a tabbed text editor. On Windows I use UltraEdit and I typically have 20 or 30 documents open at the same time. Which is no problem if they're tabs in the same window. But that many different open windows is totally useless. BBEdit on the Mac is nice I guess, but doesn't seem to do tabs. It has a zillion other features I wouldn't dream of using. Anybody knows a program text editor with tabs for multiple documents?


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