Obnoxious noises in Apple Mail - how to silence?

Discussion in 'Apple' started by Don Bruder, Apr 28, 2014.

  1. Don Bruder

    Doc O'Leary Guest

    Nothing to say that I haven't said in the past in various discussions.
    I see the present/future of Usenet as a content delivery network (CDN)
    that could/should have been used not only as the basis of open social
    network for discussions, but for making things like podcasts available
    instead of having small content providers crushed under the weight of
    bandwidth costs. But, in general, I see the messages as distinct from
    the medium, so my *plan* is to have a client that eventually goes beyond
    NNTP to offer other messaging (IMAP, POP, RSS feeds, Twitter, whatever).
    I'm focussing on Usenet, though, because of the sad state of affairs it
    has on the Mac, especially now that MT-NW is dead.

    What I have implemented so far is a basic NNTP framework that handles
    communication with the server, and higher-level classes built on top of
    that for groups and articles. The app on top of that is currently
    multi-window documents like MT-NW rather than one tri-pane window like
    Mail. It's reading and writing newsrc files, and I can right now get
    the overviews and articles, but it's not pretty. No posting or
    authentication or filtering yet. I can use it to go through the dozen
    groups I read on Gmane, but that's it. Lots of work to do before it's
    usable to any real degree. You'll know it's getting closer when my user
    agent stops being MT-NW. :)
    Doc O'Leary, May 3, 2014
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  2. Don Bruder

    Alan Browne Guest

    Not me. I recall an issue with
    - e-mails appearing in 2 folders.
    - not being marked read when accessed from other devices.

    That was last tried a couple years ago, so as I said above I'm sort of
    willing to try it out again. Just not much priority when POP is doing
    the job just fine and with no fuss.
    Alan Browne, May 3, 2014
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  3. Don Bruder

    Doc O'Leary Guest

    I'd suggest you actually look at the source for either before you make
    such a suggestion. As I said, *none* of the existing readers (including
    previous Mac efforts like Newsflash) seem to have been written with the
    intention of sharing the code with other projects. They all have a
    single src directory with massive cross-dependencies and no
    documentation that would even *suggest* you could easily factor out an
    independent library that just handled the protocol details.
    They're definitely software that have had a lot of hours put into their
    coding, but don't mistake that as being what defines "better". Again,
    the reading of messages is *independent* of how you move those messages
    around. Not understanding that is why their code has been limited to
    terminal use of NNTP, and vice versa.

    Believe me, I would *love* to find some open source code for a
    newsreader that looked like the developers knew they needed to package
    it for other developers to read/use. If you can actually point me to
    that, you'd be a hero-by-proxy. Otherwise, your suggestions are better
    aimed at the developers of existing Usenet software.
    Doc O'Leary, May 4, 2014
  4. Don Bruder

    android Guest

    Handling cattle, I hope... ;-/
    I've paid for the privilege to use a Mac... :p
    android, May 4, 2014
  5. Don Bruder

    Jim Gibson Guest

    Yup. Still happening to me, except that messages show up in /3/
    folders, maybe because I use a rule to move certain messages to a local
    folder. Even after they are moved, they show up in the "All Mail" and
    "Important" folders and have to be read in all three to get rid of the
    new mail marker.

    Also, it is very difficult to delete messages from the Spam folder.
    Previously deleted messages continue to reappear in that folder for

    Count me as another happy POP user.
    Jim Gibson, May 5, 2014
  6. Don Bruder

    John White Guest

    That particular behavior seems to have gone away in the last week or
    two, for me anyway. Presumably gmail did a bit of a tweak to their IMAP
    John White, May 5, 2014
  7. Don Bruder

    billy Guest

    I have. I did a lot of work on tin before the current group of people
    maintaining it (who are quite good) took it up.
    Of course not.
    Hmm. I thought C is self-documenting. More or less. Heh.
    Better to me means it works, and works well. Particularly in the
    real world, where not everyone follows the RFCs/standards/etc.
    They're character cell (text) terminal based newsreaders because
    Usenet is a text medium.
    I'd like to, but I don't think it (yet..) exists.
    Well.. There's a lot of info available in tin/slrn sources that'd
    be useful to anyone.

    Billy Y..
    billy, May 5, 2014
  8. Don Bruder

    Doc O'Leary Guest

    Ah, so you're partly to blame. :)
    No; don't just accept bad software design as a given. The *first* thing
    I did when I started my newsreader to decouple the NNTP bits into their
    own framework, and even in there I have the parts that care about
    communicating with the server abstracted away from the core
    functionality of dealing with messages. That is why I expect my reader
    to be able to more easily support POP or IMAP (or just about anything
    else that can be massaged into a message) in the future or, on the flip
    side, re-use that NNTP framework for other apps or command line tools.
    Your "Of course not" explains why things like curl lack support for news
    or nntp URL schemes, and why Usenet continues to slide into obscurity.
    Your casual negligence is embarrassing.
    It could be, if developers had half a clue. One look at the tin source
    shows that nobody that apparently cares to make things easy for
    outsiders to pick up. I mean, for goodness sake, would calling an
    article more than "art" kill you? And that's hardly even the tip of the
    tip of the *tip* of the iceberg.
    Yes, the battle cry of most mis-managed open software projects: It works
    well . . . until it doesn't work at all. Look, like the OpenSSL coders,
    need to take a step back and see what you've done with a fresh set of
    eyes, and start making changes that make your past efforts more useful
    to today's users and developers.

    My experience with open source projects is that they won't do that,
    which is why I find myself having to re-code things that should have
    been taken care of decades ago. I mean, even your newsrc handling is
    awful. I could have taken the time to figure out how to apply your
    junky ol' code to what I want, or I could do what I ended up doing, and
    essentially run the file through an NSScanner to construct an NSIndexSet
    of read articles for each group. You have no equivalent higher-level
    concepts for parsing strings or article ranges (which tin code calls
    bitmap sequences, for some strange, non-self-documenting reason).
    That's only "works well" by some 1980s definition of the phrase.
    As long as you believe that, your software will continue to slide into
    irrelevance. In reality, Usenet is abstractly a CDN. And the people
    who use it deserve to be more than a few characters in a From: header.
    The truth is more likely that you *want* to keep newsreaders stuck in
    the terminal because you're either unwilling or unable to envision a
    better future for the technology. That's sad, and it's a shame that
    your efforts with tin will be lost in time rather than having been
    something that future generations could build on.
    Which is why I've taken on the fool's errand of re-writing things
    myself. If there's enough support, it'll be released as open source.
    Given the state of Usenet these days, though, I'm not expecting to even
    break even on my efforts.
    Not nearly as much as you think. Speaking from experience, as an
    outsider, the code is *at best* not useful and, at worst, exhibits signs
    of deranged minds. Go ahead and try and talk your tin friends into
    getting them to factor out a libnntp that can used, at the very least,
    to simply process Usenet URLs. Until that sort of thing is eagerly
    embraced, you should gravely doubt the usefulness of tin source code in
    the future.

    Again, I know that all reads as more hostile than intended. Like I
    said, my experience with poorly run software development is that the
    people involved aren't interested in fixing what's wrong, and so I
    prefer not to get involved with their mutual back-patting sessions. I
    just laugh and walk away from "brogrammers" who think committing code is
    the most important thing in the world, yet the code they're cranking out
    is all garbage that they think "works, and works well".
    Doc O'Leary, May 6, 2014
  9. Don Bruder

    Doc O'Leary Guest

    Then get enough people together to pony up the development costs, either
    through crowd funding or just write a big check yourself. The way it's
    looking, version 1.0 is going to be at least $20K of effort. If someone
    wants to organize a Kickstarter (or whatever) at $50K to make it an
    ongoing effort, great; let me know. Otherwise, I'm planning to put it
    on the App Store for $10, but I have zero expectation that it'll be
    popular enough to cover costs.
    Doc O'Leary, May 7, 2014
  10. Don Bruder

    billy Guest

    Huh? Daily traffic is steadily increasing, and has gone from about 3GB
    back when I worked on tin (ca 1994) to past 15TB(!) today. How do you
    get to "continues to slide into obscurity" from that?

    Perhaps you mean the loss of many of the better educated, more articulate,
    and wiser past participants, who've moved to private mailing lists, et al.,
    due to the overwhelming moronity of so many newer users?

    Well, building a "better" newsreader is not going to solve that problem,
    at all.
    I could offer the same observation about casual ignorance...

    And, there are already plenty of email user agents, and web browsers.
    Not to mention web sites. What value do you see in distributing, for
    example, web log content via Usenet? Or video, etc? Most of the 15TB
    daily traffic is material that'd far better served elsehwere, by the

    In spite of this, propagation is quite good, but as far as I know it's
    due to the generousity of many organizations hosting feeds that are not
    (directly, at least) generating enough revenue to cover their costs.

    If I want to follow a URL in a Usenet article, I can easily invoke a
    web browser. The site hosting it can pay for the resources necessary
    to deliver it (video, photos, etc). Works for me.
    What - you don't like label names that are entriely adequate for anyone
    even casually familiar with the art? Geez.

    The stuff is write is in assembly language, and is fully commented, such
    that anyone familiar with the language can read and understand it. But,
    is it a tutorial for anyone else? Nope. Example -

    Tin is just a newsreader. It's not a web browser, it's not an email
    user agent, nor is it anything else. It does allow one to invoke a
    web browser, and it does support some basic email functions (I can
    easily mail myself articles I want to save, for example). It works
    now, and will continue to work fine, even if it was not actively

    I think slrn's sources may be more instructive, at least more easily
    parsed by you. I haven't looked at them in a long time, but I am a
    heavy user of John Davis' text editor, and his coding style there is
    more like what you're expecting/hoping to find.
    Tin pre-dates Next Step.
    What - I'd expect you know what a bitmap is.. Tin dates back to when
    RAM was not so freely available.
    It's a _text_ CDN, yes.
    For example, what?
    And what about all the other technologies, protocols, et cetera?

    Why do you what to put 10 kilos of stuff in a 5 kilo box, when there
    are so many 10 kilo boxes at hand, begging to be filled?
    See above.
    Nobody has ever gotten rich implimenting or maintaining Usenet. I can't
    speak for anyone else, but I do it for fun. And, once in a while, I am
    a bit better educated from it.
    I'm speaking about, in this particular case, dealing with various server
    quirks. You can read, and learn, or do it that hard way - write something
    and then deal with complaints and bug reports from your users when they
    enounter the same stuff.
    I'm just speculating, but I'd expect they'd say, "You're the one who wants
    it, so get busy and write it yourself."
    Well..... If you can get the IETF and others involved to add what you want
    to the Usenet standards and best practices, I'm quite confident tin and slrn
    will follow. To their credit, tin's maintainers adhere to them extremely
    well. And I'd bet slrn does, too.
    No problemo, I'm not taking it as hostile, at all...
    ....but, I've got to say I think this is a rather distorted point of view.

    Billy Y..
    billy, May 7, 2014
  11. Don Bruder

    billy Guest

    The author of MailMate, licenses for which are US$50, raised US$42,741 -


    One annoying aspect (to me, anyway) of the App Store is the inability
    to try a program without purchasing it.

    Billy Y..
    billy, May 8, 2014
  12. Don Bruder

    billy Guest

    This already exists.
    Do you think sites hosting Usenet get their bandwidth for free...?

    Billy Y..
    billy, May 8, 2014
  13. Don Bruder

    Király Guest

    I know. I harkens back to the days of shrinkwrapped software from the
    bricks-and-mortar store. I thought the pay before you even get
    to try it model was long gone; obsolete. Obviously not.

    I won't pay $80 or $30 or even $10 for an app if I don't get to try it
    out first and see if it can do what I need it to do, and determinie if
    it's worth the asking price.
    Király, May 8, 2014
  14. If you wan´t the chance to sell more, sell it without the App store (and
    make a demo available).
    If it´s any good, I´ll gladly pay 50€ for it.
    Bernd Fröhlich, May 8, 2014
  15. Don Bruder

    dyera Guest

    100% agree! It's stifling. Some of us still live on a budget.
    dyera, May 8, 2014
  16. Don Bruder

    Doc O'Leary Guest

    By looking at reality; not all traffic is equivalent. For someone who
    sees Usenet as limited to what tin can show, it is disingenuous for you
    to try to claim that massive binary postings support your point. Its
    function as a CDN is part of *my* argument. As a social/information
    network, though, web sites have been kicking Usenet's ass for quite some
    I mean for just about everything:


    It will if you can give people what they actually want from discussions.
    Especially now that we're seeing mobile apps replacing web sites as the
    front-end. A fresh coat of paint would do wonders for the public
    perception of Usenet.
    Would it, though? I again point to podcasts as a prime example.
    Especially video podcasts, which see a high rate of failure when the
    producer has to absorb all the distribution costs directly when they
    offer it through their own web site. And I don't know that I'd even
    argue that we are "better served" by pushing the problem off to YouTube
    and the like.

    There could be better protocols for accomplishing the same task, but
    then we could also argue whether email is a good way to send files
    around. The point will remain that people will use the tools they have
    to get the job done. Usenet is a tool that can do *a lot* of things
    people keep reinventing on HTTP and other protocols. That's why it's a
    shame that so many people are stuck using software that hasn't really
    been updated in the last decade to appeal to new users.
    Like email, Usenet is not inherently a commercial medium, so nobody
    should expect it to have a return on investment. Same is true of web
    support boards or social media outreach. The key, I think, is that
    Usenet has failed to really make its case for ISPs to keep running a
    server. Functioning as a (legitimate) CDN would be one way to do that,
    and much of that mainly *is* about building a better newsreader. A
    newsreader so seamless that people don't even need to know that NNTP is
    used instead of HTTP.
    That's not sustainable without detailing the "pay for" economic model.
    For most distribution/caching of content, a system like Usenet is going
    to be re-invented in one form or another. Either the case should be
    made for using Usenet going forward, or we should all completely abandon
    these groups for whatever is out there that does the job better.
    It does not "work" for my mother. It does not "work" for most Mac
    users. It *definitely* does not work for people with an iPhone. The
    only question the developers should be asking is whether or not any
    *part* of their code could be functionally useful to other users or
    developers. If so, it would be beneficial to re-factor out the parts
    that can be decoupled and reused, instead of having the legacy code be
    an anchor around the whole thing. Clearly *every other* newsreader
    developer has seen fit to ignore that basic principle of software
    design. Not me, though. NNTP.framework is what I started on Day 1:

    [email protected] 1 droleary staff 264 Mar 3 15:54

    compared to when I finally got around to starting to put an app on top
    of it:

    [email protected] 1 droleary staff 264 Mar 30 16:58
    Ugh, no. They, too, seem unable to spell out "article", and just
    looking at art.h makes it clear they have no abstraction of what a
    article/message is independent of their newsreader. What I'm looking to
    find is something that could be reasonable factored out to create a
    libnntp. I didn't see that in *any* open source newsreader, and so I
    had to write my own.
    If you're pushing it as something people should be using today, you
    don't get to point to tin's birthday as being an excuse for its current
    state. Even I wrote code a decade or two ago that I'm not proud of, but
    at least I have the perspective to acknowledge that it is now garbage.
    I leave it to the people to maintain tin to step up to the plate and
    make their code better but, like I said, my experience with open source
    projects is that even the worst coding is more desirable than the best
    ideas in software architecture or design.
    My point is that "bitmap" is too generic to be part of an API you
    actually expect people to easily use/understand. In particular, the
    task described is parsing read article ranges from the newsrc. It's in
    the form of CSV ranges of number strings. Regardless of how much RAM
    some ancient machine had, using the label "bitmap" to describe any of
    that should not have passed review.
    No, it is a *legacy* 7-bit CDN. It moved away from both plain text and
    on to a full 8-bit a long, long time ago. Again, it's not my fault if
    tin hasn't been keeping up with how people in 2014 make use of Usenet.
    The best thing you can do for it is stop making excuses for it and push
    for it to be better (or do as I've done and start writing something new).
    Photos, for a start. With a camera on every phone, you just can't have
    a social network without *at least* allowing users to post a picture of
    themselves in some manner. X-Face only goes so far, and updates like
    Face are also horribly limited, so the right solution is to support
    external standards.

    My intention is to, at some point, create something like a
    X-public-vcard-URL header, to allow clients to get more detailed
    information about each other, should they wish to publish contact
    details (including a photo). It stems naturally from my need/desire to
    support Address Book entries on the Mac.

    In general, the presentation of Usenet is group-centric, but a lot of
    how people approach social networks these days is user-centric. Just
    like Kibo demonstrated long ago, performing a pivot in perspective can
    radically change how people participate.
    What about them? They all have their niches. That fact that Usenet
    traffic is still growing in some areas shows that it does certain things
    well. Unfortunately, much of that is illicit/illegal use, but that is
    the *same* argument that is used against BitTorrent or *any*
    decentralized CDN used these days.

    The fact is that I could put an important file up on Usenet today and be
    fairly certain I could get at it from the other side of the world both
    tomorrow and for at least the next 5 years. The cost is lower than any
    of the "cloud storage" that's out there, and who knows if the company
    you went with will even be around next year? Usenet is *fucking great*
    for that sort of thing. The possibilities are there, for anyone willing
    to look beyond what tin does.
    And that's the shame of it all. Facebook gets to throw around piles of
    cash for invading their user's privacy, but Usenet gets no love. I'd
    hope the reasons for the disparity are obvious by now but, hell, I
    expected there'd be a libnntp by now, too.
    But nobody is going to deep-dive into tin's code to find those things.
    Again, like far too many open source projects, it assumes a person has a
    detailed understanding of the inner workings of everything before they
    begin doing anything. That's just not a good design.
    In other words, exactly the kind of unprofessional behavior that plagues
    most open source projects. Had their code been a high enough quality, I
    would have *gladly* based what I wanted on their efforts. But if they
    show no signs of wanting to *themselves* improve the core of their
    project, when I decide to write it myself, it should be no surprise that
    my efforts won't be based on tin.
    All the more reason that it's a shame nobody involved had the foresight
    to factor out a libnntp before they started. Because, having to start
    from scratch, I can pretty much guarantee that I'm going to have some
    silly bugs and non-standard behavior in my framework.
    But that's my experience. You can see it played out not so long ago in
    the GNUstep newsgroups after their failed Kickstarter. The problem with
    tin, too, probably isn't with the code itself, but simply with its
    organization and/or the aims of the project/management itself. If
    nobody there sees value in having a libnntp as part of their effort, I'm
    certainly not going to bust my hump giving them something they don't
    Doc O'Leary, May 8, 2014
  17. Don Bruder

    Doc O'Leary Guest

    Maybe. If in one case an ISP is streaming videos from YouTube to each
    of their 10000 customers and in the other case they're offering
    something that's been cached locally on an in-house Usenet server, they
    would be saving a *ton* of bandwidth going with the 2nd option.
    Doc O'Leary, May 8, 2014
  18. Don Bruder

    Doc O'Leary Guest

    Not open sourced as a result. Not even the app being free. It looks
    like it was just a form of pre-order. Seems like a bit of a rip to me.
    Blame the developers. They could release two related apps, like the
    free TextWrangler and the paid BBEdit. Or the app itself can be made
    free and offer in-app purchases that unlock the "full" version. But
    then people complain about being nickle-and-dimed to death, so there's
    no winning.
    Doc O'Leary, May 8, 2014
  19. Don Bruder

    Your Name Guest

    Yep, but still charging their customer the same excessively
    over-bloated fees. :-(
    Your Name, May 8, 2014
  20. Don Bruder

    Doc O'Leary Guest

    Ideally, I'd prefer to have it pre-funded so I wouldn't have to deal
    with all those unnecessary complexities. An offer of $50 for a v2.0
    newsreader isn't very enticing when I know I have to put out a $10 v1.0
    newsreader *first* that may not get enough traction to carry it forward.
    Doc O'Leary, May 8, 2014
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