Archived entries for Tools

Mozilla Thunderbird Maintenance

I’ve been using Mozilla Thunderbird as my exclusive desktop mail client at home and work for the last six or eight months. It’s been a perfectly capable and full-feature mail client, it’s not part of the Microsoft monopoly, and I like supporting Mozilla.

Several weeks ago though, my home instance started having problem. The indicator was that the Inbox count (the number of messages) was incorrect, and would often rapidly increase to a huge and incorrect number (200,000+ sometimes). Additionally, checking mail found sometimes fail, and the status bar would display incorrect or irrelevant information.

I did a little research and learned that I should be (have been) compacting my folders regularily to prevent mailbox corruption. To do so, highlight a folder or account, and go File > Compact Folders. Check out How to compact folders in Mozilla Thunderbird for all the details.

I tried several times to compact the folders, but either the process would fail or, if compeleted, wouldn’t fix the program. I concluded after research that this indicated the my mailbox data files had become corrupt. The mail data was OK, but the index, or table of contents of that data was corrupt.

Lukily, Thunderbird can easily create a new index file (foo.msf, for Mail Summary File), and will do so automatically if it finds the file missing. After locating my Profile Folder, I deleted all the .msf files that were causing problems. (Actually ALL of ‘em, just to be safe.) There’s a .msf for each of your mail folders, so your number of .msf files will vary — I had a few dozen.

(To be safe, cut-and-paste a copy of your Profile Folder to a safe location before mucking around in your profile.)

With the bad files out of the system, I booted Thunderbird back up and watched as it rebuilt each index file. Problem solved. It’s been working perfectly since.

Dotrush 2006 – Hurry, going fast.

Over the last few weeks, Yahoo! Mail has started offering a “dot” within your Yahoo ID. Instead of nate98317ab, you can now be firstname.lastname, or anything else containing a dot. I was triz_n, but now I’m nate.koechley. This new namespace offers many great names that have been grabbed long ago in the dot-less namespace. Here’s what the Yahoo Mail blog has to say about it:

Well, you’re in luck. We’ve just opened up new “dot” addresses to all Mail users. Now get an extra email address like or or It’s absolutely free. Use it just as you would your primary address (which of course you can still use). To make things handy, even use one Inbox to send and receive messages to and from both addresses. But hurry, the good names are going fast!

Click here to claim your dot username.

Firefox Extension: X-Ray

Stuart Robertson makes good on one of his New Year’s Resolutions by creating and publishing his X-Ray extension for Firefox.

It’s a nifty little extension that uses CSS’s :before and :after pseudo-classes to expose the markup on a page without needing to view source. By seeing the markup in use on a page, in context, it’s easier to see what’s doing what, especially I imagine for non-webdevs.

As I suggested in the comments on his blog post, I’d use this even more if it allows me to X-Ray just a section of the page, in much the way “View Selected Source” lets me examine just a subset of the page’s source.

AllPeers Filesharing Extension for Firefox, a TechCrunch Review

Michael Arrington points to a forthcoming Firefox bittorrent extension called AllPeers for sharing files with your friends and family. Sounds pretty good, I could use a tool like this.

I signed up for the beta, and you can too via the link towards the end of his TechCrunch review.

Firefox 1.5 Coming This Week

According to Eric Bangeman over on the arctechnica blog, Firefox 1.5 is going to be released this week with an accompanying marketing blitz.

There’s no word yet on any of the official Firefox sites, but judging by the distance between availability of the three Release Candidate builds, this week seems about right.

Stay tuned…

Riya Photo Search Screenshots

Originally uploaded by natekoechley.

At brunch this morning, I received an email invitation to play with the early “soalphaithurts” alpha of Riya. Riya is consumer facial recongition software. After you name a face, it will scan and auto-tag the rest of your photos.

The concept is great; I took 9000 photos on my backpacking trip earlier this year, some help tagging them is very welcome.

Anyways, I just signed up and installed the uploaded. It takes quite a while to upload and process the photos, but in the meantime check my screenshots of “Nine Step Registration Process” and the “Six Page Tour”.

More Riya details, screenshots and first impressions coming soon.

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