Archive for the ‘Linux Communications’ Category

Send email from the command line

Tuesday, June 21st, 2011

runs on Linuxruns on Macruns on Windows
screenshot of SendEmail

There are lots of straightforward ways to send email out there, with all kinds of email client applications. There are some more complicated ways to send email as well, like talking directly to sendmail or postfix. Apps with GUIs are nice for humans, but not so easy to incorporate into scripts. Command line tools are scriptable, but they can be complicated to set up, configure and run. There is, however, a third way.

SendEmail is a Perl script that you can use to send email messages either directly from the command line, or by incorporating its functionality into batch files or shell scripts. You basically include all the regular bits and pieces required for any email message—to, from, subject, body, name of the SMTP server you're using—in the command that invokes the app, and then just send the message. While it may be a bit complicated to do this from the command prompt yourself, sticking it all into a script is pretty easy, and now you can send messages programmatically.

A free download, SendEmail is available with installers for Linux and Windows, although it's no great challenge to use it on your Mac as well. All you need is a Perl install on your system, and you're good to go.

Download SendEmail

Use Google Voice without your browser

Friday, February 4th, 2011

runs on Linuxruns on Macruns on Windows
screenshot of Google Voice Desktop App

If you're a fan of Google Voice, you know how handy it can be to use its voicemail and calling features. What you might not find so handy is the fact that you have to open your browser and be logged in to use it. Until now. Meet the Google Voice Desktop App.

With this desktop app, you don't have to worry about silly browser mistakes getting in the way of making or receiving your calls. With this app, built using the Adobe AIR platform, you don't even need to open a browser, much less worry about accidentally closing it in the middle of a call. But you still have all the functionality you expect from Google Voice: calls in, calls out, voicemail, SMS text messages, and more.

The free Google Voice Desktop App is compatible with all systems that support the Adobe AIR platform, including Linux, Windows, and Mac (G4 processor or later).

Download Google Voice Desktop App

Gmail Backup tool

Friday, August 20th, 2010

runs on Linuxruns on Windows
screenshot of Gmail Backup

Sure, you do regular backups of your data, right? You know you'd be sunk if you lost all that stuff: financial information, customer database, reports, and more. But what about your email? Back in the day, you used a desktop email application. When you backed up your system, you were sure to grab your email at the same time. But now that you use an online system for email, that little piece has gone away. If your email service of choice is Gmail, you're in luck: you've got Gmail Backup.

Gmail Backup is a tool that lets you back up your Gmail account. If you use Gmail in your business, you really can't afford to lose your important mail. You'd like to assume that Google will always be there, and that your data will always be safe, but then again they thought the Titanic was unsinkable as well. With this app it's pretty easy to do an "incremental backup", where you grab all the email since your last backup, so you don't have to grab several years worth of messages each time you run it. You're backing up the "All Mail" folder, so everything you really care about, including all sent, received, and draft messages.

A free download, Gmail Backup runs under Linux and Windows. There's an unsupported command-line only Mac version as well, if you're feeling particularly adventurous.

Download Gmail Backup

BlogBridge industrial strength news aggregator

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009

runs on Linuxruns on Macruns on Windows
screenshot of BlogBridge

There are two types of people in the world: those who break the world down into two types of people and those who don't. Okay, old joke, right? But seriously, there are a lots of ways in which people can be broken down into two different groups based on their attitudes or behaviors. Take news feeds, for example. For some folks, it's all fun and games: keeping track of the comings and goings of friends, new music and video releases, and other general recreational stuff. For others, it's strictly business: vendors to watch, competitors to track, that soft of thing. This latter group usually has a whole bunch of stuff to try to keep track of; they need a tool that's as serious about it all as they are.

BlogBridge is an industrial-strength blog and newsfeeds aggregator. It supports all popular feed formats, and lets you keep track of what you've read and what's still waiting for you. With installs on multiple machines, you can keep your life synchronized between work, home, and even on the road. It's got heavy-duty search tools that let you find what you need fast, too.

BlogBridge is a free download. It's a Java app, so it'll run on systems that have the appropriate runtime installed, including many flavors of Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux.

Download BlogBridge

lightweight and user-friendly e-mail client

Thursday, August 13th, 2009

runs on Linuxruns on Macruns on Windows
screenshot of Sylpheed

Everybody's got an email client they swear by. Of course, there are other times where they've got a client they swear at. If you fall into that latter category, maybe you're in the market for a new mail program. This might be the time to check out Sylpheed.

Sylpheed uses a standard three-pane design, with a folder hierarchy on the left, and messages and individual message preview on the right. A small footprint means that system resources aren't taxed by this app. With powerful search and filter capabilities, you'll always be able to find just the message you're looking for. You can even save your results into a search folder, so you won't have to execute your query a second time. Smart junk mail control means that the more junk you receive, the less you'll actually see, as its filters improve with use.

Sylpheed is a free application. It runs on Windows (Win2k and later), Linux and other *NIX platforms, and Mac OS X (sorry, Intel processors only).

Download Sylpheed

User-friendly, lightweight, fast email client

Friday, June 26th, 2009

runs on Linuxruns on Macruns on Windows
screenshot of Claws Mail

Where would we be without email? While we could probably go for quite a while without a telephone, we probably wouldn't last more than a couple of hours without email. While email itself is pretty simple stuff, getting it to work right can be more of a challenge.

There are lots of email clients out there that do lots of things, but as you know, when you add layers of functionality to any application, you're adding layers of complexity to it as well. By the time you format your message with all the pretty fonts and pictures, you can end up with a big message to send. This also means that the tool itself is pretty big and complicated. Claws is not such a tool.

What it is is a no-nonsense email client. You can't send HTML-formatted messages; you can't use it as a full-featured PIM. What you can do is use it for your POP or IMAP mail accounts—as many as you want to throw at it—as well as accessing your local mbox file. You can even create send-only accounts that let you access an SMTP server to push mail out into the world without receiving anything back. Plugins are also available to add more functionality to Claws Mail.

Claws Mail is a free app. It's available for a bunch of different Linux flavors, as well as Windows and Macintosh users.

Download Claws Mail

Send notes privately with Privnote

Tuesday, July 29th, 2008

screenshot of Privnote

Email is forever. Once you write an email and send it, you can safely assume that it will exist in some form forever. Even if you delete it from the sending machine, and the recipient deletes it on the receiving end, there are enough servers that have passed it along that you're going to find it living out there somewhere. And we all know how easy it is forward an email—just check out all the spam messages that have been forwarded to you lately.

Privnote is a free service that makes it a little easier to control who reads your messages. Rather than sending an email directly to your intended recipient, you enter your message into a form on the Privnote site, and they in turn give you back a URL to send to your recipient. The fun thing here is that this link allows them to access your message one time only—once they've seen it, it goes away. It's almost like a Mission: Impossible message that self-destructs in five seconds. And since it's not an email, it's impossible to be forwarded.

Now of course, for the message to be seen—even once—it has had to sit on Privnote's server, so you'll want to be careful what you say, because they don't claim that your words aren't going to end up in one of their log files somewhere down in the guts of their network, but you are certainly limiting your words' exposure by not including them in the regular email stream out there.

Privnote is a free online service.

Download Privnote

Google Send To Phone sends text messages from your browser

Monday, March 31st, 2008

screenshot of Google Send To Phone

Did you ever want to text yourself? You're headed out the door to some place you've never been before, so you dutifully looked-up the address and driving directions on Google Maps. It would be handy to send yourself a text message with that info in it, so that you don't have to drag along that printout of the directions.

Google Send To Phone is a Firefox extension that allows you to send SMS messages (text messages) to your mobile phone from within your web browser. Copy and paste whatever content you want from your page into the "text to send" field. If you're going long, the tool will automatically split your text into multiple messages.

Not only is this useful for texting yourself, but if you need to dash off a quick note to somebody else, you can do so as well. All you need is the phone number and carrier for your recipient.

Google Send To Phone is compatible with any system running Firefox version 1 or later. Sending messages through this extension is free, but charges may apply to receiving them; check with your carrier for details. Most major carriers are included in the list for sending.

Download Google Send To Phone

Get it together with Pidgin

Thursday, January 3rd, 2008

screenshot of Pidgin

How many different IM accounts do you have? AIM, ICQ, MSN–the list does go on. Each of these has their own proprietary client, so keeping track of all of them can become a real nightmare. It'd be nice if one size would fit all.

Enter Pidgin, the free, multi-protocol instant messaging client that allows you to access all of your accounts at once. Chat with all your buddies at once, without having to run half a dozen apps on your desktop at a time. Along with allowing you to exchange garden variety instant messages, Pidgin also supports file transfer, away messages, and many other features of their respective networks.

Pidgin runs on Linux (and other *NIX systems), as well as Windows. Mac users will want to check out Adium for similar functionality for their OS X machines.

Download Pidgin

i.Scribe therefore I am, at least email-wise

Monday, December 3rd, 2007

screenshot of i.Scribe

Who can live without email? We all use it multiple times a day. If you're looking for something beyond what you're currently using, you may want to give i.Scribe a spin.

i.Scribe is a lightweight email client that combines email functionality with an integrated contact database, as well as a calendar. It doesn't require an installer (one is included for user convenience), so it can be dropped wherever you want it to live, including USB drives, making it super easy to bring along with you.

It starts up fast, requiring only a second or two to get up to speed. It may be one of the safer email clients out there, since it supports HTML email but not embedded scripts, so you won't have to dread opening emails like in Outlook. It features a Bayesean spam filter, so it will learn what you consider spam and react accordingly, getting smarter and more efficient over time.

i.Scribe supports only a single account (they have a paid version that supports multiple accounts), so it may not be the most flexible tool you own, but you can't beat the price.

i.Scribe is available as a free download. It runs under Windows (most features run under 98/ME, more under 2k/XP), Linux, and a beta-level version for Mac OS X.

Download i.Scribe