Monthly Archives: February 2008

Anyone got a good reference on procmail and procmailrc

For a couple of years I’ve been reading my e-mail in a split fashion. I read it through SquirrelMail a lot of the time — which is an IMAP based solution, but periodically download it to my personal laptop using POP. When I read it on my laptop, I filter the mailing lists into their various folders, but everything stays in the main inbox for SquirrelMail.

I would like to change this so that I use IMAP in both cases, and that the folders are available, and filtered, on the server rather than on the client. I am 90% sure that the tool I want to use for this is procmail.

However, I am already using procmail to route my mail through spamassassin, so I need to make sure that that happens before any other filtering. One of my filters would be to direct spam to an appropriate folder where I can deal with it safely.

So my question is, “Do any of my friends have a reference that they can point me to that will help with setting up the procmailrc file that will allow me to do this filtering?”

Interview update

Hopefully I am not frustrating my un- and under-employed friends with these updates, but I thought I should let you know that I had a second phone interview with the Seattle company on Monday, and they are probably going to fly me out for an in person interview on March 10.

This isn’t finalized yet, but I’ve asked them to fly me back on March 11 so I don’t end up stuck on a “red eye” return. So, there is a possibility that I may be free in Seattle one night.

Other Seattle Comments

As mentioned below, I’ve been doing some virtual poking around Seattle in relation to the interviews I’ve been having in the area. During this poking, I’ve been reflecting on places I spent time when I was there in 1995 and 1997 — not so much 1999 since that was a short trip.

One of the disappointments from my web searching is that it looks like two of the more or less local chains that I remember enjoying meals at in 1995 or 1997 seem to be mostly gone. Of course it could just be that they are too well hidden for me to find a web presence that indicates more locations.

The first was Mitzel’s American Kitchen. I remember this chain of Bakers Square class restaurants had really good food, for a decent price, when I ate there. The other thing I remember is that they were the only place I ever saw that the wait staff used wireless PDA like devices to take orders. I thought that those devices would make communication between the floor and the kitchen very efficient.

The other place as Cuccina Cuccina. They were, at least in the mid 1990’s, a “hipper” Olive Garden, with a more eclectic Italian menu (less pasta and red sauce) with a bicycle heavy decor. I seem to recall that they also had a few Cuccina Cuccina fast kitchen (or some similar, and probably equally overly repeatingly redundant name) that were carry out places.

Alas, both seem to have dwindled to few stores according to the websites I can find.

On the other hand, The Keg seems to still be going strong.

Why I am thinking of leaving my job

Just a quick note explaining why I would consider a good offer for employment away from my current job.

The short answer is, “I’m not sure how long my company is going to keep me.” Now, I’m not personally at risk of a lay off or being fired — probably just about the opposite — but my division is not doing well. All but one of the new development projects has been canceled, leaving us supporting the maintenance on several products in the field, and not much else. The remaining project is in trouble and I could see it being canceled soon if the primary customer gets sufficiently dissatisfied. If that happens, my team will probably drop a bunch of people. I very well might not be dropped, but the job remaining would be made up of my least favorite parts of my job and some very uninteresting and repetitive parts of other people’s jobs.

Unfortunately, each time I look, I’m not seeing nearly as much demand for senior software people in the Chicago area as I’d like. Now I’m not surprised. The major software employers traditionally have been my company and it competitor in Naperville. Both are suffering, not hiring and letting people go. Beyond that is the downtown business (banking and trading) companies and a number of much smaller shops. Even the ones that are hiring are advertising for people with 5 to 10 years experience, and if they post a salary it is considerably less than my current salary. I’m not taking a cut in pay if I’m still actively employed, even for decent security.

So this leaves me looking elsewhere, and getting encouraged by getting one positive response.

Relocation thoughts

Edit/addition at 11:20

As I mentioned earlier, albeit nearly hidden in my report on Capricon, I had a phone interview last week with a large Seattle company (but not THAT large Seattle company, the other one). The first interview went well and they scheduled a second phone interview, which had to be rescheduled when the interviewer didn’t call me last night.

The problem with the second phone interview not withstanding, I’ve been looking into some of the details of a possible relocation to the Puget Sound area.

Where to live?

Cartoons (or Comics if you prefer)

It seems that we are heading into a decline in the variety and quality of the daily comic strip. Yesterday, I learned that The Humble Stumble will end in early March. I’ve followed this strip since it advertised as a new strip on its syndicate’s website, throughout its brief appearance in The Chicago Tribune, and since back on line. The creator hasn’t been able to keep it in enough newspapers to pay.

At the same time, several of the web comics I’ve been following for years are, at least reportedly, ending. These include Funny Farm, Bruno the Bandit, Suburban Jungle and Melonpool. My understanding is that for at least some of these strips the author/artist is unable to spend the time to produce the strip while still working a full time paying job and having any outside life.

The common thread seems to be that it is getting very hard to establish yourself as a full time comic strip artist unless you are selected to pick up the pen, metaphorically, of a retiring or dead artist and continue their old strip. And I think this is very sad. The artists, both web comic artists who haven’t successfully sold anything into newspaper syndication, and the artist for The Humble Stumble, have complained that the problem is that newspapers are cutting costs for features, and won’t risk removing established strips from their comics page for fear of upsetting a vocal group of mostly older fans. So instead of getting new strips, we see reruns of Peanuts, or new panels of Denis the Menace by the second, third or maybe fourth artists and years after the creator’s death — both of which I still read, the later online, more out of momentum and nostalgia then anything else.

Recently the strip, Candorville — which the Chicago Tribune also dropped after a fairly short run, replacing it was either Raising Hector or Watch Your Head (neither of which I enjoy) — hit on this topic very specifically when the main character, a blogger hired as a newspaper columnist to drum up new readership, was asked how to get new readers for the paper, while the editor was reducing the number of comics and meeting with the long-dead zombie creator of a famous strip.

Unfortunately, I cannot offer any ideas short of writing to the papers and encouraging them to try new comics for a year or two, get rid of comics that are fully, or mostly, in reruns — or at least move them to a different page and to understand that many of us subscribe to the paper as much for the comic section as for any other part. I should probably write such a letter to the Tribune myself.

Thoughts on finishing On Her Majesty’s Secret Service

This afternoon, just after leaving for work after my exam and lunch, I finished On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. After this I had a couple of quick thoughts.

First, I have to agree with an assessment I heard sometime back. Of the Bond books I’ve read (I’ve been working my way through, but am on hold at the moment since I somehow forgot to get a copy of You Only Live Twice), the movie of On Her Majesty’s Secret Service is the closest adaptation. However, Thunderball is a close second.

Second, during the final chapter — and I won’t go into more details on the off chance you’ve neither seen the movie nor read the book and would want to some day — I kept hearing the song “We Have All the Time in the World” starting. Mostly because Bond says this line several times. In fact it is the last line of dialog in the book (and movie).

A couple of quick updates

Just a couple of updates on where things are and recent events.


Political Philosophy Quiz

First — apologies to anyone whose friends page got briefly filled up with my Political Philosophy Quiz. I automatically posted it and it ended up in a format that isn’t editable (or deletable). I’ve managed to screen it, however, so it is only cluttering up my pages now.

The results, below the cut, are about what I would have expected.

results manually copied


Derrick and I went climbing again this morning. Since climbing is one thing that we both enjoy and do, more or less, together, and it is good for both of us, I’ve decided to go more regularly. Today was the first “regular” visit.

Towards the end of the morning (we only climbed for about 90 minutes since Tara and Derrick had something to do at 1:30 back up in Bartlett) Derrick managed to top out one of the routes, twice. I finally toped out the same — more or less — route. Admittedly this was one of the easier routes (a “5.EASY” if we’d followed one set of holds, a 5.6 on the other, and we both mixed and matched a bit), but still topping out feels good.

I also got certified to belay Derrick (and anyone else), but have to use the auto belays for my own climbing.

At the end of the morning, the financial part of the climbing plans got thrown for a bit of a loop. There were cards advertising a sale on 1 year memberships for one weekend, March 7-9. With the sale price, an annual membership drops to just about 3 times the cost of one 10 visit card. So if Derrick and I go more than 15 times in a year it would pay to get the membership. I’ve got a month to think about it.

I’m also thinking that it might be nice to be joined down there by someone else who is of comparable size to me, and over 13 — Derrick fails on both accounts — who could belay me, and I them. At this point the tentative plan is to hit the gym in Warrenville at about 10:00am on Saturdays when Tara works, and possibly other Saturdays when there is nothing else interfering. Our next visit wouldn’t be until March 8 since we’ve got Capricon and a vacation two of the next three weekends, and I’ll probably have a 1:15 belt test for Karate on the other. Should anyone be interested, let me know and I can give you more details.