Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Migrating from KMail to Mozilla Thunderbird

Last night, I migrated my email and calendar from KDE's KMail to Mozilla's Thunderbird. While it wasn't the most intuitive process, it was simple once I figured it out, and everything transferred over smoothly.

Why did I want to make the change, after the pain-in-the-butt migration a month or so ago from Evolution to Kontact? Well.... it's all about features. I really like how Thunderbird organizes email, separating it by account. I use several addresses, and it's much easier to send mail from different addresses and manage incoming mail from different addresses in TBird than in KMail.

First of all, here are the links:
Mozilla Calendar Project: http://www.mozilla.org/projects/calendar/

Mozilla Thunderbird Email: http://www.mozilla.org/products/thunderbird/

First, the email migration. There's a little bit of work to be done in KMail to prepare for the move. First, you have to make sure that your email is stored in mbox format. Find this under Settings - Configure KMail - Misc. The line is: "By default, message folders on disk are:" Choose the dropdown for "flat files ("mbox format")"." Now, if your messages are already set up to use mbox format, you've got a bit less work to do. Mine weren't, and sadly, simply changing that dropdown does not convert your existing message folders. But, it will then create any new folders with the mbox format.

If your folders are already in mbox format, skip to the next paragraph. Otherwise, hang here! What I found to be the easiest way to do this was to create new folders for any folder I wanted to move over. So, I created them with the same name and added the number 2, like: Yahoo became Yahoo2, and so forth. Then I copied all messages from each folder into the new "2" folder. (If you plan to totally ditch KMail, you can move the messages to the new folders - I chose to copy, and then go back and delete the "2" folders when I was finished, just in case I go back to KMail. Now you should have a "2" version of every folder you want to migrate, each containing the email messages you want to move. (If you don't use subfolders to organize your mail, it's a much easier task - just copy all of your email into one new folder).

Now it's time to copy your mbox files from KMail to Thunderbird. By default, your local mail folders in Tbird are stored in your home directory. Mine were here:
/home/shelly/.thunderbird/default.r25/Mail/Local Folders

Your KMail mbox files should be in your home directory as well - mine were here:

Copy the mbox files for the new email folders you created in KMail from your .Mail directory to your Tbird Local Folders directory. (Make sure Thunderbird is not running at the time). Now, open up Tbird, and you should see all of your mail folders listed under "Local Folders" in the left-hand navigation tree. Sweet! Feel free to move your messages around, rename folders, and organize to your heart's content.

If you'd like to move your address book over, simply export your address book from Kontact via File - Export - LDIF, save that file, and then import that file into Thunderbird via Address Book - Tools - Import.

And that's it! :)

Saturday, August 21, 2004

Killing a Crashing App

Coming from the Windoze world, the solution to killing a crashing app (if it hasn't already hosed the operating system itself) is to reboot the machine. In the Linux world, it is not so. But - if rebooting is not necessary, what is the trick??

My SuperKaramba app crashed yesterday, causing an ugly blank square on my desktop where my Liquid Weather theme had been sitting. I wanted to kill the crashing SuperKaramba and restart it.

First, I ran the command:
ps ax

to view the currently running processes on my system. Then, I scrolled through the list to find SuperKaramba and made a note of its process ID (pid).

Then, I killed it with:
kill -9 pid

kill -9 1234

Bye bye SuperKaramba! I restarted it and all is well.

Sunday, August 15, 2004

Bringing up USB devices

Today's tidbit... bringing up USB devices. I had booted up my machine and did not realize that my USB printer was not plugged in. I did not want to reboot just to print, but for the life of me couldn't find a way to "start" my printer. This did the trick - from the command line:

modprobe usbcore

My printer was detected as idle, and I could print. If there are other ways to get a USB device detected post-bootup, please post a comment and let me know :)

Saturday, August 14, 2004

Hard Drive Crash... Maybe

What a fiasco this weekend has been - I have to go back to work tomorrow, and have tons of stuff I need to do on the computer, and of course - it's time for a crash. My brand new Maxtor 250gb drive started clicking and locking up on me the other day, and to my dismay failed all diagnostic tests. So, I started rebooting, dragging off data, rebooting, backing up... Randomly the drive wouldn't even be detected in my BIOS. Then, as the drive locked up sooner and sooner, BOTH of my hard drives stopped detecting in the BIOS. Hmmm... IDE controller gone bad? Flaky ribbon cable? Power issue? I unplugged 2 of the extra fans in my case, which were coincidentally plugged in via the same power chain as the hard drives. I haven't locked up since, and the drive passed the Maxtor PowerMax diagnostic after being disconnected from the fans. Not sure if it's the fans themselves causing the problem, or if I just need a new/more powerful power supply (likely the case - I have a lot of stuff in this system sucking power).

The drive is under warranty till November, so I'm going to keep my eye on it, but hopefully I've found the problem without doing actual damage to the drive. Sadly I'll probably have to wipe it out and do a low level format on it anyway, assuming the power glitches caused some bad sectors, but I'll look into that another day. For now I'm just glad my computer is running so I can get some work done!

Monday, August 02, 2004

Autostart Apps in KDE

Hi all -

Today, I finally got SuperKaramba working, and with that, the Liquid Weather theme (the whole reason I wanted SK in the first place!) I'm a weather junkie, what can I say.

Anyhoooo I learned how to make applications auto-run in KDE today (similar to putting things in the "startup" folder in Windows). There are probably multiple ways to do this, but here's what worked for me. My example - configuring SuperKaramba and the Liquid Weather theme to run automatically at startup.

1. Create a file in the .kde/Autostart directory in your home directory (/home/whoeveruare/.kde/Autostart). I called mine start_karamba.

2. Paste the following script into that file. Change paths to match your system's configuration.

KARAMBA_PATH=/usr/local/kde/bin/superkaramba #path to the superkaramba program
THEME=/usr/local/kde/themes/liquid_weather_plus/liquid_weather.theme #path to the theme file


3. Save file.

4. Make the file executable. Such as:
chmod +x start_karamba

5. Test it out by executing your script from the command line, or just log out of your kde session and log back in. (You may want to close liquid weather/superkaramba if it's running before logging out, to be sure you aren't just reloading your previous session).

Another thing to note - if you've just started using liquid weather, your user configuration changes (like your city) will not "stick" unless you either close the theme or reload the theme. That's when the config file is actually written. So, if you haven't already at least once closed or reloaded the weather theme, liquid weather will restart with the default options. reload the theme once after you've configured it with your city (right-click on the weather panel and choose configure theme, reload) to be sure you've saved your settings.

Now I've got the weather forecast on my desktop - hoooraah!