Mail Trends #

I get a lot of email (especially at work). I'm trying a Inbox Zero-like approach in order to keep up with it. Though that's helping me to stay on top of things, I had the nagging feeling that I was probably on too many mailing lists, and that some of them were probably not worth it from a signal-to-noise ratio perspective.

Ideally something like the Reader Trends or Search History Trends page would exist for Gmail. I thought I could perhaps build it myself, but the absence of an official Gmail API deterred me. However, it occurred to me that the recently added IMAP support could act as an API of sorts. It should be easy to get just the message headers and slice and dice them to extract the stats that I was interested in.

Thus was born Mail Trends, an IMAP-based email analysis project. It can generate a bunch of tables, graphs and distributions based on time of day, senders, recipients, mailing lists, etc. To get a feel for what it can output, see the results of running it on a piece of the Enron Email Dataset. To run it over your own email, see the getting started page. As a caveat, the program currently loads everything into memory, so my run on 200,000 messages resulted in 1.6 gigabytes being used. You may want to use the --max_messages= flag to limit the dataset, at least for initial runs.

The project is still in its early stages, so patches and suggestions are definitely welcome (my email address is at the footer). You can also subscribe to the feed of check-ins to see changes as they are made. The plan wiki page has a very brief outline of what I'm planning on working on next.

Two Safari 3.1 Tips #

Safari 3.1 is out, and I've upgraded my Mac to it. Besides some issues with arrow keys in Reader (we're on it), it's working out well. Here are two hidden prefs that you may find useful:

defaults write IncludeInternalDebugMenu -bool true

The Develop menu that 3.1 includes is nice, but it seems to supplant the old "Debug" menu (i.e. the preference key that used to toggle it - IncludeDebugMenu - now toggles the "Develop" menu). The old menu had functionality that isn't present in the official one, most notably the "Caches" window that displayed the number of live JavaScript objects and made tracking down memory leaks much easier. If you'd like to bring back the old menu, you can use the new IncludeInternalDebugMenu key shown above

defaults write TargetedClicksCreateTabs -bool true

First spotted on Twitter, this forces new windows to open in tabs, one feature that I missed from my Firefox days.