Lightning add-on with Google Calendar-like color palette

I’ve started using Lightning add-on for Thunderbird lately. Oh and Thunderbird, too. Again.

I just figured Evolution is unreasonably resources demanding, works a bit slowly on my notebook (Intel(R) Core(TM) Duo CPU T2250 @ 1.73GHz, 4GB RAM, ATI Xpress 1250 with 256MB), has a terrible connection error dialog that looks stylish in red and overlays message window list but pops up way too often — with many accounts and a bit flaky Internet connection and/or frequent sleep and resume cycles that gets just irritating because as a user I have to dismiss them manually or else they remain in their place forever limiting view of the list of new and old messages. Evolution also offers a pretty inconvenient way to turn HTML formatting on or off on a per single message basis. You’d have to go all the way to preferences and locate it in some section and tick the box off or on to get a single e-mail sent out in HTML if you prefer plain-text most of the time. That’s just too time-consuming and frustrating and IS a lot of work. Finally, I figured it crashes quite often under certain circumstances. Overall it works stable 98% of the time and is a very good mature e-mail client and I’d personally recommend it to a lot of people.

I didn’t feel like hunting down its bugs, though, because at the end of the day performance wise I’d still not be happy with Evolution, so I decided to give Thunderbird another try. I used to run it, it was OK. It met most of my expectations back then but at some point in time I defined my own user policy where I’d strive to use default DE applications as much as I could. I felt it would give me a more consistent look and feel, which kinda matters to me when I become a regular desktop user and not a Linux administrator who works mostly with black terminal and a web-browser.

So, I used to use KMail and Evolution and they were both OK. Since the last time I’ve used Thunerbird it got a cool add-ons manager and plenty of useful extensions (like Lightning, Gnome Integration, Copy As Plain Text, Personal Level Indicators, etc.) as well as nifty personas, sort of skins that can deliver a really nice touch of personality to your Thunderbird  if chosen wisely. Some of the extensions that I found useful and a very cool persona/skin can be seen in this screenshot:

Extensions that I found useful and persona/skin demonstration

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Placing Evolution windows to specific viewports with Compiz

Compiz has lots of nifty plug-ins and one of them is called Place. What it does essentially it takes a window and puts it on a specific desktop you tell it to.

The tricky part is to write rules to select windows. Evolution proved to be quite a pain to handle. I usually use 6 virtual desktops, or viewports in Compiz parlance. I have two rows of them, each has 3 virtual desktops. I’m used to having an e-mail client running in viewport 3, row 1 (X3:Y1) web-browser and console in viewport 1 (X1:Y1).

Well, initially my idea was to  grab a Window Title for Evolution’s Compose Message window and have it explicitly excluded in the rules. That kind of approach worked just fine on my office workstation where I use Thunderbird, but with Evolution this sort of rule:

title=Evolution & !title=”Compose Message”

Just didn’t work. What happened was either Compose Message window would be still forcibly placed to viewport 3, or, totally weird, main Evolution window would be transferred to active viewport and Compose Message window would take place of main Evolutoin window defined by Place plugin rules (in my case viewport 3, X3:Y1).

But as I said a little earlier, I keep my Chromium window in viewport 1 and when I click an “e-mail to” link I’d love to see Compose Message window in viewport 1, or in other words I want it to follow the viewport I’m working in. Well, that logic expressed in a rule above proved to be a total failure. I tried literally all the options for matching rules: window class, title, role, etc. — none of them worked. I’ve actually almost given up on this idea to take control of Evolution’s windows and left the rules as they were the last time I messed around with Place settings.

Eventually, what I ended up with, though, and it comes as a surprise to me as well, was a simple:

role=EShellWindow

Which was created sort of accidentally, a leftover of the code from the last time I attempted to figure out the matching rules for Evolution, but it turned out to be exactly what I needed.

So, if you need to forcibly place Evolution on its launch to any viewport, just use this rule to match the Evolution main window. That’s it. Compose Message will follow your viewport.

If you feel a little uncomfortable with Compiz’s matching rules syntax, don’t worry I felt it was a little unusual as well! Here’s a nice post, though, that breaks down the most important aspects of the window matching deal:

http://technology-flow.com/articles/control-window-behavior-compiz/