Handling vcalendar entries in mutt
#375 Henry, Monday, 14 January 2019 11:32 AM (Category: Linux)
(Tags: mutt calendar)

I use mutt for mail, and it's a text based mailer, very fast, very neat, and I've been using it very happily for 20+ years. I ran into a small irritation last week.

We have new managers, so now I am getting vcalendar invitations to meetings. These are included in the email as mimetype text/calendar, and sometimes application/ics. Mostly the first one.

If I am just looking at the raw format of these invitations, I have a hard time understanding when these things start, especially factoring in timezones. So I went looking for a way to display the vcalendar info in mutt when viewing a message. There are some wonderful solutions out there, and I settled on this one.

Preliminary reading took me to this blog post about displaying text/calendar entries in mutt

The first step is to get a vcalendar filter, and there is a nice one available on github. Follow that link.

It requires a number of Perl modules:

Install those Perl modules, then put the script in your private bin directory and call it vcalendar-filter. Make sure it's executable. Test it by extracting a vcalendar entry from an email, saving it to a text file, and then running vcalendar-filter on it. If it works and displays a neat easily-understandable version of the meeting, you are ready to move on.

Edit your .mailcap file and add these lines:

text/calendar; /home/youruser/bin/vcalendar-filter %s; copiousoutput
application/ics; /home/youruser/bin/vcalendar-filter %s; copiousoutput

And finally, add this line to your .muttrc:

auto_view text/calendar application/ics

Now in mutt, when you get an email with a vcalendar entry, mutt will recognise it via the mime type, and do auto view, pulling how to autoview from the .mailcap file.

I didn't care for the emacs display in the final result, so I commented out the emacs section in the script vcalendar-filter. And now I can see these meeting invitations and not miss the meetings.

No comments
Arc - Moves replacement
#374 Henry, Wednesday, 18 July 2018 4:37 PM (Category: Apps)
(Tags: moves arc app)

Chris pointed me to an app he found - Arc.

The Arc App.

I tried it out. Different interface to Moves. You get the timeline of events up front, overlayed on the map. It took me a little while to find how it worked. I should have read more. Beside the locations it found, and besides the transportation methods, I had a lot of little red dots. These mean it wasn't sure of these things. The more you use it, and the more you eliminate the little red dots, the more confident it gets in placing you and working out your movements.

When you start the app, you get the map at the top with your movements marked. Tap on the map and the other views disappear and you can move the map around, expand it and shrink it with the usual pinch and pull gestures. Tap the X at the bottom to go back to the main view.

You get a horizontal bar in the middle which summarises your movements. Tap on that and you get an expanded view of your activity.

Then you get your timeline in a big view at the bottom. Slide up and down to see it all. You can tap on segments to edit them, and correct the location and activity. There's quite a lot you can do there.

Right at the top is the date, and you get a calendar to move around. To the right of that is a double arrow to go to Today. If you just want to move around a day at a time, swipe left or right on your timeline.

At the bottom left is the Arc symbol again, tap that and you get the menu.

Top left is a search button, and I haven't done a lot with it. I searched for Acredale (the cat's vet), it showed me a lits of my visits there, let me choose one, and then showed me the timeline and map for that day. That's really nice.

Overall, it's an easy interface, and the more you use it, the easier it gets. I'm liking this app.

Main view Activity view

Once I started confirming and correcting things, I was in a better position. What I particularly like is that the data is stored in iCloud. It does not appear to be sent off the phone to the developer. I have the data, I control the data. I like that. It also seems to be lighter on the battery than Moves was. I also like that.

Main menu Expanded map

There have been several updates to the app recently. It's under constant development. The author announced that it might be possible to import Moves data. This morning, that update with the import came through.

The import method involves getting your data from the Moves website. It's in a file called moves_export.zip. You put that whole file in your iCloud drive, in the Arc App directory. Once you do that, you go into Arc and it should import your data. It didn't do that for me. I moved it into place on my Mac. When I looked at it on my phone using Files, it had the little iCloud symbol on the icon for the file. Ah, it was in iCloud, but had not been downloaded to the iPhone. That's why Arc hadn't started importing it. I tapped the icon, it downloaded to my iPhone, I went into Arc, tapped the little Arc symbol at bottom left, and it showed that it was importing my data. Nice.

It didn't take long. I have a lot of data since 2014. The iPhone ran pretty warm during the import. I did some spot checks on the 2016 Hawaii trip and the Pennsylvania trip, and the data was there. The locations, places, times, it was all there. My history has been preserved. It's viewable, and usable. This is awesome. Most of the imported data has the little red dots beside it in the timeline. I think I need to go through and confirm every entry. That's going to take some time. I also seem to have two different items now for Home and for Work. Not sure how to reconcile these different items with the same name.

The Arc app is free. But you can back the author. I sent $10 to the author last week as I started to use the app in earnest. After the import worked so well, I just sent another $10 as a thank you. This app is a great replacement for Moves.

No comments
#373 Henry, Monday, 09 July 2018 2:25 PM (Category: General)
(Tags: cable tv cordcutting)

I took the hardware back to my cable provider today and got the service cancelled. I made sure I got a receipt for the hardware that I handed back.

She asked why. I said that they jacked up the price another $8 a month, and it made me consider what TV I watch, and I decided I would rather read a book. She asked me if I tried to get the price reduced. I said I didn't care.

And that was that. No more cable TV.

Now, I expect that the cost of Internet will start getting jacked up on me.

No comments
Battery difference with Moves
#372 Henry, Saturday, 07 July 2018 10:47 PM (Category: Apps)
(Tags: moves battery)

I deleted Moves from my iPhone. Wow, what a difference in battery life that made. I used to charge my iPhone about twice a day. Now I can go two whole days before needing to charge. That's a big difference. I didn't realise Moves was such a battery hog.

I haven't found a replacement yet.

No comments
Penultimate cable-cutting step
#371 Henry, Saturday, 07 July 2018 9:44 PM (Category: General)
(Tags: cable tv cordcutting)

My Cable TV bill has been $104 a month for a year. I think it's too much. I don't get the benefit from this, it's there for Anne. Pretty much everything I want to see is on Netflix, Amazon Prime, or the free Roku channel. We have a Roku device and it's very nice. We used to have a Roku stick, but earlier this year I upgraded to a Roku Ultra, and it's really nice. So nice that the aquarium screensaver gets a lot of play. It's really beautiful.

I have been pushing to cut cable TV. I started signing up for services to test things out. I signed up for Acorn TV, for $5 a month and it gives us more British TV than we can cope with. I started watching a little more TV, like The Great British Bake-Off.

Then I signed up for Sling TV Blue. That's $25 a month. Then I added the DVR capability for an extra $5 a month. Then I added a line-up of news stations, including BBC World News, for an extra $5 a month. We've had this lineup for a few months, while Anne got familiar with it. She knows how to get around things more than me now. She knows where her shows are, how to get to them, how to record the ones that are live-to-air and how to binge-watch the streaming ones. She watched eight seasons of Vera in two weeks. I cannot stand Vera.

Then I bought an antenna for $23. I plugged this into the TV for two months so we could see what local channels we got. We got four PBS channels and the local WAVY-TV for local disasters.

I've been nagging from the sidelines that it's time to cut cable. Anne wanted to wait till the latest series of The Expanse finished, and then we could cut cable. In the meantime, my cable provider jacked up the cost of cable TV an extra $8 a month. That was the final spur. Time to cut the cord.

Today, I removed the cable set-top box, and then pulled the cable card out of my Tivo. I connected the antenna to the Tivo and configured the Tivo for the local channels. That worked nicely. Right now, we are not connected to the cable. On Monday, I'll take the gear back and cancel service. That leaves one day and two nights for Anne to be comfortable with it.

So cable TV will be gone, and I won't be spending $113 a month on it. Instead, I'm paying for some streaming services.

I had to make some hardware purchases to get this far. $100 for a Roku Ultra, and $23 for an antenna. They are one-off costs.

I already had Netflix ($11 a month) and Amazon Prime ($10 a month). To replace cable TV, I added Acorn TV ($5 a month) and Sling TV Blue with DVR and News ($35 a month). So I won't be paying $113 a month for cable, but I will be paying $40 a month for Acorn and Sling. I'll be saving $73 a month, or $876 a year. I'm okay with that. If there are special streaming events, we can sign up for them and still be saving money.

When Game Of Thrones returns to HBO next year or the year after, we will turn on HBO Now for the two months, and then turn it off again when done. While it's turned on, we will pig out on a few other series we want to see.

It's working out well. I am actually watching a little more TV than I used to. That will drop off once the newness factor wears off. But the big thing will be saving money. Especially when the cable company jacks the price up on an annual basis.

I expect that the cost of Internet will start getting jacked up now. But that's okay, I can start shopping for Internet on price if I need to.

No comments