// why am I so n00b?

Ok so this is a little trick I picked up a few years ago when I developed the first version of ECheck and I started learning the POP3 protocol. It’s come in very handy when I’m away from my email client and don’t want to receive email anywhere and fragment my mailbox by spreading it across a few machines.

Firstly, this’ll work on both Linux and Windows systems, with no extra software needed (assuming most Linux distros come with a Telnet client by default).

It’s a pretty useful thing everyone with an email account should know ;-).

Firstly, open a command prompt, and execute the following:

$ telnet <your.mail.server> 110

would obviously be replaced by the address (IP or hostname) of your POP3 server.

If you connect, you should be presented with a welcome message and a “+OK” message. You then enter the following commands to log in, replacing the contents of the "" with your details:

user <your@username>   pass <password>

After which, you should be greeted by another “+OK” assuming you managed to log in. If you make a typo, just send the line with the type

  • you usually cannot backspace and correct mistakes. Issue the correct command again.

Now that you’re in, let’s see your messages. To see how many messages and how big each of your messages is, send the following:


Once again a “+OK” line should be shown, followed by a very simple list of message IDs and file sizes (in bytes). Let’s preview a message, shall we?

top <id> <lines>

The headers for message , followed by up to number of lines from the message will be spammed to your console. You can find both the “Subject:” and “From:” header lines to decipher who the message is from and what it’s about. Of course you can also read the body…

Hmm? This message is junk mail or spam? Want to delete it before it hits your inbox?

dele <id>

… will delete the message with ID . It’s important to note that the message IDs are maintained - so if you delete message 1, message 2 will not fall into 1’s place. It’ll remain 2 for the remainder of the session.

If you’ve deleted the wrong message, all it not lost. You can ‘reset’ the mailbox status to how it was when you first connected:


And once you’re done mucking around, disconnect nicely:


It’s also worth noting that the commands are all case-insensitive, though I’m sure the ‘correct’ way of doing it would be to use all caps for commands, the server doesn’t seem to mind either way.

Have fun…

Dunno if anyone would have noticed but the site was blinking on and off last week, with dynamic DNS issues.

I’ve been using an application which runs as a service on my Windows machine, but it seems to often give up if it can’t get a new IP or the update fails, and sometimes it just doesn’t bother even trying :-).

Anyway I slapped up a quick Python script to be run from a cron job at 5 minute intervals to check a website which provides my IP (like http://checkip.dyndns.org), grab the first IP it finds, and updates my ZoneEdit account with the new IP.

Seems to have been running reliably the past few days now.

I’ve dumped it on the Files page if anyone would like to give it a go. It’s set up for ZoneEdit, but I’m sure it’s easy to adapt to other services as well.

OK so not much is going on… Thought I might as well pass along some general knowledge.

Changing the resolution of a Linux console is a fairly simple task (and requires a reboot) and is generally a nice thing to do if you intend using the console a lot.

Start off by logging in as root, and open your Grub menu file (mine is in /boot/grub/menu.lst). Next, find the option that would normally boot your Linux system (probably looks something like the following):

kernel /vmlinuz-2.6.8-1-386 root=/dev/hda3 ro

Now, simply append to the end “vga=788”, so it ends up looking something like this:

kernel /vmlinuz-2.6.8-1-386 root=/dev/hda3 ro vga=788

The “788” is a code which tells the console to be 800x600 with a 16bit colour depth. Check out a table ot codes for all resolutions and colour depths by clicking the “read more” link below this post.

Save the file, reboot, and enjoy :-).

For reference, here are some VGA codes:

   Colors ( depth) 640x480 800x600 1024x768 1280x1024 1600x1200
   256    ( 8 bit)| 769    771     773      775       796
   32,768 (15 bit)| 784    787     790      793       797
   65,536 (16 bit)| 785    788     791      794       798
   16.8M  (24 bit)| 786    789     792      795       799


date 27 Jan 2005

I thought that it’s about time I messed around with proxies, so yeasterday I set up Squid on my server, xan.

The configuration looked like a bit of a mission for a first-timer such as myself :P, so I whipped out Webmin and slapped on the Squid module. I’ll take a look at the config options it generated some other time and do it by hand in future.

I must say the variety of options available is quite impressive. The access control lists are particularly exciting too, there’s a helluva lot that can be done with this stuff.

It’s only being used for HTTP at the moment, and is doing an excellent job. I’ve managed to get AWStats to do some basic reporting for it, so I can see who’s using how much bandwidth, viewing how many pages, what file types are being accessed, etc. I’m a bit of a stats junkie :P.

Overall I’m pretty impressed…

Well I installed dictd on xan (this server) yesterday, and it seems to be working great for Nooblet (my IRC bot, powered by Supybot - http://sypybot.com/) since my ADSL is capped. Accessing it over the LAN and internet works great as well, though I have been hunting for a decent Windows dict client - they don’t seem to exist.

Anyway, so I’m creating a quick little client in Python/wxPython with the dictclient module (http://erwin.complete.org/devel) . Not intended to be a great big feature packed client, it just needs tolook up words after all :D

Should be done in a few hours…

So I thought I’d try out the highly praised Ubuntu Linux. I thought to myself, what better way to try than with their LiveCD - no need to mess up any existing setups.

Anyway so I downloaded the ISO, and after burning the CD, noticed it had a Windows auto-run feature. So I ran it, and was presented with a nice little window asking if I’d like to install Windows versions of OpenOffice.org, AbiWord, Audacity, Gimp, PDFCreator, Thunderbird or Firefox. That struck me as rather odd for a CD that’s supposed to be convincing you Linux is better (“Hey! No need to convert to Linux, just check out all this cool Windows software!”).

So I’m thinking oooookay, so I decide to try out the Linux bit of the disc. Everything boots up nicely, nice little GUI boot loader with a couple of options presented in easy-to-use menus, nice splash image hiding all the auto-detection of hardware and genreral stuff that goes on at boot time (pressing Esc kills the splash image so you can check that everything’s okay in the background). Once it booted up into Gnome, everything looked cool. Nice default desktop setup, theme, etc. I realised at this point that my router had DHCP disabled, so Ubunto had me offline. There’s a ‘Network Setup’ option in the “Actions” menu, which presented me with a nice little wizard for IP, DNS, gateway, etc options. Upon completeing this wizard and closing the application however, nothing would work at all. Icons on the panel did not launch applications, and neither did anything in the application menu. I’d have restarted X, but with LiveCDs, they seem to terminate and reboot as soon as X shuts down.

So anyway, I restarted the whole thing, but with the router’s DHCP enabled. Everything worked cool, the applications on the CD all worked as expected. At some point I entered the Network Setup again and needed another reboot though. Seems as soon as that is run it kills the setup…

It’s a very minimal system though, nothing really useful on it beyond OpenOffice.org - and who uses a LiveCD to do their general word processing. It even had Synaptic - but it prevents you from installing software or even updating the packages list.

I also tried Gnoppix, which is based off the Ubuntu LiveCD, but it suffered the same network configuration application problem, as well as lacking any interesting software. It also included all the Windows software Ubuntu had. In fact the only real difference I saw between Gnoppix and Ubuntu was the boot up splash image. Most of Gnoppix is still ‘branded’ as Ubuntu.

I think if they dumped the Windows software from these CDs, they’d be able to load on a LOT of extra Linux software to impress potential users more, as well as making it more useful as a general-use LiveCD.

The only thing that would make me want to install a proper Ubuntu system at some later date at the moment would be the fact that it’s a full desktop installation out-the-box, with the ability to install anything else on demand thanks to its Debian base.

For the moment I’ll be sticking to Knoppix when I need Linux-on-the-go, which it loaded with tons of useful and fun stuff (pity about KDE, though).