Phoneme: A Script to Encrypt All Gmail Archives with PGP

Phoneme is a Python script that will encrypt all of the email sitting in your Gmail account using GPG.

Every time it runs it will skip any messages that already start with “BEGIN PGP MESSAGE” in the body, so you won’t end up repeatedly re-encrypting messages.

A (very) simple script to encrypt all existing email in a gmail account with your gpg keys. The intent is that Phoneme is simple enough that even a layperson ought to be able to tell that there’s nothing suspicious going on with the code and it does what it says on the tin.

Phoneme goes through your email, encrypts it with your public key as the recipient, **DELETES THE PLAINTEXT UNENCRYPTED ORIGINAL** and appends it back to the folder it originally was in with the from and date information intact. It does not however remove the plaintext original from your trash folder, so when the full encryption process has finished you may want to check your trash folder and make sure everything is ok before you hit ‘delete forever’

World Backup Day – Backing Up Gmail from Windows with MailStore

I’m normally a fanatic about backing things up, but one area I was backsliding a bit was in backing up my GMail account. I tried about a dozen different methods of backing up my account, but none of them worked very well.

Then I ran across MailStore for Windows. Free for personal, home use, MailStore is the only method I tried that actually backed up all of my 700,000 or so messages in GMail. It wasn’t perfect — I had to run it several times over about a month before it finally was able to grab all 700k messages, but it was far better than anything else I tried.

MailStore stores your messages in its own local database, which works well enough for immediate purposes, but is hardly a long-term solution for archiving email in case of a storage disaster.

Fortunately, MailStore does let the user export all messages to individual .eml files. That takes quite a while with 700k messages, as you might imagine, but once its finished I end up with a directory and subdirectories with each of my email as an individual file that can be accessed in any text editor. I compress that entire directory into a single archive file once a month and throw it on my file server which does have a longstanding system for backups so that now I have multiple versions of all my email in multiple physical locations just in case.

One less thing to worry about.

Gmail Adds Nested Labels to Labs

Gmail Labs recently added a nested labels feature to Gmail. This is a feature that has been available for quite a while thanks to the Folders4Gmail GreaseMonkey script, but it is nice to see Google move to add this feature in Labs so it will work in any browser. Out of the box right now it doesn’t work quite as well as the Folders4Gmail script did, but presumably Google will tweak it over the next few weeks to bring it up to that level.

Better Gmail 2 Add-On for Firefox

I never really used Gmail until earlier this summer when I got an Android phone which is heavily integrated with Google’s various offerings. So I went from a complete Gmail newbie to essentially dumping most of my life into it — for me Gmail acts as my own private knowledge base searchable from anywhere I can get a signal with my phone.

Gina Trapani’s Better Gmail 2 add-on for Firefox is indispensable in using Gmail. It bundles together some of the best Greasemonkey scripts for Gmail. Personally, I couldn’t live without the Folders4Gmail script that lets users build hierarchical label structures in Gmail.

Yes, you could go out and download all of these scripts and install them, but it is very nice that Trapani has rolled them all together in one easily updated add-on.

Folders4Gmail Greasemonkey Script

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I have a real love/hate relationship with Gmail. For the most part I love it, but Google seems to have Steve Jobs Disease in thinking that for key features there is only One True Way to implement a feature. If you don’t happen to like that way, Google’s support is happy to post friendly “you don’t know what you’re talking about” responses (see, for example, their responses to the completely screwed up way Gmail will associate completely unrelated e-mails into the same Conversation).

Fortunately, there are scripts and add-ons to deal with most of the defects, such as the Folders4Gmail Greasemonkey script which lets the user organize labels into a hierarchical structure. Google says nobody needs this, but I beg to differ. This is extremely helpful. For example, each of my web sites sends out numerous administrative e-mails which I assign labels to. It’s extremely helpful to have a Web Sites –> websiteX hiearchy, so it’s easy to quickly drill down to these particular set of e-mails without cluttering up the labels list.