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pining for email

monitorI've always wanted to try a text-only way of doing email because it reminds me of how I used to do BBS mail back in the early 1990s. This is a totally do-able thing since email is nothing but text, however getting it to work with modern home computing isn't the easiest thing in the world.

The text mail client with the largest following is Mutt. In Windows this is run via Cygwin. I tried using Mutt but hated it because the setup was just too complicated. If you can make sense of this, then by all means, go for it. I couldn't. Do I lose geek points for this? Yes, but I don't care.

Another text client with a good following is Alpine, which is the the successor to Pine. Alpine is the one I was able to get working. It is, admittedly, a bitch to set up. Not so much as Mutt, but still a bitch. Connecting to the inbox is fairly straightforward, but when it comes to the outgoing server and other IMAP folders, that can be trying on the nerves. Once it's all working however, Alpine does the job in fine style.

After I was able to get Alpine working, it surprised me that I actually really like doing mail this way. It is nothing short of awesome that I can do mail in a way where there is zero fluff anywhere. Alpine is smart enough to where I can read both text and HTML formatted mail easily, do simple things like move messages to/from folders, attach files if I want, flag messages (which modern mail calls "starring") and so on.

I also dig the fact that when sending email to people that they have no idea I'm using Alpine (unless they checked the mail headers). They don't have to do anything special to read my mails, nor do I have to do anything special to read theirs.

Here's some more coolness - I can make my mail look as if it were on a Nintendo using the Press Start font. When installed, the font is available via Config/Set Window Font in Alpine:

ps-font

From there you can do stuff like this:

ps-1

And yes, all the colors can be changed around to suit:

ps-2

Seriously, how awesome is that?

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