Making old e-mails useful again

posted Sep 19, 2013, 10:38 AM by Niels Jensen
For almost a decade from 1996 to 2005 one of os - Niels - used first JStreet Mailer and later Polarbar Mailer for all e-mail. I was an interesting experience first with the intensive communication on the beta-list while the first product was in beta, and later when a group of volunteers acquired the rights to the code and continued development of the Polarbar Mailer. The last version 1.25a can still be downloaded from www.polarbar.net.

Both these applications stored each e-mail as a separate file in a folder hierarchy created by the user.  Unfortunate these pop-files cannot be directly imporated in modern e-mail clients, like KMail. Fortunately the structure of the pop-files are equivalent. to elm-files. Except, that during some periods the files used the X-DateReceived header in place of just Date in the sent folder. This header must be manually edited in order for the sent e-mails to display the correct date. So after changing the file-name extension and editing a few headers the e-mails can be imported in a KMail folder.

The import filter use the same folder name, at the original folder, but with the prefix PLAIN-. This prefix is a bit misleading. I discovered, that KMail displayed character based smileys as graphical smileys after the import, and also showed icons for attachments. However, this only if the user had elected to store attachments in-line.

The in-line versus off-line storage of attachment was an option introduced by the Polarbar Mailer team to cut down on start-up time, since Polarbar Mailer scanned each e-mail at start-up in order to generate the information for the graphical user interface.

Most of the old e-mails have little or no use, but a few contained registration information for different programs acquired during the last few years of the previous century. You can also get the old e-mail to your GMail account by creating some temporary folders om your GMail account, and copying e-mails to that folder in your KMail account.



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