Exchanging Gossip by Using Pine

Exchanging Gossip by Using Pine

Pine was originally a cut-down version of elm intended for novice users, which makes it even easier to use than elm. Now it’s become much more powerful than elm ever was. It has lots of nice menus to remind you of what to do next, and it even uses pico, a simple editor, for composing mail.

To run Pine, just type pine. You see a display like the one shown in Figure.

Click To expand
Figure: Pine’s menu, listing the most popular commands.

If you are using UNIX by way of a communications program, watch out for which terminal you are emulating. Pine works fine if your program emulates a VT100 terminal, but not so well if it emulates an ANSI terminal. You can usually change which terminal your program emulates.

Figure shows Pine’s main menu, with a list of its favorite commands. Pine uses one-letter commands. Note that one of the commands is highlighted — you can also choose commands by pressing the up- and down-arrow keys to move the highlight and then pressing Enter.

This list shows the commands you’re most likely to use:

  • Press c to compose (write a new message).

  • Press i to see a list of your messages.

  • Press q to exit from Pine.

  • Press ? for lots of helpful online help.

Into the postbox

To use Pine to send mail, press the c key. Pine runs pico, a nice, simple editor we describe in more detail in Chapter 10. Rather than start with a blank file, you see the headers, ready for you to fill in: To, Cc, Attchmnt (for attaching files to a message — skip that one for now), and Subject. Use pico to type the header information and the text of your message. Then press Ctrl+X to leave pico. Pine sends the message and displays the main menu again.

If you decide not to send the message after all, you can press Ctrl+C to cancel it.

 Tip  This list shows you some cool things you can do while you’re writing your message:

  • For lots of helpful information about how to use Pine, you can press Ctrl+G. Pine has complete online help.

  • You can even check the spelling of your message — just press Ctrl+T. Pine checks all the words in your message against its dictionary and highlights each word it can’t find.

I’m pining for some mail

To read your mail, press the i key to see the index of messages, as shown in Figure. The messages are numbered, with codes (N for new messages you haven’t read, D for messages you deleted, and A for messages you answered) in the left margin. One of the messages is highlighted.

Click To expand
Figure: A list of your messages in Pine.

To read a message, move the highlight to it, by pressing the up- and down-arrow keys or by pressing the p key (for previous) and the n key (for next). Then press the v key to view the message.

When you are looking at a message, here are some things you can do:

  • Forward the message to someone else, by pressing the f key. Pine lets you start composing a message, with the text of the original message included in the text of this message.

  • Reply to the person who sent the message, by pressing the r key. Pine automatically addresses the message to the person who sent the original one.

  • Delete the message by pressing the d key. The message doesn’t disappear right away, but it is marked with a D on the list of messages. When you exit from Pine, your deleted messages really are deleted. (If you change your mind, you can undelete a message by pressing the u key.)

  • Move on to the next message by pressing the n key or move back to the preceding one by pressing the p key.

  • Return to Pine’s main menu by pressing the m key.

Send this file, too

Pine can handle MIME attachments with great ease and flair — nothing to it. To attach a file in Pine, move the cursor to the Attchmnts: line and press Ctrl+J while you’re composing the message. When Pine prompts you for the filename, type it and press Enter. That’s all it takes!

Creating your own address book

If you use Pine to send messages to Internet addresses, it can certainly be annoying to type long, complicated Internet addresses. That’s a good reason to let Pine do it for you — set up an address book.

When you press the a key at the Pine menu, you switch to address book mode. (It even says ADDRESS BOOK at the top of the screen.) If you already entered some addresses, Pine lists them.

 Tip  When you finish fooling with your address book, press the m key to return to Pine’s main menu.

To create an entry in your address book when the program is in address book mode, follow these steps:

  1. Press the a key.

  2. Type the person’s last name, a comma, and then the first name, and then press Enter.

  3. Type the nickname (make it short but easy to remember).

  4. Enter the e-mail address just as you do when you address a message.

    Pine stores the entry in your address book and lists it on the address book screen.

If you make a mistake, you can edit an entry later. Just highlight it on the list of addresses, and press the e key to edit it.

 Tip  You can also create an address book entry directory from the address of a message. If you’re looking at a message from someone whose address you want to save, just press the t key. Pine prompts you for the person’s full name (it may even suggest it, if it’s part of the message header), nickname, and e-mail address (Pine suggests the address of the sender of the current message). To use an address book entry, just type the nickname on the To: or Cc: line of a message.

Saving messages

Pine enables you to create lots of folders in which to put your messages so that you can save them in an organized manner. To save a message in a folder, press the s key when you’re looking at it or when it’s highlighted on the list of messages.

If you save a message to a folder that doesn’t exist, Pine asks whether you want to create it. Press the y key to do so. When you move a message to a folder, Pine automatically deletes it from your inbox. Very tidy.

Looking in a folder

After you put messages in folders, you may want to look at them later. When you see Pine’s main menu, you can press the l key (the lowercase letter L) to select which folder to look in. Pine automatically makes several for you, including these:

  • INBOX: Your incoming messages. Messages remain there until you delete or move them.

  • Sent mail: Messages you sent.

  • Saved messages: A place to save messages before you send them.

Move the highlight to the folder you want, and then press Enter. Pine lists the messages in the folder.

You can make more folders by moving messages into them (as described in the preceding section).

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