Bugmail

I’ve been feeling increasingly buried with bugmail as of late, and just thought I’d blog a bit about how I’m coping. I’m curious how others deal with the influx, and if there are other tips/tricks useful to share.

For those not familiar with Bugzilla, you can get bugmail for essentially all changes in specific components by “watching” the fake email address for the default QA Contact of the component. For example, going to your Bugzilla user preferences and adding “video.audio@core.bugs” to the user watching list will send you email for changes for bugs in the Core :: Video/Audio component.

Component watching is where the majority of my bugmail comes from, plus a chunk of other mail from bugs I’ve filed or CC’d myself on.

Filtering bugmail is the obvious first step; I’ve used the built-in filtering capabilities of Thunderbird for a long time. Since getting an iPhone, I’ve switched to using the server-side filters on our Zimbra mailserver, so that things get filtered even when Thunderbird isn’t running. Bugmail (anything from bugzilla-daemon@mozilla.org) defaults to a “Bugs” folder. Components I watch are sent to per-component subfolders (by using the X-Bugzilla-Component and X-Bugzilla-Watch-Reason mail headers). I also keep a special “Requests” folder (messages with “X-Bugzilla-Type: request”) that gets review requests, as well as reviews granted/denied.

This generally works fine, but I’ve noticed a few inefficiencies…

  • I don’t read review _requests_, and should just delete those automatically. Instead, I deal with requests from Bugzilla’s “My Requests” header/footer link, and just check that often. But I do use the review granted/rejected emails to help ensure I don’t forget to check in my patches, or submit fixed patches for re-review.
  • Some components I watch only loosely — I’ll skim through interesting threads and just delete the rest. I belatedly realized that this might make me miss comments that were specifically directed at me, so I’ve added a filter to tag messages that have “dolske” in the body (these show up a different color in Thunderbird).
  • Bugmails that I read and then need to followup on get starred, or sometimes just marked unread again. Which sometimes leads to me rereading and remarking-unread multiple times, or forgetting about starred messages buried in a glut of other bugs. I don’t have a better solution for this yet.
  • I disabled bugmail for dependency changes. It was just too much volume with too little value (especially for when dependencies are added, and the bugmail doesn’t even list the new bug’s title!). I assume if it’s important to me, I’m either already watching the component or someone has CC’d me to the new bug.

I’m also still using my Thunzilla extension (for making exposing useful info in Thunderbird’s folder view). I hear good things about sdwilsh’s Bugzilla Helper addon too, but haven’t got around to using it.

So, what’s your favorite bugmail tip/trick?

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Too long to tweet.

From real news, published today:

The tire pressure monitors built into modern cars have been shown to be insecure by researchers from Rutgers University and the University of South Carolina. The wireless sensors, compulsory in new automobiles in the US since 2008, can be used to track vehicles or feed bad data to the electronic control units (ECU), causing them to malfunction.

From science fiction, published in 1993:

[Scene: The “Power”, an incomprehensibly intelligent AI, has unwittingly been activated by humans who are now attempting to flee before it can infiltrate their systems and kill them…]

The new Power had no weapons on the ground, nothing but a comm laser. That could not even melt steel at the frigate’s range. No matter, the laser was aimed, tuned civilly on the retreating warship’s receiver. No acknowledgment. The humans knew what communication would bring. The laser light flickered here and there across the hull, lighting smoothness and inactive sensors, sliding across the ship’s ultradrive spines. Searching, probing. The Power had never bothered to sabotage the external hull, but that was no problem. Even this crude machine had thousands of robot sensors scattered across its surface, reporting status and danger, driving utility programs. Most were shut down now, the ship fleeing nearly blind. They thought by not looking that they could be safe.

One more second and the frigate would attain interstellar safety.

The laser flickered on a failure sensor, a sensor that reported critical changes in one of the ultradrive spines. Its interrupts could not be ignored if the star jump were to succeed. Interrupt honored. Interrupt handler running, looking out, receiving more light from the laser far below…. a backdoor into the ship’s code