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Old 10-15-2005, 12:15 PM   #1
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Thunderbird address book disaster.

Out of the blue, while I was working with thunderbird and wanted to write a new email I received the following error message
One of your address book files (impab-2.mab file) could not be read.
A new impab-2.mab file will be created and a backup of the old file 
called impab-2.mab.bak will be created in the same directory
When I try to open the renamed bak file gedit complains it is "Not able to automatically detect character encoding". I have however been able to open it in emacs and I can see all the email addresses are there, in between lot of other stuff. I culd of course read through this entire file and try to manually reconstruct my address book by copying and pasting the info I can find out of the backup. However, this would probably take me a couple of hours.

Can anybody give me a hint as to how I could extract that info easier or maybe even recuperate the old file by some handy cut and paste work?
Old 10-16-2005, 08:58 PM   #2
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First of all, lol

Secondly. if you can read the address as plain text, then mabey all you need to do is
seperate every line that has the @ character in it. like mabey with

cat impab-2.mab.bak |grep @ > output.txt

leaving the addresses with probably slightly less junk.

you might be able to filter it better to leave just the addresses
Old 10-16-2005, 09:01 PM   #3
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You might be able to use one of those programs that converts addresses books to be used in antoher app. Maybe you can convert it to something else then back and see if it loads then.

Old 10-18-2005, 12:26 PM   #4
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Thanks for the suggestions guys. I thought about the filtering, but the way the way Garda proposes isn't practical bacause a lot of those emails eman little to nothing to me without the names attached.

As for the second option, I haven't checked the import function in thunderbird itself, but from what I've read it supports comma or tab seperated fields. The structure of the file simply looks too complicated to me (I'll try anyway when I get home) it's like a list of code explanations at the top something like


followed by some of those fields being filled in for some of the email adresses

(a1=)(a2=aname )(ab=anemail@somewhere)(ac=)

in addition all the accented characters (, , etc) look something like $a$n etc. What a mess!!

And then there are all the home addresses, telephone numbers and other details... I never thought I'd need to back all of that up I sure will next time (or so I hope).


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