Emacs: sorting contacts by timestamp

| emacs

Last September, I started automatically tracking my e-mails. Every
time I sent a message to someone already in my addressbook, his or her
contact record would be updated with the date and subject of the
message. I also made it easy to note that I met someone in person or
that I talked to them on the phone, although this wasn’t automatic.

So now I have almost a year of contact information in my address book.
I was curious—whom haven’t I talked to in a year?

Here are some numbers:

I’ve contacted 396 people in my addressbook since January 1, 2007.

In the past 365 days (2006.09.07 – 2007.09.07), I’ve contacted 670
people in my address book.

93 people have a contact timestamp (maybe the day I met them), but I
haven’t contacted them in the past 365 days. This breaks down to 37
people I haven’t contacted since 2006, 32 people I haven’t contacted
since 2005, and 24 from 2004 or earlier.

1230 records do not have any contact timestamp. Some of these are
bots, some of these are duplicate records I still haven’t gotten
around to merging, others are contacts from before I started tracking
and I haven’t e-mailed or talked to them since.

I figured this out by writing a bit of Emacs Lisp to print a
hyperlinked list of contacts with the date of last contact. This was
then very easy to sort using M-x sort-lines and M-x reverse-region.

For example, here are the people I’ve e-mailed in the last seven days:

2007.09.07 W- Young
2007.09.07 Tania Samsonova
2007.09.07 Papa
2007.09.07 Mike Bailey
2007.09.07 Mama
2007.09.07 Leigh Honeywell
2007.09.07 Lawrence J. Rooney
2007.09.07 Kathy Chua
2007.09.07 Don Marti
2007.09.07 Dean Michael Berris
2007.09.07 Ching Valdezco
2007.09.07 Bill Pollock
2007.09.06 Peppy Salita
2007.09.06 Mallory Chua
2007.09.06 John Sullivan
2007.09.06 Clair Ching
2007.09.06 Allan Tan
2007.09.05 Mark Chignell
2007.09.04 Gabriel Mansour
2007.09.03 Thomas Knoll
2007.09.03 Simon Ditner
2007.09.03 Richard Plana
2007.09.03 Neil Ernst
2007.09.03 Mike C. Fletcher
2007.09.03 Michal Jacovi
2007.09.03 Michael J. Muller
2007.09.03 Eugene Jarder
2007.08.31 Simon Rowland
2007.08.31 Jay Goldman

The code below probably won’t work out of the box with you unless
you’re using Planner+BBDB+my mail tracking hacks, but maybe it’ll give
you ideas.

(defun sacha/bbdb-print-with-timestamp (records)
  (while records
    (insert (sacha/bbdb-last-timestamp (car records))
            " |\t"
            (or (sacha/planner-bbdb-annotation-from-bbdb records) "")
    (setq records (cdr records))))

;; (assert (equal (sacha/extract-regexp "a." "ab ac bb") '("ab" "ac")))
(defun sacha/extract-regexp (regexp string &optional group)
  (let (result
        (start 0))
    (while (string-match regexp string start)
      (setq result (cons (match-string (or group 0) string) result))
      (setq start (match-end 0)))
    (nreverse result)))

(defun sacha/bbdb-timestamps (rec)
  "Return a list of timestamps found in the notes or contact field of REC."
   (sacha/extract-regexp planner-date-regexp
                         (concat (or (bbdb-record-notes rec) "")
                                 " "
                                 (bbdb-record-getprop rec 'contact)))
   (lambda (a b) (string< b a))))

(defun sacha/bbdb-last-timestamp (rec)
  "Return the most recent timestamp for REC or nil if none."
  (or (car (sacha/bbdb-timestamps rec)) "0000.00.00"))

Yes, I do weird things. Next step for this one: Review the list, see
who I haven't talked to in one year, and decide who I want to get back
in touch with. Also, analyze my e-mail and come up with pretty graphs.

Random Emacs symbol: gnus-server-kill-server - Command: Kill the server on the current line.

You can comment with Disqus or you can e-mail me at sacha@sachachua.com.