Removing encryption from (legitimate!) PDF files on Ubuntu

Many service providers have started encrypting the statements that they send you. While at some level, it does add some amount of security when the path to your inbox is not very secure. However, it is sometimes a major pain when you want to archive your emails. This is because every provider has decided on a different secret to encrypt your PDF. So if one day you wish to access a statement of your phone bill from three months back, you have to look up the bill from your archive and read the mail to find out what they used to encrypt it.

Forwarding jokes, are you?

Stop! I get too many forwarded jokes on my mail/cell already. And then there are those valiant souls who take upon them the moral responsibility of their entire generation by laboriously collecting snippets on a daily basis from all their “sources”, taking care day after day that their “friends” don’t miss any of the gems. As some of them have said, this is just to show that they care! The emotions I go through when I see each forwarded joke is indescribable and extremely moving.

Yeah, and a J to you too!

I finally figured out why I kept seeing a mysterious “J” frequently in mails. I use Thunderbird, and it never struck me that what was common between all these mails is that they are all from Outlook users. It seems that in all its wisdom, Outlook converts any smileys (like : - ) ) in the plain text mails to the letter “J” in Wingdings, which stands for the smiley in that font.

Gmail's crazy dot-in-your-email-address policy

According to this Gmail FAQ, Gmail doesn’t recognize dots (.) as characters within a username. This way, you can add and remove dots to your username for desired address variations. … If you created your account with a dot in your username and you wish you hadn’t, you can change your ‘Reply-to address.’ … Please note that to log in to Gmail, you must enter any dots that were originally defined as part of your Gmail username.