Kitn, lightweight contact manager

2011 September 11

I am not into social network websites, and when it comes to keeping in touch with people, I like to use good old emails. However, as my contact list and the diversity of these contacts expand, I am having problems following up with everybody. When networking with people met on the Internet, exchanging emails regularly is the only way to really maintain the connection up and running. Some email-based solutions already exist, but these solutions only work if they can crawl and analyze your emails, and I do not like the idea of sharing the content of my emails or my credentials with a third party. So for my latest weekend project, I came up with “Kitn”, a very simple contact management system that analyzes the data in my email mailboxes and tells me who I need to talk to, all from my computer.

How Kitn works

After crawling all my emails to gather the from, to, subject and date fields, Kitn extracts all the email addresses with which I have been in touch. From there, it determines for each address at what dates the last messages were exchanged (both from and to), and creates an Excel spreadsheet based on that. The spreadsheet contains an additional column called “contact rate”, which let me set a time interval in text. For instance, the contact rate “3 m” expresses that I want to send an email to that person at least every three months. After setting the contact rates for all the persons I want to keep in touch with, I re-run Kitn and it will read from the spreadsheet for the contact rate column, synchronize it with the extracted data, and mark in red the rows of the spreadsheet for the persons with whom I have not been in touch within the contact rate time interval. I can also run updates to download the latests email and synchronize things with the spreadsheet again. In addition, the spreadsheet is saved in the cloud as a Google Docs file, so that I can access and modify it wherever I am. Below is a screenshot of how the spreadsheet looks like:

Get Kitn

Kitn is programmed in Python, and you can get it from my online repository here. I expect this small utility to help me optimize the time I spend keeping in touch with people, and maybe help others as well. There is not documentation as of now (since I am the only user, why would I bother?), but I will happily write some in case anyone is interested 🙂 For that, just leave a comment or send me an email!

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