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Can I hire someone to fix my Gnus? (contd)

From: Joseph Fineman
Subject: Can I hire someone to fix my Gnus? (contd)
Date: Mon, 24 Jan 2022 19:11:33 +0000 (UTC)

Dear help-gnu-emacs:

I have used GNU Emacs since 1986, and Gnus since 2000.  At present I
use Emacs 26.1 (build 1, x86_64-w-64-mingw32) under Cygwin (64 bit)
2.0.2(0.287/5/3) under Windows 10.0 Pro (64 bit), build 10240 (1511).
My ISP is Verizon, but, as a result of a deal Verizon made with AOL
when Verizon stopped handling email, AOL now handles my email though I
still have the Verizon address.

Last February I sought your help in restoring the functioning of my
Gnus, which was misbehaving.  Various people, including especially
Eric Abrahamsen, were patient with my ignorance and clumsiness (I am
not a programmer and am edging into dementia) and tried to help me
find my way, without result.  At one point, however, I noticed what
seemed to me an oddity in my setting of gnus-secondary-select-methods,
and changed it on the basis of a mere guess.  Amazingly, that worked
(with the need for some workarounds).  Dr Abrahamsen did not
understand why; he said that what I had done was irrelevant.  Here is
the final interchange:

From: Eric Abrahamsen <>
Subject: Re: Downloaded emails disappear...
To: "Joseph C. Fineman" <>
Date: Thu, 25 Feb 2021 11:21:52 -0800 (3 hours, 6 minutes, 45 seconds ago)

On 02/24/21 14:16 PM, Joseph C. Fineman wrote:
> Dear Eric:
> Thank you for your continued attention.  I wrote
>> >> Try "^" from the *Group* buffer to get into the *Server* buffer -- that
>> >> shows what Gnus is actually connecting to.


>> You shouldn't have to do any more song and dance -- once configured and
>> the groups subscribed to, Gnus won't lose that configuration.
>> One problem is that '(nnml "") isn't really what you
>> want. Anything with "smtp" in it is only related to *sending* mail, not
>> retrieving or reading it. The 'nnml backend is only for holding and
>> reading mail, and not fetching it from the server.
>> What you want for fetching is a "mail source": the "Mail Source
>> Specifiers" section of the manual shows some examples. A POP server
>> looks like:
>> (pop :server "" :user "myname")
>> So that might be what you want. The mail source will fetch the mail,
>> then store it in your 'nnml backend.
>> You're already able to retrieve mail though, right? It seems like you
>> should already have all this configured and running correctly...
> I am baffled by this advice.  I did not configure anything.  All I did
> was substitute "" (which you say is wrong) for the
> puzzling empty string that had been assigned to
> gnu-secondary-select-methods.  That sufficed to make the incoming mail
> visible again, as I mentioned.  Indeed, the "bloat" in the listing has
> since disappeared, so my interaction with Gnus is now normal.
> In any case, it seems that, by whatever mysterious accident, my Gnus
> is working again, so I need not bother you again until the next
> mystery surfaces.

Ha, well, if it ain't broke...! I don't understand why that works, but
probably best not to mess with it.

As you might expect, it didn't last.  Since 3 January I have not been
able to either send or receive using Gnus.  The error message, FWIW,

Mail source (pop :server :port 995 :user :password ********) error (-ERR [SYS/TEMP] Server
  error - Please try again later.).  Continue? (yes or no) no

(I continued to be able to read newsgroups for a day or two; then that
stopped as well.)

At any rate, nobody in the world now knows why my Gnus was working or
(a fortiori) why it is not working now.  A friend who is a real
programmer (but not a Gnus expert) guessed:  "That looks like it was
conceivably a (temporary?) error on the Verizon end of things."  Not
temporary, anyway.

In the meantime, my short-term memory has continued to decline, and it
is hard for me to understand instructions.  I can read & write email
directly on AOL's Web site, but it is tedious to work around its
assumptions.  It would be gratifying to get back to Gnus.  A way that
has occurred to me is to hire someone who understands Gnus to pretend
to be me and deal directly with the problem, including communicating
with AOL and/or Verizon as necessary.  In this age, with remote
desktop software available, it would presumably not be necessary to
for that person to make housecalls, though some security precautions
might be necessary.

If you can put me on the track of such a person, I would be most
grateful, and he or she might make a little money.
---  Joe Fineman

||:  The guitar is beautiful; the banjo is sublime.  :||

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