Archive for the ‘tech’ Category

Mail.app: the exorcism

April 24, 2009

As reported in previous posts, I was becoming desperate about Mail.app. I considered changing mail client but I really like the good things about it, namely

But, then, I found some discussion on this problem, which led me to a solution provided by Apple. I followed the instructions (and copied the old files back to the Mail directory instead of recreating the mail rules). Although it is a bit early to be sure, apparently this exorcized Mail.app.

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Tweet, tweet and away… (2nd attempt)

April 22, 2009

I installed twiterlex as recently discussed and I’m quite happy. Installation was terribly simple. I just had to provide login data. But then, it didn’t work. I looked in the homepage of the widget and decided to follow the instructions carefully. The problem is that it is not fully functional. It posts but it doesn’t fetch the latest 30 posts as it is supposed to. Apparently, I’m not the only one with this problem.

So, I’ll try number two in the list, twidget.

Tweet, tweet and away…

April 21, 2009

As I mentioned already, I’m using twitter. I still don’t really know what to post there. Although you can find some cool tips.

BM, I started with an extension in Firefox. Then, I moved on to an extension of Pidgin which allows reading and posting tweets.

AM, I started lookin for plugins to Safari and chat clients that enabled tweets, without much success. Then I stumbled upon this dashboard widgets that can be used to tweet. Once you think of it, the dashboard may be just the right place for tweeting…

I suspected that there are more than one widget for that purpose and soon realized that this is true. As usual, I googled “A vs B” and found an interesting post that recommends twitterlex. So, I will install it now and get back to this later.

And I might just investigate other dashboard applications too…

BM and AM

April 20, 2009

I was wondering recently how much my computing habits have changed after I bought my macbook. Not every change has been an improvement and I’m still learning a lot.

But the change was significant, so I think I must divide my life into BM (Before Mac) and AM (After Mac). 

Not sure that there will be somebody that will be happy to learn about this,  though.

Preview vs A.nnotate.com

April 18, 2009

In a previous post I mentioned that I found about the hidden powers of Preview.

I started to process a document using Preview. It is still early to tell, but one very convenient feature of A.nnotate.com is missing, which is to associate a comment with every graphical element (e.g., highlight, strikethrough). In Preview, you have to create the graphical element first and then add a note.

A.nnotate.com: 1 – Preview: 0

Mail.app hang-ups: no simple solution?

April 17, 2009

Unfortunately, the simple solution I referred to earlier, didn’t work. I should state that I wasn’t able to follow the instructions given accurately. As the Mail.app didn’t quit, I had to kill it.

So, what I did was:

  1. Quit Mail.app
  2. As that didn’t work, I killed it
  3. Safe-booted the macbook
  4. Restarted

But, unfortunately, that didn’t work. And Mail.app goes happily on “updating cache directory”. Is there no hope for Mail.app?

Mail.app hangovers^H^H^H^H-ups: a simple solution?

April 16, 2009

Mail.app is hanged again. This time it is “Updating cache directory”. I’ve found a simple solution in Gordon’s Tech blog. It simply consists of safe-booting the macbook. I’ll try it now…

Mail.app & Exchange ToDo’s: unhappily ever after…

April 16, 2009

As I recently complained, I have quite a lot of problems with Mail.app. The most recent one involves ToDo’s.

Many of my tasks are triggered by emails, so I started using Mail.app to manage them. One interesting feature is that todo’s created in Mail.app are shown in iCal.

I was feeling increasingly comfortable with this functionality when, suddenly, the activity window was showing a single activity which was reconciling todo’s (can’t remember the exact wording) and which was basically hanging without any visible progress for a long time. I tried stopping it in the Activity window, without success. 

So, I renamed the com.apple.mail.plist file, following some advice on macrumors. Then, I had to create the same account again and wait for the long process of synchronizing email. This seemed to work fine but all the ToDo’s simply disappeared. 

After a few days, I decided to give it another try. This time I only created a couple of ToDo’s before getting the “reconciling todo’s” problem. After resetting my mail settings again, I found that there were two ToDo’s left in the account (“Reminders – To Do – ACCOUNT”)… but were two dummies which I created previously for testing purposes.

Naturally, I decided to quit using ToDo’s in Mail.app, so I’m back to the problem of finding the best way to align my computing infrastructure with my work management strategy. Good luck to me…

messenger

April 7, 2009

Currently I use instant messaging a lot to communicate with my colleagues. I installed instantbird because it is based on mozilla technologies, although it is not a mozilla project.

I’m not very happy with it. On one hand, it is very simple. One the other, it does not support many protocols and has very few features. I particularly miss having a simple interface to twitter.

But, the worst part is that it is not very stable. It (too) often fails to (re-)connect, especially when the network changes (e.g., from LAN to wireless).

There are other possibilities, like pidgin (which was the one I used before), adium (which is specific for mac os x and popular with mac users) and microsoft messenger. (which… is… a microsoft application 😉 ).

But I just realized that there is a new version out (0.1.3.1), so I’ll download it and come back to this issue later.

iWish iHad…

April 6, 2009

… less email problems. I’m using the Mail app.

I use email a lot. It’s an alternative file system for me. Wait, it is probably THE file system for me, these days. I send or receive by email most of the documents I work with. I store them in the disk if I have to change them but other than that, they are just stored in my email folders. 

My email is on an Microsoft Exchange Server and recently imaps access has been made available. After using Mozilla Thunderbird for many years and I’m generally happy about it but I decided to give Mail App a try.

The truth is, it’s far from perfect. Here are my complaints:

  • crash & bang: it reindexes its mailboxes every once in a while. The truth is, I’ve got some very big mailboxes – yeah, yeah, I know I shouldn’t I that I’ll probably never need their content – but, the fact is that I have them and have to work with them. Of course, I could make the problem disappear by organizing them… naaahh! I couldn’t 🙂
  • weird folders: sometimes it creates some weird folders. For instance, if I have a folder named bar inside a folder named foo, it will create a folder named foobar. I think this happens when I move a message to a folder when it is being reindexed, but I’m not sure.
  • wrong dates: I recently found some messages with a strange date, which was the same for all. I haven’t checked this thoroughly, so I’m not really sure whether this is a problem or not (or even a mail.app problem or not). Maybe later. 
  • attachments (in): it took me sometime to realize that I could see a list of the attachments in the header of the message. Prior to this, I was really mad with this because I had to scroll down to the end of the message to handle attachments individually. This was really awkward in messages with many attachments. Of course, I could use the “Mail Downloads” stack but it didn’t really grow on me yet.
  • attachments (out): it is really a nuisance to have to drop attachments at the point of the message where I want them to be. The problem is that I’m still used to adding them at the end of the message (the “annex” perspective). Maybe this will be better if I can get used to placing them next to the place where they are mentioned in the message.

Ah, I guess this requires too many changes in the working habits of an old person. We’ll see how it goes.

There are some very good aspects as well, but I’ll leave that to a future post.