Tag Archives: Apple

Computer Quandries: Mail.app on Startup

At some point in time, I wanted Mail.app to launch on login/startup. At that time, I did something to ensure it loaded on login. Now, however, I do not want this to happen, mainly because I want to use the vacuum process to shrink my Mail.app footprint.

The problem is that I can not figure out how to stop Mail.app from launching on startup. The first place to always check is the login items in your user account settings, but Mail.app is not listed. The second place to look is in .profile or .bash_profile (right?), but no entry is there.

I suspect two possible locations:

  • some *nix file about which I have forgotten or never known
  • some other piece of software is launching

On this latter point, it could be my MailUnreadStatus plugin, but I do not think so.

Any thoughts?

Basic Mac Apps

A friend of mine is the proud new owner of a MacBook. This friend is a PC user and wants me to give him a crash list of software he should snag for the MacBook. I thought the list would be useful to more than just him, and be relevant to my previous post on switching to a Mac.

These picks are aimed at an advanced user. Advanced means he’s not helpless like a lot of people somehow still are, but he’s no poweruser.

I assume you can use Google to find the latest and most appropriate version of the software, so I only list the app, it’s purpose, and any quick thoughts I have.

Handbrake: Great for backing up/ripping DVDs.

Max: I haven’t tried this yet, but will be using it for backing up/ripping CDs. Alternative is to find the LAME plug in for iTunes.

VLC: Best video app out there. Tons of codecs included.

Vienna: Fairly good and free RSS reader for Mac. One of the few RSS readers that doesn’t make me hate RSS.

Adium: Fantastic IM client. No video, though.

Firefox: If you don’t use, shame.

MailUnread: A plugin for Apple Mail that shows, in your menu bar, when you have new e-mail.

Widgets: Find Apple’s site and go through it and DL all the ones you want.

Menufela: Shareware I actually paid for. Autohides the menubar.

Flip4MacWMV: Play WMV on Macs.

There’s probably more but that’s what I found in a quick search.

Goodbye Outlook, Hello Apple’s i* PIM Suite

As I noted earlier, I have added a PowerBook to my computer lineup. I enjoy using Mac OS X (10.4), and find it to rarely be frustrating, unless we’re talking about keyboard shortcuts, and usually pleasant. In fact, pleasant is an excellent word to describe the experience; it’s neither thrilling nor bad.

But this post is about my decision to leave Microsoft Outlook and turn to Apple’s PIM suite, which includes iCal, Address Book, and Mail. Reasons for this switch include:

  • Increased use of my laptop and decreased use of my desktop, which makes having PIM data on laptop desireable
  • (Alleged) Ease of synchronizing my Motorola RAZR v3 with Mac OS X, iCal, and AddressBook
  • The use of open standards by the Apple PIM suite versus proprietary formats of Microsoft Outlook.

The Plan
Because I had heard switching out of Outlook could be difficult and because I did not know well Apple’s software worked, I decided a good plan was to do a series of test switches. I would move small amounts of information from Outlook’s Mail, Calendar, and Contacts sections to Apple’s Mail, iCal, and Address Book. I would also test syncing with my phone and PDA, a Handspring Visor Deluxe. If the transfers worked smoothly and if I liked the software, then I would make the switch. Otherwise, I would continue using Outlook and/or look for alternative solutions, including Microsoft’s Entourage.

In thinking, talking, and doing research about this process, I realized that the resources for such a switch are inadequate. Although I did not do an enormous amount of research, only enough to pull off the switch, I found that there was no central resource to guide a user through the process and the resources that were geared for each specific part of Outlook were poorly written, usually providing little background or explanation. I decided, therefore, that outlining my experience might be helpful to others, as well as demonstrate the difficulty of leaving Outlook.
Continue reading