Leopard Mail frustrations

Oh, it’s been a good while since I’ve had a good rant in this blog, so let’s get started with my recent problems with Leopard Mail.

I’d resisted using a mail client for so long for my home email – The google mail interface has done me sterling service for what has to be nearly four years, and I didn’t really see a need to change.  But Google (fairly) recently made IMAP available, making it much more feasible to maintain email across several machines than the simple SMTP/POP services (SMTP/POP must be easy, I taught it for four years!)

Duly configured, Leopard Mail is as solid as a rock on Big Mac, and has become the primary communication method there (except that for my other lives, I have to use Outlook Web Access, and First Class for communications for my day/weekend jobs accordingly).

The story has been less rosy on my MacBook though.  I’m not sure if it’s the intermittent nature of connections, the fact that sometimes I’m on my secure wi-fi at home, sometimes my less secure wi-fi at work, and sometimes on my 3 broadband modem, but the processing overhead keeping my IMAP folders and email up to date on the MacbBook seemed to be taking a lot of the available bandwidth.

Then a couple of weeks ago I noticed that Leopard Mail was locking up when viewing emails, and other very, very screwy things started happening.. all the columns available were suddenly being displayed in my Inbox.  I put these down to ‘user error’, and continued on, though another friend who has a Mac (and whom I’d bought the Leopard upgrade for his birthday) was also having similar problems.

So, to Monday night.  At the moment I’m a nomad, I won’t be home until at least late tomorrow, so MacBook is my primary machine.  I fire up mail using a wi-fi connection, and spend around 45 minutes composing an email to my friend.  It has everything, news, comedy, biting and witty commentary, everthing.  If there was a Pulitzer prize for email writing, this would win it hands down.

I hit the send button, then completely fail to get the (very cool) whizzy ‘whoosh’ noise that indicates that the email has been sent.  Nothing.  I try to open the draft folder, zilch, go online to Gmail to see if it’s been sense, nowt.  Leopard still thinks Mail is running OK, but won’t let me do anything, or close it down.  I have t do a Force-Quit, the first one on my MacBook in a very, very long time.

Lessons learned?  I think the problem is with the IMAP implementation – when you call up the activity window there’s a lot of toing and froing of data to try and keep the mailboxes in sync, and I think simply the system gets confused, especially when you’re a nomad (yesterday, this MacBook connected to four different wi-fi connections, and my 3 USB modem, I guess it is a little disturbing for the machine).

So I’ve investigated site-specific applications, and after dabbling with Prism in the past, I have settled on Fluid, with an application for both my home gmail, and work web-based email.  So far so good, and no thousand word emails lost yet.

(and I’m *really* glad) that wordpress auto-saves draft postings!

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