Mavericks Gmail Horror

| October 24th, 2013

Oh, shiny new Mavericks. Seems okay. Then, you use Mail.app with your Gmail account. You had gone through the list of tweaks that were necessary to make it “just work” up until yesterday. Now, you go about your business dragging messages to their resting places, have a look at what’s in another folder for a moment, and return to your inbox – to find yourself blinking for because there are all those messages you just moved. Hm, some wonky sync, and you do it again. Upon return to your inbox the blink becomes a twitch of annoyance, but a google search provides an irritant balm in the form a TidBits article by Joe Kissell, “Mail in Mavericks Changes the Gmail Equation.” Basically you must expose the All Mail tag in your Gmail account to IMAP (Gmail:Settings:Labels>>All Mail>>Show in IMAP). I share his sentiment:

I find it particularly upsetting that Mail doesn’t tell you about the need to enable All Mail. Mail could pop up a little message saying, “Hey there! I noticed that you have a Gmail account and I’m not seeing All Mail. That’s going to be a problem from now on; here’s how you fix it.” But this is something you just have to work out for yourself — a major architectural change that isn’t even mentioned when you choose Help > What’s New in Mail?, let alone addressed in a helpful error message.

NOTE:  This is not a nice solution and will cause Mail to freak for quite some time, but it settles itself down … eventually … I am told. All your folders will seem to be empty. Have a look at Activity under Window to see all the unnecessary.

UPDATE: This situation has led me to Airmail, and I’m really quite impressed. The beta is free and the full app is in the store for just $1.99. I may just stay with this even when Apple gets around to bandaging themselves.

SugarSync – The Black Cloud

| December 30th, 2012

About, well, exactly this time last year I had a look at SugarSync, a competitor in the cloud storage space. They had a deal of 49.99 for 60GB of space for a year. I was reminded of this today when I got a billing receipt for $99.99 for my next year of service. This is the only communication concerning this account for the year other than the general marketing blurbs about their new and improved 2.0 beta. To further place them in the halls of evil, the receipt actually came from my billing service so I have still never been notified by the company. Neither reminder/notice before the transaction, nor even a receipt after. Nothing.

This situation is in direct contrast to DropBox, a company that sent out a nice reminder of my subscription with actual information about what would be happening, when it would happen, and how to easily make any changes as to exactly what would happen. Others such as Apple, and Skype also sent me reminders so it’s really not an unreasonable expectation.

So, I decide to dump SugarSync and proceed to their website. Looking through the options, the answer to the question “how do I cancel my account” is to email them or use the support portal. Clicking the support portal link and selecting email allows me to input the problem. Clicking submit asks me to see if my question is answered by the note “how do I cancel my account” which directs you to the support portal. We will see if they ever get back to me. This is seeming like one of those impossible to escape billing scams I had been lucky enough to avoid so far.

To at least get the account settings right for future, I then try to downgrade my account to the basic free one. This offers a warning that if I consume more space than the maximum I will be charged another $99.99 or whatever they feel like never notifying anyone about when they initiate the secret ninja billing again in 365 days. The question as to why I might be allowed to casually exceed maximum disk space is an incidental imponderable. So, to get the space down below the “limit,” I go to delete things. I had basically used the service to back up my iTunes and never touched it again so there were huge numbers of files and directories. Apparently you can see 20 of those files at a time (which is apparently not adjustable), you can “select all” and “delete” them. Okay, so now the space used is unchanged. This is because the items just went to the “deleted items” folder. Great! Just empty that? No, no, no, no, no. You can see the “deleted items” … 20 files at a time, “select all” and “delete them permanently” after clicking the pop-up asking if you really want to do that. Every click of every page, waiting for reload, and more clicking has given me plenty of time to write this consumer report … and there is plenty more clicking left to do.

Conclusion: Avoid SugarSync like the plague and use DropBox instead. SugarSync does not integrate well with iOS apps I use, and DropBox works with most everything. SugarSync billing practices border on slimy, while DropBox notifies customers in advance of any activity. It’s really not worth it to deal with a company with so little regard for customers when there are others doing it right. It’s a shame because SugarSync does offer some promising features such as the ability to sync specified folders external to a central sync directory without the linking workaround required by DropBox.

[It should be noted that I have no affiliation with either of these companies, but if you feel like checking out DropBox and sign up with this link we’ll both get some permanently free additional space.]

UPDATE: SugarSync support promptly issued a refund, but then stated that they don’t issue any notifications “because you can check on the website.” Great! My opinion has entirely solidified.

Re-Textdrive

| December 8th, 2012

After I got back from the US, I finally got the welcome mail to the new Textdrive servers. I transferred everything and got this blog up and running again. I’ll have to go through and make updates from earlier in the year, but at least the server transition went well. I had actually requested an EU server so things might have to be changed again. In the mean time, I ran into some difficulties with mail service on the new system. Reading the discussion groups led me to several comments that “it might be highly recommended” to use Google Apps for mail rather than the default local sendmail. This would mean turning over the last of any imaginary perceived control to giant global corporations, but I had a look and signed up for the free individual ( < 9 accounts ) domain service. Google Apps seemed like quite a great thing, but I couldn’t quite test it all out owing to non-access to MX records unless I change my DNS … to make a short story long … I figured there was no hurry. This morning I noticed a little Wired post entitled “Say Goodbye to Free Google Apps.” It looks like the free accounts ceased to exist on December 6th. Usually being the one to find out about such occurrences a day late, it is with thankfulness that my haste to set up mail allowed me to get one of the last remaining free individual slots before they faded away.