When we wrote about the Google-data backup application CloudPull 2.0, the most obvious problem was its performance when bringing in large quantities of email from Gmail (see “Back Up Your Google Data with CloudPull,” 6 March 2012). John Brayton of Golden Hill Software took note of this, and improved the performance significantly in CloudPull 2.0.2 by addressing inefficiencies in how CloudPull interacted with Gmail via IMAP. But that has remained his focus for the just-released CloudPull 2.1, where he has enabled CloudPull to use four simultaneous connections for far faster performance yet. That in turn tends to set off Gmail’s throttling for clients that use excessive bandwidth, so CloudPull 2.1 also restricts itself to 5000 messages per backup cycle to avoid being throttled. As a result, initial backups can still take a while, but subsequent backups can be over 10 times faster than 2.0.2. Equally important from the perceptual standpoint, CloudPull 2.1 now has an Activity window that tells you what the app is doing and provides progress bars. Other changes include a Check for Updates menu item, improved usability in the Google Accounts preference pane, a text-label switch from Google Docs to Google Drive, pagination of lists with over 1000 items, and retry and backoff logic to make individual backup cycles more resilient to connectivity problems and errors from Google. CloudPull 2.1 requires Mac OS X 10.7 Lion; version 1.5.7 remains available for those running 10.6 Snow Leopard. ($24.99 new, free update, 7.6 MB, release notes)
Springy Dock Tricks
If you drag a file and hover over Dock icons, various useful things happen which are similar to Finder springing. If it's a window, the window un-minimizes from the Dock. If it's a stack, the corresponding folder in the Finder opens. If it's the Finder, it brings the Finder to the foreground and opens a window if one doesn't exist already. But the coolest (and most hidden) springing trick is if you hover over an application and press the Space bar, the application comes to the foreground. This is great for things like grabbing a file from somewhere to drop into a Mail composition window that's otherwise hidden. Grab the file you want, hover over the Mail icon, press the Space bar, and Mail comes to the front for you to drop the file into the compose window. Be sure that Spring-Loaded Folders and Windows is enabled in the Finder Preferences window.
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- Back Up Your Google Data with CloudPull (06 Mar 12)