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)
Mac OS X Services in Snow Leopard
Mac OS X Services let one application supply its powers to another; for example, a Grab service helps TextEdit paste a screenshot into a document. Most users either don't know that Services exist, because they're in an obscure hierarchical menu (ApplicationName > Services), or they mostly don't use them because there are so many of them.
Snow Leopard makes it easier for the uninitiated to utilize this feature; only services appropriate to the current context appear. And in addition to the hierarchical menu, services are discoverable as custom contextual menu items - Control-click in a TextEdit document to access the Grab service, for instance.
In addition, the revamped Keyboard preference pane lets you manage services for the first time ever. You can enable and disable them, and even change their keyboard shortcuts.
- Back Up Your Google Data with CloudPull (06 Mar 12)