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)
Option-Click AirPort Menu for Network Details
If you hold down the Option key while clicking the AirPort menu in Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard, you'll see not just the names of nearby Wi-Fi networks, but additional details about the selected network. Details include the MAC address of the network, the channel used by the base station, the signal strength (a negative number; the closer to zero it is, the stronger the signal), and the transmit rate in megabits per second showing actual network throughput. If you hover the cursor over the name of a network to which you're not connected, a little yellow pop-up shows the signal strength and type of encryption.
- Back Up Your Google Data with CloudPull (06 Mar 12)