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Series: All About Eudora
Article 1 of 17 in series
by Matt Neuburg
Amid the frantic innovation, premature releases, and scrambling for profits spawned by today's Internet software market, it's remarkable that any software can be sufficiently solid, fundamental, and established to be a classic, let alone a necessity, and even more remarkable that it should be given away for freeShow full article
Amid the frantic innovation, premature releases, and scrambling for profits spawned by today's Internet software market, it's remarkable that any software can be sufficiently solid, fundamental, and established to be a classic, let alone a necessity, and even more remarkable that it should be given away for free. Yet the original Internet spirit endures, and of the many such programs, Eudora is certainly one.
Eudora, as if the typical TidBITS reader wouldn't know, is the great freeware email client. The brainchild of Steve Dorner, originally with the University of Illinois, Eudora (named for the great American writer Eudora Welty, who is still alive at nearly 90 years of age) was originally released in 1990. It rapidly freed Internet users from the drudgeries and intricacies of doing email via Telnet off a mainframe, and similar horrors.
By 1993, the program had been taken over by Qualcomm - a San Diego-based corporation into things like cellular phones and satellite communications - and was being sold commercially as Eudora Pro. Yet, with characteristic generosity, a freeware version, Eudora Light, continues to be given away.
For some time, the Pro and Light versions have been out of synch. Eudora Pro 3.0 came out in July; the Light version is still back at 1.5.5. But Qualcomm has been developing Eudora Pro 3.0.1 and Eudora Light 3.0.1 together (a sensible procedure), with release expected any time now.
While 3.0.1 has been under development, users not content with the earlier Light version and unwilling to buy Eudora Pro for about $60 could still sneak a peak by downloading a free demo of Eudora Pro or free public betas of both the upcoming Pro and Light versions. Once Eudora 3.0.1 goes final, you can expect to see a 3.1 public beta.
I've used the freeware version almost as long as I've been using the Internet, and I started using Pro 3.0 a month or two ago. For this article, I compared it with a late beta of Eudora Light 3.0.1.
The Pro Circuit -- Users accustomed to Eudora Light 1.5.5 or earlier will notice many new features in 3.0. One is controversial (to me at least): styled text in the message body. This works like HTML, using markup expressions such as "<italic>text</italic>" to carry formatting information across the Internet. My feeling is: why? Not every email program is even MIME-savvy, and quoted-printable characters often wreak havoc with text (putting "=20" after every line and so on); now here's one more non-universal "standard" to confuse things.
Other new (and indisputably welcome) features include the following: Apple's TextEdit has been abandoned for a new text engine by Pete Resnick which breaks the 32K barrier, so Info-Mac Digests (and TidBITS issues!) are no longer split into multiple messages. There's drag & drop of everything to everywhere, including attachments which now show up as draggable, double-clickable icons in the message they arrived with. Mailboxes can optionally store meta-information in their resource forks, eliminating the need for "TOC" files. There are Filters, which quickly examine batches of messages (such as all those just received) and take actions on them (like transferring to a particular mailbox) if they meet specified criteria. The Find dialog is much improved, and so is the Nicknames dialog (now called the Address Book). The program has many other excellent new interface tweaks and conveniences; I'm sorry if, for space reasons, I've omitted someone's favorite.
Light Shaft -- What's missing from Eudora Light 3.0.1, as against Eudora Pro, are the sorts of extras that primarily corporate users would miss. Based on the current beta (and the feature set could change), Eudora Light users get no toolbar (relax, I never use it); no message labels; no "Word Services" (to drive certain applications like the Spellswell spell-checker); no FCCing (copying outgoing replies to a mailbox); no option for automatic nickname expansion prior to sending (but you can still do it on demand with a menu item); no ability to open a mailbox not located in the Eudora Folder; no "stationery" files (templates for outgoing boilerplate messages); no additional signatures beyond a Main and an Alternate; a narrower range of Filter actions; and no ability to generate styled text (though you can read it in a received message).
Also, only Pro users get Mail Transfer Options, meaning essentially the ability to send custom instructions about individual messages to the server. For instance, suppose you check your mail on the same server from both work and home: at work, you can examine new messages, and then delete from the server only those appropriate to work, so that when you get home you'll be downloading only those appropriate to home. This feature alone might tip the balance in favor of Pro for many users.
Into the Rough -- A few things do trouble me about Eudora. One, admittedly minor and a matter of personal taste, is the interface's use of hidden features. For instance, to force compaction of a mailbox (it normally happens automatically when certain conditions are met), you must know to Command-click the lower-left corner of the window - there is no equivalent menu item. To open the mailbox containing the message you're reading, you double-click its title bar (why not Command-click as in the Finder?). To create a new message from the Address Book without switching to it, hold Shift as you press the To button. Many important actions show up only if you hold a modifier key before clicking in the menubar. I recognize that there's bound to be a design problem with such a feature-packed program, and the excellent Balloon Help and online text help are informative about some such things; but the result is a host of features many users will never discover, and others (like me!) may have trouble remembering.
Other gripes: though Eudora can be scripted to perform a number of useful tasks, it is insufficiently scriptable. Only a small subset of its functions can be driven through AppleScript or Frontier, and little or no documentation is available for many of its internal settings. The available Filter actions are insufficient; for instance, there's no option to save a criteria-matching message as a text file. And there's some sort of strange conflict on my computer where if Eudora is open in the background while some other application, such as Netscape or Fetch, is connected to the Internet, Eudora will eventually crash; this bug has been consistently present in every version I've tried.
The Trophy -- Still, I like Eudora far, far more than any other email program I've used. Its basic interface metaphor of mailboxes as windows showing each message as a double-clickable line of information, and each opened message as a window of its own, has never been improved upon. Its basic message-handling capabilities, the way it deals with replying, forwarding, redirecting, and trying to re-send a bounced message, are superb.
No matter which version of Eudora you choose, if you get your email from a POP server and send it with an SMTP server (like most Internet users with a dedicated or dial-up connection), Eudora is the way to go, and if you aren't using Eudora, it's so good that POP server capabilities are worth begging your system administrator for. It's clean, simple, intuitive, powerful, thorough (far beyond my ability to describe here), fast, and fun.
And "fun" doesn't just mean delightful and satisfying; a cheeky sense of humor lurks in Eudora. The checkbox to turn on the 3D-style version of the interface is labelled, "Waste cycles drawing trendy 3D junk." Shift-Option-Command-D, which deletes a message directly instead of just putting it into the Trash mailbox, is called "Nuke." The icon to toggle display of full message headers says "Blah blah blah," and the icon to for uuencoding an attachment's data fork says "Ick." Yes indeed, the original Internet spirit lives on in Eudora.
DealBITS -- Cyberian Outpost has a deal on Eudora Pro for $56.95 ($4 off) for TidBITS readers through this URL:
Article 2 of 17 in series
by Matt Neuburg
Readers of TidBITS already know that I live inside my email program, and that my email program is Eudora. I liked Eudora Pro 3.0 when I wrote about it in December of 1996, and I like Eudora Pro 4.0 now. Nightmare on Installation Street -- However, I must admit that initially my transition to Eudora 4 was anything but smoothShow full article
Readers of TidBITS already know that I live inside my email program, and that my email program is Eudora. I liked Eudora Pro 3.0 when I wrote about it in December of 1996, and I like Eudora Pro 4.0 now.
Nightmare on Installation Street -- However, I must admit that initially my transition to Eudora 4 was anything but smooth. Indeed, this is the first Eudora upgrade that required any significant transition at all from its users. Earlier versions were basically identical to the version preceding them: you installed and launched the new version, its look and features were completely recognizable, and you started sending and receiving mail as if nothing had happened. Some menus may have been rearranged and there were some added capabilities, but basically it was the same old familiar Eudora. (Indeed, to this day I still occasionally encounter Eudora 2.0 or even earlier, and I feel instantly at home with it.)
Not so, this time.
To begin with, the Eudora installer did something utterly uncharacteristic: it meddled with my System Folder. First, it installed the Thread Manager extension, which I don't need because it's built into the system. So I deleted it.
Then, the installer moved my WindowShade and Color control panels into the Trash, and replaced them with the Appearance Manager (a control panel and an extension). Naturally, I wasn't about to stand for this, so I promptly undid it, removing the Appearance Manager stuff and putting back my original control panels. And what happened? Eudora refused to run! It turns out that Eudora 4.0 requires the Appearance Manager.
Now, that's all very well if you have Mac OS 8 or 8.1. You're already living with the Appearance Manager; it's a required part of the system. But I'm still back at System 7.6.1 (the reasons I haven't upgraded to 8.1 are complicated, so don't ask). So suddenly Mac OS 8 menus and windows were being inflicted on me, just so that I could run one little email program! I turned off the Appearance Manager's system-wide platinum appearance, because it was messing up some of my Open/Save dialogs; the result was anomalous, because now Eudora alone had the platinum look, including different windows, a differently colored menubar, and so on. Ultimately I installed Kaleidoscope just to obtain uniformity of windows and menus once again.
On the other hand, when I moved my old preferences and mailboxes into the new Eudora Folder and started Eudora, it coped beautifully, even though it now requires a different arrangement of sub-folders and files within them. Files were moved automatically to their proper places, my settings were preserved, and my old mail was available. I was ready to roll.
Back to Square One -- That's when I got my second shock: the new Eudora doesn't look much like the old Eudora. Take, for example, the first column in a mailbox window, the Status column. Previously, a letter appeared in each row of this column telling you what you'd done with the corresponding piece of mail: R if you'd replied to it, F if you'd forwarded it, D if you'd redirected it, S if you'd sent it, and so forth. That was perfect for a verbal person like myself.
Now, however, these abbreviations had been replaced by mysterious arrow icons whose direction are supposed to be significant: west for replied-to, east for forwarded, north-east for redirected (and a check-mark for sent). Unfortunately, I'm not good at distinguishing directions, or at associating arbitrary directions with abstract concepts - so all I see now is a meaningless arrow. (And to top it all off, the icons draw badly on my screen, so that they're hard to see.) Whatever possessed the Eudora folks to ruin a perfectly good thing like this? [The answer is the many complaints that the Eudora folks received over the years about Eudora being ugly, since it lacked a colorful interface. -Adam]
Something similar has been done with the icons across the top of a message window, but I won't bore you with the details. Suffice it to say that the interface, which used to be magnificently functional - dry, crisp, monochrome, and two-dimensional - has now been needlessly cluttered with exactly the sort of "trendy 3D junk" that Eudora used to deride (and, ironically, still does) in its Display settings panel.
Another major step backwards is the manual, which might be kindly described as "degenerate." What used to be a clear, generously informative document has now become a muddled mess, utterly confusing on many important points and woefully incomplete - some of the valuable reference and technical material has been moved into a PDF file, but some of it is utterly gone.
Juggling More Balls -- After a week of using Eudora 4.0, I had recovered completely from the shock of its new look, and found I was more productive than ever before.
Most significantly, both checking and sending messages now happen in threads (sub-processes) separate from the main thread in which you read and compose messages. This means that you can download received messages, upload queued messages, and write a new message, all simultaneously. I love doing this; it makes me feel as if I had suddenly developed an extra appendage, like the monkey in the Dilbert cartoon who is twice as productive as Dilbert because he can move the mouse with his tail while he types.
Signatures, personalities, and stationery can now be edited through a single tabbed window; there is no longer any need to go through a hierarchical menu, a Settings dialog panel, and the Save dialog respectively to get at these features. Indeed, not just these, but also the address book, filters, and the mailbox configuration window are now directly available from the Windows menu. This change is not minor. Previously, I was unable to figure out how to use personalities and stationery, because accessing these features was so difficult; now I use them all the time. What's more, you can drag tabs from one window to another to customize them; in other words, you control what features combine into each single window.
Styled text can now be sent and received either in Eudora's private text/enriched format or in the more universal HTML. I am constitutionally opposed to styled text in email, but when I do receive an HTML-coded message it is a blessing to be able to read the darned thing! Also, HTML messages mean that inline images can appear anywhere in a message. Some users have reported that received HTML is slow to resolve itself into styled text; this is said to be addressed in the upcoming version 4.0.1.
A long-standing request of Adam's has at last been implemented: nickname auto-completion. If you have designated the nickname "Neuburg" to stand for "firstname.lastname@example.org", you can now type into a message field just the first few letters of the nickname, such as "Neu", and then tab out of the field; the nickname will be completed and its value substituted, automatically.
Bugs and Gripes -- I have not encountered much in the way of bugs. There are still some minor problems with the text engine when you edit an outgoing message, but they are so rare that I can't be more specific. Some users have reported difficulties with threaded sending and receiving, including crashes; I have not seen this. I did have some problems with threaded receiving until I unchecked the "Backup resource fork toc's" setting. I sometimes have an occasional mysterious freeze in Eudora, but it doesn't appear to relate to threading.
The Filters dialog has been improved, but the capabilities of filters have not. For instance, there is still no option to save filtered messages as separate text files automatically.
The Find dialog is still a strong candidate for the worst piece of interface in the known universe. Trying to determine which mailbox will be searched or where the search will start is like trying to set up your VCR. (Indeed, the Find dialog seems to be modeled after a VCR.) After you finally have your search set up, if you delete the search word to try a different word, all your settings are lost. And unlike other email clients, Eudora stops at the first match, rather than presenting you with a mailbox of all found messages that you can manipulate like any other mailbox. The whole thing is idiotic.
Moving the Eudora Folder, something that many users wish to do, is still clumsy; you must create an alias to the moved folder and place it in the System Folder, start up from a Eudora Settings file, or some other obscure trick. Why can't one just set the location of the folder with a dialog? Even the otherwise abhorrent Netscape Mail gets this one right.
Signatures are not shown in the message window, making it all too easy to send out a message with the wrong signature attached. I often find myself taking the following clumsy steps: I press the signature pop-up to learn the name of the signature attached to the current message, and then I open the Signatures window and double-click that signature to see what it looks like. Why not have an option to add a signature pane at the bottom of the window?
Eudora's way of combining styled text with quoted material in a reply drives me nuts. What I want are those nice greater-than characters:
> You know the sort of thing
> I mean.
But if there is any styled text in the message, you get instead a funny bar-down-the-left-side quoting style. And if you then try to solve this by removing styles from the message, the barred material becomes ordinary text - it does not turn back into quoted material, and lacks the greater-than characters.
Luckily, the forthcoming Eudora Pro 4.0.1 does automatically replace the left-bars with greater-than characters when you send without styles. And meanwhile, there is an undocumented workaround (thanks, Adam!): hold Shift and choose Paste as Quotation from the Edit menu (Command-Shift-') to paste as an unstyled quotation. Eudora puts only a single greater-than character at the beginning of each paragraph, which looks wrong, but when you actually send the message, provided you send it without styles, Eudora breaks the lines with a greater-than before each line.
Tried and True -- Despite these quibbles, Eudora remains my trusty companion. Much of the time, my computer is Eudora, plain and simple. If anything, Eudora 4.0 seems even more trusty than before, handling mailboxes stuffed with many megabytes of messages without a murmur.
Readers desirous of becoming power Eudora users should study Adam's "Eudora Tricks & Tips" article; I must admit that even I learned a thing or two from it. And, you might also want to check out the page he maintains for his Eudora Visual QuickStart Guide - he posts tips from the book there regularly.
For those wishing to stay on the cutting edge, Eudora Pro 4.0.1 is currently in public beta; it offers a few minor changes but mostly small bug fixes. Support for IMAP, the alternative to POP that large organizations want so their users can check mail and leave it on the server, is slated for version 4.1 due later this year.
Eudora Pro 4.0 is now priced at $39. There are no discounts for owners of previous versions, but for such a reliable workhorse and lifeline, it's still a bargain. I recommend it wholeheartedly.
Article 3 of 17 in series
Return Eudora Pro 4.0 to the Old Look -- Marc Bizer (and others) wrote to address Matt Neuburg's complaint in "The Postman Rings Again" in TidBITS-424Show full article
Return Eudora Pro 4.0 to the Old Look -- Marc Bizer <email@example.com> (and others) wrote to address Matt Neuburg's complaint in "The Postman Rings Again" in TidBITS-424. As with almost everything in the consummately flexible Eudora, you can revert to the old look that featured letters instead of icons in the status column of mailboxes. To do so, enter this one-line AppleScript into Script Editor and run it (you will be asked to find Eudora Pro). The script changes your Eudora Settings file; to reverse its action, rewrite the script to set setting 233 to "n" and run it again. [ACE]
tell application "Eudora" to set setting 233 to "y"
Article 4 of 17 in series
My latest book, Eudora for Windows and Macintosh: Visual QuickStart Guide (Peachpit Press, ISBN 0-201-69663-0, $16.95) has just become available, and I thought I'd celebrate the event by passing on some of the information I learned in the process of writing the bookShow full article
My latest book, Eudora for Windows and Macintosh: Visual QuickStart Guide (Peachpit Press, ISBN 0-201-69663-0, $16.95) has just become available, and I thought I'd celebrate the event by passing on some of the information I learned in the process of writing the book. Qualcomm claims that 18 million people use Eudora for email; if my experiences with many friends and relatives who use Eudora is indicative, vast numbers of people aren't taking full advantage of the power in the latest versions of Eudora 3.x.
The tips below run the gamut from those that will primarily interest a beginner or someone who hasn't explored Eudora's numerous settings to those I'm confident that few Eudora users know or use. I lack the space here to step through exactly how to perform some of these tasks; more complete instructions exist in the book, which, like all of Peachpit Press's Visual QuickStart Guides, provides numbered steps accompanied by screenshots and detailed captions. Also, Eudora is completely cross-platform, so the tips generally apply to both the Mac and Windows versions, although a few are Mac-only.
I've also created a Web page that contains Eudora news (new releases, public betas, that sort of thing); Eudora tips (straight from the book); links to useful Eudora resources on the Internet, and additional information about the book, including an abridged version in Acrobat format. Set a bookmark to check the page periodically for the latest in news and tips.
Efficient Sending -- By default, Eudora comes set to send an email message immediately after you finish writing it. This behavior may not bother people who have permanent Internet connections, but it's a massive waste of time for those who connect to the Internet via modem. The reason for this default is that novice users could otherwise easily queue messages for delivery, believing they had been sent, but fail to send them.
The solution to this problem is to turn off the Immediate send checkbox in the Sending Mail settings panel, and while you're there, turn on the Send on Check checkbox. Once you do that, all outgoing message are queued in your Out box and sent the next time you check to see if you have new mail.
For those with permanent Internet connections who send messages immediately, let me suggest that you should queue messages anyway because you never know when you'll want to take back something you said in a message. If you queue messages for later sending, you have a chance to edit your words later. I make changes in queued messages several times a day.
Keep Copies -- While I'm talking about sending messages, let me encourage you to check the Keep copies checkbox in the Sending Mail settings panel. That setting makes Eudora keep copies of outgoing messages in your Out box after they've been sent. (The status of the message changes from Queued to Sent.) I can't tell you how useful it's been to be able to go back into my archive of outgoing messages and see what I said weeks, months, or even years later. Actually, I can tell you - in a couple of cases, it's saved my bacon.
I send a lot of email - between 1,000 and 1,500 messages each month. My Out box would overflow quickly unless I moved messages out of it on a regular basis, so at the beginning of every month I transfer the previous month's sent messages to another mailbox. I've been doing this for years, and it has proven to be a useful method of documenting my business and personal lives, without the trouble of keeping a diary.
Create & Find Filters -- I consider filters an essential feature of an email program, and if you don't use filters, let me encourage you to try them (choose Filtering Messages from the Help menu for more information if you've never tried Filters before). In Eudora, the simplest filter transfers messages to another mailbox - if you subscribe to mailing lists, you can keep your In box uncluttered by filtering messages from a list to another mailbox. Look at the headers to find text that's common to all messages from the list, usually the From line or a recipient that would be caught by Any Recipient.
Eudora Light's filters are somewhat limited. You can change the priority and subject of a message and copy or transfer the message to another mailbox. Eudora Pro offers more options, including the capability to open messages or mailboxes; forward, redirect, or reply to a message; play sounds; and even change personalities. This last action has proven useful recently; with the launch of NetBITS, our mail server now receives mail for both <firstname.lastname@example.org> and <email@example.com>. I have Eudora Pro look for all messages to <firstname.lastname@example.org> and set them to a NetBITS personality so my replies appear to come from that address as well, rather than my primary address of <email@example.com>.
(For those that haven't seen Eudora Pro, personalities enable you to check for mail at multiple Internet accounts and reply using those addresses. Most people don't need multiple email personalities; those of us that do can't imagine not having them.)
Once you have a lot of filters - as you will if you subscribe to numerous mailing lists or attempt to create filters to catch spam - finding any given one to edit it proves difficult. In the Mac versions of Eudora, however, you can use the Find feature within the Filters window. Just open the Filters window, then open the Find window and perform a Find for some text in the filter.
Use Redirect -- Far too few people understand or use Eudora's Redirect feature, which is a godsend to anyone who uses Eudora for business purposes. Sooner or later you'll receive a message that should be handled by a co-worker. In a normal email program, you would forward the message to that person, who would receive a message from you containing the original message. In Eudora, however, you'd redirect the message to your co-worker, who would then receive the message from the original sender with a little (by way of) tag added to the From line to make it clear that you had sent it along.
When your co-worker replies to the message, the reply goes to the original sender, not to you. Your co-worker doesn't have to search for the original sender's address and copy and paste it into a new reply - redirects are functionally equivalent to receiving a message directly. As an example of the utility of this feature, imagine our situation. After every issue of TidBITS or NetBITS, we receive tens or hundreds of messages at our editors address. One person sorts through them, rapidly redirecting them to the appropriate person on the staff, or if necessary, the author of an article. We take advantage of a setting in Eudora's Miscellaneous settings panel that turns on Turbo Redirect by default - when you choose a recipient from the hierarchical Turbo Redirect menu, Eudora redirects the message to that person, closes the message window, and moves the original message to the Trash.
Finding & Searching -- The Mac versions of Eudora suffer from an overly ambitious search feature (the Windows versions are less capable, but also less complex), which confuses most Eudora users I know. Here's the trick. First, there is a difference between finding, which takes place within a single message, and searching, which takes place across messages. Second, Eudora cares deeply about the "starting point" for the search and displays what it thinks the starting point is in the Find window, between VCR-style buttons that enable you to change the starting point. When you first open the Find window, the currently selected message becomes the starting point. However, you shouldn't assume that the selected message in the frontmost mailbox will always be the starting point - it won't. I've found that it's safest to ignore any open mailboxes and instead click the Choose button, then select a mailbox from the Mailboxes menu to set the starting point manually. Once you've done that, you can click one of the three search buttons to search the mailbox that contains the starting point, the mailbox folder that contains the mailbox containing the starting point, or all mailboxes until the end (but not cycling around, as the Windows version does).
Although Eudora's searching is extremely fast, it's too linear. Instead of finding a message and displaying it, then forcing you to search again for the next one that matches, Eudora should present a mailbox of found messages so you can quickly scan them and see which one contains the information you want. You should also be able to sort that found mailbox in all the ways you can normally, including such great shortcuts as Option-clicking a cell in a mailbox to select all messages that share the same cell contents for that column. It's a great way to select all the messages from a certain person, or of a certain size, or with certain subject, for instance, without sorting the entire mailbox.
Controlling Your Modem -- When it was more common for ISPs to charge by the hour, people always wanted to know how they could get Eudora to hang up the modem after sending and receiving mail. I used to explain that it wasn't that simple, since Eudora was an email program and knew nothing about the status of the Internet connection, which could have been established in one of many ways.
Now, however, Eudora can hang up when done, with a number of caveats. First, you must be using MacSLIP or OT/PPP. Second, Eudora must have caused the connection to be opened to be able to close it. The necessary checkboxes to control this behavior are located in the OT/PPP and MacSLIP settings panel. Just set the checkboxes as desired to have Eudora avoid automatic checks if not connected and disconnect MacSLIP or OT/PPP if Eudora caused the connection.
Send Email Reminders -- One of the ways that I've hit upon for reminding both myself and others of events or to-do items well in the future is email. Tonya and I share a networked calendar program, but email sometimes works better than a flashing reminder, and of course, my calendar can't remind others of things I want them to do or remember.
Eudora has an elegant solution to this problem - scheduled email. Most of the time when you queue a message for later sending, you want it sent the next time Eudora connects. However, you can also ask Eudora to send the message at a specified later date and time. That's useful, because if you just sent yourself or someone else a reminder a month early, it's essentially useless. You want that reminder appearing a day or so ahead of time.
To do this, Option-click the Queue button in the message window or press Command-Option-E to queue the message. Eudora displays a dialog box where you set the time the message will be sent, and the message will sit quietly in your Out mailbox until your specified time. However, Eudora won't automatically connect at that time; the message will be sent during the next connection that takes place after the specified time. I recommend always allowing a day or so more time than would otherwise be strictly necessary.
Glossary -- Although I'm sure it's not unknown, none of my friends - even those who have used Eudora heavily for years - have realized that Eudora sports a glossary feature, just like a word processor. It's a bit more obvious once you put a few facts together.
Fact 1: Eudora has an Address Book, into which you enter a nickname and the full email address that it expands to when a message is sent. The address pane in the Address Book window can contain most characters (there seem to be a few, like the double quote, that aren't allowed; spaces after semicolons disappear; and commas are replaced by Returns, but only in the Address Book window), and you can type quite a bit of text in there.
Fact 2: Eudora allows you expand nicknames manually. There's no need to do this most of the time when working with email addresses (unless you want to double-check which address goes with a specific nickname, which I sometimes do), but the feature exists nonetheless.
Fact 3: You can type and expand nicknames in any part of one of Eudora's message windows, including the body pane.
I hope you see where I'm going now. To create a glossary entry, you create a new nickname in the Address Book with the text you want the entry to contain in the Address(es) field. Then, in the body of the message, you type the nickname, press Option and choose Finish & Expand Address Book Entry from the Edit menu or press Command-Option-Comma.
Aside from the few characters you can't include in the replacement text, the other liability is that you must empty the "Domain to add to unqualified domain names" field in the Sending Mail settings panel. Otherwise, Eudora happily appends that domain to the first word in your replacement text, as in "This@tidbits.com is a test." Also, leave the Name field in the address book blank or it will also be inserted with your replacement text.
So, even if you don't have or want to run a separate utility that enables you to insert stock text in messages easily, you can take advantage of the flexibility built into Eudora's Address Book to achieve the same functionality. I use it for things like my snail mail address and a few other bits that I hate typing manually.
Final Shameless Request -- I'll be honest. I write books because I want to help people, but the only way they can help many people is if they sell well. With the massive glut of Internet books, that won't happen unless you lend me your support. If I've helped you directly, as I have the many thousands of people who write in with questions, or indirectly, via seven and a half years of producing TidBITS or the now-defunct Internet Starter Kit books, here's how you can return the favor.
First, if you use Eudora, consider buying the book at your favorite bookstore or the link below. I'm positive you'll find it useful. Second, if you do find the book helpful, recommend it to friends and colleagues, and ask local bookstores to carry it. That's of immeasurable value. Third, if you know of large businesses or educational institutions that site license Eudora, please let me know at <firstname.lastname@example.org>. A recent study reported in the Chronicle of Higher Education noted that a third of college campuses rely on email today, and that the number one problem remained user support. I think this book, with its clear, step-by-step instructions for every common task in Eudora, one per page, can help address that user support problem.
Finally, unlike my beefy Internet Starter Kit books, this Eudora VQS is a slim 200 pages, so it's light enough to bring to Macworld Expo in San Francisco in January. If you can help in any of the above ways and are going to the show, please find me there so I can express my gratitude and sign your copy of the book. I'll certainly be at the Peachpit booth at various times and at the Netter's Dinner, so I should be easy to find.
Article 5 of 17 in series
Terminology surrounding email programs is rife with postal allusions, although many people don't realize that Eudora the email program is named in honor of American writer Eudora Welty, specifically because of her short story "Why I Live at the P.O." I hear quite a bit about postal service, since my father is a rural mail carrier in upstate New York, and it occurred to me that Eudora Pro has a bit in common with the United States Postal Service: both handle vast quantities of mail, emphasize efficiency over appearance, and do the job day in and day out. Matt Neuburg wrote about Eudora Pro 4.0 in TidBITS-424; with its just-released Eudora Pro 4.2, Qualcomm continues to deliver with Eudora, adding more significant features than the sShow full article
Terminology surrounding email programs is rife with postal allusions, although many people don't realize that Eudora the email program is named in honor of American writer Eudora Welty, specifically because of her short story "Why I Live at the P.O." I hear quite a bit about postal service, since my father is a rural mail carrier in upstate New York, and it occurred to me that Eudora Pro has a bit in common with the United States Postal Service: both handle vast quantities of mail, emphasize efficiency over appearance, and do the job day in and day out.
Matt Neuburg wrote about Eudora Pro 4.0 in TidBITS-424; with its just-released Eudora Pro 4.2, Qualcomm continues to deliver with Eudora, adding more significant features than the small version number increase from 4.0.2 would indicate. Even better, the upgrade is free for users of Eudora Pro 4.0; Qualcomm has posted a free updater for the English version on their Web site. You can update only a copy of Eudora Pro 4.0.x - the updater won't work on earlier versions of Eudora Pro or on the public betas. New copies of Eudora Pro 4.2 should be available within a few weeks; until then, only existing Eudora Pro 4.0 users can take advantage of the new features.
After releasing a free 4.2 updater recently, Qualcomm discovered a crashing bug and quickly released another free updater that takes either Eudora Pro 4.0.x or an already-updated Eudora Pro 4.2 to 4.2.1. If you updated to 4.2 but not 4.2.1, we recommend you pick up the 4.2.1 updater.
Please keep in mind that I'm in no way unbiased with regard to Eudora. I've probably logged more time in Eudora than in any other program; I've written a book about Eudora (Eudora for Windows and Macintosh: Visual QuickStart Guide, from Peachpit Press) and am in the process of updating it for Eudora Pro 4.2. I've used every private alpha and beta release of the last few versions, and I have over 400 MB of archived mail that I access within Eudora. In short, Eudora is totally integral to the way I use my Mac.
For space reasons, this article covers two of Eudora Pro 4.2's top new features: a welcome redesign of Eudora's search capability and in-line spell-checking, a surprise must-have tool. Next week I'll discuss other new capabilities, such as multiple-pane message displays, support for Apple's speech facilities, and a slew of tweaky ways to improve your everyday Eudora use.
Search, and Ye Shall Find -- The most embarrassing feature in previous versions of Eudora was its search capability. Although undeniably fast, it lacked both a comprehensible interface and a coherent list of results. Forget everything you knew or believed about the old method, since Eudora Pro 4.2 offers a top-notch search feature. Eudora still distinguishes between Search, which searches across messages, and Find, which finds text within the current message or mailbox window. Find also works in most other Eudora windows, including the Address Book and Filters window, where I use it frequently.
The new Search window in Eudora Pro 4.2 is divided into two panes. In the upper pane, you define search criteria, using a pair of menus and a text entry field. The first menu lets you choose what or where to search, including: Anywhere, Headers, Body, Attachment Name(s), Summary, Status, Priority, Attachment Count, Label, Date, Size (K), Age, Personality, To, From, Subject, Cc, Bcc, and Any Recipient. The second menu defines the scope of the search, providing the following options: contains, contains word, does not contain, is, is not, starts with, ends with, and matches regexp. This last item means "matches a regular expression," which lets you search for patterns of text. A More button in the upper pane adds additional sets of menus (up to 16) to further refine your search. Once you define multiple search lines, you have the option of requiring matches to hit all of your search criteria or any of them.
The lower pane of the Search window offers two tabs, Mailboxes and Results. In the Mailboxes tab, you select which mailboxes you want to search, and once the search has started, Eudora automatically switches to the Results tab to display the found items.
Searching is easy - choose the appropriate search criteria from the menus, enter your search terms, select the mailboxes you want to search, and click Search. Searching is extremely fast, but true to form, Eudora offers a number of tricks to make the process even faster.
If you're reading mail in a mailbox when you bring up the Search window, Eudora automatically selects that mailbox in the Mailboxes pane.
In the Miscellaneous settings panel, you can choose whether Find or Search should be Command-F; the other becomes Command-Option-F. I do more searches than finds, so I prefer setting Search to Command-F.
If you hold down Shift when choosing either Find or Search from the hierarchical Find menu in the Special menu, Eudora automatically enters the selected text in the search terms field. One minor bug that should be fixed soon: the keyboard shortcuts Command-Shift-F and Command-Shift-Option-F are currently identical and work only with the command you've mapped to Command-F.
The Results tab of the Search window is a joy to use for long-time Eudora users. Search results behave much like a mailbox, complete with sortable columns (including one for Mailbox, so you can see where items were found), support for Eudora's famed Option-click feature which selects similar items, and even Eudora's new preview pane (more on that next week). You can work with results in a Search window exactly like you'd work with messages in any other mailbox window. You can even narrow a search by clicking a "Search results" checkbox that appears in the upper pane after completing a search; when it's checked, the next search searches only the contents of the Search window. Search windows are also regular windows, so you can open several and perform different searches in each.
One little-known feature is that you can save Search windows with Save As; afterwards they appear in the hierarchical Find menu. Qualcomm chose to hide this feature for the moment because you can't delete or rename saved searches from within Eudora yet. If you look in your Eudora Folder after saving a search, though, you'll see a Search Folder containing files for each saved search that you can delete or rename. Perhaps this foreshadows a future feature that would let you maintain constantly updating search windows as a way of organizing messages outside of your normal mailbox and folder structure. For instance, I could have a "Mac Java Search" window that collected all messages talking about Java on the Mac, no matter where I might have filed them.
The main capability that Eudora's new search lacks is support for the Mac OS's new Find By Content capabilities, which is the killer feature in CTM Development's PowerMail. Although Eudora provides more than enough control to find anything you can identify, if you just can't think of the appropriate search terms, you're out of luck, whereas an indexed Find By Content search could find messages about the concepts you describe and give an indication how relevant the match might be. I'm sure Eudora will support Find By Content searching eventually; I suspect Qualcomm wanted to leave something to do for 5.0.
Another indication of why this is 4.2 and not 5.0 is that there are essentially no changes to Eudora's filter interface or directory services interface. Filters in particular would benefit from the capabilities enjoyed by the new Search function, and it might make sense to build directory services into either the Search window or the Address Book window, or even both.
Inline Spelling Skates -- Another killer feature added to Eudora Pro 4.2 is an inline spelling checker, which underlines misspelled words in a fashion similar to that seen in Microsoft Word. Eudora has long supported the Word Services suite of Apple events, and it shipped with the Spellswell spelling checker from Working Software. But, to be blunt, running a traditional batch spell check on every piece of email you send is way too much work. Some people have avoided the issue entirely by relying on a system-wide spelling checker like Casady & Greene's just-updated SpellCatcher or Newer Technology's free SpellTools, but they help primarily with text you type, as opposed to text you may be editing. Since I know how to spell almost every word I use, and I type fairly accurately, I've never worried much about the few spelling mistakes that creep into my email. Now, however, I'm utterly addicted to Eudora's inline spelling checker.
Remember that I moderate TidBITS Talk, which involves redirecting messages to the list. Whenever I redirect a message, Eudora promptly spell checks it, marking the misspelled words in red with underline style (yes, you can change the color and style if you like - details next week). All I have to do is Control-click offending words, choose the correct words from the contextual menu, and the message is spelled correctly. Being the retentive editor-type that I am, I spell-check (and do basic editing on) every message that goes to TidBITS Talk.
You can edit Eudora's User Dictionary and User Anti-Dictionary (which contains properly spelled words you want marked as wrong, for whatever reason) with any text editor since they're just text files. In fact, you can even add any text file containing words, one per line, to the Spelling Dictionaries folder located in Eudora Pro 4.2's Eudora Stuff folder, and Eudora will recognize it as a user dictionary.
Looking at Converting? As I noted above, Eudora Pro 4.2 is available only as an 3.9 MB updater right now. The full commercial product should be available for $39 shortly, at which point we'll look at some of the issues surrounding the decision to switch from a previous version of Eudora or another email client. For now, though, I strongly encourage Eudora Pro 4.0 users to take advantage of the free updater because the new features are well worth the minimal effort. And tune in next week for more on Eudora Pro 4.2's new features.
Article 6 of 17 in series
Last week we looked at two main features in Eudora Pro 4.2 (see "Eudora Pro 4.2 Continues to Deliver, Part 1" in TidBITS-488); this week we'll look at other features with strong appeal for specific sets of usersShow full article
Last week we looked at two main features in Eudora Pro 4.2 (see "Eudora Pro 4.2 Continues to Deliver, Part 1" in TidBITS-488); this week we'll look at other features with strong appeal for specific sets of users. Before that, a few quick comments.
First, I want to share my user dictionary, so Eudora's spelling checker can know about far more words, including many Macintosh product names. I've built up this dictionary from over 10 years of using Nisus Writer and writing TidBITS, and Eudora author Steve Dorner kindly converted it to a "hashed" format Eudora uses more efficiently than a plain text dictionary. Just download this file, debinhex it, put it in the Spelling Dictionaries folder in your Eudora Stuff folder, and relaunch Eudora.
Second, some users of 68K Macs have complained about crashes using Eudora 4.2.1. From what Qualcomm has been able to determine, the problem is related to the presence of OpenTransportLib.68K in the Extensions folder, even though the user is using Open Transport 1.1.2. OpenTransportLib.68K is reportedly incompatible with Open Transport 1.1.2 and should be deleted. To determine your version of Open Transport, open the TCP/IP control panel, choose User Mode from the Edit menu, and switch into Advanced user mode. Then click the Info button that appears in the TCP/IP control panel.
Getting a Preview -- With Eudora Pro 4.2, you can choose to display a message preview pane for each mailbox independently by clicking the disclosure triangle in the lower-left corner of the mailbox window. I like having the choice of using the preview pane, because I've found that I dislike it for mailboxes in which I delete or file most messages, whereas I find it useful for mailboxes where I save most messages.
Navigating a mailbox with a visible preview pane can take some effort. The Tab key shifts focus from the tabular message summaries to the message preview pane and back; you can also click to switch focus. For instance, if you press the up arrow key while focused on the summaries, you'll move between messages. But if you're focused on the preview, the arrow keys move you around in the message text. The same applies to other navigation keys. The Spacebar shortcut for scrolling through messages works no matter which pane has focus.
Speak and Be Heard -- Eudora Pro 4.2 can read email out loud using the default voice in your Speech control panel. Just select one or more messages in a mailbox, and choose Speak from the Edit menu. Eudora reads each message in turn, saying "Next Message" between messages. If a message contains quoted text, Eudora says "quote" when it starts reading the quoted text (which it does in a higher voice) and "unquote" when it finishes. Pressing Command-period halts Eudora's speech. I haven't yet found a use for spoken email, but it's easy to imagine uses for the feature, such as having a PowerBook speak your mail while you commute to work, and I'm sure folks with visual impairments will appreciate it.
Also new is the new Speak filter action, which instructs Eudora to inform you verbally when an incoming message matches a filter. Eudora can speak the name of the sender, the subject of the message, or both. You can also pick a voice for each filter.
Finding Your Way with IMAP -- Under the hood, one of the most requested features of Eudora Pro 4.2 is its support for IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol). Most people use POP (Post Office Protocol) to receive email; IMAP is an alternative method that's popular in education and some businesses. The primary conceptual difference between POP and IMAP is that POP assumes that you'll want to store your mail on your Macintosh, whereas IMAP assumes that you'll want it stored on the mail server. Both protocols support the other method of working, so you can leave mail on the server with POP and store mail locally with IMAP. There are advantages and disadvantages to both methods, but most organizations support only one or the other, so Eudora's addition of IMAP makes it a possibility for people in IMAP-only environments. Eudora can use either method on a personality-by-personality basis, enabling users to manage both POP and IMAP mail within Eudora Pro.
Unfortunately, I know little about using Eudora Pro with IMAP, since I haven't yet set up an IMAP server with which I can test Eudora's IMAP capabilities. Eudora Pro 4.2 ships with an Acrobat PDF document detailing its new features, including IMAP support. You can also learn more about it at Qualcomm's IMAP FAQ.
Gently Down the Stream -- Tired of hard line breaks in email and ugly replies where quote characters make lines break badly? A new proposed Internet standard that Eudora Pro 4.2 supports might help. Called "format=flowed," the proposal enables email clients to reflow any paragraph, even angle-bracket quoted paragraphs, to match the window size. This normally poses problems with replies because it scatters angle brackets throughout the text; Eudora instead uses vertical excerpt bars along the left edge of the text to demarcate the quoted material, while still allowing it to flow to the window size. The excerpt bars are purely cosmetic, and when the messages are sent out, Eudora transparently adds the appropriate angle brackets in front of the quoted text. Initially, I was dubious about excerpt bars, but they make editing quoted text much easier. And if you copy quoted text out of Eudora, you don't have to remove angle brackets when you paste into another program.
Previous versions of Eudora used excerpt bars for quoting styled text, and editing around those bars was difficult. However, Qualcomm has vastly improved the editing behaviors, and I now prefer excerpt bars to normal quote characters. For instance, to insert new text between quoted paragraphs, you just place your insertion point in the right location and press Return; Eudora inserts the proper number of blank lines and positions the insertion point correctly. You can also now easily quote and unquote text using Command-' and Command-Option-'; note that the keyboard shortcut for pasting quoted text is now Command-Option-V.
Diving to the Depths -- Eudora has always been a deep program, and Eudora Pro 4.2 continues to add small features and behaviors that make a huge difference to some individuals. In the past, you had to use ResEdit or AppleScript to adjust these features or behaviors, but Qualcomm added a new method - the <x-eudora-setting> URL - to Eudora Pro 4.2 that makes these tweaky features more accessible. The <x-eudora-setting> URLs take a setting number and an optional value. When you double-click (or Command-click) an <x-eudora-setting> URL in Eudora, Eudora displays a dialog box about the setting and lets you change the current value. If a value is included in the URL, it appears in the dialog box; otherwise you must enter one.
This approach might sound awkward, but remember that it's for sophisticated users; normal users never need to see or modify most settings in this way. The point of <x-eudora-setting> URLs is that you can send one to someone via email and that person can change Eudora's behavior merely by double-clicking the URL and confirming the change. In fact, <x-eudora-setting> URLs work for all of Eudora's settings, even ones normally available in Eudora's Settings dialog box. Qualcomm has made a list of these URLs available; download it as a text file (you can't normally click <x-eudora-setting> URLs in Web browsers) and open it in Eudora to see all the URLs with brief descriptions. Some browsers handle this file better than others; you may have to download it to your desktop or attempt to save it as HTML source for it to display properly in Eudora.
One piece of advice: Before asking a "Can Eudora do..." question, use Eudora's Find command to look through the list of <x-eudora-setting> URLs for entries that might solve your problem. Many complaints I've seen so far have been answerable with a single URL.
As an example of how these <x-eudora-setting> URLs work, I noted last week that you can change the color and style of misspelled words. Let's say you wanted them to be pink and italic instead of red and underlined. If you're reading this in Eudora Pro 4.2, double-click both of the URLs below. You have to quit and relaunch Eudora for the style change to take effect; the color change is immediate. (You can't set the color of the underline separately from the color of the text.)
Other neat features in Eudora Pro 4.2 can be accessed via <x-eudora-setting> URLs. Here are a few of my favorites:
You can double-click a URL to open it in the appropriate program. But, with the setting below, you can Command-click a URL to open it in the background without switching out of Eudora. It's a great way to open a bunch of URLs from TidBITS for browsing after reading the issue. You can also Command-click partial URLs like www.tidbits.com and ftp.tidbits.com and Eudora will try to open them in the appropriate helper application. And, although this isn't new, you can Command-click email addresses to create a new message addressed to that person.
If something crashes while you're writing a message, you can lose a fair amount of work. Eudora has an auto-save function, though it's not turned on by default. Double-click this URL to make Eudora save messages every 120 seconds.
The default settings for the size of the preview panes may not work well with larger monitors. The first URL below sets the default size of the preview pane, in number of lines, and the second one sets the minimum number of lines for either the preview pane or the summary pane. Play with different numbers for these settings and see what works best for you.
Although Eudora allows spaces in nicknames, Eudora still tries to replace spaces with underscores when you're creating nicknames. You can override that behavior with this URL. Double-click it, and in the dialog box change the third character from an underscore to a space.
If you dislike the new format=flowed display of excerpt bars rather than angle brackets after giving it a chance, you can revert by double-clicking this URL.
Discussion Rampant -- The TidBITS Talk discussions of various aspects of Eudora have ranged far and wide, with numerous people weighing in on the bits of Eudora they like or dislike. Eudora being the program that it is, people posting complaints about how Eudora does something have often received tips on how Eudora can in fact meet their needs; check out the various threads relating to Eudora and you may learn even more about this deep program.
Article 7 of 17 in series
Qualcomm Ships Eudora Pro 4.2.1 Boxes and Demo -- When we wrote about Eudora Pro 4.2.1 (see "Eudora Pro Continues to Deliver" in TidBITS-488 and TidBITS-489), only the updater for existing owners of Eudora Pro 4.0 was availableShow full article
Qualcomm Ships Eudora Pro 4.2.1 Boxes and Demo -- When we wrote about Eudora Pro 4.2.1 (see "Eudora Pro Continues to Deliver" in TidBITS-488 and TidBITS-489), only the updater for existing owners of Eudora Pro 4.0 was available. Qualcomm has now released both the full commercial package of Eudora Pro 4.2.1 and a 30-day time-limited demo version (7.7 MB download). The full commercial package includes both the Macintosh and Windows versions of Eudora and costs $50 (a $10 rebate is currently available) plus an additional $20 if you want a printed version of Eudora's online documentation. If you want to try the demo and you're using a previous version of Eudora, Qualcomm recommends first backing up your Eudora Folder because Eudora Pro 4.2 changes some file and folder locations, making reversion complex. Eudora Pro 4.2.1 requires a 68020 Macintosh or better with at least System 7.1 and 900K of free RAM. [ACE]
Article 8 of 17 in series
My latest book, "Eudora 4.2 for Windows & Macintosh: Visual QuickStart Guide," (Peachpit Press, ISBN 020135389X) should now be widely availableShow full article
My latest book, "Eudora 4.2 for Windows & Macintosh: Visual QuickStart Guide," (Peachpit Press, ISBN 020135389X) should now be widely available. The book is essentially the second edition of my earlier Eudora Visual QuickStart Guide (discussed in "Eudora Tips & Tricks" in TidBITS-405), offering concise, step-by-step instructions for performing almost any task in Eudora. Each task takes no more than a single page and is accompanied by screenshots that parallel the step-by-step instructions. I also include numerous little known tips and strategies for using Eudora's more powerful features like filters, personalities, saved searches, stationery, and the toolbar.
For those familiar with the previous edition of the book (which is still available for people using Eudora Light and Eudora Pro 3.1), there are numerous changes. I removed all discussion of Eudora Light because nothing has changed with that program since the previous edition of the book and so much has changed with Eudora Pro that covering both programs simultaneously was no longer feasible. I also added new chapters on personalities, window management, and IMAP (Interactive Message Access Protocol, an alternate method of retrieving Internet email), and completely rewrote the Finding and Searching chapter to cover Eudora's new search feature. For more details on the book's contents, news and tips about Eudora, and links to important Eudora-related resources, visit the Web site I maintain for the book.
The book retails for $17, though you can get it for less than $14 through Amazon using the link below, and I suspect that many physical bookstores also carry it at a discounted price. Academic institutions interested in ordering quantities of the books for classes qualify for a steeper discount direct from Peachpit; email <email@example.com> for details. Special discounts are also available for non-academic quantity orders such as for businesses that have site licenses of Eudora; contact <firstname.lastname@example.org> for details.
With one notable exception - Multiple User support in Mac OS 9 - the book is completely up to date in covering the latest versions of Eudora Pro 4.2. People using Mac OS 9's Multiple Users feature can now take advantage of a change in the just-released Eudora Pro 4.2.2 to simplify setting up Eudora for multiple people using the same Mac. Essentially, Eudora now stores its Eudora Folder in the Documents folder by default, rather than the System Folder. If you have Multiple Users turned on, Eudora Pro 4.2.2 automatically uses each person's Documents folder for that person's Eudora Folder. Here then are instructions for how you would do this in earlier versions of the Mac (which work for all versions of Eudora) and under Mac OS 9 (which requires Eudora Pro 4.2.2).
Separate Mail Folders Prior to Mac OS 9 -- In the past, launching Eudora by double-clicking the application's icon would load your settings, filters, nicknames, and stored mail from the Eudora Folder in the System Folder. However, you can also launch Eudora by double-clicking a Eudora Settings file, which is the key to setting up Eudora for different people sharing the same Mac. Let's assume you're planning on sharing your Mac with a friend, and you want to set up Eudora so you can both receive mail separately. Follow these steps.
Quit Eudora if it's running. In the Finder, open the System Folder and select the Eudora Folder.
From the File menu, choose Duplicate. The Finder makes a duplicate of the Eudora Folder, called Eudora Folder copy.
Rename the copy to start with your first name, as in "Adam's Eudora Folder".
Open the original Eudora Folder. Inside it is a file called Eudora Settings. Select that file, and from the File menu, choose Make Alias to make an alias called Eudora Settings alias.
Rename the alias with your friend's name, as in "Tonya's Email", and move it to the desktop.
Repeat steps 4 and 5 with the second Eudora Folder. Rename the second Eudora Settings alias with your name, as in "Adam's Email".
Double-click the first alias you create to launch Eudora.
Configure Eudora with your friend's email account and settings as you would normally.
Double-click the second alias you created to switch to those settings (there's no need to quit Eudora), and repeat step 8 with your email account and settings.
You may wish to leave the two aliases on the desktop or copy them to the Apple Menu Items folder. Whenever either of you want to check mail, launch Eudora by opening the appropriate alias file.
You can rename the original Eudora Folder if you like, and you can move both customized Eudora Folders out of the System Folder and put them anywhere you like, since you're accessing them through the aliases now. However, if you do that, I'd recommend creating an empty text file called "Eudora Folder" and placing it loose in the System Folder in place of the original Eudora Folder. That way, if you launch Eudora by double-clicking the application icon accidentally, Eudora prompts you to open a Eudora Settings file (pick one of your aliases) instead of creating a new, empty Eudora Folder in the System Folder.
Mac OS 9 New Multiple User Setup -- Let's assume now that you've just installed Mac OS 9 at home and want to install Eudora Pro 4.2.2 for the first time. Follow these steps.
In the Multiple Users control panel, turn on Multiple User Accounts and create a new user for your friend. The Finder creates a Users folder on the startup disk, placing in it a folder named for your friend. In that folder is a Documents folder.
Install and configure Eudora Pro 4.2.2 normally for yourself as the owner of the Mac. (If the Eudora Pro 4.2.2. application is already installed, launch it by double-clicking the application icon.) Eudora creates a Eudora Folder in the Documents folder at the main level of your hard disk; if that folder doesn't exist initially, Eudora creates it as well.
From the Special menu in the Finder, choose Logout, then login again as your friend.
Launch Eudora Pro 4.2.2 by double-clicking its application icon. Eudora creates a new Eudora Folder in your friend's Documents folder.
Configure Eudora for your friend.
As long as you leave these two Eudora Folders in their default locations and don't rename them, you can continue to launch Eudora by double-clicking its application icon. Eudora automatically loads the appropriate settings and stored mail for each of you, depending on who is logged into the Mac at that point.
Converting Multiple Mail Folders to Mac OS 9 -- It's more likely that when you install Mac OS 9 you already have an existing setup with multiple mail folders, created using the traditional method discussed above. If that's the case, you have two choices. First, you can continue to launch Eudora from your individual settings file aliases, as you've been doing. Second, you can convert your existing installation to work with Mac OS 9's Multiple Users feature. The decision probably hinges on whether you plan to use the Mac OS 9 Multiple Users feature in general - if you do, conversion is probably worthwhile, whereas if you have no other use for Multiple Users, it makes sense to stick with your existing Eudora setup. If you decide to make the leap to the Mac OS 9 Multiple Users approach, though, here's what to do. As always, make sure you have a current backup first.
In the Multiple Users control panel, turn on Multiple User Accounts and create a new user for your friend. The Finder creates a Users folder on the startup disk, placing it in a folder named for your friend. In that folder is a Documents folder.
Move your Eudora Folder (which may be called something like "Adam's Eudora Folder") to the Documents folder in the main window of your hard disk. If no Documents folder exists, create one first. Make sure your Eudora Folder is named "Eudora Folder".
Move your friend's Eudora Folder to the Documents folder nested within his or her individual folder in the Users folder. Make sure it too is called "Eudora Folder".
That's all that should be necessary, and from now on, you can just launch Eudora by double-clicking its application icon rather than using specific settings file aliases. Just make sure to logout and login appropriate to access your different email accounts.
Finally, here's a tip that will make it possible for your friend to check mail quickly without going through the sometimes lengthy logout and login process, make an alias of the Eudora Settings file in your friend's Eudora Folder and double-click it to switch settings. The reverse is not true - users cannot access anything in the owner's Documents folder.
Article 9 of 17 in series
By the time you read this article, Qualcomm will have released Eudora 4.3, which introduces a new business model for application software by adding an optional mode in which people can use all the features of the commercial version of the popular email program for free in exchange for viewing adsShow full article
By the time you read this article, Qualcomm will have released Eudora 4.3, which introduces a new business model for application software by adding an optional mode in which people can use all the features of the commercial version of the popular email program for free in exchange for viewing ads. The upgrade is minor if you're a Eudora Pro 4.2 user (see our "Eudora Pro 4.2" series of articles for more information), and because of that, Qualcomm has made the upgrade to Eudora 4.3's "Paid mode" free for Eudora Pro 4.2 owners. Current Eudora Light 3.x users can enjoy a much more significant upgrade, since Eudora 4.3's "Light mode" offers many of the benefits of the two years of development that's gone on since Eudora Light was last updated. And "Sponsored mode" provides access to all of Eudora's commercial features for free. See "Eudora 4.3 Public Beta Adds Free Usage Modes" in TidBITS-509 for details.
System requirements for the $50 Eudora 4.3 include a PowerPC-based Mac with 1,800K of RAM running System 7.1.2 or later with the Text Encoding Converter. The download is likely to be about 6 MB. Note that what Qualcomm is releasing Tuesday is the full version of Eudora 4.3; if you're an existing Eudora 4.x owner, an updater that brings you up to Eudora 4.3 and registers you in Paid mode will be available later this week.
Get the X-Eudora-Settings List via Email -- To simplify access for readers of my Eudora Visual QuickStart book, as well as others using Eudora Pro 4.2 or Eudora 4.3 for the Mac, I've created an email auto-reply that contains the full list of x-eudora-setting URLs you can use to tweak Eudora's myriad of hidden settings (see "Eudora Pro 4.2 Continues to Deliver" in TidBITS-489). Qualcomm makes the same information available on their Web site, but since x-eudora-setting URLs are useful only from within Eudora, I felt it would be easier to get the 80K list via email, and Qualcomm granted me permission to make them available in this fashion. I've also added information at the top of the file that explains how to use them and pulls out a few especially useful settings.
On to the Interview -- This week we have an exclusive interview with Steve Dorner, who created Eudora back in 1988 and who has continued to drive the program forward, though ably assisted by others at Qualcomm these days. Steve managed to squeeze some time free from the hectic final days that surround any software release to chat via email.
[Adam] The major change with Eudora 4.3 is that it adds a new advertising-supported mode to the two previous ways you could get Eudora: the free Eudora Light and the commercial Eudora Pro, all now bundled together into a single program. Is this giving in to commercialism on the Internet?
[Steve] In one sense, it is giving in... to reality. That reality is that many people prefer free stuff with ads to stuff that costs money. How many times do you see people at trade shows saying, "No, thanks, I prefer my t-shirts without your advertising on them. Here's $10."
In another sense, it's not giving in at all. People still have the same Eudora choices they had before; pay and get the full features, or don't pay and get fewer features. The difference is that now there's a third choice - get all the features but don't pay, and see ads instead.
[Adam] What was the primary reason you chose to follow this path with Eudora?
[Steve] Let's face it, people have a lot of choices out there for free mailers. We think Eudora provides unique advantages, but some people just can't get over the price tag. This is a way we can eliminate the price tag but still afford to produce the software.
[Adam] Are there significant new features in Eudora 4.3?
[Steve] That depends on the audience you're considering. For Eudora Pro 4.2 users, the feature differences aren't all that great. There is the link history window, the ability to remember addresses you type or reply to, and a few other small features.
For Eudora Light users, the upgrade to Sponsored mode is huge. People using Sponsored mode get all the Eudora Pro features; spell-checking, styled composition, inline images and movies and sounds, HTML display, toolbar, powerful filtering, etc., etc. And even if they don't want to see the ads, Eudora 4.3 running in Light mode is much more powerful than the old Light was.
[Adam] Are there any major differences between the Mac and Windows versions of Eudora now, or are they pretty much in parity?
[Steve] They reflect the different emphases of the two platforms and the separate development teams who have worked on them. I very much believe that a Macintosh program should be a Macintosh program, and similarly that it pays to do what Windows users expect on Windows. Whether in Rome or Little Rock, you have to fit in with the natives.
One thing I find amusing is the mail we get from people who say "I wish you guys spent as much time on the Mac version as you do on the Windows version," which is evenly balanced by the mail we get from people who say "I wish you guys spent as much time on the Windows version as on the Macintosh version."
[Adam] My impression is that Eudora is often chosen by individuals and by organizations looking for an Internet email solution, but that it's losing ground in large organizations where Microsoft Outlook offers scheduling, contact management, and group conferencing features. Do you envision moving Eudora more in that direction in the future?
[Steve] Yes, we are actively looking at ways to do more with schedules and contacts and the like. We think we're in a position to do some very interesting things, especially in conjunction with the new wave of wireless devices.
[Adam] Was that some of the rationale behind Qualcomm's purchase of Now Software and the code that turned into the ill-fated Eudora Planner?
[Steve] I'm glad that Now Software's products are being carried forward by Power On Software. That's all I have to say on that topic.
[Adam] Fair enough. It's long been thought that Qualcomm bought Eudora originally because someone was thinking ahead and saw the convergence of email and wireless communication. But that happened in 1992 - was Qualcomm simply too far ahead of the times, or was there something else going on?
[Steve] I actually think that Qualcomm acquired Eudora because it used Eudora and wanted to see the product continued and improved. Way Back Then, companies actually wrote their own software sometimes.
Of course, some people undoubtedly had some ideas in the back of their minds, but it was really a very practical decision at the time.
[Adam] Assuming that convergence is at some point inevitable, when do you think we'll see it taking place for a significant number of Eudora users?
[Steve] It's hard to say. The phone market right now puts heavy pressure on (big shock) cheap or free telephones. Smart phones are a little more expensive and are a hard sell.
One thing to realize is that ordinary folks like you and I are not the "real" customers for cell phones. The "real" customers are the local cell phone carriers; they're the ones who control which phones people can buy. And they want mass-market phones so they can get lots of users, and they don't want to "waste time" supporting really smart devices.
So it's going to take a while for really smart phones to go anywhere, and hence for Eudora on a phone to really go anywhere.
[Adam] Still, you're obviously making inroads in that direction all the time. What about Qualcomm's PureVoice plug-in that enables people send and receive voice messages with Eudora?
[Steve] What your readers may or may not know is that PureVoice is the same voice technology used in Qualcomm's CDMA digital cellular phones. We hope to see a day where PureVoice will make truly efficient telephone to computer communication very easy to do. Imagine being able to record a message on your phone and email it to someone, for example. Or to easily pick up your voice mail with your email program.
[Adam] Moving away from cell phones, what are the major problems you're seeing in email today that you think email programs can attempt to solve?
[Steve] Volume is obviously one of them. People get more and more mail, and have to deal with it. But rather than worry about solving problems in email, I'm more excited by providing tools so that people can solve problems using email. Eudora 5.0 is going to have some fun things in that direction.
[Adam] Fun is good, especially in a program that people use all day long and despite the sticks-in-the-mud who think email should be serious and professional. I still miss the dialog box that said "You may as well stop typing now because no one is listening." Any other easter eggs you'd like to share? Should someone make a Eudora plug-in that puts a few of the cute little bits back in?
[Steve] We've been thinking about such a plug-in. :-) As for easter eggs, the "You have no new mail" envelope that appears if you have Eudora set to display alerts after checking for mail actually has words in it that can be read, if you work at it. Note that it went in at about the time a lot of the fun went out.
[Adam] With Mac OS X due to ship sometime this year, what level of support do you plan for Eudora? Classic, Carbon, or Cocoa?
[Steve] That's up to Apple. Cocoa is a total rewrite for a Macintosh application, and we don't anticipate doing that initially.
We've been working on Eudora under Carbon for quite some time, but the brutal fact of the matter is that Carbon hasn't been ready for us. There are many things that Eudora does that Carbon just doesn't do at all, or that don't work. For example, Eudora can be smart about what to do when you're on battery, but Carbon doesn't currently provide access to the power manager. For a while, we kept getting "Tough luck, applications shouldn't need to do that" responses when we asked about stuff like that, but things seem to have improved lately.
[Adam] You've been developing Eudora for over 12 years now, so you've seen a wide variety of Internet technologies come and go. What I'd like to do then to finish off is play "Technology Association Test" - I'll give you a technology and you tell me the first thing that comes to mind.
XML (eXtensible Markup Language), the much-hyped markup language for creating other markup languages that can define meta-information about data):
[Steve] Sound and fury...
HTML mail, which lets people send HTML styled messages:
[Steve] Deal with it.
LDAP (Lightweight Directory Access Protocol), which provides directory lookup services:
[Steve] Vomit. It's really too bad that XML wasn't all the rage in time to forestall this idiot OSI protocol from proliferating.
IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol, at least with version 4 - it used to be Interactive Mail Access Protocol), which changes the mail storage model so all mail remains on the server, rather than being downloaded to the client, as with POP.
POP (Post Office Protocol), the simple and efficient method of retrieving mail that's still by far the most common on the Internet:
[Steve] Mom and ___.
APOP (Authenticated POP), which encrypts the otherwise clear text passwords used to login to a POP account as a way of increasing security.
[Steve] Doomed. Few sites are going to change their authentication databases for APOP, cram-md5, or anything else. They're going to stick with plain text and just run everything through SSL when RSA's patent expires in September.
SMTP (Simple Mail Transport Protocol), one of the basic protocols on top of which all Internet email runs.
SMTP AUTH, which is an authentication extension to SMTP that ensures only people with the proper access can send email through an SMTP server as a way of preventing spammers from hijacking servers.
[Adam] Thanks again for taking the time out to talk, and best of luck with Eudora 4.3 and all the fun stuff you have planned for Eudora 5.0.
[Steve] Glad to help - now it's time to get this new version uploaded.
Article 10 of 17 in series
Eudora 4.3.1 Updater Available -- Qualcomm has finally released the free updater that upgrades existing copies of Eudora Pro 4.x to Eudora 4.3 in Paid mode, which offers all of Eudora's features without displaying adsShow full article
Eudora 4.3.1 Updater Available -- Qualcomm has finally released the free updater that upgrades existing copies of Eudora Pro 4.x to Eudora 4.3 in Paid mode, which offers all of Eudora's features without displaying ads. The updater is a 5.9 MB download, and remember that Eudora 4.3 requires a PowerPC-based Mac, so there's no point in downloading it if you're using a 68K-based Mac. See "InterviewBITS with Steve Dorner" in TidBITS-517 and "Eudora 4.3 Public Beta Adds Free Usage Modes" in TidBITS-509 for more details on the release.
Alan Forkosh reported on TidBITS Talk that when he ran the updater, it first asked for his name and then provided a new registration number, warning that he needed to save that information. On the next launch, Eudora still came up in Sponsored mode, and Alan had to choose Payment & Registration from the Help menu, then enter the name and new registration number to switch to Paid mode. [ACE]
Article 11 of 17 in series
Eudora 4.3.2 Fixes Numerous Minor Bugs -- Qualcomm has released Eudora 4.3.2, a minor update to their popular email program. Eudora 4.3.2 fixes a long list of minor bugs including a few that could cause crashes, so the free update is well worth downloadingShow full article
Eudora 4.3.2 Fixes Numerous Minor Bugs -- Qualcomm has released Eudora 4.3.2, a minor update to their popular email program. Eudora 4.3.2 fixes a long list of minor bugs including a few that could cause crashes, so the free update is well worth downloading. You can download a 375K patch that will update either Eudora 4.3 or 4.3.1 to 4.3.2, or if you've held out on upgrading so far, you can instead get a 5 MB updater that will update an existing version of Eudora Pro 4.x to 4.3.2. Eudora 4.3.2 requires a PowerPC-based Mac running Mac OS 7.6 or later. For more information about Eudora, see our "All About Eudora" series of articles. [ACE]
Article 12 of 17 in series
As most of you know, I'm not a programmer - I can handle macros and was moderately accomplished with HyperCard scripts back in the early 1990s. But I still wanted to present a hack at the MacHack developers conference back in June, so I decided to do what I do best - gather information from a variety of sources and put it together in a useful form. Another Secret in Eudora -- A while back, I learned from Steve Dorner that the internal spell checker in Eudora 4.2 and later included a feature that he hadn't exposedShow full article
As most of you know, I'm not a programmer - I can handle macros and was moderately accomplished with HyperCard scripts back in the early 1990s. But I still wanted to present a hack at the MacHack developers conference back in June, so I decided to do what I do best - gather information from a variety of sources and put it together in a useful form.
Another Secret in Eudora -- A while back, I learned from Steve Dorner that the internal spell checker in Eudora 4.2 and later included a feature that he hadn't exposed. It's essentially an auto-correct function, much like the one in Microsoft Word that automatically fixes common misspellings and typographical errors as you type. Why force the user to fix such mistakes manually later on, when you can do it automatically as text is entered?
Steve chose not to expose this feature in Eudora since creating an interface to it would have been ugly, so Eudora doesn't offer a dictionary containing misspelled words and their replacements. When I learned of this feature, I immediately searched the Internet to see if I could find such a dictionary that could distribute, much as I did with my personal user dictionary of technical terms and names. No luck - I found many dictionaries and even some research into typing mistakes people tend to make, but nothing quite right. Of course, I knew precisely where such a dictionary lived - in Microsoft Word - but it wasn't a text file.
The next step was to complain about this to TidBITS's Technical Editor Geoff Duncan, who promptly extracted the word pairs out of Word's auto-correct dictionary. So now he and I had an auto-correct function in Eudora, and Steve had given me permission to tell the world about this feature (as long I tell you it isn't a supported feature, so don't complain to Qualcomm if it doesn't work right). However, I couldn't distribute Microsoft's dictionary. Theoretically we could have written a script to extract the words and create a dictionary, and although that might have been technically legal, it wouldn't have been gentlemanly. I was stymied.
AutoCorrect at MacHack -- Nonetheless, I showed this feature off at MacHack, hoping someone could help me find or create an auto-correct dictionary that could be freely distributed. While working on my demo - which mostly involved thinking of the pun in the title, writing an email message with numerous typos, and making sure my sample replacement dictionary had the appropriate replacements - a solution presented itself. Micah Alpern, a Princeton student who was inspired to attend MacHack after reading our articles about the 1999 conference, said that he was a lousy speller, and as a result had created a several thousand word dictionary of exactly this type for use with WordPerfect, which also had an auto-correct feature.
My demo was pretty bad. It happened somewhere around 4 AM as I was rapidly losing coherence. But I survived, and was even awarded a truly annoying prize - a four-foot long wooden stake. (The Hack Contest organizers, who get even less sleep than everyone else, buy all the prizes at Duke's Hardware, and somehow made a connection with my hack's title and stakes being used to kill vampires). Needless to say, flying home with large splinter-producing stake presented a challenge, but if everything goes as planned, the stake will rise from the undead next year.
Share & Enjoy -- After MacHack, Micah sent me his word list, to which I promptly added other correction pairs I've accumulated based on editing TidBITS Talk. Now everyone who uses Eudora on the Mac can take advantage of this auto-correct feature. Simply download and expand the TidBITS AutoCorrect Dictionary text file, drop it in your Eudora Spelling Dictionaries folder, and launch Eudora. From then on, Eudora will automatically fix mistakes contained in the TidBITS AutoCorrect Dictionary as you type. (And yes, it will make sure that everyone capitalizes TidBITS correctly from now on!)
The text file itself is easily created, if you want to make your own. It must start with a line containing only "#LID 1033 0 3" and go on to list replacement pairs (the misspelled word, a colon, and then the correction), one set per line. The misspelling must be a single word, but the correction can contain multiple words, up to a maximum of about 64 characters. You can't put a return in the correction text (since that starts a new line) and there may be other non-kosher characters. Feel free to add or delete words from your copy of this dictionary - just make sure to save as a text file when you're done.
The main annoyance I have with Eudora's auto-correct feature is that it takes hints about case from the misspelled word. So, if you write PB, Eudora's auto-correct feature would try to replace it with "POWERBOOK" rather than "PowerBook".
In the spirit of MacHack and of the open source theme that permeated the conference, Micah and I decided to place this auto-correct dictionary in the public domain for use with any program that can take advantage of it. Share and enjoy!
Article 13 of 17 in series
With today's release of Eudora 5.0, Qualcomm has at once shored up some weak spots in their popular email program and raised the bar with innovative new featuresShow full article
With today's release of Eudora 5.0, Qualcomm has at once shored up some weak spots in their popular email program and raised the bar with innovative new features. Foremost among the new features are Eudora Sharing Protocol (ESP), a plug-in that enables Eudora users to maintain the contents of shared folders automatically via email, and MoodWatch, a new technology that gives some indication of the "spiciness" of a message. But let's start with the "it's about time" features.
Basic I/O Functions -- Many have complained about Eudora's inability to import messages from the proprietary database formats of other common email programs. Eudora 5.0 finally adds the capability to import mail from Claris Emailer 2.0 and Outlook Express 5.0, and although the feature won't interest existing Eudora users much, it should make converting to Eudora easier. Unlike most other importers, Eudora doesn't rely on a slow Apple event-based approach, and in my testing, imports of a few hundred messages moved along quickly.
Those who have mail that was originally received by Claris Emailer 1.x may experience some problems though, since older messages that displayed fine in Emailer 2.0 don't always import properly into Eudora. Running the messages through Outlook Express didn't seem to help either, though the results were different. Messages created in Emailer 2.0 or Outlook Express 5.0 posed fewer problems, although it's still a good idea to rebuild your email database before attempting an import (launch those programs with the Option key held down; in Emailer, perform an Advanced Rebuild). And of course, if all else fails, you can fall back on the AppleScript scripts that have worked in the past (for details, see "Switching from Emailer to Eudora in Leaps and Bounds" in TidBITS-528). Qualcomm has been made aware of the problem and is aiming for a fix in 5.0.1.
Little Black Book -- Qualcomm is slowly updating various large sections of Eudora, such as Eudora Pro 4.2's radically improved Search functionality that we discussed in "Eudora Pro 4.2 Continues to Deliver" in TidBITS-488. In 5.0, the Address Book receives some attention, though the results are nowhere near as compelling as 4.2's new Search. Essentially, the Address Book gains an interface similar to the Mailboxes window with small icons for address books, individuals, and groups, and it also now stores more information, thanks to the addition of Home, Work, Other, and Notes tabs.
Although there's nothing particularly wrong with the new Address Book, there's nothing particularly interesting about it either. It's the old Address Book with additional fields. When asked, Steve Dorner (Eudora's primary author) said that the Eudora 5.0 Address Book was mostly laying the foundation for future features, such as Palm synchronization and integration of contacts with email messages. Clearly, Qualcomm is trying to match Outlook Express 5.0 on a feature checklist basis, and an improved Address Book was necessary for that goal.
For people with any kind of serious needs from their contact managers, Eudora 5.0's Address Book is just a tease, much like the same feature in Outlook Express. I don't even want to see Eudora's Address Book replace my copy of Now Contact, though I'd appreciate some synchronization between the two. I'd prefer to see Eudora's Address Book concentrate on email-specific features. How about a fast search for all mail from or to selected contacts? Or perhaps Eudora could include contact information in headers that other copies of Eudora could use to populate the automatically generated nicknames in the History List more completely?
Scripts on the Menu -- Another small feature that many advanced Eudora users will appreciate is the addition of a Scripts menu that provides fast access to AppleScript scripts stored in the Scripts Folder (inside the Eudora Stuff folder in Eudora's application folder). The first item in that menu is Open Scripts Folder; after the Scripts Folder opens in the Finder, you can drop any scripts you use into it and execute them by choosing them from the Scripts menu. It's a nice touch, and it also enables you to attach scripts to toolbar buttons by Command-clicking an empty spot on the toolbar and choosing a script.
Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics -- With this next feature, statistics on your email usage, Eudora starts to raise the bar for email once again. The feature itself is mostly for fun, but it's unusual and provides information that we all bandy about as evidence of email machismo. How many email messages do you get every day? Thanks to Eudora's new statistics window, accessible from the Window menu, I know that my estimates of 150 messages per day were spot on. In the two months I've been using beta versions of Eudora 5.0, I've received an average of 148 messages per day, 1,039 messages per week, and 4,519 messages per month. Similarly, I send an average of 41 messages per day, 288 per week, and 1,255 per month. Even more interesting, Eudora tells me that I spend an average of 1.8 hours per day using Eudora, 12 hours per week, and 55 hours per month. That's actual activity in Eudora, not just the time the application is open. Eudora happily displays all these statistics for the year as well.
If you click the More statistics checkbox, you can learn how your activities break down. I see that I spend 29 percent of my time reading mail, 61 percent composing, and 10 percent mucking about with other things. With sent mail, I can see how my outgoing mail breaks down by forwarded messages, replied to messages, redirected messages, and attachments sent. For incoming mail, I can tell how many attachments I've received and what percentage of my incoming mail I've read.
Along with the raw numbers, Eudora draws graphs that clarify your patterns of sending mail, receiving mail, and using Eudora. The graphs also showed me that Eudora considers importing mail the same as receiving mail, and some tests I'd done had resulted in importing 1,800 messages. Since the dates on the Emailer 1.x messages I was importing were screwed up, Eudora counted them as arriving the day I did the import. I didn't want to skew my numbers that radically, but since Eudora actually stores the statistics in a straight-text XML file in the Eudora Folder, I was able to edit out the spike by changing some numbers.
Mood Rings -- Remember those mood rings from long ago that claimed to report your mood by changing color? I presume they worked on temperature - the hotter you got, the more uptight the mood ring claimed you were. New in Eudora 5.0 is a superficially similar feature called MoodWatch, which is based on work done by David Kaufer, chairman of the English department at Carnegie Mellon University. Qualcomm implemented David Kaufer's work in a fast algorithm that examines every message to identify words or phrases that some people might find offensive. The basic idea is to determine if what you're writing might be construed as a flame, or as a heads-up that an incoming message might be a flame before you start reading.
MoodWatch works both on incoming messages and messages you write, assigning every message between zero and three chili peppers to indicate the level of "spiciness." Chilies appear in a new mailbox column, and for outgoing messages, on the right side of the window toolbar (for zero chilies, outgoing messages display an icon that could be interpreted as an ice cube to indicate you're cool).
I was initially dubious about MoodWatch, but I seldom find myself disagreeing with it, although why a message receives chilies is occasionally confusing. For instance, ListSTAR sends me daily logs that often have chili ratings, which befuddled me until I realized that they were generally related to the subjects or senders of spam messages directed at my auto-replies.
MoodWatch is mostly informational, but it does offer some interactivity. In the MoodWatch settings panel, you can decide if you want it to warn you when sending messages with a certain chili rating. You can also Option-click on a message's chili rating in a mailbox window to select all messages with the same rating. However, you cannot search or filter on chili ratings, because the entire system is sufficiently subjective that searches or filters could easily produce undesirable results.
I mostly like seeing the chili ratings on the messages I'm writing, and just last week I reworded a hastily composed paragraph in a message that simply didn't need the expression that generated a pair of chilies. I'm a strong believer in using language appropriately, and if that means a message needs to go out with a full three-chili rating, so be it. But having Eudora warn me about inadvertent mistakes when I'm not paying attention is welcome.
A few notes about MoodWatch: It's specific to English (and probably American English at that), so your results may vary when using other languages. It's also entirely internal to your copy of Eudora, so no one using other email programs will see the chili ratings in any way. And of course, you can always turn it off.
ESP: Not What You're Thinking -- Eudora 5.0's most innovative feature is ESP, a plug-in whose name expands to Eudora Sharing Protocol. At its heart, ESP is simple - it enables everyone in a group of Eudora users to maintain a folder whose contents are identical on each person's machine, with ESP automatically sending and receiving updates from the members of the group. It all happens via standard email, but without bothering you with the automatic messages.
For the most part, you don't do anything in ESP itself; it just works in the background, occasionally prompting you with dialogs when necessary. But to create or configure groups, you work within the plug-in's interface, accessible by choosing ESP Groups from the Special menu (if that item isn't present, the ESP plug-in isn't installed where Eudora can find it, preferably in your Eudora Stuff folder).
An ESP group has several parts, including the shared folder itself (created by default in an ESP Groups folder in your Documents folder), a Eudora mailbox to store messages from the group, and the Eudora personality to apply to your outgoing messages to the group. An ESP group also contains a list of users, each of whom can play one of four roles: full member (send and receive updates), broadcasting member (send updates only), receiving member (receive updates only), and custom member (obey a set of custom actions regarding new, updated, and deleted items in the shared folder). The group creator uses ESP itself to invite users; it creates customized messages with a special attachment that the invitee's copy of ESP uses to configure itself to participate in the new group. Although the group creator can set an initial role for each invitee and even set a warning to appear if that person tries to change his or her role, control ultimately lies with each individual.
When anything changes in one copy of the shared folder, ESP packages up the necessary files along with instructions to the remote copies of ESP about what actions to perform and sends the message out. The receiving copies of ESP then unpack the files, look at the instructions, and perform the necessary actions to keep everyone's shared folder synchronized.
It's hard to predict exactly how people will use ESP because although ESP is good at maintaining multiple backups of updated and deleted documents, the disconnected nature of email means that it is possible for two people to modify the same file at the same time. Put simply, if you already have and rely on a single shared folder on a centralized server, you'll find switching to a distributed shared folder maintained by ESP frustrating, since you never know who's working on a file or if your folder has all the latest changes. My feeling is that ESP is not ideal for sharing documents that multiple people change frequently.
Where ESP's brilliance shines through is in easing email file distribution among a group. For instance, I'm creating and editing content for a Web site right now, and I'm constantly mailing drafts and final copies all over the place. Worse, whenever I receive an edited version, it's a totally new document whose changes I have to merge manually. If we were using ESP, I'd only have to worry about the current version of the document in the shared folder, and I could set the number of backup versions to retain in case of trouble. Another use of ESP might come in maintaining a shared folder of family photographs, where each member of the family could simply drop pictures into the folder to send them out the entire family.
Overall, I find ESP fascinating because it introduces intelligence into the process of sharing files via email, something we all do these days. Although you would set up ESP only if you anticipated an ongoing need to share files with a group, the functionality is sufficiently compelling that even people who must rely on other email programs might consider setting up a special POP email address (such as one via Apple's iTools or at Yahoo Mail) and running Eudora purely for ESP's file synchronization features. Luckily, ESP is cross-platform, so people using Eudora 5.0 for Windows can also participate in ESP groups.
Upgrade Details -- Eudora 5.0 is the first upgrade Qualcomm has released since Eudora Pro 4.0 back in January of 1998 that requires payment from some users. Whether or not you have to pay depends not on what version of Eudora you're currently using, but which version you last purchased. If you bought Eudora Pro 4.0 or 4.2 (whether or not you've subsequently taken advantage of the free upgrade to 4.3), the upgrade costs $30. If, however, you bought Eudora 4.3 to switch from Sponsored or Light mode into Paid mode, the upgrade to 5.0 is free.
If you're currently running Eudora 4.3, you can verify your situation and download Eudora 5.0 by first choosing Payment & Registration from the Help menu, and then clicking the "Find the Latest Update to Eudora" button (you must be connected to the Internet). A moment or two later, Eudora will display a window telling you that 5.0 is available, and if you're running in Paid mode, whether or not you have to pay to run 5.0 in Paid mode. It's a 4.7 MB download. If you have to upgrade, the first time you run Eudora 5.0, it will tell you that you have to pay to keep running in Paid mode and provide a link to pay on Qualcomm's Web site. Eudora will then continue to run in Paid mode for an hour to provide time for the transaction to be completed and so you can receive the registration code Qualcomm's servers will mail back to you.
If you haven't already upgraded from 4.0 or 4.2 to 4.3, you must first upgrade to 4.3 and then follow the procedure above. If you're still using a version of Eudora prior to 4.0, you'll have to pay the full amount, which is $50.
Of course, if you wish to use Eudora 5.0 for free, you can still do so in Light mode (which lacks many of Eudora's advanced features, including most of those mentioned above) or in Sponsored mode (which provides all of Eudora's features but requires you view ads).
As with any upgrade, the question is whether or not the new version is worth the effort and cost of upgrading. With Eudora 5.0, the answer depends significantly on your situation:
If you bought Eudora 4.3 and will receive the upgrade for free, or if you rely on Eudora 4.3's full feature set in Sponsored mode, I recommend the upgrade.
If you bought Eudora Pro 4.0 or 4.2 and upgraded to 4.3, I think the $30 upgrade is worthwhile, since you're the sort who takes email seriously.
If you bought Eudora Pro 4.0 or 4.2 but never got around to upgrading to 4.3, I recommend thinking about whether the main new features in 5.0 (Scripts menu, Statistics window, MoodWatch, and ESP) would be worth $30 and two large downloads.
If you use Eudora 4.3 in Light mode or like using a much older version of Eudora, I recommend upgrading if (or when) you discover something about your current version that bothers you or your correspondents.
It's hard to see quite why Qualcomm chose to call this Eudora 5.0, rather than something like 4.5. The version number bump was probably influenced by the competition with Microsoft's Outlook Express 5.0, whose version number was artificially increased to be comparable with Internet Explorer 5.0.
But more to the point, although MoodWatch and ESP are fairly major features, they're less compelling than the inline spelling checker and search functionality that appeared in Eudora Pro 4.2. And although Eudora 4.3's changes mostly revolved around the move to Light, Sponsored, and Paid modes, in some ways that change would have made more sense as the event to trigger an integer upgrade. As it is, the upgrade is most understandable by the length of time you've received new features from Qualcomm for free, with only Eudora 4.3 purchasers qualifying for a free upgrade. That turns out be the key - from now on, upgrades for those who have paid for Eudora will be free for a period of a year after you paid.
No matter what the specifics of your situation may be, Eudora 5.0 is a credible upgrade in multiple ways, and even if it doesn't address all of the program's remaining shortcomings (the entire filter architecture is aching for an update, for instance), it's worth serious consideration both as an upgrade and as a replacement for other email programs.
Article 14 of 17 in series
Eudora 5.0.1 Released -- Qualcomm has released Eudora 5.0.1, a minor upgrade to the company's widely used email program (see "Eudora 5.0 Reads Your Mind" in TidBITS-547 for a review of the new features)Show full article
Eudora 5.0.1 Released -- Qualcomm has released Eudora 5.0.1, a minor upgrade to the company's widely used email program (see "Eudora 5.0 Reads Your Mind" in TidBITS-547 for a review of the new features). Changes include a variety of minor tweaks and fixes to Eudora's rewritten Address Book, along with a number of other small modifications to the spell checker, Eudora's IMAP functionality, and importing. If you're using Eudora 5.0 now, it's a worthwhile (and free) update; if you haven't upgraded from a previous version, nothing in 5.0.1 other than improved stability should change that decision. Eudora 5.0.1 requires a PowerPC-based machine running Mac OS 8.1 or later. It's a 4.6 MB download. [ACE]
Article 15 of 17 in series
Eudora 5.1 Adds SSL, Palm Address Synchronization -- Qualcomm has released Eudora 5.1, a free update to their popular email application. New features include support for secure, authenticated connections via SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) if your email server supports them; an option to display signatures inline in message composition windows; support for sending, receiving, and storing vCards; colorizing of MoodWatch trigger words and phrases (Paid or Sponsored mode only); and a new MoodWatch settings panelShow full article
Eudora 5.1 Adds SSL, Palm Address Synchronization -- Qualcomm has released Eudora 5.1, a free update to their popular email application. New features include support for secure, authenticated connections via SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) if your email server supports them; an option to display signatures inline in message composition windows; support for sending, receiving, and storing vCards; colorizing of MoodWatch trigger words and phrases (Paid or Sponsored mode only); and a new MoodWatch settings panel. Qualcomm rewrote Eudora's Address Book for Eudora 5.0 (see "Eudora 5.0 Reads Your Mind" in TidBITS-547), and now we're starting to see the benefits. Enhancements include a conduit for synchronizing your Eudora Address Book with a Palm OS handheld, support for photos in address book entries and in nickname toolbar buttons, the capability to export the Address Book (or just selected entries) to a comma-delimited text file, and a new Address Book settings panel. In addition, Qualcomm fixed a slew of minor bugs. A 4.8 MB installer enables you to install a fresh Eudora Application Folder or update a Paid copy of Eudora 5.0.x (but not a beta version). For those running Mac OS X, a carbonized version of Eudora 5.1 is in beta testing now (it's a 3.8 MB download). [ACE]
Article 16 of 17 in series
Eudora 5.1.1 Finally Ships for Mac OS X -- Qualcomm has released the long-awaited final version of Eudora 5.1.1 for both Mac OS 9 and Mac OS X. Eudora users still running Mac OS 9 will appreciate a few small bug fixes, but the big news is the availability of Eudora for Mac OS XShow full article
Eudora 5.1.1 Finally Ships for Mac OS X -- Qualcomm has released the long-awaited final version of Eudora 5.1.1 for both Mac OS 9 and Mac OS X. Eudora users still running Mac OS 9 will appreciate a few small bug fixes, but the big news is the availability of Eudora for Mac OS X. Don't expect major changes - what you'll get under Mac OS X is almost all of Eudora's capabilities in a carbonized application. One important change with Mac OS X: Eudora is now a package containing all the ancillary files and folders for plug-ins and user dictionaries (Control-click the Eudora application, choose Show Package Contents, and open the Contents/MacOS folder for access to the Eudora Stuff folder). Eudora 5.1.1 is a free update for those who paid for Eudora during or after April of 2001, while upgrades for those who bought Eudora before then cost $30, and new versions cost $40: details are on the Eudora Web site. Of course, you can still use all of Eudora's features for free in Sponsored mode with ads, or a reduced set of features without ads in Lite mode. Eudora 5.1.1 for Mac OS X is a 4.0 MB download; 4.3 MB for Mac OS 9. If you're already using Eudora, you can get links to the installers and documentation by clicking "Find the latest update to Eudora" from the Payment & Registration command on the Help menu: if you're using Paid mode, the page will also tell you whether you need to pay for the 5.1.1 upgrade. [ACE]
Article 17 of 17 in series
Last week Qualcomm released Eudora 6.0, a major upgrade to the company's venerable email client. Eudora's marquee feature is SpamWatch, a new plug-in that employs Bayesian filtering to move spam-like messages to a new top-level Junk folder, but there are a few other welcome changes for users of both Mac OS 9 and Mac OS X. SpamWatch -- There's no question that spam is by far the worst problem facing email users todayShow full article
Last week Qualcomm released Eudora 6.0, a major upgrade to the company's venerable email client. Eudora's marquee feature is SpamWatch, a new plug-in that employs Bayesian filtering to move spam-like messages to a new top-level Junk folder, but there are a few other welcome changes for users of both Mac OS 9 and Mac OS X.
SpamWatch -- There's no question that spam is by far the worst problem facing email users today. I've personally received about 39,000 pieces of spam this year, and that's even with our mail server performing (admitedly conservative) spam blocking. Eudora 6.0 addresses the spam problem with the addition of SpamWatch, a plug-in that employs Bayesian filtering to move spam-like messages to a new top-level Junk folder. Eudora ships pre-trained, so it will start working immediately, but you can (and should) still train it by marking spam it misses using the Junk command, and marking legitimate messages it catches incorrectly with the Not Junk command. A new Junk Mail settings panel lets you set the threshold at which Eudora should consider a message junk (mine is set to a score of 50; the range is 0 for mail that's definitely not spam to 100 for messages that just ooze spaminess), and a host of other useful settings relating to SpamWatch.
In my use since it first appeared for testers in April of 2003, SpamWatch has proven quite accurate, with a false positive rate well under 1 percent. False negatives are low as well, with only a couple of mistakes per day. I can't be more specific because Qualcomm wasn't able to add spam-catching statistics to Eudora's statistics window in time for the 6.0 release. I strongly hope that will appear in Eudora 6.1.
The false positive rate is so low in part because Eudora whitelists messages from senders who are in your Address Book, and if you mark an incorrectly identified message as Not Junk, Eudora automatically records that sender in your Address Book so as to reduce the chance of a future mistake even more. That should work for most people, but for those like me, who receive mail from many people who would not otherwise be in your Address Book, try these two tricks to populate your Address Book. First, if you have mailing lists where you want to ensure that messages from those subscribers (like TidBITS Talk for me) are never marked as spam, add the Remember Sender action to the filter that moves messages to the appropriate mailbox. Second, consider using Robert Woodhead's free BoxSweeper program to extract all the email addresses from your stored mailboxes of legitimate mail; that way you can be sure no one who has sent you legitimate mail in the past will be caught, assuming they use the same address. Remember, though, that spam that forges an address in your Address Book (like your own address!) will always make it past SpamWatch, so you may need to prune your Address Book judiciously.
The fact that SpamWatch is a plug-in is significant, since it means that other developers will also be able to create anti-spam plug-ins for Eudora that are far better integrated than was possible in the past. In fact, Michael Tsai, developer of the SpamSieve spam fighting tool, is already working on a beta plug-in that will integrate Eudora 6.0 and the forthcoming SpamSieve 2.0. Although Eudora's own SpamWatch is doing an awfully good job right now, I think there will be room for other tools, particularly as spammers learn how to circumvent basic Bayesian filters.
Content Concentrator -- SpamWatch is designed to handle the massive influx of spam, but another new feature, the Content Concentrator, is aimed at helping you manage the influx of legitimate mail. The Content Concentrator enhances the preview pane in any mailbox window in two ways (click the expansion triangle in the lower left corner of a mailbox window to show the preview pane).
First, it hides excessive quoted text in an effort to help you focus on just the new text in a single message. I find this useful in mailboxes where I keep the preview pane relatively small, since I can still get an idea for what's in the message without opening its window.
Second, if you use Eudora's Option-click shortcut to select multiple messages by sender or subject (a feature of unparalleled utility and all-around goodness that I use constantly), the Content Concentrator displays all the selected messages (hiding quoted text as appropriate) in the preview pane. It's great for reading mailing list threads quickly.
The Content Concentrator takes a little getting used to. I often use Eudora's type-to-select feature followed by the Option-click shortcut to select messages so I can find a specific one, and the Content Concentrator can get in the way a bit at that point. Also, if you read a mailing list thread in the preview pane using the Content Concentrator, Eudora doesn't currently mark those messages as read, nor does it differentiate in any way between concentrated messages that were read versus those that weren't.
Of course, remember that the Content Concentrator is just hiding headers and quoted text temporarily; if you open a message in its own window, everything appears as it should. If you don't like the Content Concentrator, or want to make it show more or less information, or work only with single or multiple messages, a new Content Concentrator settings panel provides the necessary options.
Look and Feel -- People love to complain about how ugly Eudora is, although by now, I suspect that its interface is a major part of its charm for many long-time users. Qualcomm usually responds with a few cosmetic changes in each release, and Eudora 6.0 brings with it completely new toolbar and system icons. Also gone is the tow truck icon that you could use to drag an open message to a mailbox; now you drag an envelope icon in the title bar, much as you can drag folder icons in Finder window title bars.
More significant for Mac OS X users is the addition of a drawer to the right side of mailbox windows; you open and close it with a little button in the upper right corner of each mailbox window. The drawer essentially shows the contents of Eudora's Mailboxes window, with a hierarchical list of all mailboxes inside. You can click a mailbox to open it in the current window, double-click one to open it in its own window, drag messages to them, and so on. Mailboxes with unread messages appear with their names bold and underlined. You cannot add or remove mailboxes or folders from it; stick with the Mailboxes window for that.
I'm hesitant to recommend the mailboxes drawer. Eudora is designed around multiple windows, and my different mailboxes display differently. Some eschew the preview pane entirely, others display it relatively small, and a few use it as the primary viewing area. Using the mailboxes drawer to switch among mailboxes restricts me to one setting for the preview pane.
I also find transferring messages by dragging them to mailboxes much more difficult than using Eudora's Transfer menu (for which you don't have to keep the mouse button down the entire time). Finally, since many of my filters open mailboxes that receive new mail, I often ended up confused about which mailboxes were open and why. I turned off automatic mailbox opening to give the single-window view a chance, but I'll be going back to the multiple window approach as soon as I find the time to edit my filters. It simply doesn't match the way I like to work with email.
One last, and extremely welcome change: in Mac OS X, Eudora is now a self-contained application package, making it a better Mac OS X citizen. That also means you can turn plug-ins on and off via the Get Info window in the Finder.
What's Missing -- In almost any major release, some people will be disappointed, and those looking for an overhaul of Eudora's increasingly creaky filtering system won't find any major changes in Eudora 6.0. Eudora still doesn't use Apple's Address Book, although the more I see other applications trying to tie into Apple's Address Book, the more I'm unsure that it's currently a good universal solution because different applications have different requirements from a contact database. Also unchanged is Eudora's HTML parser, which enables Eudora to display HTML mail in a readable way most of the time, but not much more. I hope Qualcomm will replace the internal parser with Apple's recently released WebKit, which is the HTML rendering engine at the heart of Safari.
That said, there are oodles of other minor tweaks, improvements, and bug fixes in Eudora 6.0, and you can read all about them in the release notes. There's also no question that Eudora remains the most configurable email client on the planet, thanks to the way it provides access to hundreds of internal settings that are off-limits in other programs. I've updated the list of x-eudora-settings that I maintain; get it by sending email to <email@example.com>. Put ADD in the Subject line if you'd like to receive future revisions automatically.
Upgrading & Versions -- Eudora remains available in three modes, switchable by choosing Payment & Registration from Eudora's Help menu. Paid mode provides all of Eudora's features for $50. Upgrades are free if you purchased a Paid mode subscription within the last 12 months; they cost $40 if you have a Paid mode registration code from Eudora 4.3 or later; and you must buy a new copy for $50 if you're a new user or have a registration code for a version of Eudora older than 4.3.
Sponsored mode is also free, and lets you use Eudora's entire feature set except for SpamWatch in return for showing you an ad window with rotating ads and using up to three toolbar buttons to link to advertisers. Personally, I couldn't survive without something like SpamWatch, but if you don't receive much spam and don't mind the ads, Sponsored mode works fine.
Light mode eliminates all the ads, but also reduces the feature set significantly, making it a fine option for someone who needs a basic email program without all the bells and whistles for free.
Eudora 6.0 is a 4.4 MB download for Mac OS 9 users, and a 4.2 MB download for Mac OS X users.
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