Open URLs Quickly from BBEdit
If you're working on a bit of text (HTML or otherwise) in BBEdit, and you see a URL that you'd like to open, the fastest way is to Command-click it. Most BBEdit users probably already know this tip, but if you don't, it's a huge time-saver. (The same trick works in BBEdit's free little brother, TextWrangler.)
Series: Eudora Pro 4.2
Inline spellchecking, IMAP support, and a great search feature move Eudora forward
Article 1 of 5 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 2 of 5 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 3 of 5 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 4 of 5 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 5 of 5 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!