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how to do technology in ten moves. (or less.) A Loose Wire production

Fixing Gmail and Sparrow Connection Timeouts

If you’re a user of the Sparrow app for OS X and iOS recently purchased by Google, you may have encountered problems with your Gmail account. You may experience long delays in both Gmail’s web interface and the Sparrow app, with messages going unsent and connection timeouts. 
 
I’ve not seen this addressed elsewhere so I’m describing the fix that worked for me. 
 
The slowness is called by lots of IMAP calls which overwhelm your Gmail and/or Sparrow app.
 
This only seems to happen if you’re using IMAP and if you have a lot of labels/folders in Gmail. 
 
For at least the desktop version of Sparrow, the number of IMAP pings depend on how many IMAP ‘folders’ you have in Gmail. The folders, in Gmail, are labels. I’m not sure what the default is, but I noticed that in my Label settings all Labels were checked to show up in IMAP.
 
Given I have around 50 labels, that’s a lot of IMAP folders.
Unchecking all but the five most used labels seems reduce the traffic significantly. 
 
Given that Google now owns Sparrow, but was unable to diagnose this problem despite the kind intervention of Google’s PR folk, I’d suggest they need to address this issue, or make it easier for users to tweak the number of calls made on IMAP folders within Sparrow. 
 
(Yes, I know this all rather moot since Sparrow is now unsupported, but I’m assuming that Google is going to reincarnate it in some way. Now it’s working again, I remember why I love it so much. The Gmail interface is good for an overview, but Sparrow is great for writing emails and keepin an eye on stuff.) 
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Filed under: medium, , , ,

Can’t Access Gmail

If you have problems logging in to Gmail, don’t panic. You might get a message in your browser saying something like “Gmail timed out” even when you’re able to access other pages (and ping your Gmail account via GoogleTalk, for example.) You may find you get this error even in different browsers, indicating it’s not a cache error.

The best way to resolve this is to try rebooting. That fixed it for me, and it should for you.

Filed under: easy, ,

Better Ways to Send Attachments Via Gmail

Sending attachments via Gmail is pretty straightforward in Windows, but it’s not great if

  • you want to send your attachment direct from the program (Word etc)
  • you want to send more than one attachment per email
  • you’re used to dragging and dropping attachments

Here’s how to make it easier.

Sending files direct from a Windows application

Affixa is a small program that sits between you and Gmail, turning Gmail into the default email client for mailto: links (links on webpages that launch whatever is your Windows email program).

Affixa is relatively painless to install.

Now , for example, you can send a file straight from Microsoft Word via Gmail.

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You can do the same thing right clicking on a file in Windows Explorer (or whatever it’s called in Windows Seven) and then selecting Send to/Mail recipient:

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Affixa will alert you when the email is ready:

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Sending multiple files via drag and drop

If you’re a drag and drop person, you can add files to Gmail using Affixa’s basket, a small app that sits in the system tray into which you can drag files, or groups of files.

When you’re done collecting the files, hit the email button at the bottom and Affixa adds them to an email:

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That email is then put in your Gmail draft folder. (Be patient; this can take a while. Probably too long.)

Another option, if the files are all in the same folder, is to use a Firefox extension called dragdropupload which lets you drag multiple files straight into Gmail (and Facebook and Flickr).

Once the extension is installed, create a new Gmail email message and then drag the selected files into the light blue area around the Subject field.

You’ll know if you’re doing it right when the mouse turns to a thumbnail of the files with the number of files above it in blue:

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I find this works more quickly than Affixa. 

The basic version of Affixa is free; a more fully featured version costs £2 a year. The Firefox extension is free, but its author Sankazim welcomes donations via PayPal.

Filed under: hard, , , , , , ,

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