Wanted: Mailbox activity tool


I’m hoping that someone out there can help me find a tool or script that can show me ‘mailbox activity’.

In a nutshell, what I want to be able to do is:

  1. ‘Tell’ the script/tool which mailbox I want it to scan.
  2. The script runs and provides a histogram (or table – not fussed) of activity over time, so I can see where there have been more (or less) emails in and out that I’ve filed in that mailbox.

Environmentally, I’m interested in having this for Apple’s Mail application, running on an IMAP mail box. (So the script would probably have to talk to the IMAP server, as not all emails are necessarily available on the computer.)

I’ve tried a web search, but ‘mail activity’ tends to bring back a lot of noise and no substance.

Can anybody out there help me? Please leave a comment.


Migrating data the long way

My Macbook Pro (MBP) has been acting slowly recently; I wouldn’t want to attribute it to upgrading to Lion, but I think that’s almost certainly the major cause. I was happy to live with this (though my son and his mum constantly complain about the speed of the games and activities on the CBeebies website).

However, I recently came to back up the machine (Time Machine onto a Time Capsule) and it kept locking up. I did all the things that the various forums and knowledge bases suggested to no avail.

Not wanting to do anything major without having a back-up (my most recent back-up being on a now-defunct Time Capsule) I figured I should get my data onto another machine. Fortunately, I had been wanting to do this for some time. I have a Mac Mini at home that’s got an Eye TV plugged into it and I wanted to have this as my major media device. This would mean transferring all my music and photos from the MBP onto the Mini:

  • iTunes library and associated folders (2500 albums, plus a couple of films, TV series and podcasts)
  • iPhoto library (~3000 photos)
  • Aperture library (a couple of events)

I chose to do this in a very laborious (read time-consuming) way. I dropped each item into the Mini’s drop box and then backed up the Mini. Then I copied the library to the correct location and did another backup. Then I loaded the relevant application and made sure all was working and did a third backup. Then I deleted the copy from the drop box and the MBP (followed by a fourth and final backup). I did this for each of the libraries. Happy to say that all is working on the Mini. Fortunately I wasn’t in any hurry to get this done.

The next step will be to strip down the MBP and re-install from scratch. I’m hoping that this will both sort out my speed issues and allow me to get Time Machine working successfully. I’ll let you know how that goes in due course.

iPad Experience

So, a couple of weeks ago I finally bit the bullet and bought an iPad. I was feeling flush and so went for the top-of-the-range 64G 3G one.


I was cautious about buying an iPad – unusual for me, as I am a complete Apple fanboi. I really couldn’t see the point or need for one in my life. I manage to come up with a couple of possibilities:

  1. It would make a good coffee table browser. OK, but if the family are going to share it I want multiple user facilities so we can all get at our own email accounts without the embarrassment of having to read each others’.
  2. I could use it for work. Here there’s a better fit, as most of my work is around documents and numbers, resourcing and scheduling. (In fact, Pages and Numbers, if we’re talking applications.) However, it doesn’t meet all requirements, as I sometimes code (PHP, SASS) and a lot of our core work involves video – so iPad’s lock down on video formats excludes a lot of things it would be nice to have the iPad do for me.

So, like Natalie Inbruglia, I was torn. My Apple lust made me want one and my practical side couldn’t justify it.

This finally resolved itself when I said to myself, “We could really do with an iPad for work. You know, for testing and that.”, which was the excuse I was waiting to come up with, and so I went out and bought one.

Two weeks later

After the (well attended) official unpacking ceremony at work, the iPad spend the first few days if its new life in  a bag doing nothing. I was still finding it hard to see what to do with it. Having spent the money, though, I did some research, got some apps and now it’s become a staple of my day.

I use it almost exclusively for work related activities; it’s great to take to meetings and I will be trying it out at a conference for the first time this week. (“Building Perfect Council websites ’10” – see you there!)

Although not exhaustive, here’s the list of applications I’m currently using:

I use Things on all my Macs. The iPad experience is great, making good use of the larger screen that makes using it on the iPhone a bit frustrating. (That’s not Things’ fault, mind.)
Again, Evernote is a staple application in my environment. I use it for knowledge management, mainly. Again, it’s been re-purposed for the iPad and is a really good experience.
I do all my work off Dropbox. Available on all my computers, and also viewable on iPhone and iPad. This makes my life so much easier, as I synchronise my iDevices with my personal laptop, so having my files available in this way means I can sync them across from my Personal iTunes, into the iWork apps on the iPad (see next).
Pages & Numbers
The user experience of having to synchronise via iTunes is not good, but tolerable. The iPad versions of these applications are lovely. Although not feature-full (which causes problems when you want to edit files) they are well worth using for document creation.
On my Macs, I use Mindjet’s Mindmanager, but on the iPad I’ve discovered iThoughtsHD. It’s compatible with most mind map file formats and has the added advantage of being able to load and save maps to and from DropBox directly. I’ve used it a little and so far, so good.

The future

I’m off on holiday very soon, so I’ll be grabbing some childrens’ books and videos and putting them on the iPad; I think it’s going to be an excellent way to keep my 3-year-old occupied on the plane journey.

After that, who knows? If you have any great apps, I’d love to hear about them.