Hillorly Clinton

July 23rd, 2009

Fix IMAP errors with AOL accounts in Entourage

November 6th, 2008

Today I came across an error in Entourage when trying to send a message using an AOL account configured to use IMAP.

In a failure as an IT guy, I didn’t get a screenshot, but the error message indicated being unable to move the sent message to the IMAP folder and that it would use the corresponding local folder instead. The error message number was -17495.

As it turns out, AOL IMAP doesn’t adhere strictly to the specification. Whereas most clients will attempt to save sent and deleted messages to specific IMAP folders on the client side, AOL’s servers automatically do the moving on the server side. So when Entourage tries to move a message, it encounters a duplicate, and the operation fails.

The solution is simply to disable moving Sent and Deleted messages in the account settings for AOL accounts set to use IMAP, and to trust that AOL will handle that on their end.

I have it from a former AOL engineer that AOL could in fact support a more normal implementation of IMAP, but they felt users were too prone to confusion. I also hear from a Lotus administrator that this same thing happens on Lotus Notes servers in various configurations.

In both cases, I smell WTF, but as with most things AOL, a squirt of WTFever makes it go away.

Work around grayed-out ‘Minimize’ buttons

September 5th, 2008

I never see it coming, but it happens all the time: I go to minimize a Safari window down to the Dock, but the yellow button is grayed out. Hitting Apple-M doesn’t work, and “Minimize” isn’t available in the Window menu.

Srsly, wtf?

Well, it turns out to be a weird bug in Leopard’s window manager. If you’ve run into this yourself, let me guess: you have Spaces turned on, and you have something like VMware or Quicktime Player in full-screen mode in one of your spaces.

I can’t explain it any further than this. If you put an application in full-screen mode on one of your spaces, then use the arrow keys to switch to another space and back, the active application in the space you switch to will lose its minimize buttons. It happens in more than just Safari, but almost any application in the space you switch to.

The solution? Open yet another full-screen app, like Quicktime player, in the affected space. Simply switch to fullscreen mode, and then exit. The minimize buttons in the affected app will be restored.

Can’t attach a file in Mail.app? Enter a message first.

August 8th, 2008

Yesterday, it seemed as if Mail.app wouldn’t allow me to attach a file to a message all of a sudden. I created a new message to send a small file to our senior chemist, but the file just snapped back to the desktop. I quit and re-launched Mail, opened a new message, and got the same results. Logging out and back in, restarting, trying different files… all with the same results. I was baffled, and I was preparing for drastic measures like rebuilding my mail accounts or re-installing Mail.

It turns out, there’s a small bug in Mail.app that prevents attaching a file to an empty mail message if you have “Always Insert Attachments at End of Message” selected. If you drag the attachment, the icon will snap back, and if you use the menus or toolbar button to attach the file, it will appear as if nothing happened.

You might also see this in the log in Console.app:

*** Canceling drag because exception 'DOMException' (reason '*** NOT_FOUND_ERR: DOMException 8') was raised during a dragging session

As a workaround, just be sure you enter some text in the message body before attaching the file. Alternatively, you can uncheck Edit > Attachments > “Always insert attachments at end of message.”

In the end, my own faulty troubleshooting method was affecting my results. The reason it kept happening to me all the time, all of a sudden? I was so focused on testing the attachments, I never typed anything into any of the messages first. When I finally typed “ARGH” in frustration before attaching the file, I had the eureka moment.

“It’s the ants!” — Dr. Robert Campbell