apple-mail-iconI recently started experiencing an issue with Apple’s Mail application – every time I would select an email with an attachment, Mail would freeze for a few seconds before shutting down with the standard “unexpected quit” error dialog. I originally suspected corrupt emails, thinking back to issues with corrupt emails crashing Entourage if the Preview pane was enabled. Except that this time Mail would crash on EVERY email with an attachment – & there was no way that every email coming in was getting corrupted.

I cleared caches, rebuilt the mail index, removed Mail’s plist, even repaired permissions – all for nothing.

I finally stumbled onto a thread on the Apple Discussions forum suggesting that Mail might not be the correct version for the OS that I was running (10.5.7) & that the 10.5.7 combo updater should be re-installed.

Sure enough, here’s the version I was running when Mail was crashing:

Mailv3

And here’s the version that SHOULD be running under 10.5.7:

Mailv3.6How does this happen?

I had recently performed an archive & install on my laptop & being my overly cautious self, I hadn’t deleted the old System files (the Previous System folder). Turns out that when I ran the 10.5.7 combo updater after doing the archive & install, the combo updater actually updated the files in the previous System folder, not the newly installed System files!!!

The fix? Move the Previous System folder to the trash & re-run the 10.5.7 combo updater. Suddenly Mail is v3.6 & everything runs flawlessly again!

Thanks to Ernie Stamper on the Apple Discussions board for identifying this deceptive (& peculiar) bug!

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MCX Lessons from Macworld

January 20, 2009

wgmManaging OS X, Greg Neagle’s OS X sysadmin blog, has a great PDF of slides from Greg’s Macworld presentation on MCX & managed preferences in OS X. If you’re involved in client management in any way on OS X, you should probably take a minute to check this out.

You can download the PDF direct from his blog here.

compresspdfworkflowOS X 10.5 does not exhibit the “Compress PDF” workflow on the Print dialog that used to appear in OS X 10.4. This has caused more than a little confusion and headache trying to get documents down to an appropriate size for emailing, etc.

The feature’s not lost, however. Apple (in their wisdom) has just decided to move the process into the Preview application. Here are the steps for compressing a PDF, as listed in Preview’s Help documentation:

To compress a PDF file:

Step 1

Open Preview, in your Applications folder.

Step 2

Choose File > Open, select the PDF file to compress, and then click Open.

Step 3

Choose File > Save As, choose Reduce File Size from the Quartz Filter pop-up menu, and choose a name and location for the new PDF file.

Step 4

Click Save.

Quite a few steps more than before, I know. Check out Part 2 for a return to 10.4-style PDF compression.