Thursday, July 08, 2010

How computers think, part 112

I wrote a mail which I did not send immediately, because I was still uploading something which was linked to in the mail.

When it came to send the mail, I opened it from Apple Mail's "drafts" folder, and... it just sat there, empty, thinking and thinking and thinking, trying to recreate the content of the mail.

I did something else, giving it time, and it finally succeeded after several minutes! It turned out that I was opening a temporarily created version of the email where I had mistakenly copied/pasted the name of a folder on my computer instead of a web link, and Mail, unlike my old email app, does not interpret this as simple a bit of text, it understands it as me copy/pasting the actual folder into the mail... And in this case it was a 600MB folder with thousands of files, all of which it apparently, bravely, was getting itself reading to email to my poor correspondent!

If I have to send a list of files to somebody, I have to first copy/paste the list into a text editor, which converts it into just text, and then copy/paste this list, otherwise I end up mailing the files instead of the list!

I guess it's useful once you know about it and get used to it. Though I still think simple drag/drop is the easiest way to add an attachment.

1 comment:

ilixons said...

I am unsure what you are saying except that you did something you didn't mean to do, but the OS did what it was supposed to do. The Mac clipboard is context sensitive on paste. If you had pasted that file listing into the subject field rather than the body of the message, you would have seen plain text.

If you installed a clipboard manager (I can only speak for certain about PTHPasteboard, although I expect the feature to be in other similar apps) you could set it to always paste in plain text, although Command+V would still paste from the Mac system pasteboard.

The terminal does folder listing in text, and some text editors (BBEdit for sure) will generate recursive indexes of folders dropped into a file window, whole disks even for machopersons. There are also specialized utilities for file listing: PrintWindow from SearchwareSolutions may suit your needs. AppleScript is another possibility, and the system defaults can be configured, but better not to go there in case you make another operator error [grin].