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Apple Mail icon...anyone know what it means ?

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RogerS

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Sometimes when I hover on an email in the Inbox window, it slides to the right and this wee icon ap[pears. What does it mean, please ?

aopple mail query icon.png
 

MikeK

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Those are built-in swipe gestures and the function depends on the state of the message. In the example you provided, an unread email can be changed to "Read" status by swiping right and clicking on the blue tab. Swiping right on a message you read will allow you to change it to "Unread". Swiping left will allow you to delete the message by clicking on the red "Delete" tab.
 

RogerS

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Thanks, Mike. Bit of a pointless feature on an iMac if you ask me.

Can I ask another question ? On the old iMac using El Capitan (and also in other versions of OSX) if I misspelt a word then right-click threw up a list of possibly correct words. It worked brilliantly. All with the one hand. Now in Catalina, the muppets have removed that and I now have to use both hands to do what was a simple task. Hit Control (left hand) and click (right hand). WTF ? Any idea if there is a 'fix'...bloody stupid of them IMO.
 
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MikeK

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I agree with the muppet comparison. It seems the Apple motto is now "If it works, change it".

I'm still using the El Capitan on my mid-2009 MBP because it is at the end of its upgrade life and won't die.
 

RogerS

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That's exactly where we are/were with our two 2009 iMacs. Mine is on El C and SWMBO's on Mavericks. Both still going strong but Mail on mine keeps crashing, we both are getting frustrated by 'Hunt the working browser/website' combination which gets worse by the week. So we've decided to bite the bullet. I'm the guinea-pig ! We're waiting to see what the smaller new iMacs are like when they come out.

Back to fiddling about unnecessarily....Mail...view columns..you can't adjust the width in Catalina. Or a simple click on the top of whichever column you want to sort by.
 

MikeK

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I installed MS Office on my Macs because the full package was almost free as part of the home use program. I can't upgrade for free now because I'm retired, but the installed versions still work for what I want.

I prefer MS Outlook for mail handling because I think it is much better than Apple Mail. However, Outlook doesn't play well with my mid-2009 MBP with El Capitan, but works perfectly on my late 2009 iMac with High Sierra. I can't remember what is on my MacBook Air, but Outlook works perfectly on it as well.
 

RogerS

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Fun and games ! You do know that 32-bit programs will no longer work in Catalina...if/when you go down that route.

Just discovered that it's a 'system-wide' feature. Where we both and a slick, simple, one-handed feature. Right-Click. That's not good enough for Apple. No, Sirree indeed. Why leave that sublimely effective option when we can totally screw it up, thought Apple. Let's make it a TWO-handed operation now and force users to stop what they're doing, interrupt their workflow and working rhythm by forcing them to look down, find the control key, hit it with the lefthand while using the right hand to click.
 

Eric The Viking

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I have managed to replace all but two essential services on my iPhone SE with Google equivalents.

So far, the Google ones are:
  • Gmail,
  • Google Calendar,
  • Photos, and
  • Google Drive (instead of iCloud).
This gives me better functionality and some peace of mind.

I do not use any of the Apple Pay or similar things that require me to store financial data, and I do not use any of the medical data storage either, nor do I allow it to leak location information (although I cannot tell if it does this surreptitiously).

Unfortunately I can't do anything about the contacts database nor the messaging app, both of which are infuriatingly badly designed. I have absolutely no wish to share my contacts information with Apple, but little choice, as the DB is built up by phone calls and messages.

There are five staggeringly stupid things which so far have defeated me. In no special order:
  • In the messaging app, I cannot request read receipts from SMS messages, nor can I determine if another iPhone user gets an SMS message or iMessage (how this passes as business-grade software I have no idea),
  • If I physically connect it to a Linux box, I can do little more than charge the battery. I have no access at all to storage on the device (except the snaps taken with one of its cameras), so I cannot, for example load audio files onto it. "iTunes" does not function on Linux. I built a home backup system for my wife's iPad based on cabled access to collect her data. It's no longer possible on her new iPad either.
  • The Contacts database does not let me categorise entries by type, nor to allow me to add indexable fields with my own labels on them. Truly, breathtakingly dumb.
  • The on-screen keyboard is infuriating beyond description, especially a near total inability to put the cursor in the right place to correct errors efficiently. I often resort to deleting messages and starting again because it's faster. I thought the Android one was awkward, until...
  • I cannot do anything to set the overall look of the device, as I might for a desktop device. For example the font used is terrible, but I cannot replace it. The 'interactive' bits of the display are not signposted adequately (ergonomics 101!), so one frequently ends up tapping, sliding and cursing, as I delete instead of moving stuff, or whatever.
I am coming round to the idea that Apple has in fact developed some kind of mind control that removes all rationality from its customers. Regrettably, I seem to be immu---

--- scratch all the above, Apple products are unspeakably wonderful and have no faults whatsoever that are so-blindingly-obvious-that-a ten-year-old-could-spot-them. Om.

Seriously, if it wasn't for the Facetime app, which lets me cheaply and easily video call my grandchildren in America, I would have returned the thing before the cooling-off period expired. Even in that situation, other things like Zoom and a half-dozen others are available. But for reasons too complex to go into here, they have a houseful of Apple products, so for now it makes sense, just about.

You got me once, Apple. You will never, ever, get me again.

E.
 

Eric The Viking

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By the way, Apple's idea of disability seems to be merely people with a visual impairment of some sort, and even in that context it is little more than lip-service to "accessibility". Even though the keyboard is slightly larger than my old Android phone, it makes prolonged use for someone with deformed hands really uncomfortable. There is a well-hidden macro feature, which ought to be useful, however that will not permit [CR/LF] or [LF] to be included (so you cannot format text properly).
 

RogerS

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Thought I'd post these two images. Both iMacs running the same apps.

Here's El C

El C.png


And here is Hogalina

Hogalina.png


Apple say 8GB is enough ...I don't think so. I'm only running Apple Mail ands Safari. Not much headroom before it starts swapping.
 

MikeJhn

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I'm using El C on my MacBook Pro and my iMac desktop and I can change the size of the columns in Mail and can use one finger for Right click, I think there is a set up problem if you can't, but the change to 64 bit caused a problem with "iPhoto's" which is not an Apple programme and now does not work and the photo's are inaccessible, I am running "Window" on "Parallels Desktop" and the Photos are available on Window's and can be transferred back to "Photos"
 

RogerS

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So can I in El C but I said Catalina ;):)

Yup..I found out how to revert to Right-Click thanks.

You should have been able to migrate (as part of the upgrade to El C) your iPhoto Library to a Photos one.

Had an alert from Photos yesterday. Memories or some such. A montage including videos of various years. Since I hardly ever look at my photos, it was a very, very enjoyable surprise. Apple do do somethings right !
 

MikeJhn

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Yes Apple do some things right, they have a stable platform to operate from, do you remember Ctl Alt Del seems I was always pushing those keys with a Windows Platform, try going back to Windows and you will remember how appalling it was.
 

Eric The Viking

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Back in the day, when Hertz was #1 for car rentals, Avis came up with the now-famous motto, "We try harder".

Honestly, there are a lot of good alternatives to Apple out there. There is nothing special about the Apple "ecosystem" that isn't available from others, notably Google. I used to think the latter was somewhat sinister, but this experience has proven they are more transparent, and a darn sight easier to use than Apple's iOs products.

My Apple-buying decision was a matter of pragmatism (being "compatible" wit the rest of my family), rather than any real or imagined better quality of the product and associated services. It was a mistake, and will take a vast amount to persuade me I have been anything other than a mug.

I don't need software that orders my data (photographs) without my asking it to. I want a phone that meets functionality criteria, not something that tries to impinge on my "lifestyle" (whatever that is).

Having been away from Apple products for some while, I have been shocked by how much privacy I am expected to relinquish, simply in order to get the thing to work sensibly, and how that loss of privacy is not just to Apple but to entities about whom I know next to nothing. For example, the phone needs apps in the same way that Android ones do, to extend its extremely basic functionality. Apple could easily choose to make the distinction clear and easy between its own apps and third party ones - the latter have a pretty appalling track record for data security on both platforms - yet it does the exact opposite, blurring the lines such that it is actually hard to find the Apple stuff and not install fee-demanding apps by mistake.

The whimsical changes to product functionality are also shocking: features that people come to rely on disappear from OS revisions without discussion or warning, and others, such as the Covid-19 track/trace app are installed without consent. It's not enough to say, "but it isn't activated!". Too many questions are raised, but the overarching one is why such arrogance is acceptable in any commercial company.

I finally managed to move my ringtone onto my iPhone. This was a complex and awkward process, involving a 1/2 GB app download (Garage Band), simply in order to change a file format and place it in a part of the filesystem Apple has deliberately made almost inaccessible to me (without extra payments!). The actual file of the ringtone is less than 200kB (1/5 of a megabyte). Bizarrely, I still cannot customize the audible alerts properly either - some cannot be modified - and they are hard to make out with hearing aids.

There is a lot of functionality that has been determined by Apple's "wise men" that cannot be changed, even if it doesn't work very well and is downright confusing.

It seems I have bought a really expensive, "put-up-or-shut-up" device, and I am already trying to work out the best time to switch back to Android and sell this thing on the secondhand market, taking the smallest loss I can.

Time was when Apple was a really good hardware supplier. They worked hard to do just what Mike says - sell a stable platform - and I bought and recommended a lot of their stuff. Our household had four Macs of various ages and specs, and I had a few Windows PCs necessary for work. In my professional life, they were helpful integration partners (we sold products especially for their systems). Their stuff was fun to work with (I was one of only two people in our factory with a Mac on my desk - the other was our graphics designer). So my present view is neither irrational nor borne of ignorance.

Mike mentioned ctl-alt-del: Apple reminds me now - in its product design and business behaviours - of Microsoft in the bad old days of the 2000s: agressive, arrogant, hard to work with and poor value for money. And possibly IBM before that.
 

RogerS

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An alternative viewpoint, ETV, is

(1) do you really want to spend your life learning another computer system...say, Linux ..or would you rather accept what does pretty much what you want 95% of the time

(2) would you rather use a system that, yes, is locked down but you're pretty much bullet-proof from nasties (yes, I know that there has been malware for Macs in the past but trivial in quantity compared to, say, Windows

(3) look at all the issues people are having with Windows 10.

As an aside, not quite sure why you had so much difficulty moving a ringtone onto your iPhone. Just done a quick Google and there seems to be a lot ways of doing it.
 

Eric The Viking

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Ringtone: do try it with iOs 13.xx. You'll have a nasty shock.

Learning OSes: I do have experience of many OSes* - it's no big deal as such. But iOs is not exposed to the user in any meaningful way - arguably one of the issues.

Safety/security: neither Google/Android nor iOs are "safe" enough for my liking, however it seems easier to keep Android limited to using data I am less concerned about. Without it being explicitly disabled, Apple demands or surreptitiously collects a lot of data which it has no business asking for (health and location/movement data, for example).

Win10: I haven't used a Microsoft OS in anger for over 10 years now. It simply isn't a binary choice of MacOS vs. Windows.

In any case, Apple has been UNIX-like "under the hood" for two decades (since OSX was launched, pretty much), and since Apple started using Intel chips, it is extremely similar to Linux. You can, if you choose, even run Linux on Apple hardware.

---------------------

*Operating system experience (most of which I'd probably rather forget):
  • All versions of DOS (on several platforms, including non-IBM MS-DOS (8086 as well as 8088 CPU)
  • Windows, from 286 onwards, including server variants, many desktop versions up to XP (when I finally got fed up with it), even headless Windows!
  • Novell Netware 286, 3.xx, 4.xx, LAN Manager, etc.
  • Unixes: Solaris, HP-UX to 11.xx, AIX, Irix (SGI Indy).
  • Various Linux distributions, including Ubuntu, xubuntu, Mint...
  • Apple OS 7 thru 10 (OsX).
  • For the true nerdy historians: Digital Research GEM, Atari, BBC Basic.
  • And a bit of assembly language and machine code on 8080 & Z80 systems.
To be fair, I have forgotten most of the above now, although some HP-UX shell commands still stick in the mind.
 

RogerS

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Here's another funny although I'm not sure if it is Catalina or a particular website but several sites or Catalina now seem to block me using CTRL-V. Paste to stick in the password to log in. That is a right PITA.
 
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