Archive for February 14, 2017

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

On the Uselessness of Search in macOS Mail

Rob Griffiths:

For the last couple macOS releases, I’ve had nothing but trouble searching in Mail. Note that I didn’t write “trouble searching mail,” but rather, “trouble searching in Mail.”

Searching Spotlight directly works for him.

Dan Frakes:

Is there a secret to getting macOS Mail’s “Unread” smart mailbox to show 0 messages when there are no unread messages?

I see both of these issues all the time, though with the Flagged smart mailbox rather than Unread. The number next to the Flagged mailbox is different from the number of messages shown in that mailbox, and some of the messages shown in it are not actually flagged.

As a quick fix to prevent it from showing messages that are not actually flagged, I was able to use this Terminal command:

sqlite3 ~/Library/Mail/V4/MailData/Envelope\ Index 'SELECT * FROM subjects WHERE rowid IN (SELECT subject FROM messages WHERE flagged="1")'

After confirming that these really are messages that should not be flagged, I could mark the messages as unflagged:

sqlite3 ~/Library/Mail/V4/MailData/Envelope\ Index 'UPDATE messages SET flagged="0" WHERE flagged="1"'

(Caveat: I do not use multi-colored flags and have not investigated how this affects them.)

This would only provide temporary relief, though. Rebuilding Mail’s database takes longer but also lasts longer. But because of this and other problems that wouldn’t fully go away, I did a clean reinstall of macOS about a week ago. So far so good, but I suspect that both problems will be back.

Fortunately, most of the mail that I need to search is in FogBugz and EagleFiler.

Update (2017-02-15): Rob Griffiths:

If I move all the messages from an inbox or local storage folder into a different local storage folder, they’ll be indexed and findable. I can then move them back into the inbox or source folder, and they remain findable.

Twitterrific for Mac Kickstarter

Sean Heber (MacRumors):

After much consideration, we decided that the best way forward was to go back to the beginning. Rather than bending the long-neglected Twitterrific for Mac into a new shape, we will borrow what we can from iOS and use it to build a modern new macOS app.


We’re confident that we can do this, but we need your help! Please check out our Kickstarter page, watch the video and study the plan. There are many different funding levels including regular access to beta builds all through Phoenix’s lifespan. If you’re the kind of person who loves to see software evolve through it’s development, or just want to start using a new Twitterrific on your desktop sooner rather than later, this one is for you.

This is our first Kickstarter project and a new way for us to fund our software development. The main reason the Mac app languished is because we aren’t sure that there’s a market for a desktop social networking product (it’s easy to make a case that all our social activities have moved to mobile.) For our small software company, the risk of recouping development costs was just too high. Kickstarter removes this unpredictability and gives us an exact budget to work against.

Jason Snell:

Ten years later, my view of Twitter as a service is still largely framed by apps, rather than the web. If Twitter was only on the Web, I think I’d use it about as often as Facebook, which is to say, not often.

Instapaper Outage Cause & Recovery

Brian Donohue:

Without knowledge of the pre-April 2014 file size limit, it was difficult to foresee and prevent this issue. As far as we can tell, there’s no information in the RDS console in the form of monitoring, alerts or logging that would have let us know we were approaching the 2TB file size limit, or that we were subject to it in the first place. Even now, there’s nothing to indicate that our hosted database has a critical issue.

If we ever had knowledge of the file size limit, it likely left with the 2013-era betaworks contractors that performed the Softlayer migration.


We didn’t have a good disaster recovery plan in the event our MySQL instance failed with a critical filesystem issue that all of our backups were also subject to.


When it became clear the dump would take far too long (first effort took 24 hours, second effort with parallelization took 10 hours), we began executing on a contingency plan to get an instance in a working state with limited access to Instapaper’s archives. This short-term solution launched into production after 31 hours of downtime. The total time to create that instance and launch it into production was roughly six hours.


Our only recourse was to restore the data to an entirely new instance on a new filesystem. This was further complicated by the fact that our only interface into the hosted instances is MySQL, which made filesystem-level solutions like rsync impossible without the direct assistance from Amazon engineers.

Planet of the Apps

Husain Sumra:

Apple wasn’t the first choice for the show, according to Silverman. The project was initially shopped around to the big networks. The show drew major interest, but Will.I.Am brought up the show to Jimmy Iovine while at a meeting with Apple in Los Angeles. Apple was interested, and Silverman and the rest of the producers slowed down the process with the networks to give Apple a chance at securing it for Apple Music.


Cue later emphasized that Apple doesn’t just want to buy shows, denying that Apple was ever interested in purchasing The Grand Tour. Instead, Apple only wants to make shows that are unique and “create culture.”

The trailer is here. Most of the reactions I’ve seen have been negative:

Update (2017-02-15): See also: Nick Heer, Benjamin Mayo, Joe Rosensteel.

Update (2017-02-19): See also: Cabel Sasser.

Update (2017-06-28): See also: Everything wrong with Apple’s ‘Planet of the Apps’ (via Michael B. Johnson).