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Deter frequent Mail.app email checks Apps
Like most of my friends, and probably most readers, I suffer from an inability to avoid peeking at mail every few minutes. Apple's Mail.app makes it awfully easy to do so: not only can one check mail with a single click, Mail even does it for you and displays an attention-getting red splotch whenever mail arrives. Checking mail more often means answering more often, which sometimes means getting answers back more often, and the result is a spiral in which one spends a good chunk of every hour e-mailing.

There are some ways, however, to fiddle with Mail to make it more difficult to check in a moment of weakness. First, go to Preferences and, under General, set "Check for new mail" to "Every hour." Next, go to the View menu and select "Customize Toolbar..." Get rid of the "Check mail" icon, and replace it with whatever you want (I chose "Smaller/Bigger," for those folks who send micro-sized text).

It's still possible, of course, to check mail by hitting a quick command-key sequence. To fix that, download CocoaSuite, a collection of utilities that lets you modify, among other things, menu behavior. After it's been installed, launch Mail, go to Manage Menu Shortcuts (under Mail / Cocoa Suite), select "Mail / About Mail" from the drop-down menu, and enter the command sequence shift-command-N. Click Save, quit, restart, and you should see that "Check All New Mail" no longer has a keyboard equivalent.

Sure, you can still drag down the menu and select "Check All New Mail" manually, but we've at least raised the bar a bit, to the point that checking mail is more than just a quick click. I find that I'm now content to wait until the hour has passed to see whether there's any mail. And if there were an option to wait longer, I'd probably try that, too.

And yes, to anticipate one likely response, one could just quit Mail entirely. But starting Mail is even easier than checking it....
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Deter frequent Mail.app email checks
Authored by: dhayton on Oct 20, '05 05:34:23AM

Don't forget to set the 'new mail' sound to 'none'. The sounds are found in the "General" preferences.



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Deter frequent Mail.app email checks
Authored by: Coumerelli on Oct 20, '05 05:50:26AM

heh heh. you guys are sad. :)

---
"The best way to accelerate a PC is 9.8 m/s2"



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Deter frequent Mail.app email checks
Authored by: wheeles on Oct 20, '05 06:01:25AM

Will power is a wonderful thing.

I just wish I could stop checking macosxhints every 5 minutes.



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Deter frequent macosxhints checks
Authored by: jonesy on Oct 21, '05 04:31:31PM
That's simple. Add this line to your /etc/hosts file:
127.0.0.1    www.macosxhints.com

---
Grrrr!!!!!

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Deter frequent Mail.app email checks
Authored by: leenoble_uk on Oct 20, '05 06:36:14AM

With a right mouse button you can still do it one click from any app using the dock menu. Click (hold) drag release.
You wanna hack that too?

---
So, I said ... well, I can't actually remember exactly what I said. But it was one of the most enormously cruel and frighteningly witty put downs ever.



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Deter frequent Mail.app email checks
Authored by: tinker on Oct 21, '05 07:44:56AM
Actually, come to think of it, this is doable, though it's not exactly for the faint of heart. It requires the Developers' Tools (or Xtools) installation from the OS X DVDs. Once that's installed, use the context menu to show Mail's package contents, go to Resources/English.lproj, and open up MailViewer.nib. (It might not hurt to copy MailViewer.nib to the Desktop and work on the copy!) Once you've opened it, look for the window in the lower-left part of the screen with "File's Owner," "First Responder," etc. Double-click on "Dock Menu," click on the Get New Mail option, go to the edit menu and click Cut. The same can be done with the Mailbox / Check All New Mail option under MainMenu. A similar hack is described in more detail here.

There is a definite caveat emptor here: as usual, mucking with developers' tools when one is not a developer... well, it is its own reward, and the reward can be good or very bad. People more familiar with these tools might attest that following this procedure will corrupt your file structure, vaporize your hard disk, and make you sterile, and I'm in no position to argue. Happily, Interface Builder keeps a copy of the original as MailViewer~.nib, though you should surely keep your own copy of the original elsewhere in case things go south.

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Deter frequent Mail.app email checks
Authored by: tinker on Oct 21, '05 07:55:43AM

p.s. yes, I realize you were joking....



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Deter frequent Mail.app email checks
Authored by: TriNeuro on Oct 20, '05 07:04:49AM

I would rather advise you to improve your will power, heh.. Instead of doing all that "hacking", how 'bout just shut down Mail and remove it from the dock? Or are you so mail-check-compulsive that you'd use Quicksilver or LaunchBar to start up Mail again every other minute?

I never find it that interesting to check Mail that often even though I have the Notification plug-in which can show me if any interesting ones arrive. I do feel like checking RSS-feeds or Usenet-groups more often, but shutting the apps down works for shifting focus to what I'm supposed to do..



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Deter frequent Mail.app email checks
Authored by: jctull on Oct 20, '05 08:19:28AM

How about command-Q. Just quit your Mail.app for goodness sake. Sorry, but this is a really lame hint.



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Deter frequent Mail.app email checks
Authored by: tinker on Oct 20, '05 09:07:51AM
Funny, you don't sound sorry....

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Deter frequent Mail.app email checks
Authored by: Anonymous on Oct 20, '05 04:02:32PM

...and you don't sound funny :-)

Come on guys, all of you. At the surface, it's a lame hint. In reality, it's more humor than hint. But for learning purposes, it's quite useful. We're all learning about how to get around marketing stupidities in Apple's consumer apps, so give the guy a break.

The other solution is: use your post office. You can send more interesting items than a bunch of unicode.



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lame, sorry, funny
Authored by: sjk on Oct 21, '05 10:17:50PM

This subthread is pretty humorous.



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Deter frequent Mail.app email checks
Authored by: swilcox on Oct 20, '05 09:25:16AM

Ha! My suggestion was going to be to delete Mail from your computer. I agree, pretty lame hint.



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Deter frequent Mail.app email checks
Authored by: morespace54 on Oct 21, '05 10:17:28AM

well, glad to hear you didn't like it... even if you took time to respond to it... ;-)



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Deter frequent Mail.app email checks
Authored by: inspired_tmu on Oct 20, '05 08:46:13AM

As an alternative, instead of making it harder to check, why not make it unnecessary instead?

Use Growl and GrowlMail to display a notification every time you get new email.



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How to change above one hour
Authored by: GregLink on Oct 20, '05 10:49:02AM

Actually, to fix the minimum one hour thing is quite simple. While the preferences pane only shows a few choices for checking intervals, you can set it manually in the plist, at ~/Library/Preferences/com.apple.mail.plist . Just open it up in the Plist Editor and look for the field "PollTime", which is a number in minutes to wait between checks. I forget if this is default unwritable, but if it is, it's easy enough to change in the terminal via sudo. At the same time, if you don't know how to do that via sudo, I probably shouldn't tell you either.

So yeah - set your mail check interval to whatever you'd like via the Plist.



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Deter frequent Mail.app email checks
Authored by: randytucker on Oct 20, '05 10:56:20AM

Sounds serious to me. You've got a problem. Where are you located? I'll refer you to a local chaper of EA.

Huh? EA? (it stands for Emailers Anonymous). Unfortunately, it isn't as quick as checking email--EA requires 12 steps.

One other option ... disable your spam blocker. That'll cure ya.

:D

---
on temporary assignment



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Deter frequent Mail.app email checks
Authored by: tinker on Oct 20, '05 12:33:53PM
Regarding the "willpower is good" responses: (a) I agree. (b) Why aren't you working? ;-) Seriously, though, "inability to avoid peeking at mail every few minutes" was, in retrospect, overstating the case. When I'm absorbed in a project I can easily ignore it all day. The problem comes when I'm multitasking (which is often), and dealing with e-mail is too appealing because it's necessary and it's less of a pain than other tasks. The irony is, and people often fail to get this, I don't actually like e-mail, and if I could do away with it, I would. Which leads to the next point.

Regarding the "turn it off / throw it away" responses: This would be ideal, and indeed I would already have done it, were it not for the fact that my job (and to a lesser degree my life) requires me to read, process, and answer e-mail on a regular basis, and I often find myself needing to send it as well. Turning e-mail off is pretty pointless, as I find that I need it soon enough.

My ideal mail setup would be a program that lets me send mail whenever I need to; doesn't let me check mail manually at all; and bugs me with new mail automatically every, say, two hours (I'll try GregLink's suggestion, thanks much). Setting the check interval and willing oneself not to check in between goes a long way toward achieving such a state most of the time, but if there are a few simple software tweaks that get even closer without costing as much as the psychoanalysis necessary to rid oneself of a minor impulse control problem, I'll take them. That's all.

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Big text, small text ... It's just text
Authored by: baba on Oct 20, '05 07:00:53PM

No need to resize if you take your text straight. (That's one of the beauties of e-mail, after all. It's just text.)
See:
http://www.macosxhints.com/article.php?story=20030711201917175



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Turn off the alarm, hide the dock
Authored by: gshenaut on Oct 20, '05 08:37:15PM
I go by the "out of sight, out of mind" method. If you turn off the audio signal and hide the dock, then you have to check mail deliberately by unhiding the dock and seeing if the little red splotch is there or not.

After a while, I found that when I get to a stopping point of some kind, if I think of it, I check the mail. But while I'm working, between stopping points, there is no intrusion and I can basically ignore the mail system.

Greg Shenaut

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Deter frequent Mail.app email checks
Authored by: dave1212 on Oct 21, '05 12:55:42AM

I was really hoping for a way to get Mail.app to NOT check the .mac mail.

It does this every few minutes, and every time it sees a new network, even with the prefs set to check manually.

Works fine for all 19 other accounts (they never check automatically), but the .mac one checks itself regardless. wtf? It's freaking annoying.



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Deter frequent Mail.app email checks
Authored by: Blittser on Oct 28, '05 03:31:42AM

In response to this post, I have managed to block port 995 on my router between 10am and 8pm. This is the port that gmail uses for POP access. It seems to work. Mail.app can't download my mail from gmail during this period.

I could also block any other distracting sites during this time I suppose. e.g. gmail.com, Macnn, Macsurfer, Macosxhints etc.

This is with a Netgear 834G. I'm sure other brands have similar features.



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Deter frequent Mail.app email checks
Authored by: tinker on Nov 20, '05 07:12:04PM

Damn, that's hard-core.

I like it.



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