Entries Tagged 'OS X' ↓

E-Mail and Optimum Online — Updated With Response From OOL

[Looking for iPhone settings and Optimum Online?  Click here.  ]

[Looking for POP/SMTP settings?  Incoming and Outgoing Servers are both:  mail.optonline.net.  Scroll down for the outgoing settings.]

Update: Here it is, response straight from Optimum:

Thank you for contacting Optimum Online regarding your question about email. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused you and will be happy to assist.  I do apologize, apart from normal unencrypted POP/SMTP there is no SSL option at this time to encrypt your connections.”

Sorry guys, that’s it.  Nothing about any if/when they might include it, or any hint of a plan to include it at all.  Unfortunate.  [/Update]

I get a lot of hits on my post here about the iPhone Mail and Optimum Online, so I figured I’d write a post on regular old computer mail as well.

The problem basically is that Optimum doesn’t allow SSL connections to their servers, either outgoing or incoming. They only allow secure log-in to their servers through HTTPS port 443 on their Optimum Webmail Portal.  I currently have a question in to them about using SSL with third party applications and am awaiting a response.  You see, on 1xRTT or 2G EDGE, it is still quite fast to download e-mails through your phone.  But in order to pass encrypted information, you would need to access your e-mail through your phone’s browser of choice (Safari on the iPhone, in my case.)

This problem extends to your mail application regardless of operating system.  I will show you how to set up an email address using Optimum Online through Mail on OS X.

Mail, helpful application it wants to be, will automatically check your connection settings when you type in your name and email address.  Poor Mail, though, fails miserably at connecting via SSL, and asks you if you’s like to continue, or setup your account manually.

So, to start setting up your e-mail (if you don’t yet have one setup through OOL, you can do so here) first open Mail.  Then open preferences with ⌘-, (holding ⌘ and pressing comma.)

Mail Preferences

Mail Preferences

This brings you to your account page, where you will begin setting up your new account.  I am using Mail on Snow Leopard, but the steps to follow are similar enough in Leopard and Tiger for you to follow along. Click on the “Accounts” tab in the top of the window, which brings you to this screen:

Accounts Pane

Accounts Pane

Once there, click on the “+” button to add your new account.  Mail will ask you for your Full Name, User Name, and Password, and then try to automatically set you up with the correct servers:

Add Account Screen

Add Account Screen

Click continue, and Mail will tell you it cannot connect securely to the servers:

Mail Password Security Warning

Mail Password Security Warning

Click “Setup Manually” so you can adjust the account settings, and begin sending and receiving your mail.  Using Optimum, you are going to setup a POP mailbox, and both your incoming and outgoing mail servers are mail.optonline.net :

Incoming Settings

Incoming Settings

Click continue, and then you want to disable the SSL by unchecking the “Use Secure Sockets Layer (SSL)” check box, but still have “Authentication” set to “Password”:

Uncheck SSL

Uncheck SSL

Click Continue, and you will be brought to the outgoing server section.  Enter a description for the server, which is something you will use to identify it in Mail.  It has no other significance.  Check the box that says “Use only this server”, as well as “Use Authentication”.  Enter in your username without the “@optonline” or “@optimum” ending, as well as your password:

Outgoing Setup

Outgoing Setup

You will then be told, once again, Mail cannot connect securely to the server.  Again, click “Setup Manually”, which takes you to here:

Outgoing Security

Outgoing Security

Leave these settings intact, and click “Continue”.  You will be shown an Account Summary screen, and both incoming and outgoing mail should say SSL off.  Be sure the “Take Account Online” box at the bottom is checked, and click “Create”.

I am waiting to hear back from Optimum about a different port or setting allowing SSL connections via third party mail clients, and hopefully I just couldn’t find the correct port to use.  If not, here’s to hoping they are working on getting SSL enabled soon!

Typing Special (Unicode) Characters in Snow Leopard

[You can find the hex code for common symbols here if you already set up your Unicode Keyboard layout. ]

Wondering how to make special characters, such as the Command (⌘) Symbol in OS X Snow Leopard?  Maybe you want to add the Euro (€) symbol? It’s not as hard as you may think.  They are Unicode characters, and there are a few simple steps to make them easy to type on screen.

System Preferences Window

System Preferences Window

First, open System Preferences.  I like to use LaunchBar, so I type ^Tab, press”sy”, and hit enter.  For those of you who like the mouse (gasp!):  System Preferences is in your dock by default, or it’s found in your Applications folder.

Once there, click the flag icon “Language & Text”.  Next, click “Input Sources”:

Input Sources Tab

Input Sources Tab

Scroll down until you find Unicode Hex Input, and check the box.  I also like to have the option shown in my menu bar by the clock, so I leave the “Show Input menu in menu bar” box ticked:

Unicode Hex and US Layouts Checked

Unicode Hex and US Layouts Checked

In the same window, click the “Keyboard Shortcuts” button.  In the next window, click “Keyboard & Text Input”:

Keyboard & Text Input

Keyboard & Text Input

Here is where you decide how to switch between your normal keyboard and the Unicode Hex keyboard layout. The options are called “Select the previous input source” and “Select next source in Input menu”.  To change the option, click where the keys are to the right of the name of the shortcut, select all of the keys in the box, and then input your new keystrokes.  I chose to hold down Control, Option, Command, and Space Bar (daunting I know.)

Holding down your shortcut gives you this window where you can arrow key through your options:

On-screen Input Selector

On-screen Input Selector

The key difference between Unicode and US is the function of the option key.  In Unicode layout, you hold down the option key and enter the Hex code for the symbol you’d like to type on screen.  For example, holding down option and pressing 2 in a US keyboard layout gives you the trademark symbol, ™.  Whereas in the Unicode Hex layout, you need to hold down option and type four keystokes to make a symbol.  ⌘ is Option and then 2318.

To find the Unicode “code” for your symbol, open the Character Viewer by pressing option-command-T (⌥⌘T) or by clicking the flag near your clock in the menu bar, and then clicking on Show Character Viewer:

Input Menu

Input Menu

Looking at the Character Viewer (⌥⌘T), you can attempt to find your symbol with the search field at the bottom.  Clicking on a symbol will tell you which four keys to type while holding down option (and being in the U+ keyboard layout):

HexCode Location

HexCode Location

I chose the Euro as an example, and you can see in order to type the symbol, I hold down option and press 20ac (caps not necessary, although it is shown that way): €.

The keyboard viewer also helps identify the keymap of a new language layout. Although there isn’t a noticeable change between US and Unicode, you may see quite a change picking something like Canadian French or Dvorak.

Hex Keyboard Layout

Hex Keyboard Layout

Good luck and happy character typing!

PS– To type the apple () symbol, in a US keyboard layout, hold down Option+Shift, and press k. No special keyboard required!

LaunchBar, Quicksilver (OS X) or Colibri (Windows)

Apple’s notebook line has been selling like wild for quite some time now, and I think it’s appropriate for notebook users to know about these programs.  Even desktop users should have them, but there is literally no excuse for a laptop jockey to forego them.  My wife, a vested Windows laptop user, has the option of Colibri.  These programs are interchangeable in what they do for the most part, so I’ll just go ahead and write about them as a group.

They are all handy little applications that index your files, programs, webpages and such so they are no more than a keyboard shortcut away.  I cannot stress enough how much time and effort these programs save.  They remove the tedious movements and tendon crippling one-finger clicking a mouse can produce.  They save you countless hours per week of navigating through the Finder or Start Menu.  You can launch pretty much any application within three keystrokes, which for  a notebook user is indispensable.  Imagine sitting on a plane and not missing your mouse.  You can open songs, albums, files, pictures, you name it and it’s indexed.

LaunchBar has been my application of choice since I was on Panther, so I am a bit biased towards that one in particular. The downside is a license will cost you roughly  €24.  Quicksilver and Colibri are both free licenses at the time of this writing.

I’ll let you decide which is right for you, but be warned: this is like going from dial-up to broadband.  You get the good stuff and you’ll never live without it again.  So for those choices that are donationware, I strongly suggest you keep their development teams happy and throw them some coin.

Here’s the links:

QuickSilver

QuickSilver

Launchbar

Launchbar

Colibri

Colibri

As I said, I’m a huge proponent of LaunchBar, they give free updates, and have one of the fastest interfaces on the planet.  See below for screenshots of the preferences panels, and if that isn’t enough go ahead and click on the link above and download the free trial.  You won’t be sorry!

General

General

Appearance

Appearance

Shortcuts

Shortcuts

Actions

Actions

lb5

Calculator

Clipboard

Clipboard

Advanced Options

Advanced Options

Problems with OS X? Have you repaired your permissions?

Funny things, those permissions.  Similar to the Registry of Windows in a couple of ways.  If it gets out of whack, your computer acts bizarre, or just doesn’t act at all.  Also, if you install and remove programs frequently, the likelihood of your registry (in OS X’s case–permissions) have a greater chance of getting screwed up.  The similarity really stops there.

Permissions in OS X are the default values for the system’s read/write/execute access, meaning who has “permission” to read a file, write to a file, and/or make it run.  If these permissions somehow get incorrectly set, you as a user of the computer may run into problems trying to perform one of those actions.

Lots of things can happen when your permissions get messed up.  Some programs, like iTunes, may not authorize to your account.  Sometimes disks or drives won’t mount.  Some programs may not even start, let alone give you an error.  The permissions set up on OS X can easily be repaired, however, so don’t panic.

It is always a good idea after installing or removing a program to repair your permissions with OS X’s built in Disk Utility application; it’s found in /Applications/Utilities/Disk Utility (this is true since OS 10.2, Jaguar.)  For the directorily challenged:

Disk Utility on Hard Disk

Disk Utility on Hard Disk

Once you have found it, open it up and select your hard drive on the left.  Then at the bottom of the page, click “Repair Disk Permissions”.  This may take a little while if you’ve never done it, but usually less than 10 minutes in my experience (even on my PPC G4.)

Here are screen shots before and after on my MacBook Pro:

Disk Utility "First Aid" Tab

Disk Utility "First Aid" Tab

Disk Utility Repair Complete

Disk Utility Repair Complete

This repair took 2m:34s to complete, on my 2.4Ghz Mid-2008 MacBook Pro, 4GB of RAM.  Not too bad at all, and my permissions aren’t in that bad of shape.  You will notice there are two things in the list, and they will not be repaired.  When this happens, it is always a good idea to check out Apple’s Knowledge Base , if for nothing else than peace of mind.

Every couple months or so, for an average web surfer/emailer, it’s probably a good idea to run the Disk Utility found on your installation disks (assuming they are the version of OS X you have installed, of course.)  This is especially helpful to have if you run into serious problems, as you don’t need to rely on the hard disk to boot in order to run your permissions check.  If it is that bad, you may want to Verify the disk as well, as that checks the actual drive itself for errors, not just a file structure problem.