Thursday 23 June 2011

How to speed up Gmail IMAP in Outlook... No more hangs, not responding or timeouts!

I have now switched 4 clients over to Google Apps for Domains and they have all noticed various speed issues from time to time.

The most common is Google Mail hanging or not responding when doing various operations such as deleting or sending email.

I have tried to contact Google several times and have been getting no where, and searching the internet has come up pretty blank.

Anyway, straight to it... Examples/Pictures are based on Outlook 2010, but, you should be able to adapt to other versions.

The problem is because of both Gmail IMAP being bad, and Oulook's IMAP handling not being as good as it could be.

Firstly, Go to the "Send / Receive" Tab, and "Define Send/Receive Groups"

Next, tick all the boxes and change the send/receive timer down to one minute (or whatever you want).

Then, double click on the account, and whilst you can use any settings you like, I recommend ticking Inbox and choosing "Download complete item including attachments", then unticking all the other boxes.

Lastly and most importantly, put Outlook in to Offline mode.

And we are done!

The reason for this, as far as I can see, is that Outlook attempts to do all operations live on the server, however, Google's IMAP server constantly disconnects, and generally does not play nice with Outlook. This means that every time you try to do an operation, it has to reconnect - but it does this on the UI thread and causes everything to hang.

By forcing Outlook in to Offline Mode, it does every operation locally and instantly on your machine then because we set the account to send/receive whilst in offline mode, everything will still work as expected and because the send/receive happens in the background, nothing freezes!

The only downside is that this countdown to the minute is always running in the background, if you send an email, it will not actually go until the next cycle, so if on the phone or doing something urgent, you may want to click send/receive instead of waiting.

I have been racking my brain out on this, I really hope it helps you and please leave a comment/pass it on if it has!

Wednesday 15 June 2011

How to clear a whiteboard that has dried ink / without scrubbing!

I really have no idea why I am blogging this!

As a geek, I have so many whiteboards around me - they come in so handy!

As many people know, if you leave the ink on for a while, it is possible for it to dry out and require a lot of elbow grease in order remove.

Instead, a little hint - just get out your dry wipe pen and go over the top of the text!

This techniques add another layer of the chemical carrier and allow you to remove the original ink as if you had only just written it!

I went to a client that hadn't used their meeting room in a while and they had this problem - They did not know this technique and I could see the bloke trying to scrub really hard! I hope I didn't come across big headed but this is something that a lot of people just don't realise you can do!

Hope it helps others!

Tuesday 7 June 2011

Manually downloading Adobe Master Collection CS5.5 / Bypass Adobe Download Assistant

I don't know why Adobe are forcing everyone to now download using the new "Adobe Download Assistant", however, I hate it.

I have tried it on multiple computers and I have not yet managed to get a full complete download - my results have varied from downloads not even starting to getting stuck on ~20%.

The only reason I think they have used this is to try and "show off" or demonstrate their Air platform - but it really does not give me a lot of faith in it.

After firing up Fiddler and Network Monitor, I discovered that it does nothing more than log you in/set a cookie and establish an HTTP connection and pull the download, therefore, if you want to bypass it, simply:

1. Visit and log in (free registration).
2. Manually download This File

If this fails, instead of step 1, try visiting an alternate download link such as for Photoshop Elements - You do not actually need to download from here, you just need the authentication cookie.

I hope this helps.

Sunday 5 June 2011

Restaurant review : The Cattle Grid in Balham

Today (5th June 2011), I went for a family meal at The Cattle Grid in Balham...

My brother had Wagyu beef which was really a shock to see on the menu and cheaper than the steak he usually gets at Chez Gerard! - I wasn't feeling all that hungry (and have been cutting down again!) so just went for their weekend set menu - which included a steak (unknown cut... Guessing rump), two eggs and chips...

My brother loved his Wagyu, but said he didn't think it was worth the extra price over their other steaks which are brilliant quality - On the other hand, my steak despite the tiny £7.95 price was absolutely delicious - It was cooked just right and was packed with flavour.

Now... My grandma is the real test! She only eats fish out and only likes good/fresh fish. She asked for the tuna salad (My grandad made sure they had a fish item before taking us!)... and... apart from some weird potato(?) straw things, she loved it!

The only let down for me was the desert - (Don't know how we all had room!) - My uncle and grandad each ordered waffles with chocolate ice cream and loved it - with no complaints... However it wasn't so good for me and my brother. We both ordered cheesecake with strawberry ice cream.

The cheesecake had a horrible "tang"/after taste to it... We both thought the same and are not to sure what it was at all - We called over a staff member who apologised and straight away said that he would take it off the bill, he could not of been any nicer and asked if we would like anything else... We both declined... despite the cheesecake not being good, I thought it was one of the best Ice Creams I have had in a long while.

... The inner sceptic in me wonders if he knew it was past the date or if something was wrong as he was too quick to take it off the bill, however based on how excellent everything else was, I really hope he was just offering great service.

I have to say, despite the cheesecake, I think I may have a new favourite restaurant! Now, when I visit my grandparents, it will be a very hard choice between this and Clapham Bodeans.