fixed : change mail flag color in Mail.app on iPhone / iPad

Question :

I really like the ‘flag message’ option in the macOS Mail.app to quickly flag messages I have read but want to keep around to act on later. The option to differentiate the flag color makes it even more useful for me.

Still… on my iPhone and iPad I can see the flag colors I have set on Mail.app in macOS, but I can’t seem to change the flag color… I can just flag a message, but it will automatically (auto-magically ?) set the color and I can’t seem to change it…

Isn’t there any way to change the mail flag color on iOS and/or iPadOS ?

 

Answer :

Yes, there is…

But… it might not be were you would expect it…

To quickly flag a message in iOS or iPadOS, do this :

  • when going through the list of mail messages in Mail.app, select the mail message you want to flag and slide it to the left
  • now, you will see 3 options : “More” (grey), “Flag”/”Unflag” (red) and “Archive” (purple)
  • click on “Flag” and the mail message will be flagged
  • …but the flag color cannot be chosen or changed this way

An alternative way to flag a message in iOS or iPadOS is this :

  • when going through the list of mail messages in Mail.app, click&hold the mail message you want to flag
  • now the mail message will open in a new window, with a menu list below it
  • click on “Mark…” from the menu list
  • in the next menu that opens, click on “Flag” and the message will be flagged
  • …but the flag color cannot be chosen or changed this way

But… the way to also be able to choose or change the flag color in iOS or iPadOS is this :

  • when going through the list of mail messages in Mail.app, select the mail message you want to flag and slide it to the left
  • now, you will see 3 options : “More” (grey), “Flag”/”Unflag” (red) and “Archive” (purple)
  • click on “More” ( do NOT click on “Flag” here ) and a pop-up menu will appear with full options
  • in the pop-up menu, click on “Flag” and you get the option to pick a flag color (or to unflag entirely)
  • note : when you choose or change a flag color, you will be returned to your inbox, but when you click “Flag” or “Unflag” here, you will stay in the pop-up menu and have to close it manually (by clicking the X-button top-right) to return to your inbox

That’s it !

enjoy 😉

 

fixed : quickly create GIF from QuickTime or MP4 video

Question :

For my social media I regularly want to create a .gif-animation from small clip out of an .mp4-video file that I have, but I don’t have a lot of video-editing skills or specialised software.

Is there a simple way to do this ?

 

Answer :

There are lots of ways to do this. And no video-editing skills are required to do the most basic, but with some editing you can quickly get better results.

I would recommend buying the $5 GIF Brewery 3 from the Mac AppStore and doing the editing in QuickTime (or iMovie).

The recommendations for a good GIF-animation for most social media are (suggested by .gif-database GIPHY) :

  • duration of about 6 seconds (shorter is better)
  • file size close to 8MB (smaller is better)
  • video resolution of 480 pixels (or 720 pixels maximum) on the shortest side (depending on either landscape or portrait view, or square, or any custom size)
  • total number of frames of 100 maximum (less is better)

If you just want to turn part of an existing video into a GIF, do this :

  • get GIF Brewery 3 from the Mac AppStore ( the $5 price tag is worth it if you plan on doing this more frequently )
  • first, open the video source in QuickTime.app
  • then, in the top menu bar, click on “Window”
  • then, in the pulldown menu, click on “Movie Inspector”
  • then, check out the number that is at “Encoded FPS” and remember it (you need this later)
  • then close QuickTime.app
  • now, open your source video in GIF Brewery 3
  • then, in the video slider below your video, slide the green slider to match the first frame of your desired GIF
  • and slide the red slider to where you want your GIF to end
    • click on the PLAY-button (black triangle left of the video slider) to preview your GIF
    • if the preview-length is not okay, readjust the green and/or red slider to improve your clip
  • now, in the editing window, click on the Resize-button top left
  • then, in the popup window, make sure “Maintain aspect ratio” is checked
  • then, move the Scale-slider until either Width or Height is 480px (if the clip size is less than 5 seconds, you could also stop the Scale-slider at 720px)
  • now, in the editing window, click the Settings-button top right
  • then, at “Frames Per Second” set the fps to match the “Encoded FPS” of the original video
    • again, click on the PLAY-button (black triangle left of the video slider) to preview your GIF
    • if the preview-speed is too slow, adjust the Speed-slider to a higher value (anything less than 110%, even 103%, will usually do)
    • if the preview-speed is too fast, adjust the Speed-slider to a lower value (anything over 95% will usually do)
  • then, make sure there’s a checkmark at “Optimize GIF colors”
  • then, adjust the ColorCount-slider to 48
    • again, click on the PLAY-button (black triangle left of the video slider) to preview your GIF
    • if the preview looks okay, leave the ColorCount-slider at 48
    • if the preview looks too dark or otherwise odd, adjust the ColorCount-slider to a higher value like 96, 128, 216 or 256, but make sure to set it as low as possible
  • then, click the “Create”-button (at the bottom, slightly right of the middle, with a beer glass in it) to generate the GIF
  • then, click on the Save-button (bottom right)
  • in the popup window, type the name you want your GIF to have, set the location where you want it stored and click the Save-button
  • then, browse the Finder to find the GIF’s icon and ALT-click on it
  • first, select “Get Info” from the popup menu and check if the file size is 10MB or less
    • if the file size is over 10MB, go back to GIF Brewery 3, lower at least one of the values you have set there and create an extra version of your GIF that has a file size of 10MB or less
    • as mentioned before, the main values you can adjust are :
      • Length of the clip
      • Scale / Resize (might make the picture more grainy)
      • Frames Per Second / FPS (might make motions less fluent)
      • Color Count (might make the colors less vibrant)
  • then, ALT-click on the GIF’s icon again and select “Open with” from the popup menu and select your internet browser (probably Safari) to preview the animated GIF
  • If you are happy with the end result, you are ready to post the GIF on your social media
    • if not… redo your editing and try again

That’s it !

enjoy 😉

 

fixed : compress video for WhatsApp (or eMail)

Question :

I would like to send a small piece of a video I just shot at a birthday party to a group of friends on WhatsApp, but it’s too big to upload.

How can I compress it for easy viewing on Whatsapp ?

 

Answer :

If you have shot the video on your iPhone you can send it right away, and iOS will do the compression for you.

However, if you already have the video on your Mac and you want to compress it before you send it using WhatsApp Desktop (for macOS), do this :

  • make sure you trim down the length of the video to a clip that only includes the most relevant part of the video
    • you can do this in QuickTime Player (included in macOS for FREE)
  • use Smart Converter (FREE from Mac AppStore) and choose ‘for iPhone or iPod’, then click ‘Convert’ to convert
    • this will convert to an .mp4 video with 1280×720 resolution at 30 frames per second and AAC sound (file size ca. 10MB per 10 seconds)
  • use Handbrake (FREE from handbrake.fr) and choose ‘Presets’ > ‘Gmail Large 3 minutes 720p30’, then click ‘Start’ to convert
    • this will convert to an .mp4 video with 1280×720 resolution at 30 frames per second and AAC sound (file size ca. 2MB per 10 seconds)

Note : even though the frame rate and screen size are the same, the ‘Gmail’-ready file will be much smaller than the ‘iPhone’-ready file, even though (or rather ‘because’) this comes with the downside that quick-moving objects will blur in the ‘Gmail’-ready video (compared to the ‘iPhone’-ready video that hardly has any blur and is similar in size and quality to the ‘Fast 720p30’ preset in Handbrake) 

That’s it !

enjoy 😉

fixed : export eMail message as EML file

Question :

I had a complaint about the amount of spam I was getting from one particular sender, so our system administrator asked me to send him samples of the eMails in EML-format so he can have a look into the eMail-headers and adjust the spam-filter.

But how do I export eMail messages as EML-files ?

 

Answer :

EML is short for eMail ; an .eml-file is the typical way for macOS (and MacOSX) to store individual eMails that are not in your mailboxes.

The easiest way to export an eMail message from Mail.app to an EML-file is to Drag&Drop :

  • in Mail.app, select the one eMail that you would like to export
  • click on the eMail and drag it out of your Mail.app onto your Desktop (simply put : “Drag&Drop”)
  • now, on your Desktop, the eMail will be automatically be saved as an EML-file
  • you can double check this by right-clicking on the eMail-file on the Desktop and choosing Get Info ; at ‘Kind:’ it will be listed as ‘Email message’, and at ‘Name & Extension:’ it will be listed with the ‘.eml’-file extension if you uncheck “Hide Extension”

Then you can share the eMail as an attachment in another eMail or put it on a USB-stick or upload it to your system administrator or whatever you like.

That’s it 😉

enjoy !

BEWARE ! : “Damaged message was restored” phishing scam eMail

! BEWARE !

today I got an eMail from Google Administration, stating “Damaged message was restored and re-sent to you”,

on my Mac this was immediately recognizable as a Junk-message (or rather : a Phishing Scam-message), as you can see in the picture below.

DamagedMessage-fakemail

so BEWARE ! and don’t let yourself be fooled or mislead by this eMail scam !

fixed : What to do with a winmail.dat attachment ?

Question :

I recently received an eMail that should include various attachments, but it only included one : a winmail.dat file.

When I try to open it, OSX tells me there is no app on my Mac that can handle this file.

What can I do ?

Answer :

There are various ways of solving this. (or rather : ‘handling this’, as fixing the actual cause isn’t something an end user can do)

But first, a little insight into the cause :

Long ago, when eMails were still text-only without layout and attachments were added as plain files, a lot of eMail-client makers wanted to improve their user experience and provide their users a layout-option for eMails. Microsoft then developed TNEF as a protocol for communication between their Outlook eMail-clients. But TNEF never made it into an eMail-communication industry standard. HTML (the web-layout protocol) was adopted as the industry-wide standard. MS Outlook never fully adopted regular HTML as it’s eMail-layout protocol. So, even though Outlook calls them HTML-eMail, they are actually being sent as TNEF-eMail, which is HTML-ish, but still MS Outlook-only…

Sometimes (in the chain of eMail-servers involved in eMail-communication) the sender’s Outlook-app (or MS Exchange client) sends out a TNEF-eMail, not a regular HTML-eMail. All receivers of the eMail that use Outlook (or MS Exchange) will not detect any irregularity, but any recipient who’s not using Outlook as their eMail-client will receive it as a text-eMail with only one attachment : a winmail.dat file.

So… this is not a Mac-problem, it isn’t even a problem for all non-Outlook users, it is just that the only way to prevent this from happening to you, is to use MS Outlook…

…but for most non-Outlook users, using Outlook is not an option…

Anyway… the solution …or rather the various options for solving this, as either the sender can prevent this from happening, or the recipient can find ways to open the windmill.dat file anyway :

Microsoft provides 2 options for the sender who wants to prevent this :

1. set Outlook to only send ‘Plain Text’-eMail to any future recipient :

in Outlook, choose “File” (or “Tools”), then “Options”, then “Mail” (or “Mail Format”), and then in “Compose in this message format”, choose “Plain Text”, then click “OK”

2. set Outlook to only send ‘Plain Text’-eMail to this specific recipient :

in Outlook’s Address Book, double-click on the recipient’s eMail-address, then in the “SMTP – Address” field choose delete (un-click) the check-mark at “Always Send To This Recipient iIn Microsoft Exchange Rich-Text Format”, then click “OK”

More info can be found on Microsoft’s website :

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/290809

Even though prevention is the better option, there are alternatives : if you are a recipient using OSX, you can find various apps to unpack winmail.dat files in the Mac App Store. Too bad, there are no free apps for this in the App Store, but there is a FREE one available here :

TNEF’s Enough

If you prefer an automatically updated app from the Mac App Store, and don’t mind paying for it, consider this one, which will unpack faster and has a more comprehensive and visually nicer interface :

Winmail Extractor

If you also need a winmail.dat unpacker-app for your iPhone and/or iPad, you can consider this one :

Klammer for iOS & OSX

There are FREE services available online also, that will convert your windmill.dat for you instantly. Just keep in mind that by using them, you are enabling these services to view the contents of your eMail and it’s attachments, so you are willingly giving up your privacy in suing them. An example :

winmail-dat.com

But, again : even the windmill-dat.com service itself advices you to prefer a dedicated (offline) winmail.dat conversion app (on your Mac) over the use of their service.

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