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And Catalina only makes it worse. From the forum.

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OK so out of nowhere I open Apple's Mail.app. It's used seldom as it's pointless and has a bad habit of not saving settings, and the default settings are nonsense. I open Mail.app on a box that's had Mail.app running for years without incident.

Suddenly all the settings are gone. I mean all the settings. All of it. No longer have any mailboxes. The window is bigger than a football stadium, the toolbar looks the floor of the orangutang building at a zoo. What happened?

FORTUNATELY, I have a backup PLIST! Yes!!1! Always keep backup PLISTs! Good idea! Worked fine - UNTIL NOW. UNTIL APPLE RUINED THE DEFAULTS SYSTEM.

But I copy in the Mail PLIST and hope for the best.

Nope! I get back my mailboxes, but the window is still all over the place.

Only one thing to do then, right?


For we know where most of those nasty files reside, right? In /var/folders. But first into SUM.

The prompt suggests fsck -fy, but fsck says the flag -f no longer exists. Oh well. Minor screwup. Push on.

Disk is fine, which means the issues with Mail.app weren't caused by a hardware glitch.

Now mount the drive for writing, find the backup PLIST, copy it into ~/Library/Preferences.

Then over to /var/folders. You know the drill. There's a two-byte directory after that that's yours. The other one, 'zz', you leave alone, as that's the system's. Go into the other one. Following that two-byte directory is another directory with a REALLY LONG NAME. The purpose of this would seem to be to *trip people up*. As if that's going to help? These guys, sometimes they're really funny. Here comes the invasion! So let's stomp on their toes? Oh please. After two attempts I get the path right and I'm in.

Three directories here, then the 'cleanup' directory. 0, C, T. Oh what geniuses at Apple. And of course all three directories are laden with shite which wouldn't fit on yester-century's personal computer. What's it all good for? WHO CARES! Delete it all. Just delete it.

So that's it. Perhaps something in /var/folders screwed up Mail.app. And in such case: it's now been remedied, right? Right. But before I leave: let's try a complete clean-out of that horrid ULAT!

That means getting into diagnostics, systemstats, uuidtext (what lovely names - those guys are geniuses). Clean them out. Obliterate it all. You know that uuidtext has 256 directories from 00 to FF to sort of 'spread' the load? Oh give us a sensible computer game instead! Burgertime? Anybody got Burgertime for the Mac? But all three directories are now cleaned out. Time to reboot.

The system comes up fast enough. And you know how much ULAT shite it's had to generate. This wouldn't work on an HDD. You all know that. Unobtrusive? Yeah right. But we're up. Log in. First thing? Mail.app of course!

The window comes up all over the place again. AFTER ALL THAT WORK.

So I fix things, then exit, then open again. Nope. Nothing sticks. I try again and again. Nope.

Suddenly an insight. It's a BUG. So go to some OTHER setting, change something to kick the defaults system into gear, try again.


So. Two questions. At least.

1. How can a nasty bug like this persist for so long? And what jollies await people in Catalina, even if they're foolish enough to upgrade to Catalina?

2. WHERE THE F%^&*()$#%^ do they hide the REAL application settings? Do those airheads not realise they've wrecked the entire beautiful defaults system from NeXT? Back in the day you could just jiggle your on-disk settings and fix everything, but today? DO THEY NOT REALISE THIS IS WORSE THAN MICROSOFT WINDOWS? OR ARE THEY TRULY AS DUMB AS THEY SEEM?

There are many more questions, of course, but they're not relevant now, inasmuch as they've already wrecked this system beyond repair. And we still haven't got into the 'weeping and gnashing of teeth' that early-adopting developers have been enduring for almost a year (but we'll get to that in short order).


Evil begets stupidity.
 - Paul Graham
The best programmers can work wherever they want. They don't have to work for a company they have qualms about.
 - Paul Graham
Programmers continue to develop iPhone apps, even though Apple continues to maltreat them. They're like someone stuck in an abusive relationship.
 - Paul Graham
The dictator in the 1984 ad isn't Microsoft, incidentally; it's IBM. IBM seemed a lot more frightening in those days, but they were friendlier to developers than Apple is now.
 - Paul Graham
When you look at the famous 1984 ad now, it's easier to imagine Apple as the dictator on the screen than the woman with the hammer. In fact, if you read the dictator's speech it sounds uncannily like a prophecy of the App Store.
 - Paul Graham
The way Apple runs the App Store has harmed their reputation with programmers more than anything else they've ever done. Their reputation with programmers used to be great. It used to be the most common complaint you heard about Apple was that their fans admired them too uncritically. The App Store has changed that. Now a lot of programmers have started to see Apple as evil.
 - Paul Graham
To all those who replied to my first piece I have this to say: Steve Wozniak is one of those I respect greatly but I don't think he ever meant to create a community of snobs around the computer he designed. He is one of the better human beings who were part of the technology revolution that has taken place over the last 30 years. The current batch of Apple users - at least most of the sample I've been exposed to - are an embarrassment to a gentleman like him.
 - Sam Varghese

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