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Eudora Mac Services menu

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(This will be of interest only to Mac people, and not many of them. I'm mostly just venting, but also hoping this entry will be of use to people doing searches for how to resolve a problem.)

I upgraded not long ago from Mac Eudora 6.2.3 to the final version, 6.2.4 (for those who haven't heard, QualComm has ceased development of Eudora, and is transitioning it to an open-source project called Penelope); I figured it couldn't hurt, and it looked like there were a few small bugfixes that might be relevant/useful to me.

But one of my keyboard shortcuts--the one to open the selected text in BBEdit--stopped working. I didn't get around to looking into that 'til now.

I discovered that it wasn't just that shortcut; every command in the Services menu in Eudora had been disabled.

I spent a while poking around looking for info. Found Service Scrubber (review), a useful-looking utility for managing the Services menu (I don't think I ever use anything in that menu other than the extremely useful open-text-in-BBEdit command). But that didn't address my problem.

Eventually found a TidBITS thread that reveals that in Eudora 6.2.4, according to the release notes, there's a new x-eudora-settings setting "to turn off the Services menu in Eudora."

Now, I had read the release notes before upgrading, and I had seen that note, but I hadn't thought anything of it, because both the phrasing and common sense suggest that the new setting would leave the menu enabled by default.

But no. For some bizarre reason, the Eudora developers decided that most users would want their Services menu to be disabled in Eudora, and thus that it should be off by default. Note that "turn off" doesn't mean "remove"; the menu is still there, it's just that everything in it is grayed out. Why on earth would anyone think this was a useful feature, much less a good default? I suppose the idea is that it disables keyboard shortcuts that users might find annoying, but that's a lousy reason to change the default. Especially if you're hiding the setting by using a system (x-eudora-settings) that non-experts aren't supposed to touch.

So anyway, if you're running into this problem, you can type <x-eudora-setting:197> (including angle brackets) in a Eudora mail message and then double-click it. You'll get a little dialogue box. Note that the setting labels are the opposite of what you would expect: you use the letter "y" to turn off the menu, and the letter "n" to turn it back on.

And then after all that you have to quit Eudora and restart it to bring the menu back. (To be fair, that's probably true for all x-eudora-settings changes.)

Feh. I still like Eudora a lot (despite its flaws, I haven't yet seen a Mac mail app that does more of the things I want in a mail app), and I'll probably keep using it 'til Penelope becomes usable, but this kind of feels like a parting slap from the development team. I don't know what they were thinking.

I suppose it's possible that it's just a bug--someone may've decided the default value should be "y" without realizing that it meant the opposite of what it should've meant.

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