A Windows expert opts for a Mac life, Part 2

The transition was a little rocky for Windows expert Scot Finnie, but once over that hump, his Mac experience has been superb

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The last leg of my Mac migration: Eudora

I mentioned some pain in moving to the Mac platform. That pain has a definite identity: It's my 14-year-old Eudora e-mail for Windows installation. You see, I had 1,500 Eudora mailboxes, over 500 mail-filtering rules and my only address book. While I took this opportunity to do a little housecleaning, I still had more than 2GB of personal data that I had no intention of parting with. And therein lay my biggest trial in migrating to the Mac.

So what's the big deal? Eudora was written first for the Mac. Surely Qualcomm includes importers that allow you to migrate Eudora from Windows to Mac, right? That would be a no. All Qualcomm offers is a pair of poorly written, 12-year-old knowledge base articles whose instructions don't work at all. I called Qualcomm tech support and got a know-it-all who didn't know squat. She insisted that the solution was offered from a Web site called eMailman.com and that Qualcomm didn't offer any other tools or instructions.

There are literally scores of interesting products listed on the eMailman.com site. I'm sure many of them are great. But when it comes to converting Eudora mailboxes, there are few solutions. I wasted a lot of time researching them all only to discover that none offers an ideal solution. (I'm defining ideal here as being able to open my mail and read it after the migration.)

Through a lot of trial and error, and based on tips posted in forums and elsewhere, I discovered that if I followed a specific set of steps using Bare Bones Software's free TextWrangler text editor, I could correct the two main problems with this conversion: Mac end-of-line conversion and the text identity of Eudora's files. Everything in Eudora is a text file, but unfortunately, the Mac just wouldn't seem to recognize that fact, even when I manually set the Macintosh four-letter type and creator codes.

The only thing that worked was to open each mailbox (and in fact, all the Eudora data or settings files) in TextWrangler, convert the line ending to Mac format and then use TextWrangler to save the file. I came up with some shortcuts along the way, but in the end, after several days of trying other methods (including dabbling with AppleScript and other batch processes) I wound up opening up more than 1,200 mailbox files and putting each through a nine-click process to save it in the proper format for the Mac. I haven't done anything that mindless since the last time I tried to do mail merge using WordStar running on CP/M in the early '80s.

With the mailboxes done, I set about resurrecting my Eudora rules. The translation of the mailboxes had done a forced renaming of about 50% of my mailboxes, and that messed up the rules. So that wound up being another 5-hour job. All told, I spent four full-time days while on "vacation" making the transition. Let me just say that anyone who doubts my sincerity in giving the Mac a fair shake doesn't know what he's talking about!

I'll spare you the rest of the details, but if anyone else is facing the exact same switch, write me, and I'll pass along the process in more detail. Or, better yet, wait for the new Mozilla/Eudora team to create the open-source version of Eudora code-named Penelope.

When it was all done, and my main Mac became my primary machine for Lotus Notes and Eudora e-mail, with the corporate virtual private network running fine and everything else I need to get my job done in place or planned for, that's when this test formally began.

Let me sum up the experience so far this way: The transition was a little rocky, but once over that hump, my Mac experience has been superb.

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