Mac OS Mail: Storage Issues

My latest laptop has a solid state drive, which on its own has made it one of my favorite computers. It’s way lighter (once I had to check my bag to make sure I had the laptop because it was so much lighter than my previous MacBook Pro), and the overall speed and lack of long-term slowdown is huge.

But one area I lost ground on was storage. I sacrificed some storage space, and along the way I started to run out. Despite purging files, keeping my Dropbox folders offline, and more, I just couldn’t keep enough storage space to run my computer properly.

That’s when I discovered that the Mac Mail program is an absolute hoarder of data. Check this out:

If you find you’re in the same place, do some research. I won’t go into detail here, but you will find a ton of information online about how the Mail program stores everything it can get its hands on, and doesn’t seem to release it.

One way I found to handle the situation, at least temporarily, is to delete your account(s) from the Mail program, and then add them back, assuming you are using IMAP and have everything stored online. Doing this clears out a lot of files, but over time Mail will balloon back to its former size, and bigger! And I’m not even sure that doing this gets rid of everything. At one point I manually purged some of the files in the Mail folder, and ended up seeing an incredible 1.3 million files being removed from Trash:

In the end, I actually decided that since I was using Gmail, I would simply abandon the Mail app and go strictly web-based, and despite my initial concern over giving up the native application, it’s worked extremely well.

Connecting a MacBook to a TV with RCA connectors

I recently needed to connect a MacBook to a TV set. For most people, this is as simple as getting an adapter, plugging in their HDMI cable, and moving on. However, the TV in question is an old model, with nothing but RCA inputs.

A Google search quickly locates pages of questions regarding this same problem, with many answers and a varying level of successful solutions. I spent a good deal of time figuring out what was necessary, some time on Amazon to find products to match, and came up with something I thought would work. Maybe I got lucky, but my solution was a success, and I’m sharing it here to help anyone else in a similar situation.

Hardware

To make this work, you’ll need three things:

Apple Mini DisplayPort to VGA Adapter

Click here to see the product.

This is your standard Apple adapter. If you have an older MacBook, you’ll need a Mini DVI adapter instead of the Mini DisplayPort. Find out which one your device supports and purchase accordingly.

Generic PC to TV Converter

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This is where the magic happens. Somewhere, somehow, inside this blue box, the signal from the VGA cable is converted and exported to a video RCA plug.

Stereo to RCA Cord

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The audio needs to be sent separately from your MacBook to the TV, and this will let you go directly from one to the other. You do not need this exact product, and it’s possible you can find it at a local electronics store, or even a dollar store.

Bringing it all together

Once you have all of your equipment, the rest of the process is basically just plugging in cords. Let’s take a look at the cords you’ll plug into your MacBook:

On the left, you see the Apple Mini DisplayPort to VGA Adapter, which is plugged into the VGA cable that comes along with the Generic PC to TV Converter. Next to it is a USB cable that powers the Generic PC to TV Converter, and comes with it. And on the right, the stereo end of the Stereo to RCA cord.

Now we look at the Converter box:

On the left is the power input, which connects to your MacBook via USB. In the middle is the yellow RCA cable which is the output we’re looking for. On the right is the VGA cable, which is plugged into the Apple Mini DisplayPort to VGA Adapter on the other end.

Once everything you see here is connected, plug the yellow video cable, and the red and white audio cables into the corresponding places on the TV set. If you’re lucky, it’ll just work. If it doesn’t work right the first time, don’t panic. There are a lot of cords and connections, and you’ll need to tinker a bit. I’ll provide a couple of tips below.

Troubleshooting

If you have trouble making this work, try the following:

NTSC vs PAL

You may see a rapidly flickering screen. If this happens, look on one of the sides of the blue Generic PC to TV Converter box where you’ll find two tiny switches. Confer with the manual, but in the end I had to guess. Try flipping them both in the opposite direction.

Check the connections and TV settings

You’re dealing with at least 10 connection points. Make sure they’re all plugged in properly. Some TVs have more than one set of RCA connectors. Be sure your TV is displaying the right ones.

MacBook display settings

When you plug in the Apple Mini DisplayPort to VGA Adapter, you should see a display screen icon in the top bar. Check the settings to make sure everything looks good on that end.

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