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Bug Report Friday: Nicknames

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The feature described here has finally been added to Apple’s Mail application in Mac OS X.5.

Another Bug Report Friday. Actually I filed a different bug this week which really affects me a lot and really spoils the new iBook. I wrote about it on Tuesday already and it is about mouse movements becoming jumpy after a while of using the Airport connection and the connection itself becoming unusable eventually. The problem means I have to restart the machine quite frequently if I want to get something from the internet. It is filed as number 4245181 with Apple but if you can recommend something, anything to try out or if you can contribute your own experiences that’ll be greatly appreciated.

But on to the new bug of the week. It’s a problem that’s bugging me on a daily basis and that I thought I had filed with Apple at some stage but I couldn’t find in my list of bugs. It’s such an obvious problem, though, which has existed for years that I’m pretty sure it’s in there. And it is the simple fact that you cannot type a nickname into Mail’s address fields and have it completed to a matching address. Whenever I run into that problem I start thinking that the Mail team at Apple are probably orphans who are locked into their offices at all hours – so they don’t have any friends or ominous entities like ‘mum’ and ‘dad’ whom they would send e-mails to. It’s funny how problems you see in software lead to make assumptions on the people who programmed them. I keep thinking, say, that the AddressBook people must have really fast computers but they also have many international friends as the Address Book has had quite nice support for international names from pretty early on (like the pronunciation form fields for the name and surname… which is missing for the maiden name, though). But back to this week’s issue:

4249665 Mail: Doesn’t autocomplete nicknames to the matching addresses

SUMMARY

When entering names in the address fields of a message, Mail will not use nickname information from the address book for autocompletion of the address.

REPRODUCE

0. Make sure you have a card in your address book where the nickname information is significantly different from the e-mail address or name. E.g. the nickname ‘mum’ for your mother.
1. Create a new message in mail and enter ‘mum’ in the address field.

EXPECTED RESULT

The address of your mum is autocompleted by Mail.

ACTUAL RESULT

The desired address doesn’t appear.

NOTE

The same behaviour exists for the pronunciation forms that can be added to the address book. E.g. for Asian friends whose names are written in Asian scripts with the pronunciation added in the extra field. When sending a message to them, their names won’t be matched when the pronunciation form is typed into Mail.

September 9, 2005, 0:37

Tagged as bug.

Comments

Comment by Tobsen: User icon

Mail also does not complete adressbook items that are companies.

August 20, 2007, 21:40

Comment by Nerg: User icon

I don’t think I understand properly.

In mail I type Bruv and the mail goes to my brother. I type alt-u to generate an umlaut and then U, mail auto completes and the mail goes where it’s expected to.

Am I missing something?

August 20, 2007, 23:29

Comment by paul: User icon

a little birdie told me that’s been resolved in leopard…

August 21, 2007, 1:27

Comment by mark: User icon

To get around this, for a few frequent email addresses, I created an Addressbook entry where I put the nickname in the First or Last name, and then added the email address. In Mail when you type the “nickname” it does bring up the preferred email address, but sooner or later the Addressbook modifies the unused name fields, re-adding the nickname or part of the real name. Drives me crazy. So the email address is in the Addressbook twice, once with full info, and the 2nd time with just the nickname in First or Last, until it gets modified by the Mail to Addressbook connection. Who would want the Addressbook self modifying entries?

August 22, 2007, 19:36

Comment by ssp: User icon

Mark,

I’m not 100% sure that I understand your process correctly (and it does sound rather ‘wrong’ to me from a conceptual POV) but I think what you are experiencing is not that the Address Book changes itself (in my experience it’s quite well behaved) but merely that Mail also caches the e-mail addresses you used and offers them together with the autocompletion results from the Address Book. And that’s why things start getting mixed up.

I suppose you could try to regularly delete Mail’s cache of used e-mail addresses, but I don’t know where they are saved, so I can’t help you with that.

August 22, 2007, 19:50

Comment by mark: User icon

Yes, the entry in the Adressbook gets modified. You can try it, make a new Addressbook entry putting a “nickname” in Firstname, and an email address that is already in your addressbook [maybe send email to yourself using the nickname, presuming you already have your own entry]. then send yourself several emails using the nickname [part of the problem here is how long it takes Mail to do the search for the nickname in the Addressbook, so it may take a few tries and misses]. Also, you can delete the mail cache in Mail>Window>Previous Recipients, which I do all the time. For example, I have “m” in Firstname, with my email address. If I go into mail and type m, mail finds it, but eventually my short Addressbook entry becomes “m m” or “m Mark” in First Last.

August 22, 2007, 21:20

Comment by Peter da Silva: User icon

What I just realized, after being increasingly frustrated by it, is that if Mail thinks my name is “Peter da Silva” and the mail is to “Peter the Hacker” it will change the displayed name to match what it thinks SHOULD be there for that address.

And there is NO way that I can find to make it leave this alone, and show me what is really there, unless I show raw headers.

For my home address I can hack my mailserver to stick the original “to” and “from” into a new header that Mail will leave alone (even if it has to be something like “ToPizza: $originalname via $(originaladdress:@= at )”), but I can’t do that for gmail.

Any clues?

January 8, 2008, 5:26

Comment by ssp: User icon

Peter: Have you tried turning off the ‘Intelligent Addresses’ option in the View preferences. I always assumed it controlled the way addresses are displayed.

January 8, 2008, 6:33

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