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Email Woes

My e-mail is down again. Happened last week for most a day, then somehow fixed itself. Now it's happening again, and does not seem inclined to get better.

I get my email through Mozilla Thunderbird. When I log onto Thunderbird, I can see that I have lots and lots of new mails, but whenever I try to open one... or scroll down, or do anything else... Thunderbird freezes and goes non-responsive. It has happened over and over again. Nor will the damn thing unfreeze unless I turn off the computer and reboot. A real pain. I've rebooted a dozen times, run half a different virus checks, and nothing. Tried booting up Thunderbird in safe mode, no help.

And of course this happens when Ty if off. Ty is my in-house computer guru. The computer always breaks down when he's away, never when he's here. And he won't be here again till Monday.

So if you've sent me an email, don't hold your breath waiting for an answer. You won't get one. Not till Monday, best guess. Unless a miracle occurs.

I hate this damn machine. And Windows. And Thunderbird.

If only I could send email with DOS. DOS never fails me.

FIXED. For now, at least. Thanks to Stephen, the Gandalf of Computer Wizards, from Oz.


Apr. 18th, 2013 12:23 am (UTC)
I sent Parris an email earlier this week regarding an upcoming con you're both attending in May. Is her account down as well?
Apr. 18th, 2013 12:39 am (UTC)
After many years of using Thunderbird, I switched to Postbox. It's essentially a supported pro version of Thunderbird. Most likely you have one message in your inbox that is causing all of the constipation. You can try turning off the preview pane if you have it on. Then the mail messages aren't opened.
Apr. 18th, 2013 12:44 am (UTC)
Sorry about your computer woes! Perhaps it will magically fix itself overnight.

Random question: are you ever going to release the rest of the books with jacket illustration by Stephen Youll? I finally tracked down and bought got, cok, and asos with the old Youll hardcovers that I remembered from when I first discovered your books, and I would gladly buy a rerelease of the rest with his artwork on the front to match.

That would be amazing!
Apr. 18th, 2013 12:45 am (UTC)
The curse of email
Hi George, love your work! I have an IT background and although I cannot fix your problem from across the ether can perhaps offer some commentary which might be relevant.

I am guessing you have an enormous volume of email? Perhaps thousands, or even 10s of thousands? In my experience very few email clients can reliably handle this and frequent crashes, corrupt data or at best slow performance is the order of the day. Check with Ty, but once your email database is getting close to a gigabyte I would not expect reliable operation from Windows Mail, Thunderbird or any similar consumer level email client. Microsoft Outlook is *better* but can still be problematic when your mail file is over 2 gig.

If your mail storage is large and is the cause of the problem there are a few options:

-online email client. These will operate to pretty much any size, are often free and give you the advantage of looking at exactly the same mailbox no matter what computer you check the email from. Downside, you have to trust Google or Microsoft (these are only two services I would bother with) not to spy/release details etc Realistically though, all email is already intercepted and recorded by various govt. agencies anyway
-change your email client to something more robust. Realistically this means Microsoft Outlook
-Ty might be able to perform some voodoo magic and archive/split up your email. This will make searching old emails more difficult, and the process will have to be done on a regular basis but should make Thunderbird more responsive and not crash

My advice (me being a total stranger whom you should implicitly trust of course) is to migrate to cloud email storage. Your existing email can be forwarded to a new address seamlessly and you wont lose anything if your computer melts into slag one day. Both the Microsoft and gmail services also offer two-factor authentication which means internet trolls cant get your email even if they correctly guess your password. No doubt Ty can explain in more detail if this option interests you.

A good second choice is MS Outlook but whatever you do I strongly suggest moving away from Thunderbird. I used to install it for clients nearly 10 years ago as it was a bit safer than Outlook Express at the time (virus email attachments were the rage back then) but it is just as prone to corrupting the mail store for large mailboxes (large being more then 1 gig).

Good luck with whatever you do, but remember this is 2013 and there is no excuse for a computer (windows or otherwise) to not handle whatever amount of email you throw at it, and to do it fast and reliably. If you are having repeated troubles then there is either something physically wrong with your computer or the way it has been setup.


EDIT: Rereading your post about running different virus scans, hopefully you don't have multiple virus scanners installed. That is the quickest way to make any computer slow and painful to use. Anti-virus programs are also mostly reduntant these days, but that is another long winded post - short option: IMO just install MS Security Essentials and use chrome or firefox as your web browser. Done.

Edited at 2013-04-18 12:53 am (UTC)
Apr. 18th, 2013 01:03 am (UTC)
Really sorry to hear about this. Thunderbird can be a buggy beast sometimes. But Windows is a parasite-infested godzilla man-child-giant that makes Thunderbird look perfectly programmed in every way. In fact I wouldn't be surprised if your Thunderbird problems are inherently Windows problems instead.

The best advice I can give you in this situation is one that will help you in the future: give yourself 1 or 2 days, and learn some basic Linux, and its command line (probably Ubuntu v 12.x or later), using Google as your tutor. I say this mainly because you're a DOS fan, and therefore I assume you're good with a command line. Otherwise I'd suggest a Mac.

But basically (apart from DOS which still has its charm), run away from all things Microsoft like it's the pale mare!
Apr. 18th, 2013 01:26 am (UTC)
I use Thunderbird too and a few months ago it started crashing whenever I started writing an email. It happened after Thunderbird auto-updated, so I had to track down a slightly older release of the software. Once I installed that it fixed everything. I've turned off auto-updates now because I don't want it to happen again.
Apr. 18th, 2013 01:33 am (UTC)
There is no hell like computer hell!
I'm not one of the lucky people awaiting a message from you :) I can really empathize with you and wish I had an answer to help resolve your dilemma. It's so tough to grapple with these issues without a trusted person at the ready to put things right. I'm often startled to realize how much I rely on email and computers. I wish you a smooth transition and shift to something less aggravating!
Chad Wood
Apr. 18th, 2013 01:38 am (UTC)
DOS... the good 'ol days.

Can you not log into your email directly from the website it's hosted at, bypassing Thunderbird?

Edited at 2013-04-18 01:38 am (UTC)
Apr. 18th, 2013 01:41 am (UTC)
Maybe you should buy MacPro and install Chrome by Google :)
Apr. 18th, 2013 01:55 am (UTC)
I have used pine (now alpine) for my mail for 20 years and it still works the same way, it's a simple text-based email program. Highly recommended. Not sure how to set it up on windows but I'd bet Ty could figure it out.
Apr. 18th, 2013 01:58 am (UTC)
I'm a thunderbird user myself and have had this problem on occasion. Usually it's because I have too much email saved, so I go through and delete a bunch of it from archives.

When I say "too much," I'm referring to the 15K messages range.

I don't know that that's your problem. I wouldn't begin to presume what your email is like, but I thought I'd pass it along at least in case that was the problem. (If you can't delete them from thunderbird because it keeps crashing, you can delete them from the actual email client directly as well so long as you have imap.)


George R.R. Martin
George R. R. Martin

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