A B2 Notifier For Gmail Apps

Posted on Sunday 10 October 2010

My wife has started working with another team, doing bookkeeping, accounting and  such. One of the challenges she was set up with was an email account via Gmail Apps. So while it was Gmail ( an email service available from Google ), normal Gmail mail notifiers wouldn’t work with it. Which means she had to log-in and stay logged in to see any new mail. With all the stuff she was currently juggling it was not a great solution.

I recommended that she just forward the email to her current email address, but her preference was to keep it completely separate from what she was currently doing. So that meant that she needed an on-line email notifier on her desktop. Something that would tip her off when she had new mail, but otherwise be out of the way.

As I mentioned, I quickly discovered that normal Gmail Notifier programs didn’t work with the “Apps” Gmail ( why they made them different is beyond me – but there you have it. ) It took a fair bit of work ( installing, testing, removing, etc., ) but I finally found just the solution. It’s called B2 Gmail Notifier, from b2labs. The price is also “just right” as in Free. There is one little issue though, the website will ask for an email address before you can download. That being said “any” email address will do, and it isn’t tied to any other requirement, so if you feel uncomfortable giving your own email address, make one up! ( Perhaps after they read this it will change, but as of this writing you can get away with a phony one. ) 🙄

Don’t let the version number throw you. It’s currently listed as an Alpha Release ( really early in it’s testing/evaluation ) which means user beware in most cases, but it’s been around a fair time with hardly any negative comments and lots of praises. I suspect they are using it more to make a buyer beware ( downloader beware? ) statement than anything else. If you are at all unsure back up your data first.  Anyways, I downloaded Version 0.24 Alpha.

Now if you notice you will also have to have installed Adobe Air and  if you aren’t sure make sure you download and install Adobe Air first. Why the world needs yet another Web Based programming language is beyond me but… According to Adobe …

The Adobe® AIR® 2 runtime enables developers to use HTML, JavaScript, Adobe Flash® software, and ActionScript® to build web applications that run as standalone client applications without the constraints of a browser. Adobe AIR and the Adobe Flash Platform unleash the creativity of designers and developers by providing a consistent and flexible development environment for the delivery of applications across devices and platforms.

If you haven’t downloaded and install Adobe Air, make sure you follow the instructions and do that first ( and yes I’m sure that there will be other programs that this will be useful for in the future. ) As you will see on the B2 Gmail Notifier page there are extra animations that you can download, but you get three to start with so check those out first ( my favorite is the monster that peaks out when you get new mail – it’s one of the defaults . )

Now then there is a trick to setting up the account to make it work – it isn’t intuitive, and it’s the one thing that I don’t like about the program ( NO DOCUMENTATION! ) Here is how you set it up to work.

  1. In the email URL enter your apps email address: The would be http://mail.google.ca/a/example.com Where the “example.com” is replaced by the web address used to set up your gmail app account.
  2. In the user name enter the entire email address and not just the user name ( which is all you would usually enter ) that you use to log in. So again, the user name would be User.Name@example.com instead of the User.Name that you would use when you log into the website “User.Name”  being replaced by the appropriate name that you would have and again “example.com” being replaced by the web address used to set up the gmail app account.
  3. Thankfully the Password is just the same as the website password ( thankfully no surprised there! )

When you run the program I recommend clicking on the box to automatically load up the program every time you reboot your Windows machine – that way you won’t have to “remember” to do it all the time. Select the animation you want to use when you get new mail ( you can also turn off animations and sounds if you want – but I’ve found that it is a great visual and aural reminder if you leave it on – and it’s not at all obnoxious. ) You can even customize the sounds and create your own animations if you are up for it.

There will be a small Google email icon ( usually blue ) which you will see in your systems tray at the bottom, once the program has been run. It will turn red if there is new mail ( and putting your cursor over top of it will tell you how many new emails are awaiting your attention. ) If you use  the animation and sound effects, then the sound will trigger the first time new mail occurs and the animation will trigger every half hour or so until you have checked your mail. The animation can be closed without affect the reminders and it will pop up again later, which I found to be a bonus.

All and all a great little program that does the job better than most other packages that I’ve found, and it does it well. I highly recommend it  and hopefully my hints above will help those who are having problems getting it to work properly the way I didi. Once it is configured properly, it works like a charm.

I highly recommend giving it a try!

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