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Monday, August 17, 2009

Any power user of email on the iPhone knows that one feature sorely lacking is true push email notification , at least where Gmail is being used as the mail provider. GPush is an app that looks to bridge that gap.

The UI is simple. Basically the end user enters his or her Gmail login ID and password, and awaits a confirmation from the GPush servers that the configuration is accepted. GPush encrypts login credentials for those who may be concerned with secure transmission of user ID and password.

GPush does exactly what it claims to do. When an email reaches the GMail account, a push notification is sent to the user's iPhone. This is a feature we in the enterprise space have come to expect from email clients on mobile phones since the advent of Blackberry and ActiveSync technologies. Why Apple didn't integrate IMAP push is anyone's guess, although I suspect battery life was a concern.

However, the GPush app should if anything improve battery life by allowing users to disable email polling on the iPhone client side. Whether or not this is the case remains to be seen, as I have just implemented GPush on my own device today.

I like what I see so far, but I do have some requested enhancements. First of all, I'd like to be able to configure GPush for multiple accounts. It does not appear to allow me to do that. Secondly, I'd like to have a button on the push notification that automatically opens the mail client instead of simply showing me an OK button which really does nothing but close the dialog box. As it is now, I have to close the box, open GMail and refresh the client. And lastly, I'd like a way to clear the badges off of the GPush icon other than turning them off entirely.

All in all, GPush is a great app for GMail users. I think $0.99 is a stellar price. I'd like to see Apple eventually build this into the mail client, but until they do, I expect GPush will stay prominently on my iPhone.

UPDATE: it seems that I am having to reauthenticate into the GPush servers every 30 minutes or so. Tweets from the GPush team indicate that they're working on some issues, so I will assume they know about this one. Hopefully they've rectified it soon.

.: posted by Dave 9:52 AM

Saturday, August 08, 2009

It's funny how one program's screw up can have unintended consequences, leading to a chain of frustrating events. That happened to me recently as I encountered an issue with Firefox 3.0.10 on my Hackint0sh netbook.

It appears that Firefox 3.0.10 has something of a Flash stability issue. The only way I was able to fix it was to disable Flash. which didn't work when I actually wanted to view Flash content. So, I resolved to try something I had not done before - restore from Time Machine, Apple's robust built-in backup solution.

My first attempt was to simply call up Time Machine, find the last backup before the Firefox issue, and roll back to that point. Sounds easy, right? Well, it turned out that I had permissions issues in restoring my Library folder. Library contains all of your user settings for every program you have installed. Without that folder's contents, you essentially have to reconfigure and re-register every program you have installed.

I proceeded to repair the Mac OS permissions database, which ostensibly should have given me rights to restore my previous Library folder to the OS. However, this didn't work as I had intended. It restored only a subset of settings. I was flummoxed.

So, I decided to try a full restore using the Leopard install disk. Using the USB keys I had created for the original Hackint0sh install, I booted to the install disk and selected the option to restore from Time Machine.

I selected the proper Time Machine image, waited about 35 minutes, rebooted, and...


For whatever reason, the Mac wasn't able to find the boot partition. I hadn't counted on this issue coming up. I was able to use the USB bootloader to direct me to the right partition, but not without it.

After days of frustration, I came across a suggestion in a forum online that I reload the DellEFI bootloader from the GUI. I did so, rebooted, and that fixed the problem.

So, it turns out that Time Machine does play well with the DellEFI for the Mini 9 Hackint0sh. It just required a little research, and some patience. And now, I have a pretty straighforward way of restoring from Time Machine backups in case my Mini has a HD failure, or if I decide to upgrade.

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.: posted by Dave 4:44 PM

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