Sunday, February 22, 2009

GMail All the Time

Now you can work on your Gmail anytime you have your computer. Google Gears makes it possible. It let you run Gmail in your browser even when you're offline, then it catches up your account the next time you're online.

It even has a "Flaky Connection Mode" that lets you use Gmail when your link to the Internet is, well, flaky. I haven't tried it yet, but it sounds useful.

Offline Gmail with Firefox 32-bit
If you're running Firefox on a 32-bit machine, it's simple:

  • Open your Gmail account
  • Click on Labs (It's the green flask in the upper right corner)
  • Enable Offline

When you save the setting, you'll get a couple of boxes with setup information, then Gears will start downloading your messages to your new offline browser.
Offline Gmail with Firefox 64-bit
If you use the 64-bit version of Firefox, it's a little more complicated. There's no 64-bit Linux version of Gears yet -- at least not officially.

But a guy named Niels (a Dutch techie in China) has compiled a 64-bit version and built a .deb package for Intrepid (Ubuntu 8.10). He's put it online for all of us, and it works great.

Just go to his blog, click on the link to the xpi file, and it will start installing into Firefox just like any other extension. Then when you go into labs (same way as explained above) and enable offline, the stetup process will start.

Once you set up offline, Gmail will download a lot of your email. It can take a while -- about 20 minutes for me with a lot of message and a pretty fast connection. Even if you're anxious to try it, you might waint until your on a solid connection with time to wait.