PushGmail is Better Than GPush

pushgmailPreviously, I wrote about GPush for the iPhone, an app that offers push notification.  It kind of worked, but it wasn’t perfect.  There were times where it would just completely stop working and I’d have to reset the program and reactivate my account in order for it to work.  I also didn’t like that it would bring you to the in-browser gmail webapp instead of just the native mail.app on the phone.

Enter PushGmail. It does several things that I like.  It just plain works — no need to fiddle around every week or so to get it working again.  It also goes straight to the mail.app when users click or slide on the notification.  This part isn’t perfect because it opens up mail.app’s compose page, but that’s more Apple’s fault than the app’s.

Even though Google has released official support for push notification through Microsoft’s Exchange server, it didn’t work that well when I first tried it. There was a noticeable delay between when an email reached my inbox and when the push notification was activated.  It defeats the whole purpose of instant email notification.  Also, doing it through the official Google way only supports one account.  I usually only check one account, so it doesn’t matter to me, but it may be a deal-breaker for some.

Until Google fixes their server, PushGmail is probably the best and most simple choice.

PushGmail $1.99(site)

Howto: Free SMS on the iPhone (sorta)

Requirements:

One of the first things I did when I got an iPhone was call AT&T and asked them to turn off SMSing. If I’m paying $70 a month for phone and data service, I think it’s stupid that they expect me to pay extra for text messaging. I am not a fan of the $5 a month text messaging plan nor am I fan of getting nickled and dimed for SMS. Since the iPhone seems to automatically open new SMS’s and that costs me money, I didn’t want any to come my way. A simple phone call to AT&T switched SMS off entirely. The only downside is that when friends try to SMS my number, they don’t get an error message about how I have it blocked, so they just assume I never SMS them back.

If you have a Google Voice account, there’s an easy way to get free SMS. Since it’s free to send and recieve an SMS to your google voice number, just tell people to message you on that. Then go to Settings > Voicemail & SMS > SMS Forwarding. Check that box to have new SMS’s go to your email. One nice thing about this is that when you hit ‘reply’ in your email, it has the recipient’s SMS address already there, so it’s just like texting someone back.

Going one step further, if you have Gpush, you can get almost instantaneous notification when you get an SMS since it pings Gpush with a new email message.

GPush — Push notification for Gmail (sorta)

When it works, GPush is pretty good. It gives iPhones the users to have near-instantaneous email notification as soon as new mail hits the inbox. Unfortunately, the app is buggy as heck. After the first two days of it working fine, it just stopped working completely. No notifications even though I was getting new mail.

I emailed their support about it and apparently this is a server issue that affects 3% of their customers and they’re working on a way to fix it. I googled around and it seems like this problem is more prevalent than just 3% of their customers. Tiverias (the company behind the app) support suggested that I forward it to another gmail account and have the app connect to that, but that’s certainly a roundabout way to fix it and I didn’t want to forward my email.

I somehow fixed it today through a series of steps and I’m getting notifications again, so maybe this will help you if Gpush does not work for you anymore. I’m not sure which step fixed it or if it was a combination of steps, but here’s what I did:

  • delete the app off my iPhone and then re-download it (no charge if you already bought it)
  • turn off all notifications from that app in the Settings of the phone.
  • turn ON the notifications again.
  • Go into the app and put in the WRONG username. (I just left out the ‘@gmail.com’). This should give you an error message when the app tries to log in.
  • After the error message, log in with the CORRECT username (myname@gmail.com) so that it (hopefully) gives you a success message.

After doing the above, notifications automatically started coming again!

Even though the app only cost me $0.99, I was pretty annoyed that it stopped working. For new users who haven’t bought it already, I’d hold off until they get this crucial bug fixed 100%. I’d also like a feature that has it just launch the mail.app automatically when the app is clicked instead of it trying to authenticate the app in gmail.