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Better Gmail Using Prism

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Edit: Ok, this FF extension makes life just that much easier.

Yesterday I made a discovery of some new software that seems to have no one but me all excited. Go figure.

I was looking for a better way to handle my Gmail accounts since I don’t really like having tabs open with email, calendar, and reader. It’s also a pain if you are composing an email and want to use ALT+Tab to switch between email and the web. I started using Thunderbird to help keep Gmail in and my calendar in another window, but as most Gmail users with Thunderbird know, keeping the Calendar and Contacts synced is a pain. Of course wonderful Mozilla has already thought of another way to do things that I love.

Enter Prism.

Luckily for me, they have a download for Linux. So I downloaded Prism and had a look around. It’s pretty easy to use right out of the box, but you can also download some of the extras that give you the links to Gmail, Calendar, Reader, etc. (See how Mozilla rocks by incorporating Google stuff?)

As for those of us using Google Apps, I just opened Prism and put in my webmail URL, gave it a name, and a desktop shortcut. Simple as that. I opened my Gmail by double-clicking on the desktop icon and signing in.

Now I have my email in a separate window. I did the same for my Calendar. I modified the shortcut icon to use the appropriate icons for the apps (the red M for Gmail) and then added them to my Cairo-Dock. Life is much easier now.

I was so excited about this yesterday, but Jer didn’t really share my enthusiasm. I tried to explain to him how wonderful this would be for our kids’ computers since we can limit where they go on the web as well as make things easier for them to find by setting up several of these shortcuts. We do use a firewall and monitoring system which doesn’t let the kids to very much on the internet, but this would allow us to control the freedom just a tad bit more.

This would also be great for businesses where the employees are easily distracted by web surfing all day. Give them a few shortcuts and let them go. I’m sure that I could figure out a way to surf the web through this window, but it sure isn’t easy.

Here is a screenshot of my Gmail in Prism. I’ve blurred out all the good stuff for fun. :)

Screenshot of Gmail running in Prism

So I know… You can’t see anything different right? It’s what you don’t see that’s so cool. If you look at the bottom, you will see a grey bar with a little icon on the right. You have a similar bar at the top which allows you to maximize/minimize/close the window and that’s it. It’s simple. It’s not distracting. It’s perfect.

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