Saturday, 25 June 2011


NOTE: this is not really a published post, but a draft submitted for collaborative proof reading and amending. Please see for the current versions.

MailboxPro is an official addon for Gemini. Put simply, it will create Items and Comments from emails. However, there is much more to see. There are some highlights below, and an overview to give a general idea of how it works and why you should use MailboxPro


  • Create Items and Comments from Email
  • Check multiple email accounts
  • Full audit recording
  • Notify External users
  • Create Plugins for custom matching



This diagram illustrates how MailboxPro works. Bob, who represents any Gemini user, sends an email to MailboxPro as either a reply to a notification, or to make a new issue. Bob can send it from his work, his home, or any other email account and MailboxPro will use the Aliasing feature to link all those email addresses to his single Gemini account. Once the email has been received, MailboxPro will process it.

Any email with an issue ticket number in the subject will be added as a comment to that issue, otherwise, it will be treated as  a new issue. Emails sent to Account 1 will automatically be placed in ‘Project A’ because the account has been specifically locked to that project. Conversely, emails sent to Accounts 2 and 3 will be matched to any of the Gemini projects based on the subject and email content. Other items, such as component, type, etc will be determined by the email content, or project defaults which are already set up in MailboxPro.

You can truncate or replace parts of text, such as removing previous email threads, legal disclaimers or signatures to help keep your Gemini tickets succinct. For more details on the other facilities available, please read on.


Multiple Accounts

MailboxPro will check any number of email accounts, on a specified interval. You can link each account to a project, or just let MailboxPro ascertain which project, based on the project codes, names, and smart match reading of the email contents. MailboxPro will automatically handle intermittent network errors, and notify you if an account permanently fails, so you won’t miss a beat.



Email Management

Once the email has been downloaded into MailboxPro, you can manage, process, and view it, all from the Email Management screen. The intuitive user interface as it handles the same as a webmail client.


Keep up to the date information on the processes with the queue monitor.


Reporter Identification

To ensure the right reporter is identified, MailboxPro offers the following mechanisms:

  1. Gemini Email Address – Check the email address with the list of Gemini users
  2. Aliasing – Check the email address against the Aliases created (Alias links an email address to a Gemini account)
  3. Auto Create – Automatically create a new user
  4. Default – Automatically use a default

If a reporter cannot be found, the email will be placed in a pending state for manual review.


Project Identification

To add the new issue to the right project, the following project identification features are used:

  1. Project Detail: Checks to see if the project name or code is in the subject line.
  2. Email Content: look through the email to find keywords to identify the project
  3. Default Project: New issues can be created in a default project.

If the project cannot be found, the email will be placed in a pending state for manual review.

Item Values

For items like the Component, Visibility, Type, etc, each setting can be specified on a per project basis. MailboxPro will attempt to identify the correct item from the email contents; looking for keywords in the subject and body and work out the most likely value.


Visibility can be set by the location of the  MailboxPro email address in the original email’s CC or BCC field. Priority is taken from the original email’s priority. MailboxPro will try and intelligently complete as many fields as possible for you.


MailboxPro will also send out a notification to confirm the issue / comment has been created. It can be set to just email external users (those not in Gemini), everyone else (observes “email my changes setting” and everyone including you.


MailboxPro has two filtering functions.

  1. Email Filtering: MailboxPro can be set to ignore emails that are either Out Of Office emails, or to block email addresses/domains from sending email to your Gemini.
  2. Content Filtering: MailboxPro can filter out content from the email. For example, you could remove email signatures, or legal disclaimers. You can attach the entire email to the ticket if you still want to keep it intact.

Monday, 6 December 2010

ASP.NET Web Setup – Integrated Authentication

I came across an interesting situation when a client could not run my installer to set up their SQL database. It was set to use Windows Authentication and even though the user was set up as an administrator on the SQL server, they could not connect to the database.

After searching around the forums, it seems the MSI file is using the built in local account, and therefore domain specific details are ignored.

The resolution:

Download ORCA tool from Microsoft. See this post here:

Then, when you have ORCA tool, follow this blog

The ORCA row I changed the type for was:
_B25C9B12_5826_4B28_AD29_C2A033133B53.install    1025    InstallUtil    ManagedInstall

The database was able to be configured correctly when this amendment was made to the MSI file. For now, this is now an extra step in the build process.

Friday, 4 June 2010

Justifying Text in Photoshop Elements 8

I was creating a new brochure in PSE8 ready to upload to the printers and a realised there was no way to justify the text from the tool bar. This can’t be right – surely… head to Google and a quick search shows several posts of how to do it.

The quick answer is Ctrl + Shift + J to justify.

However, I had some text pasted into a text box and it would not work! The Google videos were from PSE6 but I couldn’t believe they would remove such essential functionality so I did some testing. It seems when I pasted the text in carriage returns were also placed in there, so it WAS justifying, but each line was it’s paragraph and therefore visually nothing changed. Delete some paragraphs and you'll be justified in no time!

Saturday, 6 February 2010

ESXi Cloning a Machine

I saw a few posts online about how to clone machines on the free version of VM Client from VM Ware. Some are highly complex and overly so.

Maxwave posts a great post here on how to do it

it’s simple, GUI based, and very easy! What more could you ask for (other than VMWare to include in the free version…)

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Gemini Issue Tracking – Mailbox Processing

One of the reasons I have been very quiet on the blog is I have been extremely busy launching the Gemini Mail Box Processor tool. It is an add-on to Countersoft’s Gemini Issue Tracking / Project Management tool whereby you can submit issues and comments via your email account.

They have a basic version which will allow you to create only new issues from a pop3 box and even then you have to pre-specify the issue type, component etc. So if you think this is restrictive, GMBP should be a breath of fresh air for you.

GMBP will create new issues and also comments from the inbox; let’s take both in turn.

New issues

When a new email arrives, it is imported, along with attachments, into the GMBP database. From here, it is processed into Gemini. This process is complex and will try a variety of comparisons to ascertain the correct Project, Component, Issue Type, Priority, Reporter etc. The first thing it will try is to Smart Match the email against the Gemini data. Comparing text in the subject and body it will predict the most suitable values based on the content of the email. If it fails to find a [unique] match, then it will resort to the defaults set per project, and/or pick the first item (eg component) from the list. These are all based on the GMBP settings.

A failed match will be put into Pending state for review. Adding text to the subject (such as a component name) will ensure pending emails can be processed accurately.

New Comments

Unlike the built in Gemini processor, GMBP will allow comments to be created from the email. If it contains a gemini project code (eg [ACME-23]) in the subject line, then it will be treated as a comment and attached as a comment to Issue 23. This is actually a simple case, as no matching is required, it is merely appended as a comment to the issue Id specified.

Other Features


Truncation is another cool feature of GMBP. Email threads can become very long and cumbersome and the last thing you would want is pages of Gemini issue with entire email threads. Truncation will truncate the email at various points with the option of including the full contents as an attachment – so nothing is lost!

GMBP will automatically truncate text above it’s ----Please reply above this line----- marker, but you can include others. Regular expressions and fixed values can be searched and truncated at that point. For example, you could add an expression for ‘From :’ which could be the top line that appears when people reply to the Gemini notifications. Then, only the actual content of the email will appear in Gemini.


If this was not exciting enough, there is more. GMBP comes with an administration website, and only those people in Gemini Administrators security group (or another group you specify) can access the website. Furthermore, there are options of Blacklisting certain email addresses (again specific, or regular expression) to prevent matches being able to post into Gemini.


Since it is possible that people have many email addresses, such as a work and home email, they might want to make requests to Gemini from any email. It is possible to set up aliases to link numerous email accounts to their Gemini account. Irrespective of which email address the issue is received from, it will still end up being reported from the aliased Gemini account.

Also, Out of Office reply notifications can be configured to be ignored; preventing pointless issues being created.


If you need to get an Issue Tracker / Project Management application, then I would fully recommend Gemini from Countersoft as a serious contender. Combined with the GMBP I don’t think there is much extra you would want!