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I don't think we offer any flip between notification / email notification. Things are either one or the other.
Birthday notifications do not show a red notification number -- they will show when you view your notifications, if the member's correctly set it. But due to the amount of data, the system does NOT check for bday notifications on each page load to show you a red number. With our resources, it's just not possible to check it all the time. Just be sure to click it once a day and you'll see them -- you can click over to the cake icon to see just birthdays over the past week.
If you don't get email comments, you don't get a notification. That's just how it is. There is no notification setting for the "notifications" area. It's not a section there.
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