To get a text message on my cell phone when a client emails my regular account, should I use SMS or POP?
December 17, 2003 3:03 PM   Subscribe

So I just got a whizzy new cellphone with SMS and a POP client.

I want to get some kind of text message whenever a client sends e-mail to my regular account, and I've already got this working, basically. My cellular service is with T-Mobile. I use OS X and; I've already set it so that, when a rule is matched ("sender is in Clients group"), an Applescript is triggered that fires a short e-mail message showing the sender and subject line of the client's message to a special mobile-only e-mail account I set up. It might be nice to include the first few words, too, but I haven't gotten that far.

Questions: Would it make more sense to do this by SMS? If so, how would I send the message via SMS? Right now I've got the phone polling my mobile-only POP account every 30 minutes, and it seems to be a slow process. I'm also not sure what the billing hit would be per SMS message or for checking POP e-mail.
posted by adamrice to Technology (14 answers total)
If you want more instant notification, SMS might be the better option than polling a POP account. I'm not sure how to do it via Applescript, but one can send SMS messages via Perl easily (search CPAN for "SMS").
posted by thebabelfish at 3:14 PM on December 17, 2003 I think. Call 611 and get the proper email to SMS address.
posted by riffola at 3:19 PM on December 17, 2003

er <mobile#>
posted by riffola at 3:20 PM on December 17, 2003

yep, if I send a mail to mobile# at it shows up pretty quick as an sms. The message can't be that long. I have no idea how much it costs me but my bills are usually the same amount every month.

Mac OSX has built in "real" SMS support via address book and ichat via AOLIM. (If you get an SMS while your phone is in bluetooth range a box will pop up and you can reply to it from your computer.) I've been recently trying to figure out how to programatically get at it.
posted by neustile at 3:24 PM on December 17, 2003

I have tmobile and I did a similar thing, but via imap and my email account for message. I set it up via the "myemail" section of the t-zones section.

What happens when I get an email for the phone's account, t-zones will send me an sms saying I have an email and then I can go check the imap account with the phone. It keeps having the phone from having to check for messages.

The sms message comes pretty promptly and doesn't eat into your bandwidth from your GPRS bucket.

I can't remember how the t-zones server deals with pop mail if you don't have imap email support from your ISP and/or phone.

You can tweak with the 'my email settings' by going to [it doesn't work well in safari]

On Preview: neustile's method seems a lot easier and that part about getting sms on the mac sounds very cool.
posted by birdherder at 3:40 PM on December 17, 2003

oh, and i have to send sms to [phonenumber] , not would have been too easy to remember.
posted by birdherder at 3:50 PM on December 17, 2003

If you Applescript iChat sending an instant message to:
Sends a text message to that number.
posted by j.edwards at 5:05 PM on December 17, 2003

The script is built in (at least in AV). Shift-cmd-N (or "Chat with new person" from File menu in iChat) and then
Works like a charm. Haven't yet attempted to work out the issue in the original question.
posted by anathema at 5:38 PM on December 17, 2003

People reading this thread may be interested in this. Color Sidekick for
-$30 with T-Mobile activation and rebates.
posted by anathema at 5:53 PM on December 17, 2003

Oops. Here's the link.
posted by anathema at 5:56 PM on December 17, 2003

what birdherder is talking about is WAP push, and is probably a good idea for you, at the mytmobile site you can set up email addresses etc, tmobile will check them, and when you have some send you an SMS message, at which time you can check using your phone POP client. This way you only get a SMS when you have a message.

not as exciting as using applescript etc, but i think it's more what you're looking for, and certainly easier. With t-zones pro you can even have access to exchange and lotus domino servers.
posted by rhyax at 10:41 PM on December 17, 2003


Part of my problem must be that (in a moment of pure brilliance) I hit the "master reset" command (the phone was crashing repeatedly--turns out I had some kind of Bluetooth clash that was unrelated). Since then, I've been able to reconstruct most of what I think I need, but sending email to [number] does nothing--it doesn't even bounce back to the sending address. If I send a picture from the phone, though, that's the return address. But some important configuration for SMS and/or WAP seems to be wiped.

The e-mail thing does seem to work, but I'd really like to understand what's going on in there.
posted by adamrice at 9:10 AM on December 18, 2003

adam, if your phone is a Nokia or a Sony Ericsson, then go to their respective sites, and via support have them send you the proper GPRS and SMS configs. You can also call 611 and get the same.
posted by riffola at 9:34 AM on December 18, 2003

Hey Adam: Try specifying your phone number w/ the full international format:, you may get better results. I've had success with both the +1 and without.

SMS may take 10 minutes to arrive, so don't give up hope for a while.

There's really only 1 thing to configure for SMS messages (SMSC number), and if you're able to receive MMS messages (with pictures) you probably haven't lost it. Most phones won't allow you to loose it with 'Master Reset' anyway.

As a test, have your pal send you a sms message from their phone. If that works, you should be able to receive SMS messages sent to the address as well.

Also: SMS messages should be limited to 160 chars... more than that means more than 1 message if your device will handle assembling them. Prices for SMS messages are usually less than a dime each, and usually a few (hundred) are included on your plan...
posted by daver at 11:15 AM on December 18, 2003

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