This is a follow-up to “I Want One… No I Don’t“; an article in which I vacillated aimlessly between lusting for a BlackBerry and denying the obvious attraction. In hindsight, perhaps a bit pitiful to read.
After calming down and spending time on proper reflection I can say that I do not want a BlackBerry (or a Mogul ). Their respective geek’ish siren songs are strong, but I’ve realized they would just tie me up with work more than I already am.
In fact, I’ve realized that the real need is a way to be notified when important emails show up — not when any or every email shows up! That way lies madness. Once I realized that was my goal, the solution wasn’t far behind.
Poor Man’s Notification System
I’ll put the word out to folks that if there’s something considered an emergency to use a different email address. Something clever like firstname.lastname@example.org.
I configured my Hosted Google account to have “eeks” as an alias — otherwise known as a nickname in Google-ese:
(no, “eeks” isn’t the address I really used, and it wasn’t on this pictured domain either — so save the joke emergencies!)
Google Mail has a pretty decent little filtering setup, so catching these and handling them is easily done. For example:
A click on “Next Step” shows:
I’ve opted to run it straight to archives since I’m labeling it as Emergency, so unread items with that label are quite simple to find. I then also forward it to my phone’s email address — the important part.
Cool, huh? Anything coming to that address becomes a message on my cell phone.
An alternate email address isn’t necessary either — it could just be done by keywords in the title as well. “[Emergency]“, for instance, would be easy to filter for as well.
My first go around at this didn’t work out so well. I was using my phone service’s “short mail” email address. One problem with that method: to read the email I either need to be near a web browser or have a data plan.
Fortunately, the Wikipedia article on SMS Gateways discusses easy ways to forward emails to SMS. That works much better! It also give me the message immediately with a bare minimum of button-mashing to read it.
In delightfully retro sort of way, I’m excited about my new alpha-numeric pager. I also have several hundred dollars still in my pocket and my cell plan didn’t need any additional services added. I call that a win.