E-mail "pager" on home wifi?
Thread poster: Anne Koth

Anne Koth  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 10:26
German to English
Nov 17, 2009

Tomorrow is a holiday in my part of Germany, but not in most other parts. The kids won't be at school so I'll need to take care of them while checking my e-mail for messages from people who don't know it's a holiday here. It is a pain having to run up to the computer every half an hour. I can set up an e-mail alert service to send me a text message on my phone when I receive e-mail, but it costs money and mine doesn't work that well.
What I could do with is a device that works on my home wifi network, that I can carry about in my pocket at home, and that beeps when I get e-mail at the computer. It would be useful any time I'm at home but not at the computer. Does anyone know if anything like that exists? I see there is something called the Nabaztag, but that works differently, does a load of other unecessary stuff, and is too big. Any other ideas?


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Anita Cassidy  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Member (2005)
English to German
push e-mail Nov 17, 2009

Hi Anne
I started using a Blackberry about 4 years ago and wouldn't want to miss it any more. Other 'smartphone' providers (other than Blackberry) also offer push e-mail service.
No more manual inbox checking when I'm away from my desk!
Cheers, Anita


[Edited at 2009-11-17 10:58 GMT]


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Anne Koth  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 10:26
German to English
TOPIC STARTER
free and easy service for at home? Nov 17, 2009

When I am at home all I really need is to know that I have got e-mail at the computer. I don't need it sent to my phone.
I used an e-mail push account on my old phone, and people had to send e-mails to that specific e-mail address for me to get it. I already have two e-mail accounts - one with good services, another as a backup - and do not really want to contact all my customers telling them to use another address. My push e-mail account also did not have as good a filter as my normal accounts, so I got lots of junk, which I paid to receive.
Maybe next time I get a new phone I'll look into the latest system, but for now, if there is just a simple flashing USB plugin for at home I'd really prefer that to setting up my current non-user-friendly phone and re-routing all my mail.


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Sebastian Witte  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 10:26
Member (2004)
German to English
+ ...
There's nothing I know of that would suit your needs but ... Nov 17, 2009

... with a range of up to 20 m this might also be an option if you use Outlook (computer needs to be on though in order for the email notification to work):

http://www.amazon.com/Logitech-diNovo-Media-Desktop-2-0/dp/B0007SQKAY

The Logitech diNovo Media Desktop 2.0 uses Bluetooth technology to send the subject line of incoming emails to a little display in the number pad (which is pocket book sized), which is separate from the actual keyboard and can therefore be taken to other rooms.

I got it when it first came out back in 2005 and it used to work beautifully for the first 4 years. I have no idea why it no longer does. At least you get a brilliant keyboard ... And the device can be configured to play a sound or flash a light when new messages come in.

Other than that, the only thing I could point at is getting a messaging phone (Blackberry/Nokia E series/Samsung/HTC/Palm) including an inexpensive data subscription with a company having a "HSDPA" (highspeed data traffic)-type of network (for example, O2 Germ. - 200 MB for EUR 10, with overtraffic not charged extra but leading to a slowdown to GPRS speed). Or Vodafone which has a terrific network. I think you do need HSDPA because 3G/UMTS is too slow for receiving emails with big(ger) attachments.

It shouldn't be too difficult to make one's phone use wi-fi to connect to the Internet and download emails into your email software (Pocket Outlook, Flexmail and so forth) but the cell phone's battery consumption with wi-fi enabled can be a pain in the ass. That is not the case, AFAIK, with mobile internet.

I think a costly Push E-mail subscription is not necessary. Just have your phone receive email every 5-8 minutes.

[Edited at 2009-11-17 11:46 GMT]


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Marek Daroszewski (MrMarDar)  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:26
English to Polish
+ ...
not what you're asking for, but... Nov 17, 2009

...you could connect your PC speakers/sound card to your stereo. Any time an e-mail comes the stereo would then play the default sound played on your PC when an e-mail is received.

If you set the stereo loud or set your e-mail application not to play the default sound but something more distinctive or longer / louder this could do the trick.

Just an idea to consider.

HTH
Marek


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Anita Cassidy  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Member (2005)
English to German
not free, but easy Nov 17, 2009

Anne Koth wrote:

When I am at home all I really need is to know that I have got e-mail at the computer. I don't need it sent to my phone.
I used an e-mail push account on my old phone, and people had to send e-mails to that specific e-mail address for me to get it. I already have two e-mail accounts - one with good services, another as a backup - and do not really want to contact all my customers telling them to use another address. My push e-mail account also did not have as good a filter as my normal accounts, so I got lots of junk, which I paid to receive.
Maybe next time I get a new phone I'll look into the latest system, but for now, if there is just a simple flashing USB plugin for at home I'd really prefer that to setting up my current non-user-friendly phone and re-routing all my mail.


Well, I didn't need to notify anyone of a different email address, but simply set up my Blackberry to retrieve emails from all my existing email accounts (4 in all).
I do get quite a lot of junk mail, but I reckon that's better than not responding to clients' emails while away from my desk.
It is a bit costly, but certainly worth it from my point of view.

It was only a suggestion.

[Edited at 2009-11-17 12:31 GMT]


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Jabberwock  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 10:26
Member (2004)
English to Polish
Stereo is fine... Nov 17, 2009

I second the stereo suggestion - if someone puts a little effort into it, you can even have your email subjects read to you, with no cost at all...

Another option would be VoIP-capable phone - you can setup your computer to call your handset when you get mail. In fact, you can do it even with your regular wireless phone, but it will take more configuration.

For starters, I would suggest you look at some mail checkers, e.g. PopTray. You can configure it so that when you receive a message (it can be filtered for spam or whitelisted so only your clients' messages get through) you can run any program with specific options.

From there it is possible to expand the messaging options - e.g. you can send the subject of the mail to an app that would read it aloud, through the speakers or over the phone. Or you can have a script that sends SMS to your mobile - some carriers (like mine) allow to send a certain number of free messages from the Web per month... It takes some effort to configure, but it is really flexible.

The downside is that it works only when your PC is running... There are ways around that (e.g. procmail scripts at your mail host that interact with your carriers webpages...), but I would say they are rather arcane...


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Anne Koth  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 10:26
German to English
TOPIC STARTER
stereo system Nov 17, 2009

Anita Eichner wrote:
It is a bit costly, but certainly worth it from my point of view.


I didn't mean to put your idea down, sorry; I was explaining why I was looking for something simpler. Sounds like the alternatives may be even more complicated, though - and maybe I was just too impatient with the system when it started out. Next time I get a new phone I will try to get my head round the different packages on offer.

I do use wireless headphones at the moment, and can hear e-mails coming in throughout the house as long as I am listening to Radio 4 on them from the computer, but headphones are not very sociable! Perhaps I could get something to stick in the stereo system that would work with my existing Senneiser headphone system?


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Jabberwock  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 10:26
Member (2004)
English to Polish
Other options Nov 17, 2009

Anne Koth wrote:
Next time I get a new phone I will try to get my head round the different packages on offer.


It might be that by then a WiFi equipped phone will be a reasonable alternative (they are available now, but are somewhat pricey). This would allow you to check your email at home at no cost at all...


Perhaps I could get something to stick in the stereo system that would work with my existing Senneiser headphone system?


I am not exactly sure what you mean by that... You want a device that would stream sound (wirelessly) from your computer to your stereo system?

[Edited at 2009-11-17 20:34 GMT]


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Anne Koth  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 10:26
German to English
TOPIC STARTER
ideas Nov 17, 2009

Jabberwock wrote:You want a device that would stream sound (wirelessly) from your computer to your stereo system?


Well, I have the transmitter, for my wireless headphones. Looking online, it seems I could get wireless loudspeakers, too. Maybe I could even find something compatible with my transmitter; there are enough wires on my desk already.

Thanks for all the ideas, anyway: I now have plenty of food for thought.


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Michele Johnson  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 10:26
German to English
+ ...
Autoresponder, or set phone to only retrieve email subjects Nov 18, 2009

Again, this is not quite what you're looking for, but I had 2 ideas:

1) Set up an autoresponder saying it's a local holiday so please be patient in getting a response. Or that they should call you in urgent cases. Then you might only have to check every 2 hours or so.

2) I can set my phone to only retrieve email subjects, or only download the first 5KB of a message. I assume you could do the same. This costs literally pennies a month. I don't see why you'd have to reroute all your mail?


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