topher

Before I get into the details of how my phones and other tech are all wound up now, let me explain how they’re set up.

My cell phone is an AudioVox with Verizon service. It can do text messaging, but doesn’t have a real IM client for it. AIM can interact with that though, so while I don’t get a userlist or anything, I can IM back and forth with people.

My home phone uses Vonage VoIP service, which comes with every feature I’ve ever heard of for phone service, including email notification of voice mail (with voice mail attached).

AOL Instant Messenger can be set up to send IM’s to a cell phone if your phone is on, and your account is not logged in. This is cool except that it makes it so you’re “on” all the time, because you’re either logged in or your phone is on. Annoying. So I made a new account, which I will tell to whomever asks in an email to me.

So I’ve woven a web of interconnectivity between these things as well as email, and here are the tricks:

1. Vonage can only send email notification to 1 email address. I wanted it to send to 3; to myself, my wife, and my cellphone. I also want voice mail attachments to myself and my wife, but not my phone.

So I made an alias at derosia.com that went to all three, and pointed Vonage’s voice mail at that. So now when someone leaves me voice mail at home, my wife and I each get an email in which we can listen to the voice mail directly. My cell phone gets the same email, but with the attachment stripped. This ok though, since that email just happens to include the number of the person who left the voicemail.

2. I mentioned that I made an IM account for my phone. This has proven very handy for quickly sending data to my phone that I want to take with me. In the past I’ve written directions into my Zaurus, which is a little unwieldy when taking said directions from someone over the phone. Now I just type it into an IM while they talk to me, and send it, and 5 seconds later I have it on my phone.

Also my wife uses this to let me know she wants me to call her, but isn’t sure if I’m in a meeting or something.

3. My phone has an email address. It’s ugly and hard to remember, so I made an alias @derosia.com for it. I haven’t had real need for it since getting the phone, but in the past I’ve had scripts email me alerts about system failures, and wished VERY MUCH that my phone could be getting those emails so I didn’t find out 6 hours later when I got back to my machine.

4. My phone has a camera, and I wanted to have it put pics on my blog as soon as I take them. It turns out that it can only email the pics, and that that’s very standard. Most of the moblogging software out there is written to use POP to get the picture and put it someplace else. That’s kind of a pain. I wanted to integrate it into MY blog, and I didn’t want to write it all myself. Enter Flickr.com.

I created an account there, and they gave me a pseudo-random email address to send pictures to. They then go into some sort of display that I never really use or look at.

The cool part is that they then offer the picture in an icon through some includable javascript, and an RSS feed. You can see both in my sidebar on the right, under “Latest Phone Pic”.

So far I’m just asking people to look at them with the RSS feed or clicking the thumb, but with an RSS feed it wouldn’t be hard at all to create your own moblog type thing with PHP.

Incidentally, I try to take at least one picture per day, and I sort of feel like it’s a better view into my life than the text part. For those who know me, the pictures make a sort of sense. πŸ™‚

I think that’s it for now. There a bunch of things that Vonage does on its own, but they’re not connected to my other stuff very much, so you can go read their feature list on your own.

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