E-Mail Pager FAQ / HOWTO

by slink - slink@gdn.net


If you own an Airtouch Pager, you can program GDN to send you a

page notifying you that e-mail has been recieved. It is a complicated

process, but this file is designed to explain and instruct you on the use

of this wonderful feature.


Frequently Asked Questions:


Q: What kind of pagers does this work with?

A: This service only works with Numeric and Alphanumeric pagers

using Airtouch (AirTouch is a national paging system) for their provider.

If you don't know if your pager is an AirTouch pager, it most likely is

NOT. The brand of pager does not matter, as long as it is being serviced

by Airtouch.


Q: Why does it only work with Airtouch?

A: The answer is simple. Airtouch is the only pager provider that

provides free internet-gateway paging.


Q: What in the world is internet-gateway paging?

A: Internet-gateway paging is a revolutionary system that allows

any user with access to an internet e-mail connection the ability to send

you text and numeric pages. The Airtouch paging system works thanks to a

new technology from Motorola called Flex(tm). The Flex system allows

pager transmitters to send at a whopping 6400 baud, AND transmit four

separate pages in THE SAME CARRIER WAVE. This increases the speed of a

standard pager switch by *24 TIMES THE NORMAL RATE*! Your pages can be

recieved in as quick as 5 seconds from the time your caller presses # on

your pager's access #. (Due to popular demand, the pager switch does

experience lag during some periods of the day. During peak access times,

the page may be delayed as long as two minutes. The average page time on

weekdays is 48 seconds.) The way the internet comes into play starts at

the root of the system. Pager transmitters don't work the way cell-phones

do. While Cell systems know your exact location at all times, Pager

systems maintain their low price by providing one-way transmissions. This

means that the pager system has to 'multicast', or resend your page on all

the paging towers. This creates a problem during peak hours because any

page that is sent in any given area will be heard around the entire state.

If Joe Smith pages John Smith from his Ocala access number, the page is

first send out from the local paging tower in Ocala, then is 'multicast'

from all the other towers that John Smith's pager is signed up for. The

way the multicast works so quickly is using an internet gateway, meaning

all the pager towers have switches connected to the internet. The

internet gateway *IS* a two-way system, allowing pages to both come in,

and go out. Ocala says to the internet, "Hey! John Smith's Pager needs

to hear 555-0893." The other towers that are on John Smith's paging plan

hear this, and send the page out over the transmitter. The internet

gateway not only works OVER the internet, but FROM the internet. Instead

of having to call John's pager number, Joe can pull up an e-mail message

and send it to John's.pager.number@alphapage.airtouch.com - sending the

page directly into the internet gateway, bypassing the telephone switch.

This in many ways be faster, because it avoids the hassle of having to

translate the touch-tone codes (DTMF signals) to the POSCAG (Paging

signals) format. The internet gateway simply dumps the pager number and

text into the transmitters and they send it out quicker and easier. It's

quite cool.


Q: OK, you've convinced me! How do I get Airtouch to be my pager



A: Call my friends at Top Line Communications, a local pager

outlet. (352) 332-8881. Tell them you want an Airtouch pager. They can

set you up with free activation and a Gainesville access number starting

at just $9/month for a numeric pager. Your coverage runs from Ocala north

to the Florida/Georgia line, west to Panama City and Talahassee, and east

to the Beaches. For just $2 more, they can add a coverage area of your

choice, such as Orlando, Miami, or Tampa. Tell them Jesse sent you. :)





*** Please Note: This is just like assembling a bike or other device;

don't attempt to do this until you have read this HOWTO through

completely several times.


Now that you know how the gateway works, let's learn how to set your GDN

account up to page you when you get e-mail!


First, you need to learn how to use your Unix Shell. (Hopefully you do

know how to use it; this HOWTO will assume that you do.) If you are

familiar with your shell you can follow this fairly easily.


The first command you will need to type (in your home directory) is:


pico -w .forward


This will bring up the user-friendly linux editor. You will need to

insert the following line into the file:


"|IFS=' ' && exec procmail -f || exit 75 #username"


Be sure TO INCLUDE THE " ' & | and # characters.. they are VERY IMPORTANT.

ALSO: CHANCE THE #username to your username. For example if your

login username is jackbnimble your .forward should read:


"|IFS=' ' && exec procmail -f || exit 75 #jackbenimble"


Now that your mail is forwarded to the mail processor, you need to create

a configuration file for it That file is .procmailrc - put the following

into your .procmailrc:








When you have saved this into the .procmail file you will need to create

the directory .procmail - type:


mkdir .procmail


You have to setup your pager files now. Type:


cd .procmail


Then edit the file rc.mail and place in it the following:



| $PMDIR/pageme Ejn-


and edit the file pageme and put in it:



# E-Mail Pager by slink - slink@gdn.net

echo $1 > $HOME/.procmail/page.txt

mail -s "page" "pagernum@alphapage.airtouch.com" < $HOME/.procmail/page.txt


IMPORTANT: Change the pagernum in the last line to a string containing

your pager number. If your pager number is (352) 412-0000 your address

should read 3524120000@alphapage.airtouch.com


Last but not least, you need to tell linux that it is O.K. to run the

pageme file, because it is a script program, not a configuration file.

Type in:


chmod 744 pageme


and you're done! Send yourself some mail and clap yourself on the back.


If you have problems, questions, flames, suggestions, etc for this

FAQ/HOWTO send mail to slink@gdn.net - and happy paging!