E-Mail Pager FAQ / HOWTO
by slink - firstname.lastname@example.org
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
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 Johnemail@example.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
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:
You have to setup your pager files now. Type:
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 - firstname.lastname@example.org
echo $1 > $HOME/.procmail/page.txt
mail -s "page" "email@example.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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
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 email@example.com - and happy paging!