OK, I’m sure I’m not breaking any new ground here, but a quick Google search didn’t turn anything up so whatever, I’ll post it here [end comma-spliced run on sentence]. I’ll also give credit where it is do. This is a combination of two techniques picked up from two sources. One is an article I found on tech-recipes.com and the other from a posting on lifeHacker.com.
Combine these two articles and you get the following mathematically irrelevant yet shamelessly marketable equation:
Gmail Filters + SMS = Select Email Notification To Your Cell Phone
For those asking, “huh?, ” I am referring to using Gmail filters too evaluate incoming messages using criteria you devise to determine if a message should be sent to your phone via text message.
Before I get into the how, I’ll address the why. Don’t care why? Skip it and go straight to the how.
Sometimes I am away from my computer. I know. It’s terrible of me, but It’s true. During these times I don’t care so much about email. Most if it anyway. Part of my job as system administrator is to be accessible all the time. If a client reports a problem, I need to know right away. Since many of my clients reach me by email instead of by phone (even when it’s critical), I need a way of knowing when critical email arrives.
I know I’m sure to hear questions like, “Why not get a smart phone?”, “Why not just install Gmail for Mobile?”, etc.. The reason I have this setup is for mainly for two reasons.
First, I have a smart phone. It’s a Sprint Mogul and I like it (for the most part). But when it comes to email, there are many things I don’t like. First and foremost is the immense drain email puts on battery life. I had used the email features built into the phone via Windows Mobile 6 and found that even checking every 2 hours seemed to drain the battery life. I switched it to 4 hours, but then what’s the point. My mobile email solution was supposed to make me more accessible. Every 4 hours isn’t gonna help me accomplish that goal.
As far as Gmail for Mobile goes, this isn’t the best solution for me either. First, there is some sort of limitation on the Mogul that requires Gmail for Mobile to run through a Midlet Manager. This make logging in a pain in the ass because I have to open two apps, the midlet manager and GMail for Mobile. Then, for some reason, I have to provide log in credentials almost every time. Even if those problems no longer existed, I wanted a solution that came to me. Remembering to check my email every so often isn’t always as easy as it sounds.
One final reason too. Sometimes the mobile internet is sketchy. Even in metro areas like Philadelphia. The mobile web, so far, doesn’t seem to be as far along as Sprint seemed to imply it was. Even if I can’t check my mail where I am, it’s still nice to know what’s going on. This is also handy for people who have older phones.
So here’s how I do it.
- Log into Gmail. Get Gmail if you don’t have it. Just kidding, everyone uses Gmail right?
- Click on Settings, then go to the ‘Filters’ tab.
- Click on ‘create a new filter’. You could click on this in the main window, but it’s small and not everyone sees it.
- Create your filter using Google operators (the same ones for searching). Because google filters always imply an AND operator between the various fields I just use the “has the words” field. More on this in the lifeHacker.com article. Here’s an example.
- Test your filter if want and click ‘Next Step’.
- Check the box for ‘forward it to’ and put in your cellphone’s SMS email. Just about every phone with text messaging has this. For me it is email@example.com. Not a Sprint customer, go to tech-recipes.com and find out what to use. Don’t use hyphens or periods, just the numbers. Here’s another example.
- Click on ‘create filter’.
- Send yourself a test by writing an email to the email you used in step 6. Sometimes it takes a few minutes.
The only thing I’m not sure about is non US carriers. It should work in theory (since USA is the slow adopter of SMS) if you know what email to use. Another caveat is the 160 character limit on text messages. The subject line of the email is included in that limit. I’m cool with this because I only want a notification of the email. That way I don’t have to explain that I didn’t respond to Client X’s 9:30 PM website outage because I was busy getting my ass kicked on Xbox Live. Also, be advised that replying to the text message will give out your phone number because it will use the firstname.lastname@example.org address, not your regular email address. See below.
If anyone else finds caveats, improvements, or [GASP!] errors, please comment below. Good luck.