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Suggestions For Pagers? 13

Posted by Cliff
from the when-you-don't-want-to-pass-out-your-cell-number dept.
jcostom asks: "I'm pondering the purchase of a pager, so as not to give out my mobile number to all the clients. In the past, I've had Skytel pagers, which I was always happy with, service-wise (I had the SkyWord Plus service, with numeric, alpha and VM) but the pager was pretty large (almost a small VCR!). I'm intrigued by the Timex Beepwear offerrings, which use Skytel services, but are much smaller (a watch, or you can remove the band and get some nifty holster-type things). My requirements are: numeric, alpha-numeric, voice mail, can get alpha pages from an e-mail, nationwide coverage, and availability of personal 800/888 numbers. Skytel can do it all but are there any other options that might be better?"
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Suggestions for Pagers?

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  • Why carry two devices? Get an SMS capable phone and setup an email to SMS gateway (there are tons of free or cheap ones on the 'net) to forward an email address to your phone (that way they're not sending SMS messages to YOUR_NUMBER@sms.gateway.net). I just use a .qmail file on my server to forward all email to a certain address to +44123456789@sms.genie.co.uk. Works beautifully (although genie is UK only and very slow during the day).
  • My boss recently saddled me with a Metrocall pager that is a T900 two-way pager. Kinda neat and not much larger than a standard Motorola pager (just a bit thicker). Might check them out.
  • I have a RIM Blackberry for work, and it does all of that, and has a decent keyboard. You can get nationwide service from a couple of places.

    /*
    *Not a Sermon, Just a Thought
    */
  • In the past year I bought 4 refurb Motorola Memo-Express pagers from a local vendor (not nationwide). Each cost $25, $25/month for unlimited alpha, with an 800 number for voice paging and an email gateway.

    I recently had to get one for myself, there were no more refurbs and there were only two models I could find locally for Alpha (Verizon won't even do alpha). I ended up with a Motorola Flex, it's tiny, WAY loud, and has the same options for email, voice paging etc...but it cost $100. The only other alpha pager I could find was $175 for the device. I think the days of paging are numbered, since 2 years ago it was a lot easier to find cheaper devices and everyone had service. But now I had to go to 10 different pager outlets just to find someone who handled alpha and then the thing cost big bucks (for a PAGER...)
  • I'm not quite sure where you were using Metrocall service, but in my experience, they are TERRIBLE outside of the Metro areas.

    Here are two examples:
    1) I had the service in Boston. I live 17 miles outside of Boston, and the pages would make it to my pager, 50/50. As a vital means of communication, 50/50 just doesn't cut it.

    2) I was travelling to Washington, D.C. and was worried if I was going to be able to receive pages there (being oncall for network problems, etc). I called their support number and they claimed that I would be able to receive pages based on my plan. And sure enough, when I was away, all hell broke loose, and I was unreachable by pager. Good thing I was carrying my cell phone, otherwise, we would have been in BIG trouble.

    But that's just my opinion of using the service for 2 years.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    but I'd go with an Iridium pager.

    http://www.iridium.com/ [iridium.com]

    tiny, worldwide coverage, dependable.

  • Why don't you just get a VisorPhone, sure you'll have to wait for a little while, until it is released. On the plus side, you can use it as a Phone, Pager and PDA.

    I used to carry a Palm V and Nokia Phone. I got rid of the Palm V, because I was paying more attention to it, than to the world around me.

    Though the features of the VisorPhone are really cool:


    --
    you are not what you own
  • Get a cellphone with SMS capability, then route your messages through this.

    The simplest way to handle the human-side of this is to create a "mypager@someisp.net" address and forward it through to your real address, thus making it clear what kind of message is appropriate while also hiding your cellphone number.

    If you've a box on the net you can do fun things to make it all much more flexible. The easiest/most effactive is adding a sequence number to each message so you can tell if you've missed any. Another nice one is the ability to redirect messages (based on their sequence number) to a handy fax machine. Finally of course there's the good old web interface for all of them.

    Tricks like this got me down from 3 pagers & a mondo cellphone to a single small phone. No longer need I fear shorting out in a rainstorm, plus the whole Batbelt look was so 90's.

  • The problem with SMS (and the digital extentions to the existing mobile phone service in the USA) is that unless you're in the receiption area, you dont get your messages.

    If you're in Australia (who's GSM coverage is excellent), or one of the european countries, etc. then getting a GSM mobile with the paging service makes sense; you'd be hard pushed to find an area that GSM doesn't cover. Unfortunately, in the USA (to where I just moved), digital coverage via GSM or CDMA Is pretty woeful. And... you dont get your paging service when you're in a analogue receiving area.

    HOWEVER... you get skytel just about anywhere.

  • In my area (HNL), Voicestream, Nextel and SprintPCS phones all have email addresses so you don't need to set up your own email-to-SMS gateway.


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  • by fwc (168330)
    And the satellites are going to get REALLY REALLY (like flaming) hot anytime now.... (That is, just before they take a bath in the ocean).
  • I've got 1 of these 2 way pagers using skytel.. let's you send and recieve email plus all the other services skytel offers.. it's got an IR port for those of you w/ palms that have them... there's software that'll let you use palms and laptops to use it as an email gateway.. the plus is it's the size of a normal flex pager w/ a decent battery life (1 1/2 months) as opposed to the old monster of a 2 way pager i used to carry around w/ a 2 week battery life
  • Disclaimer: I work for SkyTel.

    I assume by the "small VCR" you are referring to the Motorola PageWriter (or perhaps the original Glenayre Accesslink). While the PageWriter is bulky, I would still wholeheartedly recommend it. The latest generations--the PageWriter 2000X/Timeport P935--offer more RAM and a faster processor than the original PW2K. The new operating system that will very soon be released for these devices includes all of the traditional PDA functions--calendaring, syncing, a great addressbook, notepads, configurable alerts, etc. etc. There are third party apps available, and the developers' SDK is available for no charge. The PW2KX has almost wholly supplanted my Pilot Pro.

    If you want the PDA functionality but you dislike the form factor of the PageWriter, you might want to check out the Glenayre @ctivelink (yes, I hate the marketspeak use of the "@", too) device. This is basically the Accesslink II repackaged to fit into the expansion slot of a Handspring Visor, bringing it paging/wireless e-mail capability.

    Finally, the Motorola Talkabout T900 is the other recent addition to SkyTel's offerings. It has a much smaller form factor than most other two-way devices, but it still offers a full keyboard, and at a much lower price than the Pagewriter or @ctivelink.

    On a totally different subject, we are looking to hire qualified software engineers. If you are interested and wouldn't mind relocating to the Jackson, MS, area (it's really a nice little town), check us out.

"Irrationality is the square root of all evil" -- Douglas Hofstadter

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