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Monday 29 September 2003

Rebot and SMS [lurks]

We've had a couple of different implementations of SMS in Rebot over the years. The first one had a proper user/number database but people had to have their own e-mail to SMS gateway, Rebot didn't do the SMS bit itself. The second one was based on Brit's SMS facility which was some sort of work thing but then, if memory serves, the rackshack boxes got reformatted or something and it was never reimplemented.
We've been missing the SMS facility for some time. So one day I just decided to have a hunt for commercial services that provide SMS support and I found text force. They rock basically. Nice little http interface to send messages. Just add credits to the account with a credit card and it's only 6.5p a message. So I got the lads to paypal me some dosh and slapped on 300 credits, built it into Rebot and added all our phone numbers. It works very nicely indeed.
The next job is to sort out SMS inbound. I asked text force about it and it's ninja money. Well, £40 a month at least. Fuck this, I thought, why don't I just get a pay-as-you-go phone and jack that into Wench, fire up some SMS gateway software and we can have a dedicated phone for Rebot. Since I don't use the phone for outgoing SMS, it shouldn't ever need touching again. So that's what I did. Orange PAYG SIM card in an old 7110 I found lying around. I've also got a spare DAU-9P Nokia cable.
After some farting about, I get Oxygen SMS Gateway up and running. The thing is, this is the only SMS software that will work with the cable I have. There are two different cables and if I had a DLR-3, the 7110 can be accessed via generic AT modem-style commands, apparently. Then I can use lots of software including the very promising looking SMSDemon which is a very lightweight app that will just write out the inbound SMSes to a text file. That's mondo cool because I can have Rebot watch that rather more regularly than it checks for mail.
At any rate, I have made inbound SMS work with Oxygen right now. Hilariously the developers of Oxygen want $399 for one of the nastiest, buggiest and haphazardly written applications I have ever seen. The SMS format to send to a gateway is ridiculous, there *must* be a space between Email: and the e-mail address, and the e-mail address is case sensitive (morons, don't they know you press a full stop and Nokias autocase upper?) and has to have a carriage return on the end of it. The format is so arcane that half the EED boys trying it out now are getting it wrong. They're 'tards, but still. :)
I've ordered a DLR-3 cable off Ebay and when it arrives, I'll kill off Oxygen and one should just be able to SMS Rebot's number and that'll go to channel. I've also set the 'From' of the outbound SMSes to Rebot's number so folks should just be able to hit reply on any messages coming from the channel. Mondo cool. I've also got some plans to add some useful info bot stuff from Rebot to the SMS interface. The 'What' glossary look up might be handy, text blogging, IMDB lookups (dead handy for when you're at blockbuster no?) and anything else I can think of.
The last work I've done today is put in addsms and delsms so the EED chaps can add their own phone number/nick pairs into Rebot's database. Next on the coding list is groups so you can set up groups for types of games or locations (London posse!) which will make chasing around for lads for a game or a Friday swifty sesh a bit easier.


  1. Update: DLR-3 turned up and SMSDemon works beutifully. Messages come in, get written out as text files in a directory which Rebot watches constantly. Messages to Rebot now go to the channel without all the shite stuff that Oxygen required putting in. The reply-to is working on Rebot's outbound messages so all you need to do is just reply to them and they go to channel.This seriously rules!Update: Now it's all working ace, if you guys have any suggestions on what nifty stuff I can put in the SMS parsing stuff, let me know. One suggestion was to have the IMDB lookup available via SMS for when you're down blockbuster. Although in practise, we should probably not go mad on private SMSing stuff since only a few people stumped up the cash for pay for the outbound credits. Don't let that put you off coming up with some cool applications though!

  2. I'd quite fancy a gamerankings lookup. I'm often down the shops and spot a game in the sale, and not sure if it's shit or not. A quick sms to get the score back would roxor my coxor.

  3. I am predictable: How about checking the price of a DVD on Play, or gadgets and goodies on Amazon, Scam, Dabs or Expansys? Even without SMSing, it would be pretty nifty on IRC to say 'rebot prices radeon 9600' and get back the current prices at our usual shops...