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using SMS Text Messaging to and From ocPortal to help the Homeless?

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#86945 (In Topic #17745)
Dee
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Fan in action

Has anyone looked at ways to relay messages into or out of ocPortal via SMS Text messaging? Perhaps by using some kind of API that connects to an SMS Text Messaging Gateway?

I'm looking to attend an event on the weekend which is all about finding ways to help people that are homeless using technology.

My basic idea is to make use of very old mobile phones which are able to send and receive SMS Text Messages. The idea is that we'd perhaps get people to donate their really old mobile phones which they probably never use these days and then give them to people that are homeless so we can let them know about services in their area... such as beds available in a shelter that night, or perhaps a sandwich place that suddenly finds itself with tonnes of food they'd like to giveaway rather then throw out before it goes stale.

I'm not sure how to approach the task. Ideally it would either be a website that runs on a server working via an SMS Gateway or even an Android mobile or basic Java Phone phone that sends and receives the SMS Text Messages directly via it's own SIM Card.

My programming skills however are very limited right now.. most of what I do these days is create websites in Wordpress and use a lot of Plugins. 10 Years ago I wrote a nice SMS Tex Messaging Program that worked using a PC, and a connected Phone and ran using VBA and Microsoft Access Database. These days I've forgotten how it even worked ..lol .. and also I'd want it to run on something free at the very least like OpenOffice / LibreOffice rather then an expensive program from Microsoft.


But as mentioned the ideal system would work either online or run on an actual mobile phone.

Do you thing ocPortal could be used for such a purpose? if not what would others suggest?
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Posted
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#86977
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Community saint

This is an interesting idea. I know ocPortal has a lot of SMS functionality built into it but I haven't played with it yet so I don't know what it can do. I am sure when Chris gets a sec he might better answer its possibilities.
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#86979
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We have a simple bridge between Clickatell, and the notifications system.


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  • If my reply is too Vulcan or expressed too much in business-strategy terms, and not particularly personal, I apologise. As a company & project maintainer, time is very limited to me, so usually when I write a reply I try and make it generic advice to all readers. I'm also naturally a joined-up thinker, so I always express my thoughts in combined business and technical terms. I recognise not everyone likes that, don't let my Vulcan-thinking stop you enjoying ocPortal on fun personal projects.
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#86995
Dee
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I came across these guys, prices are really cheap and free to use whilst developing

www.tropo.com

Think it would be hard to add support for this service?

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#86997
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Community saint

Dee said

I came across these guys, prices are really cheap and free to use whilst developing

www.tropo.com

Think it would be hard to add support for this service?
The code doesn't look too onerous, but there seems to be a few hoops that needed to be gone through to get practical developer access. Also, it does not appear to fully/cleanly support international SMS at this time, so its effectively US only.


Do you have a Samsung Galaxy S / Galaxy S II ? If so, why not check out my ScreenFree FM Radio .
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#87006
Dee
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Are you sure about not supporting SMS outside of USA, cos it mentions international pricing on their pricing page

Tropo - Pricing

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#87008
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Community saint

The last paragraphs from the following link implies not, and the second last paragraph implies that it needs to be bound to a US number. Not too clear.

here Tropo.com

Do you have a Samsung Galaxy S / Galaxy S II ? If so, why not check out my ScreenFree FM Radio .
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Posted
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#87009
Dee
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Fan in action

Just says you need a US number (not that you actually need to be a resident of the USA) should be easy enough to solve using www.sipgate.com and something like tunnel bear to sign up :-)

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#87010
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Community saint

This sounds like an awesome idea and project but have you thought about how to pay for all those phones to be activated and accept text messaging? If there is someone willing to cover that cost then perhaps there is someone willing to pay/provide for a dedicated sms server which in the long run is likely cheaper than a service?
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Posted
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#87012
Dee
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Fan in action

As far as activation goes, Pay As You Go SIM cards in the UK grow on tree's.

You can go to all the major phone company websites and request a SIM Card which they'll happily send for free.  Most are already activated and can receive a call or SMS without even having to put any credit on them. So for the incoming part the user wouldn't even have t spend any money.

For my own personal SMSing - I use ww.fishtext.com and for UK numbers they have a handy thing where you can send a premium SMS to their system for £5 and they take £5 off your credit on the phone and give you exactly £5 credit on you FishText account. But other people can use your unique code and also send you £5 in credit, so long term was hopng that would be possible with other SMS providers so people could also donate their spare credit to keep the system going.
 
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