I just uploaded Tweet Beeper to Google App Engine. It’s a simple application that receives an email, and then converts the subject line into a twitter direct message (which in turn can be an SMS sent to the recipients phone). A little whimsical, I know, but the weather was fairly average here this weekend!
TweetBeeper in 1 Minute
How do I use it? Easy!
- Follow @TweetBeeper on Twitter.
- Send a subject-line email to:
your-twitter-id [at] tweetbeeper.appspotmail.com
What can it do?
- Cron Job Output to Direct Messages
- Webstore monitor failures to SMS
- Magento Sale notification emails (or any store)
- … and any other situations where email to SMS would be handy
Why Use It?
TweetBeeper just does this one simple thing but it’s a piece of glue that my partner Cindy needed for her business Cheap Titles – they provide good value Certificates of Title in New Zealand within an hour (that’s fast!).
Basically when a title sells, Cindy needs to be notified that a land title search is pending. There wasn’t any obvious, easy (and free) email-to-SMS services that didn’t rely on the carrier code style email addresses (for example email@example.com).
However, Twitter does provide a SMS service for status updates or if you enable it, just direct messages. I figured I could glue together email and Twitter direct messages into a service that would let WP-E-Commerce send it’s notification emails directly to a special email address that in turn pings Cindy wherever she is via twitter direct message (and SMS).
Because I hate running web apps on my own servers – I use Google’s App Engine, which is a brilliant platform – I think it’s the future of computing.
Note: The observant among you will spot that Cheap Titles is an e-commerce store, but it is NOT running Magento, don’t worry I haven’t sold my soul – in fact I have an interesting blog article coming soon that compares WordPress + WP-E-Commerce with Magento. So subscribe to stay tuned.
There are several things I know I need to address (though if you spot other issues, please tell me!)
- How can you ‘verify’ email addresses, like when using Gmail filters to forward specific emails to firstname.lastname@example.org. Normally you have to click on the link in an email to prove you own the address, and thus can send emails to it. (Gmail itself is a special case, because they put the activation code into the subject line of the email, which in turn gets sent as a direct message. Other services, not so.)
- How to set up a mail server, or even better a reliable free service, that will turn forward emails of the form email@example.com to firstname.lastname@example.org – just until Google fixes this bug.
- *bother* … I had another one in mind during development and now I forgot! I offer a mysterious prize for someone if they raise an issue that turns out to be the one I forgot!
I would encourage everyone to try this Email to Tweet service out and let me know their thoughts.