Call HOME when DialUP is Connected - SyncNotes and NetLaunch Applied


D

dad4d2d

It's always more fun when Freeware helps you solve real problems!

Problem: I connect to the Web at Home using 56K Modem Dial-Up, Single
Line, and I have enough family members using it that the connection is
frequently busy, typically in afternoons. When I need to call home
from work I often get a busy signal. Many times I have imagined some
kind of simple daemon that would allow ME (with the right passwords,
from my Work computer) to break in on the home session, and get a
message through to the person sitting at the home computer.

There are lots of good ways to circumvent this problem (I can almost
hear it coming)...

* Get a cell phone - Yes, we did, but reception in the house is not so
good and the cell phone not ON all the time.
* Use an Instant Messaging Program - Would work, if both sides had the
tool installed, and running at just the time needed. For several
reasons, I do not want the IM tools on my work computer, and the person
at home would have to be looking for me... (i.e. have me on their buddy
list :)
* Send an E-mail - Again, this would work but would require the person
at home to download the mail and read the message, etc...
* Get DSL - Who, me? (Remember, I am a 'cheap' freeware user :))
* Get a second phone line. (See the above)
* Outlaw using the computer during prime call times :) Tried it... and
it don't work.
* Build a customer client/server for just this job, but wait, there's
hope...

Here's how to solve the problem with a couple of Freeware tools:

Tools:

SyncNotes:
Simtel Link -
<http://www.simtel.net/product.php[url_fb_product_page]83051>
Home Page - <http://www.syncnotes.com>

NetLaunch:
Home Page - <http://www.blackcastlesoft.com/default.asp>
Download Link - <http://www.blackcastlesoft.com/netlaunch/download.asp>

About the tools (from the authors' web pages...)

"SyncNotes allows you to easily store, retrieve and even communicate
small pieces of textual information. The SyncNotes System consists of a
desktop software that allows you to put up virtual sticky notes on your
screen, a web based system that synchronizes all notes from your PC(s)
and a WAP based interface to view and add notes when you are on the go.
The SyncNotes Desktop client is a windows application that allows you
to create and manage notes on your desktop computer. The online notes
and the local notes store are synchronized periodically every time your
computer connects to the Internet. You can put up notes on your
desktop, make them stay always on top so that you don't forget your
important reminders; you can even make the notes translucent!..."

"NetLaunch allows you to start and shutdown applications whenever you
connect and disconnect from the internet via Dial-Up Networking. It
allows you to schedule connections and disconnections, and can
automatically fill-in your password and press the Connect button for
you. It also gives you a handy place to keep all your popular Internet
applications."

Setup:

I was already a long-time user of NetLaunch, (the Win98 version), and I
recommend it for a lot more features than just this application. (The
only reason NetLaunch is involved is to start the SyncNotes client when
you dial up... You could use other tools to do that.) However, if you
need to set it up... The general idea is to install NetLaunch and then
configure it so that it handles your Dial UP. (I recall that this was
easy enough... just follow its set up instructions.)

A key step in using NetLaunch is to create a shortcuts folder called
'LaunchList' in the START MENU, within the NetLaunch folder. NetLaunch
is able (then) to manage the start up and shut down of any application
in that folder.

When you have NetLaunch working, and confirm that you can control other
applications, then you are ready to set up SyncNotes to manage this
particular problem.

Install SyncNotes. This is also very straightforward, with no hassles.
However, one very important step is to access the SyncNotes website
and REGISTER your account (with SyncNotes.) Relax!! This is easy, and
it is similar to the kind of thing you have to do to set up any instant
messaging system. You provide your E-Mail address and create a
password. The account is created and you confirm it by responding to
an email you will quickly receive.

The SyncNotes service account is important (for our problem) because it
provides the channel (WebSpace) through which your communication
(Notes) will pass, and collaborates with your PC (the client) as the
Server for the note you want to pass. (This is a bit Net-Techy, but
don't worry about understanding all of it. This part has always been
the real problem, because when you Dial UP, typically your ISP server
assigns a unique, but different IP Address just for your current
session. No one can reach you without knowing that IP address, and you
need to have a client on your PC that knows what to do with the
contact... e.g. SyncNotes.)

If you run Zone Alarm, or some other firewall, be sure to 'allow' the
SyncNotes Client to access the web (just like any other Instant
Messaging tool). (Check 'allow' for all columns in the Zone Alarm
Program Control table.)

Now, you are almost set up to go. Here are the final steps:

Configure SyncNotes 'Options' (under the tab Synchronize) so that you
synchronize every (say) 2 minutes. The choice is yours... depending on
how frequently you want it to check. Also check 'Synchronize at
Startup', 'Show New Server Notes', and 'New Notes on Top.' (Other
options are at your discretion....) Since I don't dial up when windows
starts up, I unchecked the box 'Run SyncNotes on Windows Startup',
under the GENERAL tab. This keeps it from running until the Dial Up
occurs. (See below).

Create (or copy) a shortcut to SyncNotes and drop it in the NetLaunch
LaunchList folder.

Configure NetLaunch 'Preferences', selecting the SyncNotes shortcut...
and set it so that it Runs shortly after the dial up connection is
established. (I also decided to close it when the dial up connection
closes, but that can be your choice.)

Now, everything is ready to go...

Here's how it works:

When you Dial Up the Internet (via NetLaunch), the SyncNotes
application is started, and the SyncNotes PC client makes contact with
the SyncNotes server. If there are any notes posted there, which are
NOT already stored (synchronized) on your PC, the note will be
displayed on TOP on the desktop of the PC. (After the note is
received, the PC user just has to close it, and it disappears into the
SyncNotes collection.)

SyncNotes will continue to watch for incoming notes at the frequency
you set up in the options. If someone (like YOU) posts a note to the
web-based SyncNotes account, it will be Displayed on the PC screen when
it synchronizes.

Now, YOU... the one at work trying to contact home... just need to post
a note. You simply start a suitable Web Browser (I use IE 6.)... and
go to the SyncNotes website <http://www.syncnotes.com> where you Log
IN, using the E-Mail address of your account, and your (private)
password. With only the browser, you are able to ADD notes to your
SyncNotes collection. Once a note is posted, it will be 'synchronized'
with the HOME PC either right away, or as soon as someone Dials UP.

For example, if your HOME line is busy, just browse to the SyncNotes
site and add a note like "HEY... Dad says Get OFFLINE and call me at
work!"

Another possible use is to leave a message (when none of the kids are
home yet), such as "KIDS... We won the trip to Disney World... but you
can't go if your homework is not done, so HANG UP and get to work."
Then the first Kid to dial up will get that message.

Better yet, anyone you share the key E-mail address/Password with
should be able to break through with a message, even when you are on
line, as long as they have a PC on the Internet and a suitable browser.
(I think this could also work for PDA, and SMS devices, but I have not
tried that at all.) For example, you could train your out-of-state
relatives to get through to you... (You know, the ones who said they
were trying to call you, but the line was busy. :)
Cheers.

Dale Fordberg
 
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H

Howard Schwartz

There is a much simpler AND cheaper way to solve the problem you mention:
Zoom has software that will either install in its flash updatable modems
or on your windows computer. The software gives you three options when
somebody calls in and you are connected to the internet via dialup:

a) Ignore and voice call entirely (e.g,, when you are doing a long
download)

b) Let the modem ring, giving you about 1/2 minute to disconnect
your DialUp connection and answer the voice call.

c) Automatically disconnect your DialUp and let the phone ring
for the voice call in an ordinary way.

Chances are the software only works for Zoom modems but there
is a lot of similar software out there. There are also these little
hardware boxes that look like modems for a one time charge of $30.
that do the same kind of thing. Usually you need call waiting or
call forwarding to make these things work. Still - $30. plus $2.
a month more is a lot cheaper than 2 phone lines or DSL.

(e-mail address removed) wrote in @c13g2000cwb.googlegroups.com:
 
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D

dad4d2d

Sorry I didn't make it clearer... the FREEWARE application I was
writing about involves neither 2 Phone Lines, nor DSL, nor a $30
special Zoom modem... (My examples were just to show the kind of thing
you usually have to PAY FOR to use, and in a failed attempt at humor
:)

In the rest of the message I described you could use SyncNotes to do it
for free. BTW, there is sometimes an advantage that 'Others' cannot
get through to the family phone :))... However, when it's ME at work,
that's another story.

(In the future I will just put out a few sentences, so people will read
a larger percentage of the posting :))

D. F.
 

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