Smart TextMail and mobile alerts on tasks, website availability

One of my longest mobile experiment drew to a close early this month with my rediscovery of Smart’s TextMail.

For more than a year, I’ve been trying one service after another in an effort to get my e-mails sent as text messages to my mobile phone. The answer, you might say, is simple: buy a Blackberry.

I’m not, however, prepared to spend thousands of pesos for the device and its mobile e-mail solution when I have only very specific alerts in mind: website availability and tasks reminders. For regular e-mails, I am perfectly satisfied with the GMail for mobile Java application.

Scrybe online planner ONLINE PLANNER. My current online planner of choice, Scrybe. The free service allows me to manage my tasks and get alerted of deadlines via SMS messages sent through Smart TextMail. Click on photo to enlarge image.

I run and help oversee several websites and need to know whenever the servers where these are hosted encounter problems so that I can work on fixing it or submitting a support ticket. All the sites I run are monitored by free web server monitoring services that check every few minutes or so whether these are available.

Whenever the monitoring services I use detect any of the my sites to be down, it immediately sends an e-mail to alert me of the problem. I wanted to be able to get that message as an SMS alert. Sure many of these services offer SMS alerts, but for a fee.

Tasks management

I also manage my tasks online. For projects where I work with other people, I use ProjectPier or Basecamp. But all my tasks—whether work-related, blog-related, or personal—are managed from a single online application.

I tested one application after the other, looking for one that offered SMS notification of deadlines. Google Calendar offers SMS notifications for the Philippines. The listings page says you can enable notifications for Smart, Globe, and Digitel. I have a Smart phone but have never been able to enable it. The settings page gives me an “invalid carrier” error message after I enter my Smart number.

I then decided to use Remember The Milk, a free online tasks manager that offers SMS reminders to Philippine phone numbers. The problem was that in several instances, the SMS messages came late, several hours after when I wanted to be reminded of a task. Remember The Milk is also limited to task management. I’ve also tried Backpack and it’s great for managing tasks but again, some SMS alerts are received later.

I found a better service with Scrybe. I say it’s better because it also allows me to manage my web notes. Scrybe is a really cool service for managing tasks and storing notes and it has an interface that’s such a joy to use. (Blogger’s note: I’ll write more about the service later.) Scrybe is an invitation-only service so if you want an account, leave me a note below and I’ll send you one.

Scrybe and SMS alerts

I transferred my tasks management to Scrybe because with it, I did not need to use another service for my notes whenever I need to do web research. The only problem with Scrybe is that it doesn’t offer SMS alerts for Philippine phone numbers. What it offers is sending alerts to a mobile phone e-mail address (your mobile phone number@your provider’s web address). For several months, I wasn’t able to use its SMS alerts.

Scrybe e-mail, sms notification E-MAIL, SMS ALERTS. Scribe notifies you via e-mail or SMS of deadlines of your tasks. I was able to activate SMS notification by using Smart’s TextMail service. Click on photo to eenlarge.

I knew the best solution was Smart’s TextMail but for several days of playing with the service a few months back, I couldn’t activate it, not even when a tech support staff from Smart guided me through it. When I still couldn’t activate the service, I gave up trying and made a mental note to try it again after a few months.

Early this month, I tried Smart TextMail again and found that it had been improved. I was told that it’s now being managed by a content provider, Mobile Arts (warning: the web site plays horrendous music so you better turn off your speaker.)


The service has also been transferred to I tried registering for the service about two weeks back and in no time, my mobile e-mail address was set up. If you don’t explicitly register for a username, your mobile e-mail will be your Smart number The mobile number is in international format so if yours starts with 0918, it will be written as 63918.

To get your own personalized Smart TextMail address, send REG USERNAME PASSWORD YOURNAME to 200. The username you enter will become the first part of your e-mail address. After registration, add the e-mail address of the servers that send you alerts so that their messages are immediately sent to your phone.

If you get a message from someone not in the address book, the server just notifies you of the message and asks you to reply with G if you want to get the entire message. In my case, I added to my address book the e-mail addresses of the senders of my website availability notices and the e-mail address Scrybe uses to send reminders.

In using the service for more than a week, I find that I get the alerts as soon as these are sent. I now know immediately whenever any of the web servers I use is down. With the alert, I can then check the site and send a support request to the web host.

Scrybe notifications for tasks deadlines are also received on time and I’m now able to fully take advantage of it’s task management service.

I’m just using some of my TextMail account’s services. It is a full mobile e-mail solution if you’re comfortable with managing e-mail using text. It even generates access numbers for e-mail addresses. Any text message you send to these access numbers are processed and sent as an e-mail message to your contact. The SMS alerts are free but you are charged P2.50 each time you send a message.

I just hope that Smart TextMail maintains this quality of service. It has become an indispensable tool for me.

Support this blog and independent reporting on Cebu

73 responses

  1. Nice review, man! Can you send me an invitation for scrybe? Here’s my email: [email protected]. Thanks in advance!

  2. Hi, can you delete my comment? There’s a typo in my email add. Thanks in advance!

  3. Boks,
    Check your e-mail, I sent you a Scrybe invitation πŸ™‚

  4. Thanks, man! I appreciate it. πŸ™‚

  5. Hi Max,

    Im sure you know this, but the blackberry has one of the nicest keyboards around, and I can text or email faster than using other phones.

    the bad thing about blackberry is if you don’t have their server, you have to pay an extra 500 pesos a month for the push mail capability.

    You may be interested to know that this comes for free with windows mobile 6.0 phones which now has push mail when used with Exhcange server, or if you don’t have that, with HOTMAIL at I think no extra cost.

  6. interesting post! very informative. i would love the opportunity to try Scribe. i would greatly appreciate the invitation. -SLC
    [email protected]

  7. Stephanie,
    Check your e-mail, I sent you an invitation. πŸ™‚

  8. Stephanie Avatar

    Thank you. I really appreciate it! πŸ™‚

  9. hi max,
    i’d appreciate a scrybe invite.
    cheers and thanks!

  10. Hi sir,
    Please check the e-mail address you used in your comment above, I sent the Scrybe invitation there. πŸ™‚

  11. chung tang Avatar
    chung tang

    scrybe seems like a very interesting concept and i would very much appreciate an invite to try it out. thanks!
    warm regards,

  12. Hi Max,

    I was really impressed by the functionalities of Scrybe. Would appreciate it a lot if given a free invite to make full use of it. πŸ™‚

    Thanks in advance!


  13. Chung, Linnor,
    Please check your e-mails. I sent you Scrybe invitations. πŸ™‚

  14. mervindizon Avatar

    You saved my life man. I have been searching for this feature. I work in an IT company and I usually have to actively monitor the availability of the applications we support. This TXTmail feature is the best that can happen to my work. THANKS MAN!

  15. chung tang Avatar
    chung tang

    thanks for the invite!

  16. Spent the last week & a half browsing all kinds of cal/task apps. Found Scrybe and am blown away only to find out I need an invite. Are you still sharing? Thanks in advance!

  17. Anne,
    Please check the e-mail you used in the comment above. I sent you an invitation. Cheers! πŸ™‚

  18. Hello Max,

    Still sharing your scrybe invite?



  19. Cliffordx,
    Please check your e-mail, I sent you an invitation. Cheers!

  20. Hi Max,

    Would like to request for an invitation if you still have invitations left.


    Happy New Year! πŸ˜‰

  21. Hi Max,

    Came across your site via tiddlywiki – very good intro video, I will share it with friends.

    I’ve been wanting to try Scrybe, can I have an invitation as well..

    Cheers and happy new year,


  22. Shutter Box, Berkan,
    Please check the e-mails you used in your comments above. I sent the invitations there. Cheers!

  23. I would love an invitation. Thanks for the offer and the info!

  24. Great Review!

    Would love to get an invite to Scrybe.

    my email: [email protected]

    Thanks in advance

  25. Melissa,
    Check the e-mail you used in your comment above. I sent you an invit there. πŸ™‚

    Check you AOL address, I sent you an invitation. Cheers!

  26. Thanks so much!

  27. “Stumbled” on your page after 1 hour of looking for an invitation for scrybe.

    Would really appreciate an invitation.

    Thanks and Cheers!

  28. Navin,
    Sorry for the late reply. I had several deadlines to beat. Please check your e-mail, I sent you an invitation. Cheers!

  29. gerrison Avatar

    sir pls send me an invite in scrybe too… tnx so much..

  30. Hi great review, very easy to understand. Would really appreciate an invite to try scrybe for myself.
    Thanks Very Much In advance!!!

  31. I would also love an invitation.


  32. Gerrison, Adrian, Peter,
    Please check your e-mails. I sent you Scrybe invitations. Cheers!

  33. can i have an invite as well?


  34. Mihaly Halasz Avatar
    Mihaly Halasz

    Hi Max, I’d really really appreciate an invitation to Scrybe; it sounds exactly right for what I need.
    Thanks so much!

  35. Henrique Avatar

    Hey man. Your review got me very interested. Can you send me an invitation for scrybe? Thank you!

  36. Joao Santos Avatar
    Joao Santos

    Very good, Max! I’d really like to try it for myself too. Can you please hit me up with an invite?

  37. Brandon, Mihaly Halasz, Henrique, Joao Santos,
    Please check your e-mails. I sent you Scrybe invitations. Cheers!

  38. Scrybe sounds great, just dying to try it, would kill for an invite if you could! Thanks…Marcus

  39. Hi! Thanks for reviewing task programs, I’ve been looking at Scrybe. Do you still have any invitations left? I’d love to check it out more in-depth.

  40. Becca, Marcus,
    Please check your e-mails, I sent you Scrybe invitations. Cheers!

  41. Jens Pytlich Avatar
    Jens Pytlich

    Scrybe sounds like a dream come true.

    Please be so kind as to send an invitation my way.

    Thanks in advance πŸ™‚


  42. May I please receive a Scrybe Invite?


  43. This is a great analysis blog. I would really appreciate an invite to scrybe if possible.

    Thank you!

  44. Jens, Kevin, Claire,
    Please check your e-mails. I sent you Scrybe invitations. Cheers!

  45. Gracienus Avatar

    Thanks a lot for the review. It seems I have to try Scrybe now…
    Could you please send me an invitation…?

  46. Excelent blog, Max.
    I’d be happy too if you send me an invitation.

  47. Could you please send me an invitation to Scrybe?

  48. Would it be possible for you to send me a Scrybe invite ?

    Thank you very much !

  49. Gracienus, Marlao, Carl, Jan,
    Check your e-mails. I sent you Scrybe invits. Cheers! Sorry for the delay, tasks are threatening to overwhelm me πŸ™‚

  50. Hi and good day!
    Can I ask for a Scrybe invite? Thanks in advance…

  51. Hi!

    Could you also send me an invitation to Scrybe?

    Thank you very much!

  52. Sujoy Avatar

    Great article man.
    Can you please send me a Scrybe invitation to [email protected]

    Thanks in advance

  53. Keiron Avatar

    Hi Max,

    I would love a Scrybe invitation if this were possible. My email address is keiron (dot) nicholson (at) googlemail (dot) com. Thanks very much!


  54. I’m also trying to use more web apps (though I’m not so sure after reading some of your articles). I tried RTM, but didn’t like that I could not have hierarchical lists.

    If you don’t mind sending me an invite, I’d like to try Scrybe.


  55. Great review and info. Would you please send me an invite? Thank you!!

  56. oops…address is [email protected]

  57. Pablo Ruggia Avatar
    Pablo Ruggia

    Great site and review !
    Can you send me an invitation to pruggia at gmail dot com
    Thanks !

  58. Interesting info on Scrybe. Would you please send me an invite?
    cwyenberg (at)

  59. Clarke Avatar

    Could you please send me a Scrybe invite?
    [email protected]


  60. Hoshino Avatar

    Thanks very much for the Scrybe write-up,
    Could you please invite me? I’m in dire need of something like this and dying to try it out. [email protected]

    Thank you for your generosity!

  61. Hello, Max,
    Please, will you send me a Srybe invitation? Thank you.

  62. Another oops! My address is [email protected] . Mea culpa.

  63. Mathieu Avatar

    Hi !
    Very nice ! Would you have another scrybe invitation ? [email protected]
    Thanks =)

  64. Can i have a scrybe invitation too..

  65. Hey!
    Could you send me a scribe invite? Thanks! [email protected]

  66. Check your e-mail inboxes. I sent invits. Cheers!

  67. Do you still have Scrybe invites?

    Please send one to [email protected]

    Thx in advance. πŸ™‚

  68. Hi Max,

    This was a nice article.

    I had signed up for the launch but it’s not happened in a year! Please send me an invite as I’d love to try this thing out. Thanks a ton!

  69. My e-mail doesn’t show on the post! It’s [email protected]


  70. Hi, could I get an invite to scrybe, please? It looks incredible!

  71. I would like to request an invite to scrybe please…thanks.

  72. Max, I just read about Scrybe in the Telegraph (London), then read your review. I’m sold! Any more invitations kicking around? Thanks for sharing. Keep on posting!

  73. Scrybe sounds good, is it still going?
    If so i would appreciate an invite.
    Thanks!, eva

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