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Experimental Feature: Push notifications

EuroGA has an experimental new feature. It’s early days so please try it out and let me know how it goes for you.

You can now have new post and new thread notifications “pushed” to your mobile phone or desktop computer, rather than receiving them by email. To set it up, go to your Forum Preferences, by clicking My Account in the top right corner (once logged on) and then Edit Preferences. Or click here

About half way down the preferences page is the option to use push notifications and a button to set it up. I don’t want to go in to too much detail here because I’m interested to see whether people can get it set up based purely on what’s there at the moment. NB: It uses an app called Pushover – the mobile versions cost a few pounds, though there is a free 7 day trial so you can try it out without cost.

Let me know how it goes!

Administrator
EGTR / London, United Kingdom

How does “push” work?

On the internet, the client has to be continually registering itself with a server somewhere, surely, as with dynamic DNS for example.

Or does it use some feature in GSM (which is obviously used to route incoming calls and texts to your phone)? The phone normally registers with a nearby tower every 10 minutes. I can see one could send some kind of “hidden” SMS to the phone, which would then make it go online via the internet and collect whatever it was meant to collect. But that would work only with clients with a SIM card.

Administrator
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

Push in iOS and Android works in basically the same way. They (Apple and Google) provide a centralised service with which the devices register using an encrypted IP connection. Software can then make calls to this service, which in turn are then pushed to the devices and software on the device can register to handle the messages.

In this case, Pushover is the app and that registers with the push service. When something happens on EuroGA that needs a notification, the sending of the notification is queued for background processing (so that the poster of a message being watched by 100 people doesn’t have to wait for 100 messages to be sent). A background process picks that up and sends the messages to the Pushover system, using an authenticated and encrypted HTTP connection. Pushover then know whether to send it to Apple, or Google, which then delivers it to the device. Windows phone has a similar service, but it’s not supported by Pushover.

By centralising it in this way you don’t have to have loads of apps all constantly running their own code to access their own server sockets. It’s all done through one OS-level service. This means less communications overhead and better battery life.

The cleverest use of it I have seen is with some SIP clients. SIP is easy when you’re running the SIP client on the device, but once you close that app it stops executing (iOS and Android both limit what resources can be used when the app is not in the foreground). So when you close the SIP app on your device, the company’s server sends a SIP registration message to your VoIP server saying “any calls for this guy, send them to me”. Then when a call comes through, their server receives it, and sends a push notification to the SIP app on the device. This then comes to the foreground, registers as the SIP end point and accepts the call. So you can have a SIP client which gets incoming calls, without having the SIP client running all the time and draining your battery.

Administrator
EGTR / London, United Kingdom

How often does the Pushover client go online? I tried to google on it and there is surprisingly no mention of it.

Administrator
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

The pushover client never goes online itself. The OS is “continuously” online and when it receives the push notifications it hands them to the pushover client.

Administrator
EGTR / London, United Kingdom

I can confirm this works really well.

The push notification is more convenient than an email, because e.g. it doesn’t need to be deleted afterwards.

I am using it on android v5 on my Samsung S6 phone.

Administrator
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

I am using this on my Samsung S7.

This is the URL to set it up:
https://www.euroga.org/pushover/subscribe

Administrator
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

With the move to the new server, the Pushover notifications feature has been removed. Practically nobody used them, anyway. Most people use email.

Administrator
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom
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