NWA-PCUG Newsletter Article, May 2007


Ping Me Again
by Bob and Joy Schwabach
Arkansas Democrat Gazette, 4st week April, 2007
Published with permission

You can leave a spoken message for one person or a hundred using a free service called Pinger, available from Pinger.com.

For instance, you might want to tell everyone in a group that “We’re meeting at 7 this evening instead of 6.” Most people don’t check their email all that often but many people – especially young people – often check for messages on their cell phone. Pinger is a lot faster and more personal than sending their phones a text message.

But how does Pinger.com know the names and numbers of your friends and associates? Well, you get an account when you sign up at Pinger and you can import all your contacts -- from sources such as Yahoo, Gmail, Hotmail, and Outlook Express, to that account (they are not available to anyone else), or manually type them in.

We called our special Pinger account number from a $30 “Virgin Mobile” cell phone (the cheapest one we could find) and spoke the name of a contact. The voice recognition software at the other end had no trouble locating that person’s number and sending a message to that cell phone. We also tried sending a message to an entire group: All we had to do was define the group first, at the Pinger website, by selecting names from our private list. Then we called our Pinger number, spoke the group name, and off went our message.

Finally, we tried sending a Pinger message to someone without a cell phone. They received an email message asking them to call “858-2pinger” and enter a special access code. They then heard our message.

The Pinger service is free for now and a spokesman for the company said it will likely remain so for most users. Heavy users will have to pay a fee but no pricing has been set yet. (“Ping,” by the way, is an old Internet programmer’s utility and stands for “Packet Internet Groper.” It is used to test a computer’s connection to the Internet. The author of the utility named it that because of the “ping” heard in searches made by underwater sonar devices.)

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