FrontlineSMS

FrontlineSMS let users send, receive and manage SMS over a mobile network.

Hello,
I try to import contacts. It concerns about 2500 contacts. This takes a while, I suppose since I also programmed in excel to already have the codes to have these contacts sorted per groups. So I do other stuff while this goes on, but when I want to check if all goes fine, the screen of frontlinesms program is blank.
I already had this before with the sending of sms to great numbers of people.

Is it possible to see at which stage frontlinesms is on sending sms and importing contacts? Is there anything that can be done about the screen going blank?

Thank you

Ruben

Tags: blank, bug

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Hi Ruben

 

Is your computer screensaver set to kick in after a set amount of time? FrontlineSMS shouldn't be displaying a blank screen, so I'm just wondering if this could be it. In terms of displaying the status of the import, which version of FrontlineSMS are you using? (You can find out by looking at the top left of the screen).

 

Ken

hi Ken,

Thanx for getting back to me so quickly.

Screensaver is on, but I get the blank screen much quicker than when the screensaver would start. Just activating another program and going back to frontlinesms (by clicking on the program's taskbar button) is enough to have the blank screen for frontlinesms. Following your advice, I tried to import a contact database with all screensaver settings turned off, but still the same problem.

I figured that the program is actually working, but just not showing anything. Seen that importing 2500+ contacts with group settings and so is a lot of data, I just divided my database in 5 csv-files of 500 contacts and imported them like that. I then imported each of these small databases one by one. The program still shows blank, but not for so long. I noticed afterwards that all contacts were imported. So I guess that, if I wait for long enough, all my contacts would be imported, even with this 2500+ database.

I had this problem before for sending sms too (when I was still working with a smaller database of addressees: sending to a great number of addressees (700+ at that time) showed blank screen once I had left the program once. It is annoying, specially not knowing if all sms have been sent and so hence I can disactivate the program or not (at that time, I also noticed that, if I left the program running for a whole day and I then restarted frontlinesms, eventually all sms were sent). I am now thinking of sending sms to not more than 500 persons at a time from different computers, but this actually will give me logistical headaches, because I will have to keep track of what has been sent, from which computer,...

I have version 1.6.16.3, latest version I guess, since I donwnloaded recently.

By the way, great to have the possibility now for importing group settings. I geeked for an afternoon in excel to have all my contacts imported grouped per commodity and per district and voilà! Great tool!

Greets

Ruben

Hi Ruben

 

Thanks for clarifying this, even though it hasn't solved your problem. No-one else has reported this - particularly with sending - but we'll take a look. Do you have another computer that you can try and install FrontlineSMS on? There might be something strange going on with that machine. Just a thought.

 

Anyway, glad you're able to use the software, despite the slightly (annoying) problems. We are re-writing and re-designing FrontlineSMS at the moment, so expect to see some huge improvements and changes in the way it works later in the year.

 

All the very best in the meantime.

 

Ken

Hi, I can confirm this, but not a blank screen though. I send around 300+ messages at once, FLSMS seems to hang, even Windows task manager reports "the program is not responding". But when I look at the logs during this time, I can see that it's still running coz the logs are filling up. So I just wait awhile and eventually FLSMS is responding again.

 

I observe quite a noticeable delay in per message sending (and per record importing), compared to similar operations when I use the embedded program of the device. I use a Huawei E1552 embedded with the manufacturer's dashboard program customized by our local ISP here in the PH.

 

To somewhat inform the user that all's well, a status bar/message showing percentage or count of what it is doing may help.

Hi Ken & Edwin,

I had this going blank of FLSMS while sending sms to great numbers on already 3 computers in the past. I'll install on another comp here, since a colleague is going to help me here on this. Just being able to keep on seeing the progress or even just a status bar as Edwin says, would indeed be a welcome new feature.

Just as Ken is pointing out, I also have the impression that it takes more time to send sms with frontlinesms than it does with the program that installs when I enter my usb-modem for the  first time (I suppose that this  is the embedded program you are talking about, Edwin?). I am guessing that only about 100 sms per hour are sent.

Greets

Ruben

Hi Ruben,

Yes, Huawei (and most other broadband access device manufacturers, like ZTE) embeds a program (named Dashboard by Huawei), that will automatically install the first time you use the device.

And I concur with your 100 sms per hour assumption. I've met some local developers in my area develop their own application for these devices using Visual Basic (Windows only) for commercial purposes; election campaign, advertising, etc. -and their key selling point is speed, say around a hundred thousand per hour.

Cheers.

Edwin

I work with ZTE model:MF626 HSDPA USB Modem.

So do you mean that it can be possible to send so many (100000) sms per hour with a USB modem? I thought that speed for sending was limited by the mobile phone network and that maximum speed was 1 sms/8 sec... I assumed that the slower sending with FLSMS occured because of extra need for communication between the embedded program and FLSMS.

Anyway, if you can bring me in contact with these people who develop that kind of software, that might be usefull.

Greets

Hi Rubin, Edwin

 

The only way to send those kinds of volumes of SMS via a third party application is to connect via an aggregator's API. FrontlineSMS supports Clickatell and IntelliSMS at the moment (with support for a couple of others due soon). Details are in the "Help" files. Via an active Internet connection, FrontlineSMS can access these services and it will be possible to send 1000's of messages per hour (I'm not sure what the actual limit is, but it will be high).

 

Message sending via USB modem is limited by the mobile network and the various protocol/handshaking requirements. If it were possible to get around this and send more than ~8 SMS per minute, believe me we would have made use of it!

 

Hope that's helpful.

Hi Ken, Hi Ruben,

Yes, I admit I may have been led to believe that they're capable of sending in those numbers... in our actual "proof of concept", we tested only a little over a hundred recipients, and it was quite fast compared to the embedded dashboard program or FLSMS w/c I use for communicating with our Christian community.

Anyway, these guys approached me during the last 2010 national elections here in the PH with their offer. A company owner for my day-job ran for congress & I was assigned to the IT & communications matters of the campaign. In the end though I did not take their offer coz they were too "fresh & presumptous", insinuating that they have insider contacts within the local TELCOs & know the ins & outs around the SMSCs or SMS gateways of the providers to achieve their claim. Oh I forgot to mention that their program support simultaneous use of multiple USB modems.

Nonetheless, I did observe (& I hope it's just me) that FLSMS is quite slow, only 2-3 messages per minute in my case. I'll see if this still holds now that I use Mac, next week when my schedule for bulk sms sending comes.

Cheers.

Edwin

Hi Edwin

 

Interesting. I don't think there's any way around this, i.e. to speed up sending by 'bypassing' anything. Let us know if you find out anything more! In terms of using multiple modems, FrontlineSMS does support this so you can in effect double sending speed if you have two modems, treble it with three, and so on.

 

We'd also be interested in hearing more if you do find message sending as slow as 2-3 messages per minute. I get nearer 8 here, as do many other users that I'm aware of.

 

Thanks!

 

Ken

Hi Ken,

I have the impression that the embedded software from my USB-stick does not allow for 2 sticks to be activated, or at least to make contact with FLSMS. Is that possible?

I find myself sending sms with 1 stick at a time. I tested 2, but no way to have them both in the 'working devices' section in the phone tab.

 

Greats!

Ruben

FrontlineSMS doesn't need the embedded software to be running to access the modems (in fact, running this at the same time often blocks access to the port). In reality, FrontlineSMS can send through as many devices as it detects, so I would suggest quitting any other applications which access the USB modems and then firing up FrontlineSMS. I've had three modems running here before.

 

You may need to do some fiddling around with the ZTE software, but in short FrontlineSMS will be able to use multiple modems as long as they're visible and fully accessible to it.

 

Ken

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