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|BT Cellnet's Genie Family Guide and Tips|
BTCellnet Genie: BT Cellnet have brought out a number of services which offer ways to intergrating Web, Email and SMS messaging. A must if you have a Cellnet phone is Genie at http://www.genie.co.uk. This allows one to register for short messages (under 160 characters) to be forwarded as SMS messages to your Cellnet telephone. There are no costs involved (beyond that of sending an email). If you are not using the phone at the time you can log in to see messages and alerts at the Genie site. You can also choose to get them automaticaly forwarded to your Genie email instead of by SMS. Copies are held on the site in any case and accessible via a web browser interface. You can send SMS messages to other Cellnet phones again using the web type email interface which has a simple address book. Again I can find no associated costs.
Genie also enables you to get far more value from your phone, for example, you can set up a portfolio of shares on the Genie site and get the valuation sent at the end of trading every day - you can even set limits on particular shares and get an SMS message sent within minutes if they go outside set limits. This service could even help make you money! There are other services you have to pay for such as sports which I have not tried.
BTcellnet ISP services: Initially one had to register with U.Genie to use the ISP services but they are all being duplicated on Genie. They offer all the usual facilities including 20 Mbytes of web space with simple online registration possible without having to load any special software. They have far less restrictions than other free providers and I have checked that the U.Genie SMPT mailbox and web pages can be used from any dialup connection rather than from their own domain and dial in number - ideal for use overseas with a local ISP. I assume the same is true for Genie but have not yet checked. The help is clear and concise and the rates seem as fast as one would expect from BT with its high speed backbone. There is also a web interface to your email which I have tried. All such interfaces are rather slow and cumbersome compaired to using an email package and you are online during its use, however it is ideal if you have to use somebody elses machine or an internet cafe. I do not know of any other free ISP offering this as an intergral part of their service. This looks the first real competitor to Freeserve with few downsides other than only having a single email address. See my new Guide to Selecting an ISP page for a comparison of the facilities offered by the 7 ISPs we use on a regular basis
BTcellnet SMS services:You do not have to have a BTcellnet phone to use the U.Genie or Genie ISP services but if you do then you can also register to access extra sections of the U.Genie and Genie web sites which are dedicated to SMS services. The registration process for the phone provides a password which is sent as an SMS message to the phone you register - a simple and effective security check. You can send SMS messages to other phones on all the main networks and overseas networks which support SMS using a web type email interface which has a simple address book. Again I can find no associated costs and the Cellnet free support line confirmed there are no charges billed to the telephone itself even if you are sending to roaming or overseas numbers.
Genie and U.Genie Web Based Email One of the big advantages that I see in Genie and U.Genie is that they provides a web based access to your email POP3 mailbox on the server. This means you can look at your email, print , delete, reply and forward it from any machine with a browser capable of handling forms (Internet Explorer 2 or higher). Web Mail systems always seem clumsy and slow compaired to an offline system as they are having to load everything every time you look at a message or make changes in the inbox but they are ideal for when you are away from home as you do not have to load anything onto another machine to get at your mail and reply. The email would normally be left on the server for collection at a latter stage and you would normally carbon copy any replies back to oneself to keep an audit trail. You are off course online the whole time and copies of your mail are inevitably left in the browser cache afterwards so you need to take care if you are using an internet cafe. Operation is at least speeded up with the N-Plex WebExpress server the simple address book allowing one to have nicknames for people and to add to it from received messages.
Browser Refresh settings for Genie and U.Genie's Web mail: They both use the N-Plex WebExpress server to provide email services from any Browser which isonline. I initially had some very strange problems using Internet Explorer 5 caused by the browser caching pages and not being forced to refresh by the email system. This left the Inbox display and the pages it pointed to out of sync when you deleted mail - even after several days and visits. A Refresh from the button on toolbar did not help as the pages are in a frame and you usually end up updating the frame rather than the contents! Refreshing by right clicking and Refreshing from the menu with the cursor in the frame gets round the problem. The alternative is to changing the Refresh settings by Tools -> Internet Options -> General Tab -> Temporary Internet Files - Settings where you must make sure you Never is not checked. I usually use Never and manually Refresh as required which gives very fast browsing - I do not recommend that with the N-Plex WebExpress server. IE5 has a new Auto setting which seems to be OK with the N-Plex WebExpress server and not seem to slow down browsing by reloading too often - on older versions of IE I think one would need to tick On Every Visit to the Page to be safe.
Genie and U.Genie Web Space: You get 20 mbytes and I have checked on U.Genie that one can upload from any open TCP/IP connection with just your password for security. This is very unusual with Free ISP's who usually make their money from the use of their phone numbers. I set up WS_FTP very quickly using the information provided at registration by U.Genie (see below) and was uploading within minutes. The default home page needs to called index.html or index.htm (all lower case) as usual. I checked uploading works via any Dial up Connection, even Freeserve. See my Web Site Tutorial for more information on downloading and installing WS_FTP LE (freeware) and how to set up a site using only free software.
Summary: My experience so far has been very good. I have carried out full tests on the U.Genie ISP service which offers far more flexibility than other free service providers especially for use by those on the move - it is the first real competitor for Freeserve that I have found. Freeserve has the edge in download speeds (if the page is in their cache), has unlimited email addresses and more web space but none of those are enough to compensate for the addition of SMS services, web mail and the freedom from restrictions overseas. It is also much easier to register for Genie or U.Genie. Genie now promises all the same facilities, an excellent portal and incoming email-to-SMS and I suspect will replace U.Genie in the long term. Give continuing good experience Genie will probably become my default recommendation with perhaps the suggestion of adding Freeserve for heavy Browsing and access to the excellent Freeserve newsgroups.
Screen 1 - Call the connection Genie Internet and select the modem from the list of those you have installed - it should already be configured if you are using it.
Screen 2 - Add the telephone number for U.Genie which is 0845 757 6293 or 0845 757 6290 for Genie and check the country code is UKScreen 3 - Check the name is what you want and click Finish That wasn't difficult was it!
It should look like this:
It should look like this:
The Web site Address you are provided with for U.Genie with is - http://you.genie.co.uk/accountname (Note it is you.... not u..... ). In the case of Genie it is http://my.genie.co.uk/accountname.
The most important settings you need for the FTP program are:
Customer Care provided exceptionally quick and efficient technical support when I emailed them at email@example.com.
Copyright © Peter Curtis
Content revised: 1st October, 1999