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Two years ago I compared Notifo and Prowl as tools for sending custom push notifications to your mobile devices.  I ended up relying on Notifo quite a bit to send me mobile alerts about certain kinds of events that I might not otherwise notice right away - email messages from certain people, some kinds of calls or voicemails at my office, certain messages meant for me in the office chat room, etc.

(You might think all that alerting would get obnoxious, but having these notifications sent to me according to my preferences has meant I'm less likely to obsessively check email or other digital inboxes for something important I might be missing.  The good/important stuff gets to me fast, the rest waits for me to view it at my convenience.)

In September 2011, the creator of Notifo announced that he would be shutting down the service.  It's continued to mostly work since then without his intervention (a testament to the self-sufficient nature of what he created), but in the last few weeks I've seen increasing errors or delays in getting messages through, so I went in search of alternatives to Notifo.

Today I found Pushover, a really simple but elegantly done service that offers all the features I want.

Signup on their site is simple, the configuration of custom services to talk to their API is straightforward, and they offer nice little examples of how to code your own scripts in a variety of languages.  The app for iOS is $3.99, well worth the price when you consider what the Pushover author went through to create the service.  There's an Android version too.

The service is otherwise free for up to 7,500 notifications per month.  You can set quiet hours just like in Notifo.  Unlike Notifo, you can customize notifications to go to some devices but not others if you want to (for example) get some alerts on your mobile phone but not your tablet device.

I further knew I'd found the right tool when I saw there is a growing list of other web services that integrate with Pushover, a Perl module to ease integration and an Irssi notification script that is a drop-in replacement for the Notifo one I'd been using.  In under 30 minutes I had all my notifications working as they were before. Yay!

If you're searching for alternatives to Notifo, Prowl or similar push notification services, Pushover deserves a look.

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