July 31, 2015 by Dylan Tweney
If you’ve enabled SMS notifications in Facebook, the social network rolled out a new feature this week.
It will send you a text message when one of your friends’ birthdays rolls around.
To wish them a “Happy Birthday” all you have to do is reply to Facebook’s text with a message containing a single digit: 1.
That’s right: No more shopping for birthday cards. No more picking up the phone. You don’t even have to open the Facebook app and manually type out “H-A-P-P-Y—-B-D-A-Y” any more. All you have to do is reply to a single message with “1”.
Lazy? Yes. Thoughtful? Arguably. Maybe it’s time to turn on text message reminders in Facebook now so you, too, can capitalize on this labor-saving tip.
October 21, 2011 by Dylan Tweney
According to this amazing infographic from MBAOnline, 4.2 billion people worldwide have phones that support texting. That means that SMS reaches many times more people than the internet — and it’s changing lives around the world. How has texting changed your life?
March 9, 2010 by Dylan Tweney
TracFone offers inexpensive, prepaid cellular service. And yes, they do support text messaging!
- Maximum message length: 160 characters
- What happens to longer messages: Unknown
- Cost per message: Unknown
- More information: TracFone Text Messaging
How to send email to a TracFone: Now this gets a bit tricky, because TracFone actually purchases its cellular service from a bunch of other carriers. Each one of those carriers offers a way of sending email to their phones — but you don’t know off the bat which carrier you’ve got.
So here’s how you find out: Send a series of email messages to the following addresses. Substitute your TracFone’s number for the number in each case:
You might also try
One of those messages will probably get through to your phone. When it does, hit “reply” on your phone and send a short text message back.
You’ll get your reply in your email program — and it will show the email address of your TracFone. Easy as that!
Too much work? You could also try entering your phone number in this reverse cell phone number lookup, which will tell you which carrier “owns” that number. Then look for that carrier in the list of carriers to the right, and use the instructions there to find your phone’s email address.
(Tip of the hat to Bryan Waters for figuring this out!)
by Dylan Tweney
We’ve been getting a lot of questions about how texting works with Cricket Wireless. Well, here you go! If you’ve got a Cricket phone, here’s what you need to know about SMS.
- Maximum message length: 160 characters
- What happens to longer messages: Unknown
- Cost per message: Free to receive messages; to send messages, you need to sign up for a plan that includes text messaging. Most plans include unlimited messaging to U.S. and Canada. Messages to Mexico cost $0.10 and other international messages cost $0.15 each (except Canada).
- More information: Cricket Wireless Text Messaging Support
- Sending email to a Cricket phone: Your address is [10-digit-phone-number]@sms.mycricket.com. For example, if your phone number is 123-456-7890, your email address would be firstname.lastname@example.org.If you want to receive multimedia messages (pictures, music and short videos) you use a similar address: email@example.com (just change the “sms” part of the address to “mms”).
To send a message to a Cricket subscriber (or up to 5 subscribers at a time), use the Cricket Wireless send a text form online. It’s free!
March 7, 2010 by Dylan Tweney
Tiger Woods recently got into trouble partly because his wife, Elin Nordegren, discovered incriminating voicemails and text messages on his phone, news reports allege.
He might not have had that problem if he’d used the cleverly-named TigerText, which promises it can let you “send texts that don’t live forever.”
TigerText is an application that runs on your iPhone. (Android and BlackBerry versions are planned soon.) To use it, the people you’re exchanging messages with need to have the TigerText app as well.
When you send a message, you can specify how long the message will stick around. After the specified time period, it’s deleted from TigerText’s servers — and both of your phones. No incriminating evidence left!
You can even create messages that can only be read once, and then self-destruct as soon as they’re read, Mission Impossible-style.
Here’s the catch: It’s not really SMS. Yes, you’re sending short text messages back and forth. But you’re not using the SMS text messaging service that works with the vast majority of phones out there. It only works if both people — the sender and the recipient — are using TigerText.
Still, if you’ve got a guilty conscience, or something you just plain need to hide, TigerText could be a clever way to do it.
TigerText Deletes Text Messages From Receiver’s Phone (Wired)
TigerText iPhone App
January 21, 2010 by Dylan Tweney
If you are in Haiti and need to report an emergency situation, send a text message to the shortcode 4636.
This works with any SMS-capable cellphone on the DigiCel network.
Messages sent to that code will be entered into a database. A group of volunteers with an organization called Ushahidi will read each message, figure out where it’s coming from, and relay the necessary information to rescue teams. In some cases the response can be extremely fast:
“The average turnaround for us receiving a message and having a geo-coordinated and translated report to teams on the ground is about 10 minutes,” one volunteer told a Wired reporter.
It has already saved lives: In one case, someone sent a message to 4636 about a group of schoolchildren trapped in a collapsed school. Ushahidi volunteers were able to pinpoint the location with great accuracy and send a rescue team, according to the report on Wired.
For more information: The 4636 SMS Shortcode for Reporting in Haiti
August 12, 2009 by Dylan Tweney
Hello! R U out there?
Here’s your chance to make first contact with an alien life form, by sending a 160-character text message into outer space.
An Australian science magazine, COSMOS, is working with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory to deliver the messages by beaming them in the direction of Gliese 581D, an exoplanet that scientists think might have a chance of supporting Earth-like life.
To send a message, go to HelloFromEarth.net and enter your message on the form there. You’ll need to register by supplying your name, email, and hometown, and optionally subscribing to the COSMOS email newsletter. Do it before the end of Sunday, August 23, 2009.
On August 24, all the messages received will be bundled into a text file, encoded in binary, and beamed into space from the NASA/CSIRO Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex at Tidbinbilla, near Canberra, which has a 70-meter antenna.
Gliese 581D is 20.3 light-years away, in the constellation of Libra, so it will take a bit more than 20 years for the messages to arrive. As for a response? Well, don’t hold your breath. There’s no guarantee that the aliens will understand SMS abbreviations.
May 7, 2007 by Dylan Tweney
Americans send about 20 billion text messages per month, according to a cell phone industry group that has apparently counted them all. Sound like a lot? That’s only 85 messages per month per cell phone subscriber, or not quite 3 per day.
By comparison, Korean teenagers are sending an average of 2,000 messages per month — 60 per day.
How many text messages do you send in a day?
May 3, 2007 by Dylan Tweney
As you may know, if you use Skype, you can send SMS text messages to your friends’ cell phones. Skype charges a small amount per message (less than your cell phone provider does) and makes it easy to send one SMS to multiple recipients, so this can be an easy and economical way to text several of your friends at once. Now, this week only, Skype has cut its usual SMS rate in half.
Between May 2 and May 8, Skype users who send SMS messages to recipients in the United States, Australia, Poland, Russia, Taiwan, Belgium, Thailand, Ireland, Austria, and Italy will be charged half the usual rate. Before the week-long reduction, Skype charged $0.112 per message sent to recipients in the United States, $0.088 to Australia, and $0.063 to Thailand.
That means it will cost only about five cents per SMS message to US cell phone addresses. Cheap!
Skype Cuts SMS Fees In Half