Text Message Tricks

Did you know how useful text messages can be? Besides simple communication, which is the obvious way to use a text message, you can use it for all sorts of other things as well. I came across this great article on All About Duncan called “16 Things You Can Do with SMS Text Messages.” Below are my favorites:

1. Google Mobile

google_sm Do you depend on Google like I do? If so, they have a full suite of feature available by SMS. All of the following should be sent to 466453 (GOOGLE). A few seconds later, Google will text you the results. Here are a few of the best:

Fist off, set your location in Google. This will allow you to search for local results much easier. Send the following message followed by your 5-digit zip code:

set location 10012

To check or clear your location, simply send:

view location

clear location

Once you’ve done this, all searches will default to results within your Zip code.

If you don’t want to set a default location, you can also append your 5-digit zip code to any search to localize the results.

pizza 10012

movies 10012

Finally, if you’re out shopping and you’re wondering if that ipod sale price is a good deal or not, simply text

ipod player 40gb

and Google will send you prices and info.

For a full list of Google Mobile features, just visit the Google Mobile page.

2. Send Email by SMS

Most text messaging services will allow you to send email from you text message client. Simply enter the email address instead of the cell phone # in the To: field.

Length will be restricted to SMS limits (approx. 140 characters), but if you can use this feature, it will allow you to do other things like. . .

5. Twitter

twitter Of course, you can set up a Twitter account. It’s one of the most popular SMS services around. Instantly let your friends or family know what you’re doing.

One of the best features about Twitter, is the Twitter Timer. By direct messaging the Twitter timer, it will remind in a set number of minutes to do anything. To have a SMS reminder sent in 45 minutes to meet for lunch, text the following to Twitter:

d timer 45 lunch with michael

45 minutes later you’ll get a text message reminding you to meet Michael for lunch. The time is always minutes, so 1 hour = 60, 2 hours = 120, etc.

There are other similar services, but Twitter is the most popular and stable.

6. Remember the Milk

rtmlogo This oddly named web site is an online to-do list service that lets you add events in numerous ways. Reminders are sent via SMS so you don’t forget to pick up that jug if milk on the way home.

By itself, it’s a great service, but you can’t add reminders via SMS. That’s where Twitter (see above) comes in.

Using the Twitter direct messaging feature, you can manage your Remember The Milk lists quite easily.

Adding tasks
pick up the milk – adds a new task with the specified name to the Inbox

call jimmy at 5pm tomorrow – adds a new task with the specified name and due date to the Inbox

return library books in 2 weeks – adds a new task with the specified name and due date to the Inbox

Updating tasks
!complete call jimmy – completes the specified task (shortcut: !c)

!postpone call jimmy – postpones the specified task (shortcut: !p)

Getting tasks
!today – gets tasks due today (shortcut: !tod)

!tomorrow – gets tasks due tomorrow (shortcut: !tom)

Even more Twitter shortcuts for Remember the Milk are available at the Remember the Milk Twitter Services Page.

8. Buxfer Expense Tracker

logo-buxfer If you’re on the go and need to track expenses, there’s no need for a PDA phone or a mobile spreadsheet, just use Buxfer to manage your expenses.

Buxfer supports several SMS features if your SMS client allows messages to email addresses. If not, never fear, just intergrate Buxfer with your Twitter account and you’ll be tracking expenses on the go in no time.

The features and syntax are very specific to Buxfer (but easy to understand), so I’ll leave the explaining to them. Just view their mobile guide for all the details.

I’ve never used their service, but they support ID’s from AIM, Facebook, Google, Yahoo! and MS. So signing up should be a snap.

A similar service is offered by Xpen$er and offers SMS and Twitter submissions as well.

9. House Prices and Info

If you’ve ever been looking for a house, then you know how frustrating the process can be. If you’ve ever been driving around and you think you’ve found the perfect house (from the outside) just text the street address to HOUSE (46873) and in a few moments you’ll have the year the house was build, the square footage, the number of bedrooms/bathrooms and the estimated price.

Unfortunately, it is the estimated price, not the actual for sale price. Estimates can vary widely, so it might be best to do the same thing using Zillow Mobile. Send the street address and zip code to z@labs.zillow.com and Zillow will send you the results.

14. Starbucks Coffee

logo_starbucks If you’ve got a Starbucks craving and you’re on the road just your ZIP code to MYSBUX (697289) and you’ll get a listing of the 3 closest Starbucks shops complete with address and phone number. Now all you need to find is the Zip code for the town you’re passing through (see Where Am I below).

16. Where Am I

If you want to use any of the tips on this page that require a Zip Code, but you’re traveling and you don’t know the Zip of where you are on the Interstate or Highway, just use the following tip to find out.

Just SMS the town name and a store they’re likely to have (gas is a good one) and you’ll get the ZIP code back by SMS. For instance, if you’re traveling through Alabama and you need the Zip code for the city you’re in, just text the following to 466453 (GOOGLE):

moundville, al gas

You should get a response with gas station address–including a Zip code–to your phone in a few seconds. Now you know exactly where you are.

View the full list here: http://www.allaboutduncan.com/2008/16-things-you-can-do-with-sms-text-messages/

What are some cool things you do with texts?

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