Text message my computer
July 25, 2006 5:58 PM   Subscribe

I would like to set up my computer so that it could receive sms messages. What is the easiest and cheapest way to accomplish this ? I live in montreal if that helps.

I want to set up a website that i can text short messages to, so that it will perform specific actions based on these messages .
If anyone has experience setting up a system that does this , I would love to hear about any hurdles you encountered accomplishing this and what providers worked well.
posted by grex to Technology (11 answers total)
Lifehacker just ran a bit about writing an AIM bot that you could SMS. Slightly circuitous to use AOL IM as a bridge between your phone and your computer, but it would be free.
posted by revgeorge at 6:22 PM on July 25, 2006

About the only way I can think of that your computer can receive bona fide SMS messages is for it to be paired (via Bluetooth or otherwise) with an SMS-capable cellphone, and then be running an app that can receive the SMS messages received by the phone.

But that being said, I'm not sure you're asking the right question -- it seems that your question is more along the lines of "How can I send short commands to my computer using my cellphone?" If that's it, then there are a whole slew of other options, but they all depend on what your computer is, how it's set up, what the actions are you want to perform, and that sorta thing. Is it an always-on computer attached to an always-on Internet connection? Is it running a mail server? Can it be? I ask all those specific questions because in my mind, the easiest way to achieve what you're looking to do is running a machine that's capable of acting as a mail server, and then using my cellphone's SMS capabilities to send email to accounts on the machine. Then, I'd set the various email accounts up so that when they receive email, they perform whatever actions I was interested in having performed, but that sorta setup is beyond what I'm able to describe without knowing more about what you want to do.
posted by delfuego at 6:25 PM on July 25, 2006

I would think it would be a lot easier to do with email than with SMS.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 6:58 PM on July 25, 2006

Yes much easier to do with an email. Can your phone send text messages to email addresses? If it can from there it's quite elementary I would think.
posted by jckll at 7:01 PM on July 25, 2006

Well I guess the expanded question would be "How could many people using different cellphones , with no special technical ability easily communicate with my computer ?" .
I thought of using sms because at the present time it is the lowest common denominator for cellphone communication, pretty much everyone can use it easily. Using a java app is too much of a pain, and I believe it is a substantial barrier the potential use of this site.
posted by grex at 7:03 PM on July 25, 2006

I use a free service which does SMS to email conversion for me. ie, I send the SMS to their phone number, with the email address as the start of the SMS, then a space, then your message text, and they do the emailing. I believe they charge for the reverse service.

Of course, I'm in Aus, so you'd probably want a local version, depending upon how your phone provider charges for international SMS.

Anyway, if you want to give it a shot, the number would be:

posted by pompomtom at 7:26 PM on July 25, 2006 [1 favorite]

I know that Fido and a lot of other services allow you to have SMS messages sent to your email client via MSN Mobile (note, that's not MSN Messenger).

Might not be as universal as what you're looking for though, but I've thought of using it for the same thing.
posted by furtive at 8:18 PM on July 25, 2006

I don't know how it works in Canada, but in the UK I can send MMS messages to an email address.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 6:40 AM on July 26, 2006

Err - Doesn't skype allow receipt of SMS? (www.skype.com)
posted by DrtyBlvd at 6:54 AM on July 26, 2006

Something similar was done for the Misterhouse home automation system. They used some kind of phone with an rs232 interface to receive SMS messages.
posted by kc8nod at 7:04 AM on July 26, 2006

Google around for "receive SMS"? Assuming your computer can be accessed via http/smtp, all you would need is a service provider who can offer you an http or smtp forwarding solution to the sms which your receive.
posted by fambizzari at 2:36 AM on April 10, 2007

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