What can I do with SMS?
July 10, 2007 6:18 PM   Subscribe

Now that I have unlimited SMS (text messages) on my cell phone, what cool things can I do?

I know that I can use it as email, and I know about Google SMS, but I can't help but think there's a whole bunch of cool Web 2.0? things out there that utilize text messaging - something like 4INFO, where you can set up alerts, daily trivia, and other things, though free would be nice. I'm not really sure what sort of things I'm looking for, as I'm just not really sure what's available.

So what (web sites or otherwise) is out there that uses SMS?

(I use Sprint, if it matters.)
posted by niles to Computers & Internet (27 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: RememberTheMilk (and some other sites) let you add to a web-based todo list via SMS.

I personally use SMS to send messages to my e-mail inbox from the Treo, which minimizes what I have to carry around and makes sure everything ends up in my digital inbox.
posted by 4ster at 6:29 PM on July 10, 2007

Response by poster: miss lynnster: We have a 4-line family plan through Sprint, and just bought a (rarely mentioned) $20 add-on that gives all lines unlimited messaging. This replaces our just-expired $5/month/line (so, the same $20) for 300 messages plan, which we received free due to a promotion last year.
posted by niles at 6:44 PM on July 10, 2007

- Google Search "googl"
- Google Calendar "gvent"
posted by cmiller at 6:46 PM on July 10, 2007

You can get unlimited messaging for something like 15-20$ from Cingulatt. It's nice because it's not just SMS, but also MMS (mutlimedia messages) and stuff... Even the limited plans from Cingulatt are like that, every message counts the same, so that's mostly what I use...

You can send things to your phone email address, which is usually something like 11111111@txt.att.net, where 1111111 is your phone number...so if you're savvy with e-mail reminders, you can have them routed to your phone. Say, from your calendar program.

You can also send things to normal e-mail addresses from your phone, so you can pester people who don't have unlimited messaging.

You can mail your phone photos to Flickr (including commentary and posting options).
posted by anaelith at 6:49 PM on July 10, 2007

For that same $20/month you should get Cingulatt's unlimited data plan. Combined with the free Opera Mini browser I find Metafilter and Wikipedia in my pocket to be the killer app.
posted by sourwookie at 6:52 PM on July 10, 2007

Response by poster: To clarify: I'm looking for ways to use SMS (like RememberTheMilk), not ways to get SMS on my phone.
posted by niles at 6:58 PM on July 10, 2007

I use sms to forward important messages that I get on gmail. In general any specific email that you are expecting (an important email?) can be filtered through rules and forwarded to your sms as anaelith points out above. Any email alert becomes an sms alert.

My bank (wells fargo) can also send out sms alerts if say, my bank balance falls below a threshold - there are other conditions as well such as a check clearing. This may be useful if you're traveling and cant otherwise track your bank balance.
posted by vacapinta at 7:06 PM on July 10, 2007

Best answer: I love Facebook mobile, if that would interest you.
posted by charmston at 7:07 PM on July 10, 2007

Best answer: this is my favorite use for my unlimited SMS plan:

My group of friends tends to spend a lot of time wondering where to go out. If asked, none of us really cares all that much where we rendezvous, but it's tough to overcome the inertia.

Recently I've been doing this:
- Call 1-800-GOOG-411 (Google's free business directory assistance)
- I take charge and pick a place:
"Albuquerque, NM" "Kelly's Brewery"
- Then as it's trying to connect me (like a regular 411) I just say "Text Message" to receive SMS with all the info about the bar.
- Then my phone lets me send SMS to multiple recipients, so I fwd the info to my friends.
- Within 20 minutes, we're all convened and having a good time.
posted by k7lim at 7:11 PM on July 10, 2007 [7 favorites]

Well, I think it's not what you mean, but I like being able to send every stray odd thought and wild idea out into the world.

I have some very patient and understanding friends.

Also, there are all kinds of verbal games you can play with others who have the same service, from the simple, such as alphabet games (e.g. someone texts the name of a band (or musical artist), the other person must answer with another band whose name starts with the letter the first band's name ends on) to the complex, like writing 3 lines of a limerick and sending those on and having the other person finish it. Heck, you're sending words along, the possibilities are limitless.
posted by Kattullus at 7:50 PM on July 10, 2007

Previously, kind of.
posted by IndigoRain at 8:01 PM on July 10, 2007

I have a friend from years back that I communicate with almost exclusively through SMS. However we are both rather random people, so most of our messages are bizarre quotes from movies, lyrics, and books. We almost completely eschew substantive conversation and prefer the odd Ministry quote.

That is really the only thing I use SMS for. Other than the googl utility and it's ability to define things on the go.

That rocks.
posted by quin at 8:24 PM on July 10, 2007

Best answer: List of Lifehacker posts tagged with SMS.
posted by mattholomew at 8:36 PM on July 10, 2007

There's always Twitter and Dodgeball.

Twitter is useful if you have friends (apparently) - I don't care for it - but there are also various Twitter services like Tour de France updates and my own Quotations that can arrive in your SMS via Twitter.
posted by mmoncur at 9:04 PM on July 10, 2007 [1 favorite]

posted by thisisnotkatrina at 9:04 PM on July 10, 2007

You can sign up to get an SMS alert from the city of Minneapolis when a snow emergency goes into effect. (Or maybe I just signed up with the email address for my phone's SMS, I forget. Same result, either way.) It doesn't look like you're in a major city, but this could be useful if you happen to visit Milwaukee or Chicago or wherever on a regular basis - I'm sure other cities have something similar.
posted by vytae at 6:53 AM on July 11, 2007

Best answer: My favorite is bitbomb.com, because I am disorganised and forgetful, and I always have my phone with me. It will send you reminders at the time and date of your choice, with your text in them. And its free!
posted by Joh at 4:35 PM on July 11, 2007

Best answer: This sounds intriguing, but I've never used it:

The Mosio Project is a mobile community enabling you to text any question from your phone and have it answered by real people. [monthly fee]
posted by desjardins at 4:46 PM on July 11, 2007

Amber Alerts.
posted by desjardins at 4:47 PM on July 11, 2007

LOL. Dude's in the Milwaukee burbs.

*Waves at niles*

Your seven miles away!
posted by quin at 5:08 PM on July 11, 2007

posted by quin at 5:09 PM on July 11, 2007

Dude's in the Milwaukee burbs.

Eek! It looked further out than "burbs" on the map. Sorry!

posted by vytae at 7:38 PM on July 11, 2007

Response by poster: Cool, there's a lot of great stuff to look through. The news stuff looks great, and I just started facebook mobile (after I swore to myself 5 months ago I wouldn't give my number to the CIA. heh.) I also tried getting some Starbucks info from Google SMS today, but got back a funeral home's info. I'm not sure what Google is trying to tell me, but I'll have to develop my sms-fu more.

FWIW, no one who lives here would consider my home to be in the burbs. But the real world does, so call it as you see it. (and I totally drove *this* close to quin's house the other day. Weird.)
posted by niles at 9:17 PM on July 11, 2007

no one who lives here would consider my home to be in the burbs.

wha? you're just west of Brookfield according to your lat/long. What else would you call it? Brady Street? :)

Starbucks finder - mobile
posted by desjardins at 9:38 PM on July 11, 2007

I just remembered one more thing. If you text "g " plus some song lyrics, plus " lyrics" to google SMS (46645), you've got a pretty decent chance of getting back the artist and song title. It's really just giving you the page title and summary of the first web search result, but that'll typically be one of the lyrics websites that put the artist and song name into the page title. Very handy if you're on the go and want to know what song is playing wherever you are.
posted by vytae at 7:25 AM on July 12, 2007

I spent a lot of time (and money) on Upoc back in the day.
posted by healthytext at 9:41 AM on July 13, 2007

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