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Articles tagged with: texting

Written By: Gary on July 12, 2012 No Comment

It really wasn’t that long ago that people didn’t have e-mail. Twenty years ago* Dephi was the first commercial on-line service to offer internet e-mail to it’s customers. I’m not saying some people didn’t have internet e-mail before that, I’m just stating this was a turning point even though it was still a while before other providers offered the same service. A few of you may have had e-mail before then, but if it was a commercial service, it was likely an island (people could only e-mail other subscribers of your service) and some larger universities started rolling it out for students around the same time.

emailAt the time, it was where can I go to check my mail when I’m out of touch. On-line access from other places was an issue. Laptops were expensive and if you had one to take with you, you needed to tie up the phone line to use it. Dial-up was generally the only way to access the internet and if you went somewhere else where you didn’t have access, you couldn’t check your mail. Even if someone had a computer, it didn’t mean they had a modem and even if you brought your own, it didn’t mean they had a phone line near the computer.

Checking your e-mail and other messages is easy these days. You can do it on your phone, your computer, your tablet, our iPod and you can even check it on devices like your Kindle. You can probably do it on the whatever device you’re using to this…

E-Mail for Dummies, Second Edition John R. Levine, Carol Baroudi, Margaret Levine Young, Arnold ReinholdThese days, it’s an issue of how many places do I need to check my messages. E-mail (work, home, old accounts), text messages (home and/or work), Skype messages, Facebook and any other countless services you may have. Plus, every time you buy a device or get a new service someone gives you a new e-mail account (cable company, eBay, cell phone company, iPhone, iPad, smart phone, etc.). Your charge cards, banks, health insurance and more all have their own private messaging system that send you an e-mail to tell you that you have a message on their site, “your fill in the blank company has sent you a message, please log into your account to read it”. Those were just the practical sites, you’ve still got social networks (Facebook, MySpace, Google+, Twitter, FourSquare, etc.), photo sharing sites, YouTube, travel sites, dating sites, technical support sites or some sites related to some hobby you may have; odds are you don’t have all of those, but you probably have some.

Back to e-mail: Finding old e-mail is confusing sometimes. I know someone mentioned a book to me, but where?!? Did they e-mail me? Did they send me a Twitter message? Did they write it as a comment on that Facebook post when I was talking about books a few months ago? Did they mention the book when we were confirming plans for something else unrelated? It’s definitely the information overload age…

We’re more connected. But are we better connected?

This isn’t really the post I started to write, but where I was trying to go is such a big subject, I think it’s going to take multiple posts.

Written By: Gary on November 2, 2011 No Comment

Having a phone that works internationally is great in case of an emergency. The problem is that when you’re in another country calls are $2.29 to and from the United States, even if you don’t answer the phone, you’re billed for as long as it rings. I found this out a few trips ago, I only avoided the charges when I could show my chat transcript that indicated I was trying to disable everything and not pay anything.

att-logo.jpgDisclaimer: The tips below are not for someone who wants to make a lot of calls and be reachable at all times, they’re for the person who can wait until later to return the calls. Also, I do not work for AT&T, this is how I do it and it appears to work for me, billing terms may change. You are responsible for verifying that everything works this way for your account! None of this requires any hacking or jail breaking to do these things, I have a free Google Voice account set up (it’s sort of like Skype) and it’s set to forward my phone calls to my cell number.

Texting – On AT&T I receive texts internationally for free, I can send back to the United States for 50 cents (I’ve never tried to send from another country to the country I’m in, I’ll check that next trip). If I want to reply to a text it’s 50 cents but if I want to send a photo with the text, I believe it starts to use data and you’ll be billed for it (probably the same applies if someone sends you a photo). If I need to text someone in the US, I pay the 50 cents or I find WiFi location and use Google Voice to send and receive texts (it’s like a chat at this point), I can use the iPhone App or the Google web site. If I miss a sent Google Voice text message, it forwards it to my e-mail (so I always tell people to initiate a chat via my actual cell phone number).

Phone calls – Before I even leave the US, I turn off my 3g data and forward my AT&T calls to Google Voice (I do this from the iPhone settings), so my calls never even get sent out of the country. Google Voice is smart enough to not forward it back to my cell if someone calls, it just dumps them into GV voice mail. This way I can carry a working phone with me and if I have an emergency I can make a call.

google-voice.jpgIf someone calls, GV will e-mail and text me the message (with text recognition transcription) so I know they called and if it’s a good transcription, I even know the topic. Then I can decide if I need to work my way to somewhere with WiFi or make a $2.29 a minute call on my phone. Otherwise, I just check the voicemail the next time I’m on the computer or have Wifi on my iPhone or computer (with Skype or GV). From outside the country to call the United States or Canada, GV charges 2 cents plus a penny a minute (I pay Skype $3 a month for unlimited calling to the US from anywhere).

Data – AT&T significantly dropped their international roaming data plan charges this past summer, I might give a small package a try on my next trip. Don’t forget Onavo can save you money on your data plan.

Written By: Gary on June 22, 2011 No Comment

So when driving during rush hours, I listen to WWJ 950 AM for traffic reports on the 8’s. But the don’t get a chance to report every problem every report and sometimes I miss the last report as I’m walking out the door. So I also subscribe (for free) to Traffic.com (which is run or sponsored by NAVTEQ) and they send me text alerts during the time frame that I select (Usually about the hour before I need to be there). Usually if they don’t send me one, the ride is pretty good, so it’s been very helpful. If they do send me one, I pay attention to the on-ramp before I get on the highway or if they say it’s really bad, I’ll take an alternate route.

traffictext

It’s just traffic for the expressway part, and they think I have 9 minutes on the express way and there is a 2 minute delay (total 11). I think they’re being generous, my experience is to double or triple the number they use for the delay; plus, it’s never 9 minutes on the expressway unless it’s the middle of the day or late at night.

As you can see there is a number to call and there is also a mobile web site at mobi.traffic.com, but I’ve never used those. For me, the text is just enough to tell me that if I’m in a hurry that I might have some delays. But I have a relatively short ride, when there is no traffic, it’s just during rush hour that it stinks, and I’ve got limited options.

They’ve also got an Traffic.com iPhone app (and an ad-free version for $3) and one for Blackberry.

I can see my routes (from the web site) on the iPhone app and it tells me how bad the traffic is. This is helpful for routes that I take often, but not often enough to where I want text messages. I use this for for a quick glance when heading to the doctor’s office after work so that I’m not late.

The thing is, when it texts me, I remember; when I have to look at the app, I forget…

Written By: Gary on September 25, 2009 2 Comments

Playing around with the new MMS on your iPhone? You can use text4free.net to send yourself a MMS text to test it out. Actually, it’s not just for texting to yourself, it will let you send texts around the world for free!

textforfree.net.jpgIt’ll send a picture or audio file. I sent a few, some went quick, some took a few minutes. It says it’ll send video too, but I haven’t tried video yet.

There is a maximum file size of 1 MB and allowed file types are .jpg, .png, .jpeg, .wbmp, .mid, .midi, .mp3, .mp4, .wav, .wma, .3gp, .mp4

This will work with phones other than an iPhone, I just brought up the IPhone since MMS got turned on for all the US AT&T users today.

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