Items tagged with SMS

FEMA and the National Weather Service are looking out for you. How so? They're joining up to launch the Wireless Emergency Alert System, which is described as a free SMS system that will text users connected to cell towers in areas that are being nailed with storms or other disasters. The idea here is to broadcast them to all devices within range. It's engineered to cover around 97% of the nation, but it's just now being rolled out across operators. Both Sprint and Verizon (the two largest CDMA carriers in the States) are both primed and ready, but there's no word yet on some of the smaller, regional carriers nor AT&T / T-Mobile USA. It's worth noting that not all phones will work; those... Read more...
There's iMessage for iOS and Mac users, and there's BBM for BlackBerry users. What about Android, you say? Well, for those users, there's MightyText. The company actually began as Texty, and has been in a Chrome beta state for the past few months. Now, however, they're launching to the world, and including support for pretty much all major browsers. Here's how it works: you install the MightyText app on your Android 2.2+ phone, and then you visit the company's website to install the plug-in for your browser. Once you sync the two up, you can then use any web browser to send and receive text messages, through your Android phone number. So, in a way, it's an easy way to reply and create text messages... Read more...
By early next year, the nation will have a new way to call for help--via text message. Verizon Wireless announced that it’s working on a service to provide SMS-to-911 capabilities, which it says will be operational in early 2013. Simply put, the emergency service will allow anyone to send an SMS message to a 911 call center, also known as a public-service answering point (PSAP) via Verizon’s existing CDMA network. This week, the company announced that it has selected a vendor partner in the endeavor: Annapolis, Maryland-based TeleCommunication Systems Inc. The FCC and other federal and state agencies are on board the project, as well. "TeleCommunication Systems has worked closely... Read more...
Whoa, wait a second -- text messaging is on the decline? Well, not entirely, but it's certainly not shooting through the roof from a global perspective any longer. Once thought to be the number one killer of voice minutes, texting seems to be on the decline in a few locales around the world. According to M.G.I. Research, there was a "significant drop" on texts on Christmas Eve in Finland. Reportedly, mobile user son Sonera sent 8.5 million texts on Christmas Eve this year, compared to 10.9 million last year. Hong Kong? They saw a huge decrease -- nearly 14% year-over-year. Even Down Under, Aussies sent 9% fewer texts than in 2010 on the holiday. Why? Well, there are a few guesses. Mostly, it's... Read more...
Do you remember what you were doing 19 years ago today? Odds are high you didn't own a mobile phone, though you may have been rocking a beeper (yes kids, beepers used to be cool). But believe it or not, the very first SMS text message was sent off nearly two decades ago, much to the bane of linguists who twitch every time they see a shorthand message make a mockery of the English (or any other) language. The very first text message was actually grammatically sound (mostly). It read, "Merry Christmas," and other than the lack of a punctuation mark, there isn't much for linguists to complain about. Today it's just as likely to be written as, "omg m3rry xma5!" In any event, the world's first text... Read more...
Recently, the launch of the Child ID app proved that the U.S. government wasn't scared of tapping into modern-day, consumer-friendly tech to provide a service to the American people. Now, the FCC is pushing for 911 texting.  The Federal Communications Commission is envisioning a project called Next Generation 911; in addition to just sending standard SMS, it will also allow 911 teams to receive photo and video messages in order to better prepare and respond. "It’s hard to imagine that airlines can send text messages if your flight is delayed, but you can’t send a text message to 911 in an emergency," said FCC chairman Julius Genachowski. "The shift to NG911 can’t... Read more...
Apple's App Store seems to be exploding with new content, and this week it's gaining yet another notable mention: CloudTalk. As both the cloud and IM become hot topics of conversation, the two are combining in a new social messaging app for iPhone and Android, claiming to "bring voice back" to social interactions. The new version of the CloudTalk app includes rich social and multi-media capabilities and a more intuitive user interface, all built around the idea that people need to be able to use their voice to communicate. Users can use the app to add photos and videos to your messages when words just aren’t enough, group message and engage in more social conversations by threads or groups.... Read more...
A pirated version of an Android app is actually a Trojan that "shames" someone who installs it by sending an SMS message to all his contacts telling them of his piracy. The original app is called Walk and Text, and costs $2.10 in the Android Market. The app uses the camera on the back of a smartphone to show a user a visual of his upcoming surroundings, which will supposedly prevent the user from running into the street or across a set of train tracks. [Of course, since many tend to look down as they text, it's also possible they will see only the ground, unless they retrain themselves to hold the phone perpendicular to the ground as they walk. For us, that seems really hard to do.] The pirated... Read more...
The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) has added a set of acronyms from text message speak into its compendium of the English language. WTF? Among the new inclusions are LOL, OMG, and FYI. With those additions, we can now freely toss those terms around anywhere we like. The OED calls these "initialisms." As much as these terms are associated with SMS messages or IM, the OED found some interesting information during its research: As such usage indicates, many people would consider these recent coinages, from the last 10 or 20 years, and associate them with a younger generation conversant with all forms of digital communications. As is often the case, OED’s research has revealed some unexpected... Read more...
Computers have reached the point where they can beat chess champions. So is it hard to believe that a chess champion might cheat by using a chess program and an elaborate scheme using text messages? That's what happened last year in Siberia, during the 2010 chess Olympiad. At least, that is what authorities believe happened last year in a scandal that involved up-and-coming French chess grandmaster Sebastian Feller, 20; Cyril Marzolo, 32; and French captain Arnaud Hauchard, 39. All have been suspended by the French national chess federation. How did it work? Marzolo watched Feller's match from a livestream online. He then enter the moves into Firebird, open-source chess software developed by... Read more...
Spam text messages are an annoyance, and perhaps more so than spam email, as each spam SMS message could cost a subscriber who doesn't have an unlimited messaging plan money. However, in this case a spam text message prevented a suicide bombing, saving hundreds of lives. Russian security forces reported on the incident with a so-called "Black Widow" on Friday. The unnamed woman is thought to be part of the same group that struck Moscow's Domodedovo airport on Monday. She reportedly intended to detonate a suicide belt in a busy area near Red Square on New Year's Eve. It would have been an attack that might have killed hundreds. Instead, it turns out, a spam SMS message from her cellular... Read more...
Voice usage on mobile phones is going down, as more people migrate to texting, emailing, and social networking apps on their smartphones. It's particularly evident among younger people, and the FCC isn't blind to it: the FCC is reportedly looking into the possibility of allowing the public to send SMS messages and even stream video from their devices to emergency centers. The FCC said the following in a press release: “The technological limitations of 9-1-1 can have tragic, real-world consequences. During the 2007 Virginia Tech campus shooting, students and witnesses desperately tried to send texts to 9-1-1 that local dispatchers never received. If these messages had gone through, first... Read more...
T-Mobile has been sued by mobile marketing firm EZ Texting, one of those firms that provides those short code ad campaigns (text phrase x to number y). EZ Texting alleges that T-Mobile blocked EZ Texting from access to their network because of a client, weedmaps.com (AKA legalmarijuanadispensary.com), whose site provides information on medical marijuana. It should be noted that weedmaps.com, as the suit states, works with those people who live in states where medical marijuana is legal and is thus itself legal. The lawsuit (.PDF) adds that despite working with weedmaps.com for over a year, EZ Texting dropped them as a client, fearing T-Mobile's actions would drive them out of business. After... Read more...
General Motors has been pushing OnStar in their vehicles for what feels like forever. At this point, OnStar and GM just go hand-in-hand. We've come to expect it in new GM vehicles. But the technology hasn't really evolved a whole lot over the years, at least to technology driven consumers. But the world has moved on, and the world now lives on Facebook and Twitter. And so, Facebook is coming to OnStar. Yes, really! General Motors has announced a "relaunch" of OnStar, with the brand and focus now pointing to "responsible connectivity." Apparently that also involves adding Facebook audio updates, so users can hear the status updates of their friends without having to take their eyes off of the... Read more...
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