Thursday, May 1, 2014

Cellular Texting From Your Computer

As the Tech Director of Lower Yukon, I often find myself taking calls on my personal cell while also listening to another phone call on my work cell. Heck, sometimes I have a conference call on my landline or WebEx running on my computer the whole time! What I don't have time for is texting with the cheapest, least effective, Samsung phone I could find on Amazon...

What I need is a way to charge my phones in my desk drawer and be able to text from my computer. Often times my staff and colleagues prefer to text instead of call or email. I don't blame them. It's not uncommon you find yourself without email, network connectivity, or even a computer. This post will be a quick overview of what the simplest options are out there for cell phone texting to and from a computer. 

The first way is pretty straightforward. You can email a cell phone as MMS. For a complete list of carriers click here. You will notice as an Alaskan reader than GCI is not included. I did a little research and found the Global Communications Incorporated email suffix: @mobile.gci.net. Basically, this means you open up a browser and start an email from your host of choice (Yahoo, Google, Hotmail) and in the "To" field simply type the recipient's number. You will then add @mobile.gci.net to the end of the 10-digit cell number. EX: 19075912411@mobile.gci.net 

The reason this is so great for me is that I can send an easily typed (spell checked) message directly to cell phones. In emergency situations, network outages, or times without email access, my recipients can get critical updates on their cell phones. I can send a message simply and easily to numerous recipients and even receive responses from users without email! 

If its simpler integration you seek, try MySMS. 

MySMS has several options and components. First, it requires a smartphone to start the sync. Users will download the app (android/iOS): 

Once you have the mobile app, you will need to sync to your computer by creating a free account with MySMS. You can use a browser if you like or download the app (PlayStore/AppleAppStore): 

After syncing, you will send and receive text messages from devices and computers seamlessly! 

Okay, now you are really thinking it over... Maybe you are saying to yourself: "why not just Skype?", "why not just text?", "what's the difference; doesn't iMessage do this already?", or "just call them!"

Here's my answer. Communication is everything. My job is to accept communication in all forms and meet the needs of my constituency. My job is also to facilitate the most effective and efficient means of communication. This equates to my desktop including the following open windows throughout my workday: Skype, AppleMail, FirstClass, mySMS, iMessage, and three browsers (with three different emails, contacts, and calendars)! 

The end result is my ability to send spell-checked messages using a keyboard to multiple recipients regardless of device, platform, or network... Fun, huh!?