Thursday Tech: Texting Tricks pt. II

Text Message


On Tuesday, I listed my top favorite tricks to use texting for good. We might all like phone calls a little better, but a lot of us have texting built into those dastardly cell phone plans, and while you've got it, you might as well have it work for you.
My other favorite texting tricks:
- Amber Alerts. Want to help support this great service and know when one gets issued for your area? Sign up for up to five zipcodes here.
-Do you use eBay? We're big fans. But we're not always by our computers - which is why their alerts service has been a great help.
- A lot of banks are starting to let you sign up for free balance checks, or automated balance reminders, via text message. (For example, you can find Bank of America's very cool service here.) But if you don't have that - or don't like your bank's setup - Mint.com, a personal finance site that lets you pull in all your online banking accounts, has a great feature where it texts you your balance and any other alerts you want. For example: I told Mint to tell me when I exceed my monthly budget of $150 (yes, I'm broke) for eating out. Helpfully, it sends me a little text message every time. Mint is also great about alerting you to possible fradulent activity on any of your accounts.
- The New York Times will text you. No. Joke. Text 698-698 (NYTNYT) with anything in the text message, and it will subscribe you to their breaking news alerts.
- More weather-related help: You can text "pollen" plus your ZIP code to 42278 for a onetime alert. Or subscribe.
- There's lots more! Check your airline, your hotel, your local businesses, your bars, your cities, and your churches to see if they offer text update services.
Also, we heard from more than a few people that they'd somehow started getting texted spam. Yes, that's possible. If you're experiencing that, this New York Times column does a great job of explaining how to make it stop.

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