A couple of months ago we needed to make a service which would be able to send out sms text messages to a large number of people. The text message itself should come from a specific number so recipients would be able to reply back for more information.
Another requirement was the ability to send a text message to a specific number and then trigger the mass sending to the configured recipients.
The part sending out bulk sms is easy. A lot of companies have great, simple APIs to do this but they do not allow for incoming sms without paying a considerable up-front amount (easily $2k). We would like to avoid paying this and thought of solutions and found one using Twitter. Basically it should be possible to send a tweet (via SMS, which is possible) and have this tweet delivered to all your configured recipients.
We built ShoutSMS for this purpose but have currently disabled the Twitter integration since it was based on Basic Authentication which is going to be discontinued today. Instead we need to update our code to use OAuth and we plan to update this shortly.
The ShoutSMS service is very simple but very cheap as well. You sign up, confirm your number and import your list of phone numbers. Then you’re ready to go. Since we temporarily disabled the Twitter integration it’s possible to send messages directly from the site as well. Since we confirmed your number we are able to send out messages on your behalf so all messages will come from your confirmed phone number.
If this sounds interesting and maybe something your company could use for mass marketing, you should head over to the ShoutSMS web site and create an account. You will get a couple of free sms to check out the features.
While working on lifestyleapps I have been asked a couple of times, if it would be possible to report your weight by sending an SMS from your phone. This is already possible and I have been using it from my iPhone 3G for a long time.
The trick is to associate your Twitter account to your lifestyleapps account and set up your Twitter to accept SMS. In order to report your weight you need to follow @reporting which is the lifestyleapps Twitter account and by following this (and it will follow you back) it’s possible to send a direct message to avoid everyone having to see your weight.
This is the screen to associate your Twitter account in lifestyleapps
In order to send your weight you simply enter
d reporting weight 82.4
This will report your weight as “82.4” kg and insert it for todays date. You might shorten the message to
d reporting w 82.4
Lifestyleapps will check messages sent to @reporting each minute and see if an associated lifestyleapps account exists for that Twitter handle. If that’s the case, the weight entry is inserted into your lifestyleapps account.
If you are on an iPhone you might be interested in Twpie which is an upcoming application allowing you to send similar tweets fast. It does this by storing recently sent tweets and order these by usage count and last updated date.
I have bought a touchatag RFID reader and a couple of touchatag RFID tags and was wondering how I could use these to track my daily intake in lifestyleapps.
I noticed a Twitter application already has been developed which post a message from a configured account. Since lifestyleapps already integrate with Twitter it was a simple matter of associating a direct message and prefixing it with “h” or “having” to let lifestyleapps know you are reporting an intake.
Many cups of coffee are consumed on a daily basis by me and I thought I would make tracking this easier for myself by configuring a touchatag with a Twitter message of “d reporting having Coffee, instant, prepared with water”. This means “d” for direct message, “reporting” for the Twitter user receiving our message (used by lifestyleapps), “having” to tell lifestyleapps you are reporting an intake and “Coffee, instant, prepared with water” to make lifestyleapps look up this specific intake and figuring out its nutrition values.
Now whenever I drink a cup of coffee I just need to place my coffee mug on a touchatag reader and it will automatically trigger a Twitter message which will be read by lifestyleapps. And this can by done using no code at all.
This is a pretty sweet thing and I’m planning to put a couple of tags on my breakfast food items since I almost eat the same breakfast every morning. It would be nice to be able to just put a bottle of milk, a bag of bread and a jar of jam on my reader to track my breakfast within lifestyleapps.