Update to my original Texter Post

Posted in Software on August 13th, 2010 by ab

A while back, I wrote a pretty scant description of Texter from Lifehacker.com.  Please be forgiving, it was one of my first posts!  I bring it up because, although I don’t want to make a habit of rewriting old posts, I use Texter daily in ways that I never mentioned before.  Therefore, here are my updated uses for Texter:

1. Fast greetings: I sign most emails with either “Thanks, {Return}Alex” or “Best, {Return}Alex”.  To save some time, I use “t,” and “b,” for those phrases, respectively.  This permits me to quickly finish an email and then send (using Alt + s in Microsoft Outlook or Tab then Space in Gmail).

2. Personal data: If I type “Addy”, Texter types out my home address.  ”mynum” types out my phone number.  Both of these are simple time savers that I’ve used a lot while communicating travel plans or shipping information.  When I was in the UK, I used “uknum” for my local phone number.

3. Loyalty info: “starwood#”, “skymiles#”, “wbs#” and about a dozen other word + # combinations make up my library of travel numbers.  As a frequent traveler, I got tired to looking at my cards or a spreadsheet to keep track of all my numbers.  Instead, I just type “hhonors#” and Texter inserts my Hilton Honors number.

4. Dates: “dt” and “dts” are the Texter codes I use for long date and short date respectively.  One of the great features of Texter is the inclusion of built-in commands.  In this case, I put %dl in the replacement text for “dt”.  This tells Texter that when I type “dt”, I want today’s long date (Monday, 30th of July 2010).  %ds produces a mm/dd/yy value instead.

5. Email lists: I find that email programs are generally quite annoying when you want to maintain groups of people in mailing lists.  For each program you have to setup your contacts into lists.  Instead, if I have a group of people that I’m emailing often, I just create a “@emaillist” hotstring, which tells Texter to put in my list of email addresses.  This can be a great time saver if you switch between Outlook and Gmail regularly.

6. Quick replies: For the same reason as number 5, Form emails are another great use for Texter.  If I type @Comment into Gmail or Outlook, Texter asks me who I want to write to (a little prompt appears) and then puts in “Hi person, Thanks for your comment on Justanasterisk.com. I’ve posted a reply to your message which you can see on the site.  Best, ab”  Obviously, person is the name that Texter asked me to provide in the beginning.  If you want to try this, include %p in your script.

7. Meeting details: Meetings inevitably require a ton of similar information.  One thing that I use constantly is “mtg#’ which inserts my dial-in number and meeting ID for the participants.

In the end, Texter is a tool that can really speed up your Windows work.  I started with a small number of uses, but the list has grown.  I don’t recommend trying to think of every use for Texter at once.  Instead, it’s easiest just to start using it for a few things and then add as the inspiration strikes you.  Also, make sure you go back and delete the Texter hotstrings that you don’t really use.  I find that this helps avoid problems and unexpected results.

Good luck and share any cool ideas you have in the comments!

~ab

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Send SMS via Google Talk

Posted in Web on January 17th, 2010 by admin

Sometimes a good tip is worth sharing, even if it’s not really large enough for a full post. Blog fashion police be damned, I’m writing it anyway.

SMS (also known as texting) stands for short message service and has become more popular in the US than calling, a fact that was a surprisingly long time coming.  Although we’ve finally caught on to the trend, messages are still rather expensive if you don’t have an unlimited plan or are sending/receiving while out of country. Well there is a small solution built write into your Gmail account that you might not have found yet. Here are the steps to send text messages straight from Google talk!

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