I hadn’t thought that my first post of the semester would be for Mobile Media, but it seems it is. We’ve been working with the absolute cheapest (and in a lot of ways least flexible) system for building software packages that interact with mobile phones. Basically we’re using a PHP script that reads email messages and processes them. In the US at least you can send an MMS message from a phone to an email address. This allows for SMS-like interactions of a sort.
Last week we just worked on getting the code up and working. Receiving and responding and all that (with a cron script making sure the system checks for new messages regularly). This week we worked on actual applications.
Inspired by a discussion with a roommate I realized that there is a vast unfilled niche in mobile communications: calls and messages conveniently timed to get you out of uncomfortable social situations (like bad dates). It’s common enough to be cliched by now to have someone call/text you thirty or forty minutes into a date just in case it’s going poorly. It’ll give you an excuse to get out quick on short notice.
But often your friends are flaky and fail to call. Or sometimes you can’t arrange for someone to call. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could get a computer to do it? Well now you can.
Poorly, admittedly, but you can do it. If you send an MMS message to firstname.lastname@example.org with the body of the message containing the number of minutes the system should wait before texting you back then after that delay you’ll get an “emergency” text message.
Isn’t that useful? Now you know what to do next time you’re having a crappy date!
Tags: mobile media