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Simple Cell Tips, Part 2: Be a Text Message Champ

Do you know anyone that functions without a cell phone? I don't and according to a recent study by the Pew Research Center, in 2007, 81 percent of the U.S. population owned a cell phone, a 20 percent increase compared to 2002. With that in mind I've started a series of Simple Cell Tips that will help you better use your celly. While we can't all type "supercalifragilistic-
expialidocious" in a record 15 seconds and win $25,000, text messaging is easy enough that there's no valid excuse to be a novice. It's also a fast, discreet and inexpensive way to communicate with friends and family.

First off, you need to learn text language. Your cell phone probably allows you to send SMS and MMS. So what's the difference?

  • SMS: SMS is the abbreviation for Short Message Service and it is the most common type of text messaging. SMS was created as a means of sending messages of up to 160 characters, to and from GSM mobile handsets.
  • MMS: MMS stands for Multimedia Messaging Service. MMS messages are essentially glorified SMS messages, because they allow you to send a message with pictures, video or audio content to another device. When you take a picture on your camera phone and send it to a friend you are likely using MMS. Some carriers charge high fees for data transfer over their network, so beware of hidden fees when sending MMS.

Why should you use text messages?
While you certainly shouldn't text message while driving, text messages are great for quick reminders, keeping in touch, ordering coffee or even a little innocent flirting.

Composing Messages
To write a text message from a wireless phone, select the text messaging feature on your phones. From there, simply type in a message using the phone’s keypad. Most cell phones allow you to type messages using one of three text modes:

  • T9Word (T9) Mode: Use this mode to type text using one keystroke per letter. The phone translates keystrokes into common words by using the letters on each key and a compressed database.
  • Abc (Multi-tap) Mode: Use this mode to type words using the letters on the phone’s numerical keypad. You’ll need to hit each key from one to three times to get the letter you want.
  • 123 (Numbers) Mode: Use this mode to type numbers, using one keystroke per number.
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