Hunt for free SMS


I was using, but for some reason I got barred! So I googled for another free service, and the first tutorial got me to install Bluestacks – an android emulator – and an app called TextMe.


TextMe – Useful if you live in “the US, Canada & More”

Yeah, I saw that it said “Send free texts to your friends in the US, Canada & More!”  I just assumed that “& More” included Europe FFS! I mean, it knew I was in the UK and slipped me geo-located ads…


But I was wrong.  US and Canada… And the More?  Not Europe, not the UK.  It’d be cool for users in the US and Canada for sure.  Apparently you can send and even receive SMS on your free new number!

No good for me though.  Time wasted.  So let’s make up for it by finding a solution to my self-imposed goal – sending texts for free to UK numbers.

I decided to keep to BlueStacks, figuring that phones are natural text-senders.  So I googled appropriately and founds this:


So I followed the instructions, configured the app, matched my phone number with SMS verification… and that was the only text message that emanated from Bluestacks.  Shubham Kedia was rewarded with free texts on his laptop, but I wasn’t.  😦

In the end I found my free SMS… and more!  Actual phone calls! For free!


Free SMS… and calls! And P2P video chats and file-sharing! For free! WTF??? is wicked.  Free international VOIP calls FFS!!  Okay, so they are time-restricted, but it’s still there to use for free.  And the peer-to-peer stuff looks like it’s cool, though I haven’t tried it myself.

Anyway, I did it.. eventually…  Got free text messages from my laptop.  Hurray!!!!


What can we use the telephone for?


Nowadays, that phone you carry round in your pocket has many uses. Yes, there’s the phone call thing – though that’s a bit of a spin-off nowadays.  There’s text messages – the good old SMS – but that’s a comms thing too.  And Messenger, which is text messages and even voice calls, but all mixed up with social networking.

Which brings us to WhatsApp, and Signal… and then Facebook, and SnapChat, and Twitter… and Google+, and then email, and then your good old web browser… and there are the shopping apps, and the takeaway food apps, and the banking apps… and there’s the camera, and the maps, and the astronomy, and the python programming, and the translators, and the ebooks, and and and… please, leave your ideas of other telephone uses in the Comments, I swear each one will be examined and cherished.

But back when ol’ Mr Bell first came out with his amazing telephonic invention, he did’t really know what to do with it.  The first thing he noticed was when he got acid on his trousers and squealed like a little pig for help, his assistant Mr Watson heard him over the telephone and could come rushing to his aid.  But, after touring the country with his stage act, letting the audience hear, over his phone, the sound of Mr Watson playing the organ somewhere else, he was a bit stumped for practical applications.

One of his ideas was to use it as a cable radio service – every evening the family could gather round the phone and listen to live music, or a play, or a sermon, or a presidential address. We may laugh nowadays (even though we use or phones as radios, and tvs, and mp3 and video players) but in Budapest, Hungary, 1893 until after World War I, there was a service called Hirmondo which was essentially Bell’s idea.  It’s dead now, of course, but land-line phones in general are pretty dead now.  And our mobile phones are being used for a whole lot more than phone calls, as I started this post describing.  Who knows what we’ll be using phones for in another 50 years or so?  Tell you what: I bet actual phone calls will be at the bottom of the list!



Happy New Year! (Yeah yeah I know it’s late…)


I haven’t posted anything for ages. Sorry, Faithful Reader. I haven’t done very much at all lately, my head hasn’t been in the right place. But don’t worry! I intend to do more stuff this year, especially photos (which are always popular for some reason) and fiction (not always so popular, but tsb: you will *learn* to love my writing).

But what I really want to give you is what *you* want. So use the Comments to tell me what you want and I’ll endeavour to deliver it. But don’t bother telling  me to fuck off: I may have been slow starting this year, but regulars should know by now, I always return! Especially now I have the WordPress app for my Android phone (which I’m using to post this)… No matter where I am, I can get to  you, moo-hoo ha-ha!

So, normal service will be resumed very soon. Be afraid… be *very* afraid!!!  😉

Oh, one other thing: You can now make a donation to the blog (beer vouchers, ho ho ho!) by clicking on the “Make A Donation” button below.  It will take you to a page where you can make donations, in increments of £2.  The page says you’re paying the money to something called “razorednight” – don’t worry, this isn’t some evil hacker syphoning off the money, razorednight is the name of the account I use for the purpose of donation collection.  So, if you want to make a donation, feel free.  It’ll help me continue with this blogging thing.  If you don’t want to donate, that’s cool too.  You selfish oaf!!!  😉

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Is your smartphone spying on you? For millions of you, the answer is “Yes”!


Here’s something interesting and disturbing I found on Bruce Schneier’s blog, Schneier on Security: Android app developer Andrew Eckhart has discovered spyware on Android phones that records keystrokes, SMS messages, phone numbers dialled, and sends all this info home! Amd this spyware is a rootkit – it runs in the background, recording info and sending it home, without your knowledge!

Check out the video on the Register page – it will make you look at your phone in a new light. Eckhart’s demonstration uses a HTC phone, but he says he is not singling out HTC as the villain – plenty of other manufacturers sell phones with the “Carrier IQ” rootkit preinstalled – and it seems you can’t even remove it from your device! Smartphones are rapidly becoming ubiquitous – so if Carrier IQ (the Silicon Valley company responsible for the rootkit) are not outed now, everything about us will be collected, stored, then sent home for whatever nefarious purpose Carrier IQ wants. So, is your smartphone a handy device or an Orwellian personal spy?

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