No Internet? No problem! SMS your way back to the Web

sms hurricane sandyAn estimated 7.5 million people on the East Coast are now without power thanks to the effects of Hurricane Sandy, and many more are experiencing intermittent access to electricity and the Internet. If you’re one of these unlucky souls (for the record, we hope you’re staying safe), you don’t have to go totally Web-deprived until who-knows-when. All you need is a phone and a texting plan to get access to some of your favorite websites, as well as stay connected with friends and family.

Hopefully you can read this before your power goes out again.

Twitter

activating usernameTwitter has an incredibly thorough guide on how to use its service via SMS. From the beginning, the site was created to be accessed via mobile phones – any and all mobile phones. You can check out Twitter’s step-by-step guide here, but for the sake of brevity, here’s the condensed version (for U.S. users only).

If you don’t yet have an account:

  1. Text “START” to 40404 and then reply to the message from Twitter with your full name.
  2. You’ll then get a message from Twitter to create a username (less than or equal to 15 characters, no spaces, no special caracters). That’s it — now you can post to Twitter via text.

If you already have an account:

  1. Text “START” to 40404; text “YES” to the resulting message.
  2. Reply with your username (without the @ symbol – send your name only, for example: iammollymchugh).
  3. Then you’ll have to text your password. It is case sensitive. Now you’re set and can start posting to Twitter via SMS by sending 140 character max posts to that same 40404 number.
    sms to twitter 

If you only want to receive relevant updates, you can use Twitter’s Fast Follow service:

  1. First, you’ll need to make a list of accounts you want to receive information from. If you’re doing this for Hurricane Sandy purposes, here are a helpful handful: @usNWSgov@MattNoyesNECN@JimDuncanNBC12@RedCross@weatherchannel@fema@breakingstorm.  Also, if you want to get updates from friends or family you’re concerned about, include them.
  2. After that, send the message “Follow [insert username here]” to 40404. Now you’ll get SMS messages of posts from the users your selected. There is a daily limit here, and you’ll be prompted to create an account via SMS if you hit it – in that case, see above.

Facebook

In order to sign up to use Facebook via text, you do need to log into your account and change your settings – so obviously, if you’re already without the Internet, this is all moot. Of course that means you aren’t reading this anyway, so we’ll continue.

  1. Login to Facebook and under Account Settings, choose Mobile from the left-hand side of the screen. Add your number and hit Activate Text Messaging. You’ll be prompted to send the letter “F” to 32665.
    confirm number facebook
  2. You’ll get a confirmation number you need to enter into the Activate box online – and make sure you check the “Allow friends to text me from Facebook” box if you want to receive updates. Now your number is confirmed and you can receive posts and update your own by texting content to that 32665 number. There are some other options in the drop down menu for what you receive from Facebook via text.
    options facebook texts 
  3. If you want to get specific – and aren’t worried about losing your connection mid-settings alteration – you can enter the names of people you want to get text updates from.
    who can send messages via facebook text
  4. You’re all set. You can turn this off by texting “stop” to 32665.

Tumblr

While there isn’t an SMS option for using Tumblr, all users do have an email address they can used to post text, photos, MP3s, or videos from.

  1. Under your settings, hit the last hub that shows your blog’s name and scroll down to “Post by Email.”
    tumblr settings 
  2. There, you’ll see a custom address you can use to post from.
    email tumblr 

You can also post content by dialing 1-866-584-6757 to leave audio messages to your Tumblr.

google search smsGoogle Search

Using Google search via SMS is incredibly easy. Simply text your query to 466453 and you’ll receive results back via text.

Product Review

Google’s Pixel 3 is a hair away from pocket-sized perfection

Google’s Pixel 3 smartphone is the best Android phone you can buy. It doesn’t have the best looks or the best hardware, but you’ll be hard pressed to find better software and unique A.I. functionalities.
Smart Home

Google Assistant adds smart home bells and whistles in time for the holidays

Just in time for the holidays, Google Assistant is introducing a bunch of new smart home features, including the ability to reply to broadcast messages, create and use cookbooks, and access enhanced storybook content for kids.
Computing

Our favorite Windows apps will help you get the most out of your new PC

Not sure what apps you should be downloading for your newfangled Windows device? Here are the best Windows apps, whether you need something to speed up your machine or access your Netflix queue. Check out our categories and favorite picks.
Movies & TV

'Prime'-time TV: Here are the best shows on Amazon Prime right now

There's more to Amazon Prime than free two-day shipping, including access to a number of phenomenal shows at no extra cost. To make the sifting easier, here are our favorite shows currently streaming on Amazon Prime.
Mobile

Keep on clicking with the 10 best browsers for Android

Browsing the web on an Android device should not be a pain. Check out our picks for the best browsers for Android, so you can surf the web with greater ease and access a trove of unique features.
Mobile

Google rolls out Night Sight to Pixel 3 and 3 XL camera app

Google's latest flagships, the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL, are now official and we have all the details from the October 9 event in New York City and Paris. Here's everything we know about the Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL.
Mobile

You can now message businesses straight through Google Maps

Google has been updating Maps with a ton of new features over the past few months, and now it's back with another one -- the ability for users to message businesses directly through the Maps app.
Mobile

No cash. No talking. What goes next? Welcome to your ‘app-tive’ digital life

Bank of America's 2018 Trends in Consumer Mobility Report found mobility has changed our lives. Mobile tech influences how most of us communicate, meet people, build relationships, and handle money as we move toward a cashless society.
Mobile

The Motiv smart ring is coming to 20 more countries and physical stores

Remember Motiv's activity tracking smart ring? It's back with a raft of new features that adds biometric identification and token authentication, all on a device that fits on your finger.
Wearables

Everything you need to know about Garmin’s GPS watches and trackers

Garmin jumped into the GPS smartwatch and fitness tracker market five years ago and has built a portfolio of devices that rivals competitor Fitbit. Here's your guide to the latest and greatest fitness devices that Garmin has to offer.
Mobile

Sharp doubles down on the notch trend with Aquos R2 Compact

As if one notch wasn't enough, Japanese manufacturer Sharp unveiled a new smartphone that has two -- one teardrop style notch at the top, and a bigger notch at the bottom. Here's what the world's first dual-notch smartphone looks like.
Mobile

Verizon has made its first 5G video call … with a phone that’s already out

Verizon has announced that it has successfully made its first video call, using a smartphone that's already available: The Motorola Moto Z3. To make the call, Verizon used the 5G Moto Mod.
Mobile

Samsung patents show what Infinity-O display could look like on Galaxy S10

While we still may be months away from an announcement, there's no doubt about it: Samsung is working hard on its successor to the Galaxy S9. Here's everything we know about the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S10.
Deals

Black Friday 2018: The best deals so far

Black Friday is the biggest shopping holiday of the year, and it will be here before you know it. If you can't wait until November 23 to start formulating a shopping plan, we've got you covered.