I'll be travelling to parts of
If your relatives can handle email, then the simplest idea is for them to use emails to send SMS messages to your phone. Many mobile networks and independent companies offer email-to-SMS gateways that do this, though the commercial ones charge for sending bulk texts. Usually, you send the email to the international mobile phone number followed by the supplier's email address. In other words, the address will be something like firstname.lastname@example.org, where you replace the opening 0 with the
T-Mobile used to offer this as a free service via @t-mobile.uk.net and perhaps it still does. (I believe both
Wikipedia has a big table of SMS gateways, which you can sort by region to get all the
PC users generally use websites to send the odd free SMS text message. There are quite a lot of these, and I don't know which is best. I tried half a dozen, and the two websites that delivered quickly were e-freesms and, about 10 minutes later, SMS Frog. The other four SMS messages failed to arrive within 12 hours, so again, you need to test whichever service you choose.
Both e-freesms and SMS Frog require you to fill in a CAPTCHA (Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart), which means typing some letters into a box. Here, SMS Frog is much the easier of the two. (SMS Frog also says: "Messages can be sent to
You have to be a bit careful because some sites are "free to send" but not necessarily "free to receive". With "reverse charge services", the recipient gets a free SMS alert, but they have to pay perhaps £1 to £3 to pick it up. (For example, by sending GET to a chargeable number.) However, US-based readers can use AIM, or AOL Instant Messenger, which supports sending SMS messages to US mobile numbers free of charge.
One of my Twitter followers,
In the end, Paul decided to use http://www.vyke.com/ at 3 1/2p per text with a £5 minimum purchase. You have to register to use the service, but as he pointed out, it's cheaper than using
You also mention that your elderly relatives use
Finally, if your relatives have their own mobile phone or tablet, they may be able to send you SMS messages directly, or use one of the many "free SMS" apps. I appreciate that it can be very hard for some people to use a mobile phone's small onscreen keyboard, but perhaps that problem could be solved by using a large external Bluetooth keyboard like the Anker Android/dp/B0096M8VR2/">(£17.99 from Amazon,co.uk). According to the blurb, this works with the Apple iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch, Android 3.0 and above, and Windows Mobile 5.0 and above.
Which tablet for displaying photos and videos?
I'm a new videographer/photographer, and I was looking into getting a tablet to display my work? Which one would you consider for videos and photos?
I answered a similar question in February: technology/askjack/2013/feb/14/computing-apple">What's the best tablet for a photographer with a DSLR?
If money is not a problem, and if you also want to run programs such as Adobe Lightroom and video editors such as
If a 7in screen is too small, you could move up to a 32GB Google Nexus 10, which has a 10in 2560 x 1600-pixel (300ppi) screen for £349. This compares with £479 for a 32GB Apple iPad with a 9.7in 2048 x 1536-pixel (264ppi) Retina display.
However, don't rule out the iPad or Windows tablets like the forthcoming 8in Dell Venue 8 Pro and 11 Pro. The most important thing is to choose a tablet that supports the file formats you are creating, especially if you are using a RAW format for photos. Yes, you can use a PC to convert files to a suitable tablet format, but you don't want to spend more time converting videos than watching them.
The Microsoft Surface Pro 2
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