8. Transfer Files to Your Phone
Savvy users know that the easiest way to move a file between PCs is to e-mail it to yourself. So why not take the same approach for transferring a file to your phone? Unfortunately, it's not always that easy: Many phones balk at e-mail file attachments due to size or format. And what if your phone isn't set up to fetch e-mail anyway? Your only option is a traditional PC-to-phone connection, which usually requires a special cable or a complicated Bluetooth configuration.
Enter Beam It Up Scotty, a free Web-based service that leverages SMS to send just about any kind of file to your phone. Just browse your hard drive for the desired file--document, photo, MP3, movie, or whatever--and then choose a compression setting. Beam It Up Scotty can automatically optimize video and audio files for mobile-phone playback and can
Finally, enter your cell-phone number. Within a few minutes you'll receive a text message containing a link to download the file straight to your phone.
9. Send Text Messages From Your PC
Suppose a text message arrives on your phone while you're sitting at your desk. Do you really have to peck out the reply on the phone's tiny keypad? Not if you know the recipient's phone number and carrier. Just fire up Outlook or any other mail client and compose your reply like an ordinary e-mail. The trick lies in knowing the proper way to address the message.
For example, e-mails sent to phones on the Sprint network must be formatted like this: email@example.com. To send e-mail-via-SMS to a Verizon customer, use firstname.lastname@example.org. You can find a full list of carriers and their text-message addresses at SMS 411.
If you don't know the recipient's carrier or can't remember all those different suffixes, take a shortcut: Send your e-mail to email@example.com. The free Teleflip service does the legwork for you, routing your message to the appropriate carrier. Whatever method you use, keep in mind that replies will come to your e-mail inbox, not to your cell phone--which can be a good thing if you're spending the day at your desk anyway.
10. Archive Your Messages
Need to save an important message for posterity (or a pending court case)? In an ideal world, you'd simply connect your phone to your PC and copy the messages to your hard drive. Few phones can do that out of the box, however. But the free utility BitPim makes
To preserve only a select few messages (and avoid the hassles of software and cables), check out Treasuremytext. This free Web service archives and manages all messages forwarded from your phone. Later, you can visit the Treasuremytext site to review your messages, add notes, and organize them in custom folders.
Michigan-based writer Rick Broida has been covering the tech world for nearly 20 years. In addition to his contributions to PC World, he is author of The Cheapskate Blog.