Practically all cellphone service providers offer a plan that lets you use AOL instant messaging for free or for a very low monthly cost. If you have a cell phone that supports instant messaging, you can add the functionality of a PDA to your cellphone for free by using IMified. IMified allows you to manage your calendar, manage your to do lists, draft documents, and send yourself reminders from within your favorite instant messaging service (in this case, AOL Instant Messenger).
Previously we introduced IMified. For those of you that are unaware, IMified is a bot that you add to your buddy list (it is very similar to the Movie Fone bot that AOL already provides) that allows you to complete tasks and interact with your favorite Web sites. IMified works with AOL Instant Messenger, Yahoo!, Google Talk/Jabber, and MSN Messenger. IMified has quite a few usage possibilities that can be extended to a cellphone. This tutorial will demonstrate how IMified can be leveraged for tremendous productivity gains. As previously mentioned, IMified allows you to add the following PDA capabilities to your cellphone for free:
- To do lists
- Drafting documents
- Sending reminders
Note: although I will explain how to use IMified with your cellphone, you will want to get through the initial setup process on your computer before using IMified on your cellphone.
The first step is to actually sign up for IMified. This is done automatically by sending IMified an instant message. In AIM and Yahoo!, send an instant message to “imified,” in MSN, send an instant message to firstname.lastname@example.org (note: MSN is temporarily disabled), and in Google Talk/Jabber send an instant message to “email@example.com.” After you send the instant message, you will get the response shown below. The first part confirms your account and the second part displays your menu choices. This is shown below:
Adding Google Calendar
To add Google Calendar, select choice “4 – My Account” by sending an instant message with just the number “4” in the body to IMified. IMified will send you back a set of three links and the first link will be for your account setting. By following this link, you will be able to add various web applications to your IMified menu. Click Google Calendar and the settings will come up.
You will notice that there is one part of the Google settings that is not entirely intuitive. The “Calendar Feed URL” can be found by going into your Google Calendar Settings and copying the XML link shown in the Private section. To get to the appropriate screen in Google Calendar, select Settings >> Calendars >> YourCalendarName >> and you will see “Private Address” at the very bottom of the page. This is shown below:
Once you save your settings, send “M” to IMified and you will see that Google Calendar has been added to your menu. Send IMified the appropriate number to select Google Calendar and you will see that you have the following options: “1 – Add to Calendar” and “2 – View Calendar.” Adding events to your calendar is extremely easy. Google Calendar accepts pretty much any format you try to send.
By sending “2” you can also see all of the events you currently have in your Google Calendar. This is shown below:
Send yourself reminders
IMified also has a built in feature that allows you to plan reminders. If you are at all familiar with the service provided at Future Mail (you can email yourself reminders that get delivered to your inbox at a future date you specify), IMified does essentially the same thing with instant messages. The built-in reminder feature can be used on a cellphone to plan and manage your day for free. You can set up meeting reminders in IMified similar to the way Outlook reminds you of appointments. To add a new reminder, return to the Imified menu and choose the number that correlates with “IMified Reminders.” Once you select this option, you will be prompted by IMified for the type of reminder you would like to receive and when you would like to receive it:
Although I doubt this scenario is very prevalent, if you have a cellphone that has AIM capabilities, but not an alarm, you can set up a reminder through IMified and use it as an alarm clock in the morning.
Using IMified to do lists
The to do list feature built into IMified is very handy and can once again be useful for people that have AIM built into their cell phones. The to do list is very easy to use and very handy. IMified allows you to add new tasks, view current tasks, and view your completed tasks. The to do list is very straight forward and can be used on-the-go very quickly.
Using IMified to draft documents
The notes feature of IMified allows you to write and save documents for yourself. The notes feature allows you to write and save documents up to 2500 characters in length. If you are drafting a document longer than 2500 characters, you can simply break the note into two documents. To put this in perspective, 2500 characters is approximately 3/4 of a page in Microsoft Word (single spaced). The notes feature essentially gives you a stripped down version of a word processor:
Collaborate with IMified
By setting up an AIM/Google account to be used by multiple people, you can collaborate on-the-go with IMified. If multiple users are logged into AIM with the same screen name they can view the shared calendar and they can view and modify all the various components built into IMified. IMified would be a great way for couples to manage and share information with each other throughout the day.
Note: I only scratched the surface on the many ways you can extend IMified. IMified can also be used with many common web-based productivity applications including: 30 Boxes, BackPack, BaseCamp, Blogger, Live Journal, Movable Type, Remember The Milk, Stikkit, Typepad, and WordPress. Also, obviously using IMified with a cellphone is much easier if you have a cellphone that has a “QWERTY” keyboard. What other ways do you think IMified can be leveraged?