Monday, January 22, 2018

Temporary or Disposable email addresses

Temporary or Disposable email addresses are offered by services which allow you to register a "throw away" email address, and that very easy. When creating a mail address their server might show a fixed domain (the part after the "@") or lets you pick one from their list. The server then creates a seemingly random local part (the letters or numbers before the "@") for that domain and activates it instantly. Any email sent there shows up usually with no delay.

These disposable email addresses might be used to sign up for services you don't want to expose a more important email address such as Facebook, Twitter or one-shop occasions where you want to avoid receiving spam later. Unfortunately many services, especially Facebook, do not allow many of the temporary email addresses, so it can be a pain to finally find one they accept.

There are different kind of services. Some expire the email address after an hour, may be a day with no way to change this. Other service don't let them expire at all. So have a closer look if you think you need an email for longer than that time after the address expires.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Are SMS doomed?

An SMS is a short text message sent by a (usually) cellular phone to another. Or any device capable of doing so. It consists of 160 7-Bit (or 140 8-Bit) characters. The first SMS was sent in the UK 1992, first commercial services started 1993 and initially the growth was slow. It took until the late 90s to really take off, making it the most used GSM service. It reached its peak in 2012.

But the event of Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp and similar services traditional SMS loosing ground rapidly. Do we see the death of SMS? Some point in the future, yes. But today (late 2017 that is)

  • there are still many people using SMS.
  • you need internet to use Facebook, Whatsapp and others whereas you only need a mobile phone to send a traditional SMS
  • some European banks have one time SMS sent to a customer before he can to a transaction
  • SMS uses GSM. It's just there, no maintenance needed to keep it alive

Thus I wouldn't worry that SMS will be gone any time soon.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Receive SMS Online

Several web services such as most email provider or social media pages like Twitter and Facebook require that you register a phone number with them. While they all promise not to use it for other purpose than "your" security they are all making money with advertising. In my opinion you cannot be sure that they not sell them or use them themselves in the future to send some commercial offers. This is one of the reasons some services provide free or paid SMS numbers you can anonymously receive a confirmation code without having your real phone number exposed to them.

Some five years ago I had some success receiving SMS from an email provider to validate my account. But in recent attempts - recent as in late 2017 that is - I failed receiving codes via free online SMS services. First, the company I tried to get access back to my account after they blocked it, rejected most numbers I entered. Said there were too many tries with that number, simply this number is blocked, third party numbers not allowed and other reasons. Secondly, when an SMS number was finally accepted and I went back to the SMS online provider to refresh the web page, the SMS with the code would not show up. Not even after hours. What I did then was calling that number to see what happens. Often the line was busy. Or number was out of business. But when I got through a voice told me I have to register, although the web page itself said it is without registration. One number might even had been reassigned to someone different. I was trying a number in the USA and somebody in Spanish said "Hola"!

Is it just me or did free SMS numbers are more or less dead? If so that leaves only to try a paid service. But here you have to think about if it's really worth to pay some $10 if you only want to receive a few SMS. I say not.