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Easy text messaging to offline buddies in iChat Apps
I've been using iChat to send text messages for a while, but disliked the fact that I had to have two contacts on my buddy list -- one for their AIM/.Mac account and another for their mobile number. While playing around today I tried something new and was surprised with what I found.

I went to my friend's Address Book contact and created a new AIM account with his mobile number using the specified format (+1, then the area code and phone number without any other characters (+13031234567)). I then switched to iChat and proceeded to press the + symbol and add my friend (again) to my buddy list, making sure I selected the new AIM account with the mobile number.

Now, I can see my friend and chat with him when he's online as normal, but when he logs off, his status changes to the color gray and a symbol similar to Apple's WiFi symbol shows up next to his name. This tells me that he is offline, but I can send him a text message using iChat. In the iChat documentation, it says that to send a text message, you have to go to File > Send SMS and type the mobile number in the +1number format, but it says nothing of this capability.
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Easy text messaging to offline buddies in iChat | 6 comments | Create New Account
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Easy text messaging to offline buddies in iChat
Authored by: MJCube on Dec 17, '07 09:34:13AM

I have been keeping friends with both chat and SMS locations as single entries in my Buddy List for a couple years now. The disadvantage is only that when my friend goes offline I have to be aware that if I send another IM it will go to their phone. (This is in iChat 3, still in Tiger; iChat 4 has the more informative status display described in the hint.)



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Easy text messaging to offline buddies in iChat
Authored by: sreubart on Dec 17, '07 10:56:45AM

Yeah, I discovered this recently, too. And because iChat is scriptable, I was able to write a script to check to see if any of my servers are down, and to send a message to my phone if there are any problems. I'm thinking of moving to the Nagios monitoring system, and may be able to get that to send me messages, too.




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Good to know!
Authored by: ptwithy on Dec 17, '07 03:14:21PM

I used to do this in Tiger, but too many times accidentally SMS-ed someone when I didn't mean to. Chax helped, because it would warn you when you were about to send to a cell phone. It's nice that iChat now has a better status indicator.

FWIW, it only switches over to SMS if the person really logs out. Being 'away' is not enough. But by choosing Send SMS, you can switch to that.

Also, I didn't have to re-add the person to my buddy list to get their SMS address to show up.



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I lied
Authored by: ptwithy on Dec 17, '07 03:48:52PM

While I could SMS my buddies explicitly without (re-)adding them, I did have to add their SMS explicitly as a buddy to get the buddy to display as 'available' when they were logged out of AIM.



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Easier way?
Authored by: atchius on Dec 18, '07 11:35:25PM

Why not just ctrl+click their name in your offline buddies list and click Send SMS? I guess the downside is that you have to open "Offline Buddies", but at least you don't need to have the mobile number typed twice in Address Book… blecch.



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Easier way?
Authored by: wib on Jul 25, '08 01:06:43PM

When I control click in the Address Book, I get the option to send an SMS via Skype, but not via iChat. How do I get it to allow the option to send via iChat.



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