SMS Bustracker works with “Obama Phone”

TropoBustracker

A pinch of Tropo, a dash of Bustracker, fold in a pound of jata with PHP, bake for an hour and you have jata-sms.

My Android smartphone suffered a breakdown last week.    New parts should arrive soon.  But in the meantime, I was at a loss without my favorite Android app jata.  I use it to get bus arrival times with the local WRTA Bustracker.  Bustracker has a text message interface, and I thought I would try that with the backup TracFone (Safelink Obamaphone[1]).  That didn’t work.  The TracFone Terms and Conditions states that “TracFone does not generally participate in Premium SMS services or campaigns.”  The Bustracker SMS number is 41411, a shortcode for Textmarks, and I guess Textmarks is a premium service.  Then, I remembered Tropo, a gateway for voice and SMS.  It offers a free developer account and phone number, and now I had a motivation to work with it.

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  1. [1]There could be a whole other discussion about giving away the razors (phones) to sell the blades (20 ¢ / min airtime), but I’ll leave that for another day.