MSN Messenger on my Cell Phone

Aliant is making a big deal out of a “new” service that lets their digital cell phone customers send and receive instant messages to and from MSN Messenger users on the Internet.

When I first read about this, I was excited, because I’ve used instant messaging a lot to communicate with colleagues and clients, and the notion of having this capability seamlessly following me out the door was very attractive.

Attractive, that is, until I started into the complex voodoo process of sending and receiving instant messages on my cell phone.

To their credit, this mostly isn’t the fault of Aliant: the system relies upon Microsoft’s kludgy way of getting cell phones, with their limited software and capabilities, wired into their instant messaging network.

How complex is it? Here are just some of the steps on the Aliant Accessing the MSN® Messenger Service through Text Messaging page:

  • After completing the MSN sign-up process you should have received the following text message on your phone: MSN Messenger Service! To retrieve your contact list, reply to this message with CL. Save this number in your phone to view your contact list anytime.
  • You should either save the 9 digit number attached to this message in your phonebook as “Messenger” (it will start with 2220) or save the text message. You will need this number to retrieve your contact list, turn off alerts and send instant messages.
  • To retrieve your list of online contacts, create a new text message from the messaging menu of your phone and insert the 9 digit “Messenger” number you saved in your phone book. In the Message field type in the command “CL”, then send the message.
  • You will receive a message back with a list your online contacts. You can chat with one of your contacts by replying to this message with the number of the contact you want to chat with ie 1 What’s up?

Now maybe it’s just me, but this all seems a lot like the instructions for how to use the UNIX ‘talk’ command back in 1981. Except that it’s more complicated.

The beauty of instant messaging clients is that anyone can figure out how to use them: double click on your friend’s name and start typing. Trying to contort a cell phone to do the same thing reflects just how primitive cell phone operating systems are.

Suggestion: if you need to chat with colleagues and clients from your cell phone, give them a call. Instructions:

  • Dial number.
  • Talk.


Brad Pineau's picture
Brad Pineau on August 26, 2003 - 05:56 Permalink

As complicated and annoying the system is.. it’s a step in the right direction.

Lou Quillio's picture
Lou Quillio on August 26, 2003 - 08:57 Permalink

There’s no doubt that telephone companies just don’t get the Web.

I was the first guy on my block with cable modem service in 1997, shaking down my neighborhood node with the cable techs for free. A few years later the (not very) local telco managed to roll-out DSL.

The idiots priced it the same as cable, though it delivered less throughput and was far buggier. The telco would solicit me by phone. I don’t know how many reps I turned down flat but also gave an education in the folly of asking customers to switch to an inferior product. Shouldn’t they have been calling folks in places were cable wasn’t already established? All calls ended the same: “Yeah, I see your point.” I was raised in a three-generation telco family, so we talk about these things. The prevailing wisdom is that telcos are satisfied to market broadband as an adjunct to dialtone. You just moved in. Do you have a computer? Wouldn’t you like broadband too? Aggressive market penetration this ain’t.

So now my (morphed) local provider is Verizon, an amalgam of the telcos my forebears slaved for. Verizon is also my cell provider, and is very proud to offer email access via cellphone. As long as you’re accessing an MSN/Hotmail or Yahoo account. Hello? A normal person only uses those for emergencies or porn.

Umm, can I access a regular email account with my phone?”

What do you mean?”

You know, regular email, an address at, say [example].com.”

I think … no, it has to be MSN or Yahoo.”

Thanks for nothing. Worse, the cell reps thought I was asking an odd question.

Not exactly the vanguard of open standards. Do these quasi-public telcos work for me or for Microsoft … or maybe Disney, for that matter? It’s like loudly offering a money-back guaranteed 30-minute oil change, but only for blue Chevy Luminas.

Fuck You's picture
Fuck You on February 7, 2004 - 15:23 Permalink

It probably took more time typing out that article than it did setting msn instant messenger up. My friend set up his instant messenger on his cell phone with no trouble in no time. If you were trying to make it seem like a long time ,you infact made it seem even shorter according to your article. You either do not know how to use your cell phone ,or you are one of the most lazy people I know. I don’t even see a point in stating an issue up to 10x more serious than this ,when nobody will care.

Fuck You's picture
Fuck You on February 7, 2004 - 15:30 Permalink

Lou ,I think your statement is one of the most powerful statements I’ve ever seen. I agree that you should be able to use a regular e-amil for your cell phone and that cable internet is much better than dsl. Your site is awesome and I think you are a good inspiration and you should continue to post message boards and make something of it. Let the world know of your skill ,no joke you have alot of potential.

Fuck You's picture
Fuck You on February 7, 2004 - 15:33 Permalink

Brad ,you should of taken that shit from that fagget!!! It is a step in the right direction but ,you can not show a soft side. You have to work on your people skils and then you should make statements.

Fuck You's picture
Fuck You on February 7, 2004 - 15:36 Permalink

I am sorry people I mistakenly gave the wrong e-mail in my first two posts. I hit a shortcut key and I was in a hurry. My real e-mail I use only to give out to people I dont trust in knowing my is

Ken's picture
Ken on February 7, 2004 - 16:05 Permalink

You are on lucid motherfucker FuckYou — profane blog ninja mindwrecker! I’m rethinking my mail system…working…

Jesse...'s picture
Jesse... on February 8, 2005 - 21:08 Permalink

ok well i think that you need to put exactly how to download it how to sign up and put links to all this…your not making it easy for you its supost to be easy for us! until you do that right Fuck Off

Not, really's picture
Not, ... on February 8, 2005 - 22:23 Permalink

Is this comment spam or just incredibly rude people who can’t tipe reel wel?

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous on November 28, 2008 - 16:03 Permalink

This is the stupidest blog ever.

Mitsy's picture
Mitsy on April 19, 2009 - 05:42 Permalink

Whats up this sounds fun hope it is

I had to laugh's picture
I had to laugh on August 27, 2009 - 02:31 Permalink

seriously. I can’t believe “fuck you” wasted all that time.

I had to laugh's picture
I had to laugh on August 27, 2009 - 02:31 Permalink

geez, and to think that he/she? made me waste my time too….gah.

someone's picture
someone on April 23, 2010 - 17:21 Permalink

it shouldn’t be aloud to have Msn on cell phone cause you never know what your man or women is talking to or about and when ask them that they said and sometime they tell you the true or lie to you so that is why i think that they should not have msn on cell phone