Siesta Text App Review

Siesta Text App Review

Dec 22, 2011

In an earlier blog post I briefly mentioned a 2 dollar app called Siesta Text. I’ve spent a few days with this app and after a few initial problems I found Siesta Text to be very useful, especially for the holidays and other social events. Be warned, however, if you use third party messaging services such as the very popular Handcent. Siesta Text does not play nice with Handcent or GO SMS, but I was able to work around this in Handcent by deselecting Handcent as the default messaging app. This doesn’t affect how Handcent works; it will still send notifications, and you also need to disable notifications in Android’s stock messaging service because it becomes active again. Doing this allows Siesta Text to gain access to your text messages that GO SMS and Handcent intercept.

Ignoring this issue, Siesta Text really brings a lot to the table for a relatively low price. In case you aren’t familiar with the aforementioned blog post; it dealt with ways to unplug for the holidays while not completing dropping off the face of the earth. Siesta Text allows you to set an away message similar to away messages frequently used for work emails; this works for by sending out a custom text message to those who call or text you. Other than the issue between third-party messaging applications, Siesta Text runs extremely well and, other than a few force closures, I found no performance issues with the app.

This app allows you to save up to 20 different away messages which can be set to repeat for specific time periods. For example, if you have a meeting every Monday morning from 10-11 am Siesta Text will automatically silence your phone and send an away message to those trying to reach you. Calls and text messages still display as they normally would so you can answer if you want and there is a built in limit to how many times Siesta Text will respond to one phone number.

Overall, Siesta Text is a great idea followed up with great execution and a helpful dev team to boot. I would recommend giving Siesta Text a shot even if it means doing some finagling with your current messaging client.

Unplug for the Holidays

Unplug for the Holidays

Dec 19, 2011

Anyone with teenagers knows that around the holidays that it is frustrating to get teens off their phones, and it’s even more frustrating when your own phone goes off during a quiet dinner with the family. Sometimes it would be nice to just unplug. The problem with turning your phone off or just putting it on silent is that those calling have no way of knowing what you’re doing, which can lead to some frustrated and confused family and friends.

A company called First Orion has had an app aptly named PrivacyStar that allows you to block and trace phone numbers and text messages, but theres a hidden feature in this app that allows you to set a kind of away message for the holidays. While not applying to text messages, this will send any incoming call straight to voice mail and send them an away message text. After doing a few tests I was impressed at how well this worked. Texts were sent immediately and would arrive to the phone before my voice mail intro was finished. This wouldn’t work with landlines but then again, nothing will.

This feature is hidden in the settings menu because PrivacyStar is really intended to be used as a means to block texts and calls from unwanted persons including telemarketers. The service costs $2.99 a month but the app is free for a 7 day free trial. Seeing how other away messaging apps cost money for the few days this holiday taking advantage of this free week seems worth it.

PrivacyStar Home Screen

Maybe even investing two dollars into an app like Siesta Text is also a solution, which does the same text message response to phone calls and responds to text messages as well as text messages. Think of some of the applications: when at a meeting, you gain the peace of mind knowing that your phone will not go off and those trying to call you will not become frustrated in their efforts to reach you. Also, something like this is the perfect compliment to those with long commutes; allowing you to not be distracted by trying to show people that you’ve received their messages.

So for this holiday I would recommend taking advantage of PrivacyStar’s free trial, and if the automated away messaging service strikes your fancy, look into investing further.