Twittering in Mexico!
10 months. 6500 tweets. Addicted. Yes.
Ok, now that I have admitted it and it’s out in the open, lets move on. :)
My girlfriend and I went on a vacation to Mexico for 8 days. It was a fantastic trip!! I had been gathering up gear that I was going to need, during which I realized, I would be without the normal means of communication I have now. Internet everywhere I go, iPhone in my pocket, and so on. To normal people, this would be ok, but my addiction to bandwidth wouldn’t allow it! So instead I formulated ideas on how to twitter while being disconnected in Mexico (for a reasonable amount of money). Now in all seriousness, I wouldn’t die if I couldn’t twitter (hopefully), but I took this as a challenge / project of sorts, just to see what could be done. Lets get into the details a little, here are the ideas I had..
- Peek e-mail device (possibly hacked to work outside USA).
- Unlocked / Jailbroken iPhone 3G w/ Mexico SIM card.
- Laptop with rented 3G Card.
- Rent a Mexico cell phone.
- Laptop with WiFi (if available).
- No twittering at all. not an option ;)
Right away, let me kill of some of these options. Obviously no twittering at all was not an option, or why would I be writing this! Secondly, WiFi was non existent to say the least!
Ideally, the Peek device would have been perfect. It is cheap, simple, and used cell data instead of WiFi. If you setup an email gateway to sent tweets through email, you are set. The problem is that the unit is locked down to only work with the T-mobile SIM that it came with, and since the SIM is blocked from roaming it made the device completely useless.
Next we have my iPhone 3G. My iPhone is unlocked so all I had to do was get a local Mexico SIM. I got said SIM from a company called Movistar. The problem I found with getting SIMs in Mexico is that they are all pay-as-you-go, so they didn’t seem to have any that included cell data. This knocked out any hopes of using iPhone apps to twitter. Instead I was left with only SMS as an option. Great huh? well yes and no. Twitter uses a US short code which doesn’t work from Mexico, so I had to setup a SMS gateway to pass the tweets through. This was the only method I tried that actually worked for me reliably.
On a last note, there was 1 single ethernet cable in the place we were staying that worked most of the time, although it seemed to have the slowest DHCP server on the face of the planet, so that was an option as well, sort of, although it didn’t allow for mobile twittering
Long story short, if you can’t get international data, SMS is totally the way to go!