Back in December we painted SMS-to-e-mail communications as a truly mixed bag - the function is sorely needed, but the mechanics are obtuse.At that point, we started looking for some solutions to this communications problem. The first option we found comes from a service provider based in Vancouver, B.C., and from our limited testing the service seems to work pretty well - at least for the U.S.The company is ipipi.com. The premise of the ipipi.com service is that it takes the mystery out of the process. You simply enter the phone number for the recipient and type in your message. The service makes sure it goes to an appropriate service provider. You have the option of entering the message via a Web-based interface, a plug-in for Microsoft Outlook (which we did not test), an application for your PC, or by using your own e-mail program.Pricing was reasonable, based on prepaid message credits ranging from 8.4 cents to 13 cents per message. The more credits you prepay, the lower the price. This compares with typical prices of about 10 cents per message for SMS services when you don\u2019t have a bundled plan. Of course, if you happen to know the service provider of the recipient, there typically is no charge for sending messages.A second company we came across, also based in Canada, is zimsms.com. We tested this company\u2019s capabilities a bit for sending messages to cell phones within the U.S., and, again with our limited testing, it seems to work well. It uses a PC-based program for integrating your messaging. If you want to give it a whirl, you can send messages for free from its Web site. (However, you can\u2019t receive responses with the free service.)Overall we were impressed with the service, and we see it most importantly as being a reasonable light at the end of the tunnel for finally converging the disparate cellular services with the near-universal world of e-mail.However, we also encountered some issues with sending messages to countries outside the U.S. and Canada. We\u2019ll follow up on the international capabilities in a subsequent newsletter.