Outlook alerts have regularly saved my professional career. I also use a scheduled alert to wake me up in the morning that's successful as long as I change it up every few weeks. Some people need a little more though, which is where a service like the freshly launched Alerts.com could be a life saver.
Alerts lets you set up your e-mail, home and mobile phones to get alerts for just about anything. Some of the more useful ones include weather and gas prices, but there are entertainment ones as well, like the horoscopes and daily tidbits which are essentially factoids. You can go in and tweak which ones you want to receive, and with what velocity throughout the day. The service also has a scheduler to keep you from receiving alerts at certain times during the day and week, along with an away mode that can be toggled remotely to stop all messages entirely.
There are currently just 10 alerts to choose from, but there are many more coming in the near future like one that pulls in RSS feeds and another for watching the prices of goods you're tracking online. All of them are partnered with other sites to provide the data, like the job hunting widget which will hunt down jobs for you based on keywords and geographical proximity using a database from Jobster. Developers can also build their own alerts with an API that plugs into the site's architecture. To make money off this, small ads are tacked on to the end of messages as space allows--a business model I don't think works very well when you're trying to squeeze news into 140 characters to begin with.