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Tricks & Tips

Posts Tagged ‘Cell’


Google Voice is amazing. We’ve been using it for about 2 years now and not sure how to live without it.  You get one number to give out.  That number will ring any of your predefined other numbers.

Example 1: Let’s say you’re a real estate company.  At night you could call forward your main number to your Google Voice number.  It would then ring ALL your agents until the first one picked up.

Example 2: Let’s say your organization has an “on call” doctor for emergencies.  Instead, use a Google Voice number that rings all doctors at once.

Of course you could simply use for personal use – your number rings your cell, work, house, etc.

Google Voice has been in a closed beta for years now (previously Grand Central).  Recently Google opened the doors to allow anyone to join.  However, you have to sign up for an invitation.  It then takes a few weeks or months to get OK’d by Google.  Best part? Google Voice is free!

Getting Started…
Watch the video or signup now.


Google’s Voice Search makes searching the web simple. Even the most novice user can do this.  The above video is for the iPhone, but Voice Search is available for BlackBerry, Android, and many other web ready cell phones.  After install, speak your search and Google goes to work – easy!  A must have.

Ready? Visit www.google.com/mobile or browse from your phone to install.

Don’t have an Internet phone? You can still dial 1-800-GOOG-411 (learn more) for free 411.

Other search tricks by Google:
Do More with Google
4 Tricks for Your Phone
Other Google Tips

In the news…
The Conficker Worm, that had everyone hyped up today really wasn’t that bad.  If you’re running updates and good anti-virus, protection is already there for most viruses.  However, this privacy invasion looks scary to me (continue reading).


Have you tried Skype yet?  If not, check out our previous tip for all the details.  Remember, Skype is free when calling other Skype users.

1.  Place calls from your cell phone
International is what I’m referring too.  Skype’s rates calling abroad trump the land line or any cell phone companies hands down.  Setup Skype To Go to get a local number in your area.  Dial this number from your cell then dial your international number.  The charges will be on your billed to your Skype account (less standard minutes) at their low rates.  I just used my cell and Skype To Go to call a support company in Ireland for 6 minutes – cost me $.21.

2.  Use Skype as a home monitor while away
Call your home Skype account from a remote location to see, and hear what’s going on.  It’s really quite simple to do:

  1. After you’ve setup Skype at home, go to Tools, Options.  Look under Call Settings and choose Advanced Options.
  2. Under Allow calls from, dot People in my Contact list only.  Check Answer incoming calls automatically, and Start my video automatically.
  3. Ensure you’ve added your 2nd Skype account as a contact then just dial your home Skype anytime while you’re away.

3.  Use Bluetooth for hands-free
I prefer a webcam with built in mic.  But if you’re looking for privacy without the cords, sync your Bluetooth headset to your computer.  You must have Bluetooth built in to your computer, or purchase a USB add-on.  Once synced, go to Options.   Look under Audio Settings to select Bluetooth.

4.  Do you use your computer for Skype?  You don’t have to!
For super ease of use, you can purchase a USB phone that connects to your computer.  Take it a step further and look for a wireless phone. Sure!  Skype Wireless phone works wherever you can find wireless access (not cell).  Shop @ Skype for all the extra gadgets.

5.  Skype is for your business too
Setup a real number to receive calls in Skype from land lines and cells.  Voicemail, conference calls, call recording, transferring, and call logs are more options available.  Check out Skype’s video overview.

In the news…
See what Microsoft imagines 2019 might be like: start video.


Get Cash for Your Gadgets

October 14th, 2008

Gazelle.com pays you for your old gadgets.  They make it easy.

If you’ve upgraded and have old or unwanted items such as a cell phone, MP3 player, digital camera, laptop, GPS device, gaming console, etc, Gazelle will send you a postage paid box to ship in your item, then send you a check or PayPal funds (or donate to charity).

If anything, this sure feels better than tossing old items in the trash… or leaving them lay around forever collecting dust.  You might make more selling on Ebay, but Gazelle makes it a 2 minute job.  Done!

Video:  www.gazelle.com/main/index/how_it_works


In-Flight WiFi and Cell Phones

September 18th, 2008

It looks like we may soon see more availability of wifi access on board US flights.  That, and the use of our cell phones for calls and SMS (txt messaging).

Delta recently announced its pursuit to provide wifi access on all domestic flights by next year.  Note, *all*.  Although many carriers have tested wifi on board already, they’re only scattered on specific flights or aircraft models.  Delta comes in around $10 per flight.  Others range from free to $30 per flight.

For the tech at heart, the article talks a bit about the technology used (ground to air!).  I’ve also read others are using a satellite type connection.

Now, do you really want the guy next to you yelling at his phone during your quiet time?  I think that’s the hot topic.


You miss a call on your cell phone.  Use YouMail to get a TXT MSG and/or an email alert instantly and listen online: www.youmail.com

YouMail is an alternative option to standard voicemail from your cell phone company (ATT, Verizon, etc).  They take your missed calls and give you complete control of the messages:

  • You can listen to your voicemails online anytime, anywhere.
  • You can still call your voicemail to listen like normal (eg. press and hold 1)
  • Turn on free transcription service to receive email and/or TXT of the transcribed voicemail message
  • Save your voicemails to MP3s to have forever
  • You have a complete voicemail history for review later
  • I like the greeting callers get. Your message (or one of theirs), then a BEEP. No long “press 1 for more options, or 2 for… blah blah blah”
  • Free, definitely worth a try by everyone, and you can turn off at any time

I can’t tell you how much I love this new service.  I just signed up yesterday and I forgot my cell today.  I checked my email from work and could listen to my voicemail there.

YouMail makes it dead simple to setup. Screen shots guide you through a 3 minute process.  I promise anyone can do this. 🙂

Please note, forwarding your calls to a new voicemail service will incur minutes used as the person is leaving a message.


USB Port for Your Car

June 19th, 2008

USB Car Adapter
You can get a USB adapter that plugs into your cigarette lighter in your car.  They can be extremely useful.  I just got one the other day and I love it.  Use it to power or charge your MP3 player, GPS unit, camera, etc.  My BlackBerry uses a standard USB cable so I charge my cell phone battery.  Don’t buy the proprietary $30 chargers for EACH device.  If your electronics have power options via USB, just power it with the cigarette lighter USB converter.

Wal-Mart, OfficeMax, and Radio Shack probably all have them.  I found several suppliers online for less than $5.  Here are some links if you prefer to shop from home:
http://tinyurl.com/5bx38h  (has light to indicate power, 2 USB ports)
http://tinyurl.com/636mat  (great photos and reviews,  no light and only single port)

(There are also some that convert a 110 home power outlet to a USB charger. That’d  be great for traveling / hotels.)


How to Minimize Clutter

June 17th, 2008

Take a picture of things you need save.  A receipt, a note, directions, another picture, etc.  Snap it, then throw it away.  Email the picture to yourself.

This might also work to reduce sentimental things you might collect.  Taking a picture can still retain the visual memory, without the actual item.  Use your camera to photograph the item, and then let it go.  This is a great way to really clean house.

I heard about this cleaning method a while back but it wasn’t until recently I put it into practice.  I don’t have my scanner (wow do I scan everything!) and my wallet was getting jammed with receipts and notes.  I use my camera phone to snap (or “scan”) and then toss the paper.  Easy!


4 Tricks for Your Phone

May 27th, 2008

Tired of pressing options (4, 7, 2, 2) to get a LIVE person on the phone when dialing a large company? www.gethuman.com is a list of user tested numbers and/or options that fast track you to a human. Extremely helpful when you’re frustrated. 😉 (You can always just try pressing zero a few hundred times, or screaming, either sometimes will take you right to someone (or hang up on you).)

Free 411
Stop calling 411 for $1 (or more) a call.  Try 1-800-FREE-411.  This free service, by Google, finds your listing and even offers to send a TXT message with the number.  Here’s a demo: http://www.google.com/goog411/index.html

Google’s TXT Services
Send a text message to GOOGL (46645) like, “Chinese restaurants, Times Square” or “Weather 29649” or “Define plethora” or “directions from 29649 to Atlanta, GA”  and you’ll get a text message right back.

Don’t forget about Jott.com.  I emailed once already about this (http://www.digitaloffice.com/tips/?p=9) and it really is a hidden jewel.  Dial Jott and it will send your transcribed chat to yourself or others. Easy for reminders!


Send Text Messages by Email

March 25th, 2008

We’re not all “txting” yet (properly known as SMS).  If you want to send a text message to the kids, a friend, or associate and don’t have twiddle fingers on your cell phone, just email the text!

Each cell provider has a different email address to EMAIL a text message. Here is a complete list of each email by cell provider: http://www.livejournal.com/tools/textmessage.bml?mode=details 

How To:

  1. Find out which email address to send to: http://www.livejournal.com/tools/textmessage.bml?mode=details
  2. Create an email to one of the addresses as specified in that link. If it says, number@txt.att.net, replace NUMBER with the 10-digital number. For example, 8641231234@txt.att.net.
    If your sending to a Verizon customer, use: number@vtext.com.
  3. Compose your email, but don’t write too much. SMS’ can typically only send/receive a max number of letters (about 160 characters).
  4. Send away! Your recipient should get your text message in a few seconds. 

Make sure you’re up on your lingo… see how many of these you know! 😉