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Tricks & Tips

Posts Tagged ‘Phones’

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Google lets you make free phone calls anywhere in the US or Canada for the rest of 2011. Works great!  All you need is a free Gmail account.

From Your Computer
Browse to Gmail and click, Call a Phone on the left side.  Obviously you need a mic and speakers but most laptops in the last few years have these built right in.

 

From Your iPod/iPhone
Of course you need an Internet connection and a compatible headset.  Then download free app Talkatone and signin to your Gmail account.

More details here.

 

 

 

Great service for…

  • Traveling
  • An extra line
  • No cell coverage
  • Anonymous calling (random caller id if you haven’t setup Google Voice)

Calls to other countries and after 2011 will be at discounted rates.

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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.

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These online maps of zip codes and area codes makes it easy for quick reference. Just enter your area code or zip on the search box across the top after clicking one of the following links:

Other options:

In the news…

Circuit City was going out of business, but CircuitCity.com is now up and running again.  They were acquired for $14 million and re-launched online only.  Interesting business direction.

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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.

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USB Port for Your Car

June 19th, 2008
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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.)

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4 Tricks for Your Phone

May 27th, 2008
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GetHuman
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.

Jott
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!

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Send Text Messages by Email

March 25th, 2008
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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. 

Extra…
Make sure you’re up on your lingo… see how many of these you know! ;)
http://www.webopedia.com/quick_ref/textmessageabbreviations.asp

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Send reminders from your cell

February 18th, 2008
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Want to send yourself a reminder? A note? An idea? Just dial Jott and leave yourself (or any contact) a message. This free speech to text service sends you an email with the transcribed text and a voice recording of your call. Easy.

Jott only takes a few moments to setup and is simple to use. I setup a speed dial button on my cell phone and use it every day, for 6 months or more now. It’s also safer than texting or writing things down while driving. New features include blogging, scheduling, and all sorts of links into existing web services (Yahoo, Google, Backpack, etc).

http://www.jott.com … Enjoy!

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Lookup unknown phone numbers

February 9th, 2008
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Have you ever missed a call from a phone number you don’t recognize? YouGetSignal offers a simple way to determine geographical location and sometimes, if it is a landline or cell.

Visit http://www.yougetsignal.com/tools/phone-location/ and type in the full phone number (with area code).

YouGetSignal also sports several other advanced tools. Check the navigation buttons on the left.

Don’t forget you can always type in a phone number in Google (with area code, no spaces or hyphens) to get caller ID information (mostly only works with listed landlines).

Enjoy!

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