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Monthly Archives: July 2009

voicecentral_update_voicemail

If you’re one of the lucky ones to have scored an invite to Google Voice, check out VoiceCentral. It’s a very slick application which integrates well with the iPhone, making it possible to make calls through your Google Voice (or GrandCentral) account.

Why would you want this? My primary reason for wanting an application for GV is so that I can make calls and have my Google Voice number appear on the Caller-ID.

VoiceCentral makes this a simple process. When you first install the app, it asks you to select your iPhone number on the Settings page. When you make a call through the app, it happens in two steps: 1) your iPhone rings (this is Google Voice’s servers calling your iPhone), 2) your call is connected.

Why is this important? If you end up leaving a message for whoever you are calling, their voicemail system may give them the option to call you back at the number you called from. Our landline phones also make it easy to return calls from the caller-ID list. As a Google Voice user, I want those calls to go to my Google Voice number, not my iPhone.

If you’re a fan of Google Voice, you know that having a central place for all of your voicemails is great. Google Voice will transcribe those voicemails (my favorite feature, although sometimes having a computer try to decipher my friend’s “late weekend night” messages does lead to some interesting “translation issues”).

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VoiceCentral will let you access not only those voicemails (in a style very similar to iPhone’s own Visual Voicemail) but if you tap on the arrow, it will also show you the transcription. You can even read the message without listening to it, which is especially handy for checking messages when you are in a meeting, a movie theater (oh, like you’ve never!), or anywhere loud enough that you might not be able to hear it. The transcripts can also be copied (on iPhones running OS 3.0 or later, of course) and pasted into notes or emails if needed.

As you’d expect, VoiceCentral also integrates with your existing iPhone contact list, and there’s also a keypad which allows you to make calls or send SMS.

The “Send SMS” feature has had some issues, but Riverturn has a newer version which…read more

google voice

google voice

There have been pretty decent unofficial hacks to get Google Voice fully functional on a variety of mobile devices for a while now, but Google’s finally taking the next logical step in its world domination strategy by releasing totally 100-percent legit first-party apps for a couple key platforms today — BlackBerry and, of course, its own Android. As you might expect, the app lets you make calls and send texts through your Google Voice number (great for taking advantage of its mega-low international rates) and integrates with the service’s excellent visual voicemail and voice transcription service. iPhone is on the way, but for now, the BlackBerry build should be hitting a pretty wide, interested demographic — now about those Google Voice invites, eh?

Have you ever wished that you could access your files from anywhere? Dropbox is a great app that allows you to share files online, and among computers.   No more sending large files via emails or relying on USB drive. This is the simple, easy way to have access of all your files, anywhere and any time ….

We think is a great tool – 2GB FREE… Let us know what your think. If you use or know of any other cool, useful tools, that would make our date-to-date easier. Send us a link.

secretweapon

Google Voice, formerly GrandCentral, is a seriously heavyweight product. When it relaunched in March, just a couple of months ago, we gave Google Voice a glowing review.

Once you’ve jumped in head first to the product it will straighten out your phone life forever. You’ll never have to worry about figuring out which phone numbers to give to different people. Give them one number – your Google Voice number – and then use rules to determine where your calls go based on who’s calling and what you are doing.

There are significant switching costs, though. You have to tell everyone your new phone number and get them to start using that, instead. New business cards have to be printed, which is another cost. For most people, that’s just too much heavy lifting to fully embrace the service. And there’s the additional problem of your outbound calls and outbound text messages showing the phone number of the device you are calling from instead of your Google Voice number. Your friends need to store that number or they won’t know who’s calling. And once it’s stored, they’ll use it, bypassing all the great voicemail and call routing features of Google Voice.

But Google has a plan to deal with all of these issues, we’ve heard. And it starts with Number Portability.

Today you are issued a new phone number when you sign up for Google Voice. But we’ve confirmed that a very small number of people have ported their existing numbers to Google (Google uses Level3 to handle phone numbers). In the U.S. it’s possible to port any phone number to another service provider – even a mobile number….read more

Microsoft may be introducing a Family Pack for Windows 7 Home Premium, with a shared license for three computers in the same household. The license details in the latest build of Windows 7 have the following clause under ‘Installation and Use Rights’: “If you are a ‘Qualified Family Pack User’, you may install one copy of the software marked as ‘Family Pack’ on three computers in your household for use by people who reside there,” according to ZDNet’s Ed Bott.

The Family Pack for Windows 7 Home Premium would fall in line with similar licensing Microsoft already has for the Home & Student Edition of Microsoft Office 2007. There’s no word on Family Pack pricing yet, but Bott’s guess is that we’ll see a Family Pack with a $189 price tag. Although he doesn’t explicitly state this, Bott suggests that a price of $189 would be used since it undercuts by ten dollars Apple’s comparable Family Pack that gives you five OS X licenses for $199.

[ Discover the top-rated IT products as rated by the InfoWorld Test Center. ]

That may seem reasonable, but I’m doubtful since I don’t see why Microsoft would feel the need to compete with Apple on boxed software. When you buy a copy of Windows you can throw the OS on almost any computer with enough horsepower, but OS X requires a Mac. Yes, I know all about the Hackintosh community where you install OS X on a Windows machine, but PCs running OS X is not a big enough market to cause Microsoft concern.

Let’s face it, when you buy a boxed copy of OS X, you are installing the OS on a Mac not a Dell. People simply aren’t going into a store and weighing the pros and cons of buying OS X or Windows software. Sure, when it comes to buying a new computer there’s a big rivalry, and in those instances people are weighing the pros and cons of a Mac versus a Windows machine. But when it comes to a software upgrade or fresh install, the type of computer you have at home has already made your software choice for you (unless you’reswitching over to a Linux build of course).

The other problem is a $189 Family Pack undercuts the $199 price tag already established for the standalone version of Windows 7 Home Premium. What are they going to do, have Best Buy interrogate you to make sure you’re really going to use the cheaper Family Pack for one household? What is more likely, in my view, is that anyone who buys a Home Premium edition of Windows 7 will automatically have three licenses, just like with the comparable edition of Microsoft Office 2007.

There would probably be widespread abuse with that pricing model since it would encourage single people and students to split the $199 cost three ways. But then again, that’s a great way to put your new software within reach of almost everyone, and it also gives XP and Vista users a bigger incentive to make the switch to Windows 7. I can imagine a lot of people talking it over and saying, “Sixty-six bucks each for the new Windows? Sure, why not?”

Of course there’s also the possibility that Microsoft could pull the Family Pack clause before Windows 7 officially hits store shelves on October 22. But as former PC World editor-in-chief, Harry McCracken points out on Technologizer, people have been waiting for a Windows Family Pack for a long time. So the Family Pack in Windows 7 Home Premium Edition is most likely on its way, but how Microsoft will structure Family Pack pricing is anybody’s guess.