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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

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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?

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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.

One number for all your calls and SMS

Call screening – Announce and screen callers

Listen in – Listen before taking a call

Block calls – Keep unwanted callers at bay

SMS – Send, receive, and store SMS

Place calls – Call US numbers for free

Taking calls – Answer on any of your phones

Phone routing – Phones ring based on who calls

Forwarding phones – Add phones and decide which ring

Voicemail as easy as email, with transcripts

Voicemail transcripts – Read what your voicemail says

Listen to voicemail – Check online or from your phone

Notifications – Receive voicemails via email or SMS

Personalize greeting – Vary greetings by caller

Share voicemail – Forward or download voicemails

More cool things you can do with Google Voice

Conference calling – Join people into a single call

Call record – Record calls and store them online

Call switch – Switch phones during a call

Mobile site – View your inbox from your mobile

GOOG-411 – Check directory assistance

Manage groups – Set preferences by group

and more Read More

Google Voice is a service that gives you one number for all your phones, voicemail that is easy as email, and many enhanced calling features like call blocking and screening, voicemail transcripts, call conferencing, international calls, and more.

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Google Voice is currently available for GrandCentral users only, but will be open to new users soon. In the meantime, please leave us your email address and we’ll notify you as soon as Google Voice becomes available. To learn more about Google Voice, check out our feature videos – register get it today

Hurry phone numbers are by invitation only: read more

Are you an avid Apple aficionado? Then for sure you didn’t miss out on the latest browser that the company released. According to Apple, Safari 4 is faster than the other browsers available today. It is about eight times faster than IE8 and three times faster than Firefox when it comes to loading HTML Web pages. Mac and Windows users can’t wait to check out if such claim is really true. So, only after three days upon release, Apple has already recorded more than 11 million downloads. As you can see, such is their keenness to try it out for themselves.

Aside from being faster, what else does Safari 4 have to offer? It includes Top Sites making it easier to locate important and previously visited pages. Other features included are Full History Search, Google Suggest, Full Page Zoom, and Cover Flow. Safari also has HTML 5 support for offline technologies. Another thing that makes it really credible to use is the fact that it’s the first to pass the Web Standards Project’s Acid3 test.

If you want to try out Safari 4, you can download it for free at Apple’s website.

new iphone

New iphone 3Gs

The Fastest iPhone Ever

The first thing you’ll notice about iPhone 3G S is how quickly you can launch applications. Web pages render in a fraction of the time, and you can view email attachments faster. Improved performance and updated 3D graphics deliver an incredible gaming experience, too. In fact, everything you do on iPhone 3G S is up to 2x faster and more responsive than iPhone 3G.

New Features include:

Video – Now you can shoot video, edit it, and share it
3-Megapixel Camera –
Voice Control – Voice Control recognizes the names in your Contacts
Cut, Copy & Paste –  words and photos between applications
Landscape Keyboard
Messages
New Search
Internet Tethering

and more…

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Apple is finally ready to ship it out the door this coming September, for a quite reasonable upgrade fee of $29 for Leopard users (as opposed to the regular $129 for larger refreshes). – Read More

SEATTLE (AP) — When Apple Inc. launched an updated iPhone at its annual gathering of software developers last June, its biggest competitor was the iPhone that Apple had introduced the year before.
That won’t be the case at this year’s conference, which opens Monday. Now the next version of Apple’s touch-screen phone has to outdo a slew of rival gadgets — including one that comes out this weekend — that emulate or improve on some of the iPhone’s best features.

Much is riding on Apple’s ability to appear well ahead of its competitors. Apple’s shares have jumped 73 percent since March — even in the absence of revered CEO Steve Jobs, who is on medical leave — largely because of high expectations for the iPhone. Just two years after entering the fray, Apple enjoys a 19.5 percent share of the smart phone market, according to IDC, and investors are betting on a continued run of success.

“Apple, from a practical standpoint, has consistently tried to stay one to two years ahead of the competition on both the hardware and software levels,” said Tim Bajarin, president of Creative Strategies and longtime Apple analyst. – Read More