Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Google Voice

There can't be much new to be written about Google Voice. Everybody has covered it. Here's the wikipedia article on it and here's the NY Times article on it.

I've been using what is now Google Voice since it was GrandCentral. Google bought GrandCentral and seemed to let it lie dormant for a long time. In the Spring of 2009 Google renamed it to Google Voice and began ever so slowly handing out new invitations. Google killed off a couple of GrandCentral capabilities (being able to make your ring-in sound like a European phone) but added many more such as voice mail transcription (cute but really pretty worthless).

I use it for 2 purposes. First, I have it ring my home phone and my cell phone simultaneously so I can always be found. I can even add locations when I'm going to be somewhere else, e.g. my mother's, for a while. That's so easy to do.

Second, I use Google Voice to present a consistent caller ID. The free long distance is nice but I use Google Voice to make even local calls so that people I call always see the call coming from the same number.

There are some other considerations. If you receive a call on your cell phone through your Google Voice number you don't get the benefit of mobile-to-mobile. Also, Google Voice is subject to service disruptions like Google is. Occasionally, you'll notice things like incoming calls going straight to voice mail or even that the call can't be connected.

Google Voice is not a part of Google Hosted Apps. What this means is that if you have a Google Hosted Apps e-mail (like I do) that your contacts are not shared between your Google Hosted Apps e-mail and your Google Voice. Maybe someday.

I'm sure that Google is going to continue to develop Google Voice. This service will redefine what voice service delivers.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


I can't tell you how many PCs I've come across that have all kind of toolbars and crap installed on them. You wonder why people install all of them. They're such a drag on the PC's performance.

Here're a couple of blog posts that explain what's going on. First there's Windows Secrets' article on the latest Java update. Next there's Lifehacker's post on the Digsby instant messaging client.

I won't rehash these stories. Just go read them yourself. And when you install any update or new program, READ EVERY SCREEN and uncheck freely.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

New Google Search

Mashable has a post about a test version of Google Search. Google talks about it here.

Here's a post that tells you how to add it to your Firefox search bar.

It's too early to tell how different it is.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Ultra Capacitor Screwdriver

My wish lists for gifts are always made up of URLs. For Fathers' Day, the URL was this. My wife was a little suspicious of that web site but she went with it. You can also get it at Amazon.

What this gadget is is a Coleman 5.4V Flashcell Cordless Screwdriver. That's a mouthful. What it means is that it doesn't have a conventional battery. Instead it uses an ultra capacitor.

The effect of this is that it charges in 90 seconds. It does have a downside. It has about half the capacity of a traditional rechargeable screwdrive. This isn't much of a downside when the charge time is less that the time it takes you to go to the bathroom.

Popular Mechanics has a good write-up here.

Here's a YouTube video on it.