Archive for April, 2007

Microsoft Upgrades TellMe

Monday, April 30th, 2007

Having acquired TellMe, Microsoft has added some new features to TellMe's business directory feature. In addition to the voice interface at 1-800-555-TELL, the tool now offers an SMS interface: end a text message to TELLM (83556) with a business request such as “starbucks san francisco ca” or “pizza boston ma” and get a text message back with the listing and a link to a map.

Or, you can download the Tellme by Mobile software to your mobile phone: this will let you speak your request then see the results displayed on your phone screen for a voice plus visual search, including maps and driving directions.

Google 411

Monday, April 30th, 2007

Another free directory assistance service, this one from Google. Call 1-800-GOOG-411 (that's 800-4664-411). As you would expect from Google, the entire thing is automated — there are no human operators. In my experiments, GOOG 411 provides highly relevant results with great voice recognition. But it's limited to businesses, it's not a white pages search. I like that it offers to connect you to the business immediately, so you don't need to write down or dial another number.

So: GOOG 411 or Free 411 or 877-520-FIND or TellMe's Free 411… which do you prefer?

Dial A Story

Monday, April 16th, 2007

Another dial-a-story number to add to your mobile phone's speed dial for emergency kidlet-entertainment purposes: the Goshen County (Wyoming) Library offers a free 24/7 dial-a-story line at (307) 532-2626. When I called the story was Aesop's fable "The Fox and the Grapes."

And yet another: the Winston County, Mississippi library has a free story line at (662)773-3566. These stories are read by children, which adds a while extra-thick layer of cuteness.

Magic 8-Ball via SMS

Sunday, April 15th, 2007

Need help making life's difficult decisions? Text any "yes" or "no" question to from your phone and fate will decide the answer for you.

(This free Magic 8-Ball service is provided by the Mosio Project, a subscription-based mobile product.) deathwatch: day 50

Friday, April 13th, 2007

Feb. 22: "will be back in the next 5 days".

50 days later: still waiting.

On Monday, the AllFreeCalls CEO said in his blog that they are "the day to return is almost upon us … expect to have an announcement in the next 48hr."

Old-Time Radio

Friday, April 6th, 2007

Here's a fun one: Dial-An-Old-Time-Radio-Show. Based in Texas, you can listen in on old-timey radio. 1-972-889-2OTR (that's 1-972-889-2687).

(Thanks to Bill for the tip!)