Archive for August, 2008

Post pictures to your Photobucket account from your phone

Thursday, August 28th, 2008

Do you take a lot of photos with your phone? It's a pretty handy thing to always have that camera with you. Not only is it easy to share vacations and outings, but more "serious" stuff as well: here's the apartment we're looking to rent; here's the cute new dog we're looking at adopting from the local animal shelter.

You can send those images to other folks through MMS, but if you're hitting more than one or two contacts, that can get expensive. It'd be handy if you could hit a bunch of folks all at once.

You've got an online account for sharing pictures, right? If it's with Photobucket, you can take advantage of their service that lets you upload pictures directly from your phone.

Log in to your account, click on the "albums & upload" button, grab the email address and send a message to it with your picture as an attachment. In a short time, your image will be included in your album. Now you can point people there to see your handiwork.

If you don't already have a Photobucket account, you can sign up for free.

Make free calls to any North American number with earthCALLER

Monday, August 25th, 2008

What's the best rate you can get to make a phone call? How about free? Jaduka Labs offers a free service they call earthCALLER, that will let you phone anywhere in North America for free from your PC. Using VOIP technology, all you need is a microphone and speakers or a headset to make those calls. As you'd expect, you can create a contact list and there's even several speed dial slots for often-called numbers. Call history tracking lets you know what you've been up to. A built-in speed test helps you to see whether you've got the bandwidth necessary to make calls.

Because of its reliance on ActiveX components, earthCALLER is only compatible with Windows systems, and you must be running Internet Explorer 7.

PhoneMyPhone automated telephone reminder

Thursday, August 21st, 2008

There are some times when it's never good to get a phone call: dinner, after-hours, while you're in the shower. We can't do anything about that. There are other times when it's good to get a phone call: you slept past the alarm and you're about to be late, you just installed a new phone (does it work?), or you really need to get out of a bad date / movie / dinner with the in-laws. A times like these, you'll be glad you know about PhoneMyPhone.

The name pretty much says it all here. Just go the their website, enter your phone number, tell it how many times to call, and choose when to call—either now, or at some specific time in the future. Use it for a wake-up call, a reminder for meetings, or any other time when it would be handy to have the phone talk to you.

PhoneMyPhone is a free service.

Free conference calling with audio recording

Monday, August 18th, 2008

Sometimes only a voice will do. You can send email, you can IM, but sometimes the only real way to communicate meaning most efficiently is to get on the phone. If you're dealing with a bunch of folks, a short—or maybe a not-so-short—conference call can get everybody on the same page with all their questions answered at once. Conference calling services can be expensive and cumbersome. Even some of the free services can be a pain to use.

The offering by Basement Ventures is called FreeConferencing, which pretty much says it all. With never a charge for conference calling, you simply set up the call—it doesn't need to be done in advance—give your participants the pertinent information (date, time, call-in number), and you're good to go. One of the big features they include is conference call recording, allowing you to keep a record of the conversation, useful for later review, or sharing with people who weren't able to be in on the call. You can even podcast your call.

BV FreeConferencing is a free service.

Google Mobile

Thursday, August 14th, 2008

How did we all get along before "the Google?" As the repository of all knowledge—or at least the index to all the other repositories—it stands head-and-shoulders above the rest. As long as you're sitting at a computer, you have access to all the collected wisdom of the universe, give or take. If you're not parked in front of your computer, you're out of luck. Or at least you used to be.

Google Mobile is your portal into the Oracle of Google through your phone. Send your query via SMS text message to short code 466453 ("GOOGLE") and your answer will be texted right back to you. Find the nearest Chinese restaurant, see what time the movie you want to see if showing at the local multiplex, or check out the local weather forecast. At any time you can text "help" and get back a quick list of what to do.

Google Mobile is a free service, but as they say "regular text messaging rates apply".

Shop 'til you drop looking for TheWinningBarcode

Monday, August 11th, 2008

If you're a dyed-in-the-wool shopper, here's a game for you to check out. TheWinningBarcode is kind of like a scavenger hunt, conducted using UPC codes and your wireless phone. For each game, the sponsors choose one product, and you're supposed to figure out what it is. To play, you head off to your local Mega-Mart, pick up a product and find its UPC barcode, key it into your phone, and send as a text message to 818-331-3579. The first player to text in the correct barcode for each game is the winner.

Just in case you don't strike gold on your first try, you do earn points with each successive submission, with a point for each UPC code, and additional points for including the product name, package size, and other pertinent info in your text message. You can, in turn, redeem these points for a "hint", helping you to guess what the winning item is for the game, or for merchandise from TWBC's Store. You can even use your points to make a donation to charity.

You must register with TheWinningBarcode to play. Registration is free, but unless your have unlimited texting with your cellular carrier, text messages are not.

Use-anywhere wake up call

Thursday, August 7th, 2008

People have all kinds of reasons for liking to stay in hotels. Some folks like room service. Others enjoy the chololate-on-the-pillow turndown service. Our favorite is the wake-up call in the morning. Rather than the ACK-ACK-ACK of the alarm clock, or the rantings of a talk show guy, you get a simple phone call. It's not quite the same as mom coming in and waking you up, but it's close.

Wakerupper is a free service that will make a wake up call, or phone you any other reminder that you want. Go to their website to set the time and phone number for the call. You can even enter your own text, so when your call comes in, you'll hear your message read back to you by a pleasant electronic voice.

Now that you know you're going to be awake on time, think of the other types of calls you can arrange: reminders for meetings, picking the kids up from soccer practice, and more. It works with any phone in the US or Canada, so you can use it while you're traveling as well.

Convert text into downloadable MP3s you can bring with you

Monday, August 4th, 2008

Everybody says you can't take it with you. That may be true, if we're talking about money and possessions at the time of the Last Roundup. But what about looking at a slightly shorter timeline?

Read The Words is a free service that lets you easily translate text into speech so that you can carry it along with you. After signing up for a free account, you can upload your text as a Word DOC, a PDF, web pages, or even an RSS feed. Choose from one of fifteen readers and your text—in English, Spanish, or French—will be translated into the spoken word in about a minute.

Once you've done that, you can listen to your text online, download it as an MP3 for your iPod or phone, post it to your blog, or even create your own podcast.