Archive for May, 2009

Contact everyone with just one phone call

Sunday, May 31st, 2009

If you're the one in charge of getting the word out about your organization's next event, then you know what a drag it can be. You've got to make dozens of basically identical phone calls, and in many cases read your script to an answering machine that doesn't interact with you anyway. It'd be nice to turn that task over to somebody else, and use your talents elsewhere. Phonevite might be what you're looking for.

Phonevite is a free service that lets you automate these types of calls. Whether you're scheduling a meeting, reminding folks of appointments, or any other time you need to get in touch with a bunch of people, you can let this service do the heavy lifting.

Once you've signed up for a free account, all you need to do is record your message, enter your list of phone numbers, and schedule a time to make your calls. You can even ask for RSVPs so you'll have a count of who's going to attend, or have them leave a message for you while they're still on the line. You can notify up to 25 people at once, so everybody will know what's going on.

Get caller ID info for blocked numbers

Friday, May 15th, 2009

You know the drill: your cell phone rings, you look at the caller ID, and you get the dreaded "Private" or "Restricted". Now the guessing game begins—do you take a risk that it's that surly bill collector or your less-than-stable ex calling, or is it your privacy freak mom? You'll never know, because the caller's information is blocked. Well guess what? There's a way around that.

TrapCall is a free service that thwarts the anonymity by displaying info for blocked numbers. You see, there are places where caller ID isn't—and can't—be blocked, like when you call 911 in an emergency, or when you call a toll-free number. Yep, it's true: when you call a "1-800" or other toll-free number, your caller ID information is displayed, no matter how much you don't want it to be. It's this principle that TrapCall uses to tell you who's on the line.

With TrapCall, you use "unanswered call forwarding" to forward your call to them. Since that forwarded call is coming into a toll-free line on their end, they get the caller ID info, and shoot it back to you. Now you know who's on the line before you pick up.

TrapCall has several different service levels, but the basic one is free. IT works with several, but not all, US providers. You should check with your carrier to see if it's going to cost you extra to use their call forwarding service.