Archive for July, 2010

Google Voice goes live

Saturday, July 31st, 2010

After over a year in invitation-only Beta, Google Voice has finally gone live. Though it started life as Grand Central, it's grown beyond that. With a Google Voice number, you can direct calls to a "real" phone–office, home, cell, it doesn't really matter–or even send them directly to voicemail. And speaking of voicemail, your messages are automatically transcribed and can be picked up on the website or have them sent to you. When you give out your Google Voice number, you're not giving out the number for a real phone, so you don't have to worry about being stalked by your callers, and for that matter you can set up filters to kill calls from numbers you aren't interested in.

In addition to receiving calls, you can make calls via Google Voice as well. Just enter the number you're calling and pick the phone you want to talk from, and let the magic happen. The call is placed and rings back to your phone. Pick up and you're connected to your destination number. You can also send text messages, although SMS shortcodes aren't supported. Another often-asked-for but not-currently-implemented feature is sending and receiving faxes. Maybe some day.

Hey, it’s Mickey Mouse on the line

Thursday, July 15th, 2010

Who doesn't like Mickey Mouse and his pals? These guys have been around forever, and they're still going strong. If you've got a little Disney fan running around the place, how much do you think they might enjoy receiving a phone call from Mickey, Minnie, Donald, or Goofy? It's easy, and free too.

To set up your call, you need to visit the Character Calls website and enter a little information. You can pick an occasion to commemorate (congratulations, encouragement), and a message to send (doing well in school, learning to count). Add little Billy's or Susie's name if you like. Give 'em the number and time to call, and then just sit back and wait for the appointed hour. Calls are made only during "normal" hours (9:00 am to 8:00 pm) so you don't need to worry about Donald Duck waking you up in the middle of the night. That's not such a happy thought.

This offer is good through 9/20/2010, so you won't want to wait too long to schedule your call.