Archive for September, 2010

High-tech babies

Thursday, September 30th, 2010

If you, or somebody you care about, are "in a family way", then you know there are dozens (thousands?) of details to be concerned about. Nutrition, immunizations, prenatal care, car seats–the list goes on and on. One way to try to stay on top of it all is to subscribe to SMS text messages from They'll send you three messages a week until your baby is a year old. You can also subscribe by texting BABY (or BEBE for Spanish) to 511411.

This service is a joint effort between Uncle Sam and CTIA (a wireless provider trade group). All of the text messages are supposed to be sent free of charge (check with your carrier if in doubt). While this service is no substitute for visits to doctors and consulting with other providers, it is an easy way to get information out where it can do the most good, and since most folks have a cell phone, this seems like a perfect way to spread the word.

Be sure to take care of yourself and your baby, and remember that one of the best things you can do is to quit smoking. End of sermon.

Bypass phone menus with Fonolo

Wednesday, September 15th, 2010

With all the technological advances out there, you'd think there would be a way to deal with complicated, multi-level telephone menu systems. You know the kind: call the bank or the doctor or whoever and you get a list of numbers to punch (or words to utter) to navigate through the labyrinth that is their system. If you hang in there long enough, maybe you'll eventually get a human being on the other end of the line. Or maybe you won't.

Fonolo may be just what you're looking for. They've got an extensive list of "deep dialing" numbers that can help you bypass the other stuff and get directly to the department you're looking for. No more "press 1 for this" or "press 9 for that". Search for your company, and likely as not, they'll return a list of numbers that bypass the menus and get you where you want to go. Click on the choice you're looking for—maybe reservations for an airline, maybe checking accounts for a bank—and these guys will phone you back and phone the company. Now you're on the air, talking to somebody who can take care of you, and you didn't have to spend ten minutes digging through somebody's idea of a menu system. Very nice.

All you need to do to take advantage of Fonolo is to sign up for a free account. Thanks to Bill for bringing this one to our attention.