Archive for the 'Useful Tools' Category

Integrated reminder system brings together phone, email, and more

Tuesday, September 15th, 2009

You're so busy you aren't sure whether you're coming or going. Your "to do" list is this long and you've got appointments late into the night. If you have to hold one more piece of information in your head, you just know it's going to explode. You've got all the technological horsepower to try to keep track of stuff, but you just know that there's going to come a time when you have something really, really important that you need to add, but it's really, really inconvenient to do so. That's where reQall may come in handy.

Touting itself as "the best way to remember what's important to you" reQall is a free service that helps you keep up with what's up. Access it via phone, smartphone, or the web. It integrates with Outlook, Google Calendar, and more. Make a call from your car—hands-free, of course—and you'll be able to incorporate that great idea into the rest of your life. No more "I had this idea, but it got away from me."

reQall is available as a free service, or you can sign up for an enhanced paid version for a couple bucks a month.

Free Anonymous Voicemail and Conference Calling

Saturday, August 15th, 2009

How many times have you needed to give out your contact information, but really wish you didn't have to? Whether it's an item on eBay, a posting on Craigslist, or even somebody you just met and would like to get to know better, there's that moment of hesitation when it comes to giving out your phone number. Yeah, it'll probably be okay, but you just never know. CallVibe might be what you're looking for.

These guys provide an anonymous voicemail service. After you sign up for a free account, you download their client application to your computer. To leave you a message, all that folks need to do is to call 1-504-353-2500 and enter your mailbox number. The app will let you know when a message comes in; then all you need to do is phone in and retrieve that message.

With this service you can also set up your own conference calls. Get everybody on the line at once and make those decisions that need everybody's input.

CallVibe is a free service. To use their application, you'll need a computer running Windows XP or Vista.

Replace your voicemail with MessageSling

Tuesday, June 30th, 2009

Sure, you get voicemail as part of your cell phone service plan, but is it really taking care of business? If you're tired of your important messages getting deleted after only a week or two, you're probably looking for a better solution.

MessageSling is a free service that replaces your wireless carrier's voicemail service. They provide unlimited storage, which means that you won't have to worry about that important message being deleted just before you need to retrieve it. In addition, they keep track of where all your calls came from, adding them automatically to your contact list. When a new message comes in, they'll text you, giving you a special number to call to retrieve that message—no more listening to the last ten messages just to get to the newest one.

While the basic service is free, we're sure they'd love to sell you some add-ons, including the ability to transcribe your messages.

Talkster free international calling

Monday, June 15th, 2009

How'd you like to make free long distance calls? What about international calls? Talkster lets you do just that.

Sign up for a free number at the Talkster web site. You enter your phone number and the number of the person you're trying to call, and Talkster spits back two local numbers, one for you and one for your friend. If you're in LA, you call your west coast phone number, and it'll ring through on your east coast friend's phone. They then call their local number, and through some telephonic magic, you're connected to one another and can talk as long as you like. You can up the ante by using this save service to call folks in dozens of countries around the world, or even to set up group calls. So what's the catch? You have to listen to a ten second ad at the beginning of your call, and you can only hook up five people at once. That's not much inconvenience when you figure what long distance and international calls can cost you.

Talkster is a free service.

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.

Get the word out to everybody with

Saturday, February 28th, 2009

Are you responsible for getting the word out for your company or organization? Whether it's a big meeting, or just poker night, you may have to phone a few people, or a whole bunch, to let everybody know what's going on. Now you don't have to sit there and dial all those calls one-at-a-time. offers a service where you can send out voice messages to whole lists of numbers at once. Just record (or upload) your message, create a list of numbers to send it to, and pick the time and date to get the word out, and you're golden. makes the calls for you, and makes sure everybody's on the same page.

A free service, you can send one 30-second message each day to up to 25 recipients. If you need to make more calls, they also have a paid service that's available without restrictions. Either way, you don't have to dial your finger to the bone the next time you've got an important announcement to make.

Find your missing wireless phone at

Sunday, February 15th, 2009

Has there ever been anything more handy than your trusty cell phone? With this great tool, you're always connected. People can get hold of you at any time and any place. You can always reach out and touch them back. It's all great, until you set your wireless baby down, and then it magically disappears.

Whether it's gotten lost in the couch cushions, buried under piles of paper on your desk, or left in a coat pocket, all of a sudden, you're no longer so connected. So how are you going to find your electronic best friend?

Where's My Cell Phone is a free service that lets you find your missing phone. Just enter you number into the textbox on the site's home page and click the Find It button, and quick as a wink, your phone will start ringing. Just follow the sound, and you'll soon have your phone back in hand.

These folks want to assure you that they don't keep a record of any phone numbers called, so you're not opening yourself up to a bunch of telephonic spam. And maybe it's time to tidy the place up a bit, so you don't lose your phone again.

Keep track of everything with UberNote

Saturday, January 31st, 2009

UberNote is a free service that lets you keep track of the increasingly large amount of information you need to stay on top of. Whether it's to-do lists, contacts, shopping lists, upcoming events, or anything else, it's a great place to put your "stuff."

It's easy to set up and use UberNote. At its heart, it's a web application. Create a free account, log in, add notes, tweak them, manage them. Since it's an online account, you have access from work, home, or anywhere else you have a live Internet connection. You can update notes via email or AIM, giving you more flexibility. Last but not least, you can also send a text message from your wireless phone to drop a note into your account. You'll never again have to worry about coming up with the Next Best Thing while not having any way to save it.

UberNote is a free service. Your account lets you store an unlimited number of notes.

Where in the world are you?

Thursday, January 15th, 2009

Are you a busy guy (or gal)? Out and about, running around, nobody knows where you are. You can keep everybody in the loop with Fire Eagle.

Fire Eagle is a free service running under the Yahoo umbrella that lets you update your contacts with your current location. After a free sign up, you can update your physical location through their website or your phone. Let people know your exact location, give out only your city, or operate in stealth mode and don't give 'em anything. Blog on the road and let everybody know where you are. Check in as you backpack across the country.

Fire Eagle is a free service.