Thursday, May 14, 2009

Productivity Helps

There are several useful web/phone sites I use which allow my cellphone to be more useful or to interface with the web.

1. The first number is called Google-4-1-1. 411 is the telephone number that used to be reserved in any city for information services, especially, where you could get people's telephone numbers.

1-800-goog-411 is the number to dial. It will ask you to speak a business name or category, and then the city and state. It will then give you a list of all businesses that match your spoken request. You can get more information or have it call the number. Note: this appears to be one way to get free long distance calls to businesses outside your local calling area.

2. Next is ReQall allows you to sign up for free telephone-voice to text service. You can tell it your cellphone number, for example, and whenever you call from that number, it will store your messages, both as a recording, and as transcribed with speech-to-text software. You can tell it to send an e-mail or text message with what you have recorded. It has a free version, but I am signed up for the $25 per year version. If you use the word "buy" in the sentence, it will categorize the message into your shopping list. Later, you can retrieve your shopping list, and it will either send the items as a text message, or play back your recordings. You can optionally have it set items on your Google Calendar.

3. Another cool site is called "cha-cha." Cha-cha allows you to ask any question you need to have answered. It will reply with a text message repeating the question it understood. In a few minutes, it will send another text message with the answer to the question. I used it in December when I saw a tax program in Office Max that looked like a good deal. I asked cha-cha, "What is the lowest price to get the tax program?" In a few minutes, it answered, suggesting a place and a price $5 lower than what I saw, so I waited and got the program at the recommended store and saved five dollars. Call 800-2ChaCha or text 242242. They use humans with Internet connections to get the answers. [Don't use cha-cha when taking exams.] :)

No comments: