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Showing posts from March, 2009

My Google Voice Fandom goes all 1984

OK, I got a little excited in my two recentposts about Google Voice (GV).

To recap: I thought if Google would only take the phone number they issue you in Google Voice and let your contacts email you with it [my phone]@gmail.com and re-route to your website from it [my phone].google.com, as well as add fax send/receive to GV, then we'd be on our way to a truly global inbox and a single address.

As I drifted from consciousness to sleep later that night, I pondered the other ways people contact you. And then it occurred to me, that Google could partner with the US Post Office.

Someone could simply write your GV phone number in the Send area of an envelope. When the USPO's scanners see it, they they do a look up of the actual address, print it, and route the mail along.

Or typing the GV number and a key word like home or work would route the mail to the correct address as listed in your Google setup.

Finally, it occurred to me that Google was also in the Online Health Records busine…

Google Voice - a Game Changer (with predictions)

Google Voice may be a game changer.

Google recently renamed Grand Central to Google Voice and moved it out of beta. They acquired Grand Central some time ago, and since then the service accepted no new users and nothing changed as Google re-engineered the product to their specifications.

Somehow, probably a blog giveaway, I acquired a Grand Central account over a year ago. I used it for some outgoing calls, but never handed out its phone number. I was fearful what the service would eventually cost, so I didn't want to make it my primary contact phone number.

However the cost for US domestic calls looks like they are going to remain free. International calls are cheap with Canada costing about a penny a minute.

In a nutshell, Google Voice gives you a phone number of your own. I was able to pick one with the same prefix as cell phones commonly use in my region, so anyone I give the number to thinks it is my cell phone, and that is fine.

When some one calls for the first time, it ask…

Google Voice

I'll write a post soon on Google Voice. I've had it since it was Grand Central, and now that it is out of beta I'm giving out its phone number more.

Suffice to say, I love it.

I just had the greatest idea, and submitted it to Google as feedback.

They assign every Google Voice user a phone number. My idea is this : if someone emails [my phone number]@gmail.com then it should deposit that email in my gmail inbox.

Then with one 10 digit identifier, someone could send me email, call me, leave a voice message, or send me a text message. And if they follow another feedback suggestion I made, send me a fax too.

Could the truly global inbox be a few Google features away?

I sure hope so.

Investigative Journalism

In writing the response for my local paper I posted a few days ago, I had the pleasure of remembering one of the coolest little newspapers I've ever known.

In 1979 the small town newspaper, The Point Reyes Light, won a Pulitzer for investigating the cult, Synanon.

From the paper's About page :

The Point Reyes Light is one of the few weekly newspapers to ever win a Pulitzer Prize. In 1979, when the paper's circulation was only 2,750, it received the Pulitzer gold medal for Meritorious Public Service as a result of a series of exposès and editorials about the Synanon cult. The cult was not only abusing its tax-exempt status, it had also turned to violence in an attempt to silence critics. The violence culminated in October 1978 when Synanon members tried to murder a lawyer by planting a 4.5-foot rattlesnake in his mailbox. The lawyer was bitten but survived, and The Light was the first to reveal that cult leaders…

The web is 20 years old today

It was on March 13, 1989 that Sir Tim Berners-Lee presented a paper on how scientists could share information via a computer network. In January of 1990, he implemented his idea into what became the world wide web.

Considering all the industries disrupted by his invention, Dr. Berners Lee should be grateful there is not a time machine.

The list of industries eager to send executives back in time and stop him would be long :

Recording industrynewspaperstelevisionmoviestravel agenciesbook publishingmagazine publishingretailairlines business traveltelephonecable tv
Which ones have I missed?

Newspapers Adapting to the Digital Age

With each issue, my mother reads the newspaper cover to cover. She'll highlight parts my father would be interested in. When they are done with the paper, she saves it until my cousin visits and gives it to her.

The amazing thing is that my parents have not lived in the town covered by this paper in over 40 years.

Earlier this week, my local paper consolidated their printing plants and decided to close one of two editorial offices in my county. It is no doubt traumatic for the printers that are laid off, I'm sure. I Twittered about it (@BigGrayBeast) and heard a few minutes later from one of the editors asking if I had any ideas for them.

The fact they seek connections with their readers and bother to ask means they are trying.

I started on Twitter only a few months ago; mostly as a way to call some attention to this blog. It wasn't long before the Twitter account for the paper started following me, followed closely by one of the reporters and ultimately an editor. I dou…