Thursday, May 31, 2012

Google Voice adds Anonymous caller handling

Boy, did I misunderstand this feature!

The correct take is : Google Voice now lets you specify different rules for callers whose numbers are not in your contact list.  That's  a good thing.

The original post is below so you can see what I thought it was.  By the way, it would not be bad if they had this feature too.

 Don't you just love callers who want your attention, but respect you so little they block their caller id?  What a wonderful way of telling you that they know better then you how you should spend your time.


It is of my pet peeves.  It happens most on my home phone, but now at least I can control it when someone calls my Google Voice number.  Almost no one has my real cell number.  The number I give out is my GV number.


Now, if someone calls my GV number, GV lets me route that call direct to voice mail if I want.  I can even make a unique voice mail message for them.  Mine now says "Since you Call to me is anonymous, it has been automatically routed to voice mail.  Please leave me a message."


The first one I recorded said "Since your call is anonymous by blanking out your Caller ID, I have routed it to voice mail.  You may leave me a message which will receive the same respect as you have given me by deciding I didn't need to know who is calling."  It felt good to record, but I decided it sounded a bit harsh for the few people who might have screwed up Caller ID through no fault of their own.


We are at war with telemarketers.  Thank you Google for giving us some weapons.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Book Review: 1493

Two things looking back I wish I had always done.  One is to keep a daily journal, and the other would be to make a few notes about books I have read.

I'll likely never do the former as regularly as I like, but I'll start now with the book reports.


I just completed Charles C. Mann's  1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created [affiliate link].

It is the story of the ecological, or maybe more accurately,biological impact of the Old and New World connecting.

I am not one usually entranced by plants.  Unlike my father, I cannot identify a tree by its leaves, or nurture a garden.  Yet I found myself astonished at almost every turn.  For example, before the potato, indigenous to the New World (the Andes specifically), became part of the European diet, famine was an all too frequent event for common man in the Old World;  wheat failed about every six years.

I never knew rubber plants were a New World item.  Mann talks about how modern inventions need three things : energy, iron and rubber.  Think of a car.  It cannot run without iron for the engine, gasoline for fuel and rubber for all the hoses and gaskets.  Artificial rubber can do a lot, but not completely replace natural rubber.

That means one of the cornerstones of modern society could be susceptible to a blight.  That is a little frightening.

Why were African slaves imported, when indentured Englishmen common, willing to come to America, already knew the language, and were already educated on our system of farming?  Mann answers that, and it is not what you think.

I thought I had read his other book, 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus.  Now I realize I have not.  That's next.


Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Sometimes you have to shake things up

I've fallen behind in a lot of my computing tasks.  My tablet could do 90% of what I needed to do, and that became a bit too seductive.

My computer was in my home office, which was my actual office for eleven years.  Is it any wonder, when that job ended, I was happy to not spend time in that office more then I absolutely had to?

When our dog developed mobility problems, and was sequestered to one floor, I moved the computer to a table next to my easy chair and tried using it there.  That way I could make him understand we were not punishing him.

I got a bit more done, but it was not as comfortable as a desk.

Now I've set up the computer on a table in a room that is not my home office, where I am more in the main flow of my family.  I have been able to get more done in the first two days then I have done in quite a while.

I suspect I'll go back to the home office eventually, especially if I need to start dong Skype video calls or the like, but for now the break is good.

How can you shake up your work environment to make things better?

Evernote News Never Ends

The great thing about a product with millions of users, is everyone is constantly coming up with great new ways to use it.

Elephant Channel blogged about all the ways you can capture notes from IOS devices.

IFTTT.com has long let you create new notes from triggers on other web services (as I described in my book), but now lets you append that information to an existing Evernote note.

Jamie Todd Rubin blogged his thoughts on what documents are worthy of scanning into Evernote.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Family Tech: Networking and Self Promotion

Ironically, I have been bad about this lately, but I just moved my computer to a productive work surface, so I hope to get better.


Family Tech: May's Columns

I have been bad about posting these. About to get much better.


Google Drive 4/30
Kickstarter  5/6
Linking Web Services      5/13  (Evernote users: More about this in my book)
Google Voice 5/22