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Why would I want to use Google Voice with my Android phone?

  1. Google Voice gives you a permanent number that forwards to the phone or phones of your choice.  If you change carriers or move, you don’t have to worry about “porting” your old phone number- you can just change your forwarding phone settings in Google Voice.  Additionally, your Google Voice number can ring your home, work, and cell phones at the same time, and you can answer whichever one you want.  You can block specific numbers, send others to specific phones, and determine what time of day you want each phone to ring.
  2. Save money on international calls.  International calls are far less expensive than the exorbitant per-minute fees charged by cellular carriers.  For example, I can use Google Voice to call my sister in Germany for about 2 cents per minute.  AT&T would charge well over a dollar per minute for the same call.

Why would I want to use Google Voice with my iPhone?

  1. Google Voice gives you a permanent number that forwards to the phone or phones of your choice.  If you change carriers or move, you don’t have to worry about “porting” your old phone number- you can just change your forwarding phone settings in Google Voice.  Additionally, your Google Voice number can ring your home, work, and cell phones at the same time, and you can answer whichever one you want.  You can block specific numbers, send others to specific phones, and determine what time of day you want each phone to ring.
  2. Save money/minutes on calls.  US calls are free.  International calls are far less expensive than the exorbitant per-minute fees charged by cellular carriers.  For example, I can use Google Voice to call my sister in Germany for about 2 cents per minute.  AT&T would charge well over a dollar per minute for the same call.

In my recent preliminary review of the HTC Tilt 2, I mentioned that getting the device to work with VoIP and Google Voice calls would be a high priority for me.  Since then, I’ve found a workable solution.  This article will show you with step by step instructions how to set it up.

Why would I want to use Google Voice with my cell phone?

  1. Google Voice gives you a permanent number that forwards to the phone or phones of your choice.  If you change carriers or move, you don’t have to worry about “porting” your old phone number- you can just change your forwarding phone settings in Google Voice.  Additionally, your Google Voice number can ring your home, work, and cell phones at the same time, and you can answer whichever one you want.  You can block specific numbers, send others to specific phones, and determine what time of day you want each phone to ring.

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Today, I received the dubious honor of being plagiarized.  My article, “How to make and receive free phone calls using your N810, Google Voice and Gizmo” was re-posted verbatim, without notification, permission, or attribution, as the very first post on a brand-new blog.

I knew this was illegal, but wasn’t quite sure how to handle it at first, so I sought guidance from the Google God, and found some excellent information and tools for dealing with plagiarism.

Brent Ozar (http://www.brentozar.com/archive/2009/06/how-to-take-action-when-your-content-is-plagiarized/) recommends first sending a cease and desist letter to the webmaster, followed by a Digital Millenium Copyright Act take-down notice to the plagiarist’s internet service provider and/or web hosting service.  If you don’t get a response from the webmaster or ISP, you can send a DMCA notice to the major search engines, who will delist the offending site.  He even provides links to sample cease and desist letters at PlagiarismToday.com which can be customized for your situation.

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Here are some free tools that helped me save money and work smarter during college.

Share class notes with Google Docs

Google Docs is like having Microsoft Word in your email account.  Once you sign up, you have access to a word processor and spreadsheet application that can import and export files to and from Microsoft and Open Document formats.  It doesn’t have all the features of Microsoft Office, but it’s good enough for most of the writing you’ll have to do during college.  Best of all, you can give your friends access and editing privileges for your documents, enabling easy sharing of class notes and study guides, and efficient collaboration on projects.

A few years ago, getting notes for a class I missed meant I had to set up a time to meet, and either copy by hand or find a copy machine.  Now, if I’m getting notes from a colleague who uses Google Docs, sharing notes with me takes 30 seconds and a couple of mouse clicks.

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At the time of this writing, Google seems to be using IP filtering to prevent people with non-US IP addresses from setting up accounts.  Fortunately, “mgoebel” of the Internet Tablet Talk forum has figured out a beautifully simple way around this.

Here’s how it works:

When you receive your Google Voice invitation, send it to a someone you trust in the United States, and ask them to set up the account for you.  You’ll have to trust them with your password, but you can change that later.  Have them set up the account and send you the login credentials.

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In my two previous posts, I showed you how to use Google Voice and the Gizmo Project to set up your Nokia N810 internet tablet as a free wifi phone, and how to unlock your old Sunrocket analog telephone adapter (ATA) (Linksys SPA2102-R) for use with another VoIP service.

In this post, I’ll show you how to set up your Sunrocket ATA and landline phone for free domestic phone service (US only) using Google Voice and the Gizmo Project.  If you don’t already have an ATA, I’ve found the Linksys SPA2102 VoIP Phone Adapter with Router to be an excellent and reliable piece of equipment which can be configured for use with most SIP-based VoIP services.

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Background

Way back in  July of 2007 I signed up for VoIP phone service with Sunrocket.  They sent me a telephone adapter, called a “Analog Telephone Adapter” or ATA, which connected to my land-line phone and my internet connection, enabling me to make calls over the internet from any normal phone.  I enjoyed the service for about one month before Sunrocket went out of business.

Sunrocket did not ask for their device back.  Unfortunately, they had “provisioned” the ATA so that it only worked with Sunrocket’s service.  You couldn’t use it anywhere else.  Someone developed a solution for unlocking the device, but I lacked some critical knowledge and couldn’t make the solution work for me.  So I ended up with a perfectly good piece of hardware that I couldn’t use.  I put it on a shelf in the back of my closet, and there it remained for the next 2 years, like Sleeping Beauty waiting for her prince.

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I spent five hours on a bus today.  During that time, I watched two movies, one on my Creative Zen Vision M 30 gig player, and one on my Nokia N810.  Here are my impressions:

 

Creative Zen Vision M 30 gigabyte

I watched A River Runs Through It on the Creative device.  I expected to have difficulty watching a movie on such a small screen, and was pleasantly surprised with the experience.  The colors are clear and vibrant, and I had no difficulty keeping up with the action.  I turned the brightness up to 100%, but probably could have been comfortable with less.

After I got home, I turned the movie back on and left the player running to see how far it would get before the battery died.  Including the time on the bus, it played for just over 3 hours before switching off.

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