With school starting in a week or two, the blogosphere is filling with posts offering advice for students starting or returning to college.  As a recent graduate and (nearly) straight-A student, I feel qualified to offer my own advice and debunk what I regard as some of the myths of college success.

Disclaimer: This post is intended for people who are smart, responsible, and organized.  If you are majoring in beer and the opposite sex, this advice is not for you.  You need to read college advice written by people who will tell you to put your nose to the grindstone and never let up.

Myth Number 1: Never miss a class

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A reader emailed me with a question about my tutorial for using the Nokia N810 as a wifi phone with Google Voice and Gizmo.

I am not very techie, but I can usually read and follow directions.
Somehow, I managed to mess this up. Everything was fine until I got to
the Dial Central forwarding phone section at the very end. Will you
please write out explicitly what the “forwarding phone” number is
supposed to be? Google Voice? or The SIP number from Gizmo or something
else entirely?

Thanks So Much For A Great Post,


Dear Q,

I reread my tutorial, and I can see how you might have become confused.  I’ll try to clarify:

Forwarding Phone: This refers to any phone number that you set your Google Voice number to forward to.  This is the same as a Callback Number in DialCentral.  You can add forwarding phones by signing into your Google Voice account at http://google.com/voice, clicking “Settings” then “Phones.”

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I previously wrote about using Gizmo Voice to integrate your Gizmo and Google Voice accounts for free incoming and outgoing calls.  Unfortunately, Gizmo voice is no longer completely free.  Incoming calls are still free, as before.  Outgoing domestic calls are free during the first three minutes, after which you will be charged $0.02 per minute.

You can still make free calls by using the Google Voice web interface or DialCentral on your N810.  In Google Voice, click “Call” in the upper left.  Enter the phone number you want to call.  Under “Phone to Ring,” select which of your forwarding phones you want to use for the call.  Google Voice will ring that phone.  When you answer, it will ring the number you are calling.  Gizmo will consider this an incoming call, so you will not be charged.

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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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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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The Nokia N810 excels as a VoIP Wifi phone.  I previously mentioned the device’s Skype capability, which I am so far pleased with.  It’s inexpensive and works well, and I recommend it.  This article will show you how to take things one step further by setting up your N810 to make and receive absolutely free phone calls to landlines and cell phones within the United States.  I’ll walk you through the entire setup process.

Things You’ll Need

  1. A Nokia N800 or N810 Internet Tablet.   If you don’t yet have one, you can purchase it here. This can also be done with a Wifi capable Blackberry or Windows Mobile device, but since I don’t have either of those, my instructions will focus on the N810.  Setting up other devices should be similar- you’ll just have to find the specific client programs yourself, and they may not be free.

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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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Someone arrived here yesterday after searching for “word processor for nokia 810.”  Here are a few suggestions:


The N810’s built-in “Notes” application is good enough for note-taking and rough drafts.  You have your choice of fonts, as well as italic, bold, and underline styles.  You can also do bullet lists and numbered lists.  I’ve used it while offline to write blog posts, which I then copied and pasted here.

One of the advantages of using Notes over Abiword or Google Docs is that the Notes application is optimized for the tablet’s screen resolution, so you don’t have to squint to read your own work.

You can save Notes either as HTML or text files.  The HTML files will open in your desktop browser.

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Search engine traffic statistics are a great way to see what your site visitors are looking for.  I recently noticed that I sometimes get visitors who, based on their search terms, probably didn’t find what they were looking for on my site. I know how frustrating that can be, so I’ve decided to follow the example of another blogger (unfortunately I can’t remember who) and start addressing some of those unanswered questions.

Here are the first two:

Search Term: “Sony Ericsson new themes free download”

This one is easy.  There are many sites that offer cell phone theme and ringtone downloads.  Some are free, others are not.  I tend to use umnet.com when I want a new theme or ringtone.  Lasyk.net is also a good place to visit.  It focuses on Sony Ericsson devices, and seems to be better organized than umnet.

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