Tweet What do you do if the power is out, but you need to charge your cell phone to make an emergency phone call? In this episode of DIY Hacks & How To’s, I show you how to tap the power flowing from your phone line. There is a small amount of electricity that is [...]
Archive for May, 2012
A tribute to Bob Moog, sonic doodler: “In the mid-1960s, Dr. Robert Moog unleashed a new universe of sounds into musicdom with his invention of the electronic analog Moog Synthesizer. The timbre and tones of these keyboard instruments (true works of art in and of themselves) would come to define a generation of music, featuring heavily in songs by The Beatles, The Doors, Stevie Wonder, Kraftwerk and many others.
When people hear the word ‘synthesizer’ they often think ‘synthetic’—fake, manufactured, unnatural. In contrast, Bob Moog’s synthesizers produce beautiful, organic and rich sounds that are, nearly 50 years later, regarded by many professional musicians as the epitome of an electronic instrument. ‘Synthesizer,’ it turns out, refers to the synthesis embedded in Moog’s instruments: a network of electronic components working together to create a whole greater than the sum of the parts.
With his passion for high-tech toolmaking in the service of creativity, Bob Moog is something of a patron saint of the nerdy arts and a hero to many of us here. So for the next 24 hours on our homepage, you’ll find an interactive, playable logo inspired by the instruments with which Moog brought musical performance into the electronic age. You can use your mouse or computer keyboard to control the mini-synthesizer’s keys and knobs to make nearly limitless sounds. Keeping with the theme of 1960s music technology, we’ve patched the keyboard into a 4-track tape recorder so you can record, play back and share songs via short links or Google+.
Special thanks to engineers Reinaldo Aguiar and Rui Lopes and doodle team lead Ryan Germick for their work, as well as the Bob Moog Foundation and Moog Music for their blessing. Now give those knobs a spin and compose a tune that would make Dr. Moog smile!
(Via The Official Google Blog.)
Blog from your phone, call for free or use your computer to make free phone calls. Google Voice isn’t the easiest Google service to explain to non-techies, partially because it can be used for so many different things. Find a short list of those things below.
Using only a phone to manage voicemail is old fashioned: Google Voice does a much better job. Manage your voicemail on your computer or phone, and enjoy unlimited free texting within the US and Canada. It’s a service no human should be without, but which is sadly (still) limited to humans who reside in the United States of America. Google, remedy this!
Find below just a few advanced Google Voice tricks. Know some more? Leave them in the comments below the article and share them with the world.
Blog From Your Phone
Imagine being able to blog by phone, from anywhere. It’s not farfetched: our very own Ryan devised a method of voice blogging. It’s not perfect, but it’s a great way to get in a quick blog post from the road.
Free Calls and Texts To Canada
Cell phone has no concept of long distance, provided I’m calling or texting a US number. It’s another matter when you call or text Canada: that costs extra. Good thing I have Google Voice: it allows you to call or text Canada for free.
You can do this one of two ways. The first is to call Google Voice number from my cell phone, then call Canada from that. It’s easy, but requires some extra dialing.
The second way requires some setup, but works very well: have your Canadian friend send a text message to your Google Voice number. Assuming you’ve set up Google Voice to forward texts to your phone, you will now have an American number you can use to reach your Canadian friend. Save this new number and you can call your friend as though it were a domestic call, anytime.
Free Calls From Your Browser
This isn’t exactly a secret, but many people don’t seem to realize it: you can make free phone calls from within Gmail, provided you’re calling a number inside the US or Canada.
Even cooler: if your Google Voice number is your primary phone number, you can pick up your phone calls in Gmail. You just need to turn on chat and install the Google video chat browser extension.
Another related but also lesser-known trick: you can add any phone number to a Google Plus Hangout, allowing you to include people without Internet access in your conversations.
Combine Google Voice and Skype
Skype is a very affordable way to make long distance phone calls, but there is one problem with it: unless you set up a call display number you appear as ‘unknown caller’ on the phone of the person you’re trying to reach. Many people will, assuming you’re a scam artist, and refuse to pick up.
You can buy a phone number from Skype to avoid this. Or, if you don’t want to spend money on a subscription, you can set up your Skype account to display your Google Voice number for call display. That way people you call will see a real phone number.
You might consider doing this even if you’ve paid Skype for an incoming number: people will call you back at your Google Voice number instead of your Skype number, meaning you’ll get the call on all of your phones instead of just Skype.
Add a Voicemail Feature To Your Blog
Want to hear from the people who read your blog? Add a voicemail button to it. This allows people to leave you a voicemail without telling the world your phone number. People who visit your site can enter their phone number and, in one click, connect their phone to your voicemail inbox.
Other Cool Tricks
Of course, there are many more cool things you can do with Google Voice. Ryan outlined several of them in 2010, and his tricks still work very well. They are:
- Integrating Google Voice for all mobile calls
- Listening in to your voicemail in real time
- Automatic transcriptions of all voicemails
- Recording phone calls
- Custom greetings for different groups of people