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 [...]
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
Just to get a brief idea on how much the Raspberry Pi computer was in demand, here is a statistic that you might be able to identify with – we are talking about 700 units per second. That amounts to 42,000 each minute, and it is no wonder that the demand for the Raspberry Pi during its recent launch actually led to the website crashing. This is truly a phenomenon, where a British-designed system that costs a mere £22 is in such high demand, at least according to one of its main distributors in the UK. Meant to make programming a snap as well as accessible for children, the Raspberry Pi also picked up plenty of envious glances over from a Middle East country that is outlining plans to furnish each schoolgirl with a Raspberry Pi. This is one unique case study that goes to show how the most powerful hardware necessarily “wins” in the long run, giving people what they want and need tend to ensure victory instead.
Raspberry Pi, an innovative $35 GNU/Linux box in a tiny package, launched yesterday — sort of. Demand was so hot that all the company’s retail partners collapsed under load. From Ars Technica’s Ryan Paul:
The product is a bare board with a 700MHz ARM11 CPU and 256MB of RAM. It’s roughly the size of a deck of playing cards and has a powerful GPU that is reportedly competitive with that of modern smartphones. Developer prototypes of the product have been shown running impressive graphics demos and decoding high-definition video…
At the time of publication, the Farnell website is still spitting errors. The RS site has been partially restored and is intermittently available, but isn’t currently allowing users to purchase the Raspberry Pi. Instead, it displays a screen where users can register to express their interest in the product. The Raspberry Pi foundation managed to withstand the traffic by temporarily replacing the contents of its official website with a static page.
Alongside the launch, the Raspberry Pi foundation also announced that the cheaper $25 model, which will be launched at an undisclosed future date, got a spec bump and will have 256MB of RAM, just like the $35 model. The $25 board was originally expected to have only 128MB of RAM. The cheaper model will still lack several of the features found in the $35 model, such as the built-in ethernet controller.
(Via Boing Boing.)
(Via Tybee Guy.)
Now here is a fun idea to add a bit of hammer horror to your guitar collection, Grip Studios create monster hand guitar hangers in a number of finishes including carved wood.
They’re strong and durable and will support many times the weight of any guitar or bass. You can rest assured your axe is in good ‘hands’. – teh lolz…
Our hangers are machined and balanced so your instrument fits securely. The grip is equipped with a rubber cushion so the neck and head stock of your guitar or bass is well protected. Won’t harm nitrocellulose finishes. We at Grip Studios believe strongly in our products and most importantly in the satisfaction of ourcustomers. Bottom line… we stand behind our work. Each piece comes with our 30 day Money Back Guarantee and a Life-time Warranty against defects in craftsmanship.
The Standard model is the GS-1 which come in a number of colours but if you really want to get your monster on check out the GS-2 which includes the ‘Grip Reaper’ and ‘TorchTip Silver’ models pictured above. If you wood (see what I did there) prefer a hand carved model there are currently 2 available – http://guitargrip.com/prod_Carved.htm both equally as creepy as each other. If you really want to push the boat out how about the Air Brushed series? I particularly like the Ride/Lightning.
(Via Guitar Noize.)
For me, the iPad is the ultimate device for paperless reading, writing, and photo viewing. The comfortable viewing size of the iPad makes it a perfect electronic notebook for reading ebooks, PDFs, typing short emails, and viewing lots of photos. There are also some very good apps that actually allow you to use the iPad like a notepad.
Steve Jobs and Apple probably didn’t envision the iPad being used this way, but the smooth glass service of the device makes it a pretty handy tool for jotting notes, grocery lists, brainstorming and outlining ideas, mind mapping, and drawing simple designs. Let’s check the best free option for handwriting notebook apps, and then examine a few low-priced alternatives.
If you want to test out how it feels to hand write on your iPad, the makers of Wacom tablets have produced Bamboo Paper, specifically designed for the iPad.
The best way to hand write on the iPad is using what is called a Stylus pen, but I don’t recommend going and buying one until you get a feel for using a handwriting notebook app. In the above screenshot, I quickly wrote using my index finger. Stylus pens help with a little more precise handwriting, but finger writing works just fine when you don’t have a pen nearby.
Bamboo is beautifully designed and functionally easy to use. When you launch the app, it has the look of one of those Moleskin notebooks.
Before tapping on the cover of the Bamboo notebook, notice that you can tap the menu gear at the bottom, which brings up a small collection of colored inks and three types of paper (not captured in the screenshot)—blank, lined, and graph papers.
The essential feature for these type of apps includes an undo, redo, and full erase tools. Bamboo Paper has all three. There’s even a button to clear the entire ‘sheet of paper’. In the app’s toolbar, you can also change the color of the ink and export your notes to your iPad’s Photo Library, email it, or print it. On the front cover of the app you can select to export the entire notebook of pages.
Bamboo Paper makes for a fine introduction to handwriting on the iPad. However, it does have a few missing features that regular users of the app will want. Though you can bookmark pages in Bamboo, it allows for only one notebook. Also, it doesn’t export pages to popular services like Dropbox. So if you get hooked on Bamboo, you might consider one of the few low-priced alternatives below.
One of the handwriting apps I’ve been using for quite some time is Penultimate ($1.99). It contains all the features of Bamboo Paper, but much, much more.
You can create as many notebooks as you like. In addition to the three types of papers, you can order for .99 cents packets of other types of papers for writing, planners, blank music sheets, graphic designing and games like Hangman.
Penultimate has what is called a Wrist Protection feature which, when enabled, stops the palm of your hand making marks on a sheet of paper as you write.
You can also easily navigate through pages of your notebook using the thumbnail view of the app. Like Bamboo, Penultimate allows you to export pages and full notebooks in PDF format via email, your Photo Library, iTunes, as well as printing. However, Penultimate also doesn’t have Dropbox integration.
For a few dollars more, Noteshelf ($4.99) probably provides the fullest features out of all the notebooks reviewed.
Noteshelf contains everything found in Bamboo and Penultimate, with additional features allowing you to export pages and notebooks to Dropbox and Evernote. Noteshelf also allows you to import and re-size photos in your notebook pages.
Which notebook app you choose will largely be based on how much you prefer handwriting on your iPad as opposed to typing. You might start off with the free Bamboo app and if you see yourself using it a lot step up to one of the commercial paid apps. Also, you will need to shop around for a Stylus Pen. They costs between a few dollars and upwards to $35. Start with the low priced ones that you can find on Amazon.
Apple will be releasing, perhaps as early as July 9th, its latest version of Mac OS X, Lion. Unlike with previous OS X updates, Lion will be significantly cheaper ($29,00), but getting your hands on a physical disc copy of the Lion upgrade will not be possible. This will be because, for the first time, this OS X update will only be available for download through Apple‘s Mac App Store.
As of this writing, Apple has not indicated that it will provide hard disk copies of Lion. This new method system of updating has its pros and cons, but having downloaded the developer’s build of Lion, I think for many previous users of the Mac App Store, the process should further simplify new system upgrades.
This article does not address all the questions users may have about the Lion upgrade. After the system is fully released, we will address any other major issues (if any) that may arise with the upgrade.
In order to upgrade to Mac OS X Lion, the Mac you want to install it on will need to be at least an Intel Core 2 Duo, Core i3, Core i5 or Core i7 processor. I believe most Macs produced in the last five years meet one of these qualifications. To find out which processor your Mac is using, click on the Apple icon > About.
You will need to be running the latest update of Snow Leopard 10.6.6. (See here for more information about the App Store upgrade).
This SL update should include the Mac App Store application in which you use to purchase and download Lion, as you would any other applications in the store.
The developer’s build of Lion that I downloaded is over 4GB, and more than likely it will not be any smaller than that in its final release version. So once you pay for Lion, be prepared for a 30 minute to 2 hour download time, depending on the speed of your network.
You will want to make sure you have backed up your existing hard drive onto Time Machine and/or cloned it to another external drive.
If you need to install Lion on other Macs in your home, you can open App Store on those computers and click on your Purchases (located in the App Store menu bar) to download the installer app again to those other Macs.
However, instead of another download through a Wi-Fi connection for your other Macs, you probably should be able to copy the Lion installer app via your networked computers or through a FireWire or Ethernet connection so that process is a little faster.
What’s great about downloading Lion from the App Store is that the process will begin once downloading is complete.
Most users will simply download Lion on top of Snow Leopard, which means that the new system will replace Snow Leopard but all your existing files, applications, songs, movies, and other data will be remain intact, and will appear after you restart your computer with the newly installed Lion upgrade.
There will be a Customize button that you can click to selectively exclude any default Lion apps, system foreign languages and the like that you don’t want installed in the upgrade (in the developer’s build of Lion the ability to customize the installation was not yet available).
After you’re done with the installation app, you can delete it from your Application’s folder, as once you purchase it in the App Store it will always be there for to download again if need be. The big issue with this App Store process is you won’t have an external copy of Lion on disk to plop into your Mac just in case you need to run a fix on a corrupted disk or partition.
If you need to, you can install Lion on a separate partition or external drive, so that you can have access to both Snow Leopard and Lion. Why might you want to do this? Well, some applications like older versions of Microsoft Word will not run on Lion, and you’re not prepared to upgrade the software for Lion just yet.
So to create a partition, you will need to make sure you have plenty of internal hard drive space. I would recommend at least 12-20 gigs of space on the partition.
You can create a partition by launching Disk Utility and selecting your hard drive. Click on the ‘Partition’ tab and then click the + button at the bottom of the Volume Scheme. Name the partition ‘Lion’ or any name you like. Set the partition size for Lion to be about 12-20GB. Click the ‘Apply’ button and the partition will be created, similar to how it’s shown above.
Now when you run the Lion installer app, you will be able to select the partition (see the screen in the previous section.)
You can switch back and forth between systems by opening System Preferences and selecting ‘Startup Dist’ under the System category. From there, you can select the system you want your computer to start back up in. Your Mac will boot in the last system you used.
When we remarked that home automation technology was a reason we needed iPv6 technology, we weren’t kidding. If Netherlands-based NXP has it their way, we’ll all be using networked LED lightbulbs, each with their own IPv6 address. More »