Saturday, May 19, 2007

Amazing Phone Services

The year 2007 has seen some really neat phone services that save average consumers money on long distance calls, provide anonymity and in some cases provide useful functionality at no charge. This post is an attempt to document these services for your pleasure. List of services after the jump.

Last Updated: June 12, 2007

Anonymize Yourself:


This service allows you to get a local phone number that rings to your cell or any phone for $4.99/month. It also includes voicemail and caller ID. They do have a free option but you dont have any control over the area code. On the website CallDigits is promoting their service for business, dating and privacy.


This service allows you to get a free anonymous number that expires after a pre determined amount of time. Lets say you have a craigslist ad and you don't want people to call you on your real number. Just get a number from CraigsNumber and post it on your ad. You can get a number for an hour, day, week or month. The number will have an extension e.g (504) 208 2333 x 627. You will tell CraigsNumber where to forward your calls. The whole process takes less than 2 minutes. When somebody dials the number you get an option to accept or decline the call.

Find Information:


Don't want to pay those pesky 411 charges? Call 1800Free411 and get your information for free. The catch? Once they find a result you have to listen to a small ad. The ad is well worth the money you save.


For the frugal amongst us Frucall is one of the better services around to do comparison shopping. While standing at Barnes and Nobles you no longer have to worry about overpaying. Simply call 888-DO-FRUCALL (1-888-363-7822) and enter the books barcode using your keypad. If Frucall recognizes the product it will give you various prices for the product including shipping. If you're a registered user, you will have the option to order the item immediately or bookmark it for later reference.


Call 1-800-555-TELL (8355) and find information on businesses, news, sports, stocks, horoscopes, driving directions and weather. You can also get information texted to your phone.

Useful Services:


Bringos motto is "Stop Talking to Machines and Talk to a Real Human". Bringo accomplishes this by allowing you to find the company you'd like to call by category (credit cards, mortgages, loans, health care). After selecting the company enter your phone number. Wait a few seconds while Bringo navigates the phone tree. Once Bringo is done it will call you back with a human being on the other side. No more phone trees.


If you are a light fax user then EFax is the perfect solution to receive faxes as it wont cost you a single dime. They provide you with a fax number and when someone calls the number you get the fax as an email attachment. They do have paid accounts for heavy fax users who need to send and receive faxes. If you want to send faxes for free check out FaxZero below.


FaxZero allows you to send a free fax in USA and Canada. The free service comes with an ad on the cover page and the document cannot be more than 3 pages long. You can only send two faxes per day. In order to remove these restrictions you need to pay $1.99 per fax. The user is notified via email once the fax is delivered.


Foonz can come in handy when you want to do a group call or leave a group message. This free service allows you to register your contacts. When you need to do a conference call dial the special Foonz number and choose the friends you need to hook up with. Foonz will IM or text your friends with a call in number. As soon as they dial the number they will be connected to you.


Want to have a conference call for zero cost? Thats where Freeconference comes into the picture. They allow 150 people to yak for 3 hours for free. Freeconference also provides you with a toll free number for your meeting participants at a cost. I've been using this service successfully for quite some time and am extremely happy with it.


Gaboogie is conference calling for the 21st century. Rather than setting up a conference call and hoping all the attendants show up on time, Gaboogie does all the boring stuff for you. This service will auto dial all the participants at the appropriate time and give them an option of joining, declining or snoozing. The moderator can see the status of all the participants on the site. This service is not free but has many different pricing options. Plus its got a nice name!


GrandCentral has a lot of tricks up its sleeve. It allows you to have one number for life that can be forwarded to any phone number of your choice. You can create customized greetings for different people. GrandCentral allows you to record your calls and have centralized voicemail. Currently it is in beta and is free. They claim that there will always be a free version.


Jangl allows you to call anyone with an email address. Mind boggling right? Once you enter the email address of the person you need to connect with, Jangl provides a phone number for you to leave a voicemail. The voicemail is delivered to the recipient via email and the recipient gets a number with which to return your initial call. The Jangl phone numbers allow you to hide your real number. There are some hoops to jump through but this is the best solution Ive seen so far to connect with people simply based on their email. Jangl works in 31 countries.


Jott will transcribe your voicemails into an email. Call 1 877 568 8486 and leave a voicemail aka jott for yourself, an individual or for a group. Jott will convert the voicemail into an email and send it out to all the recipients.


Pinger is similar to Jott. Pinger claims to be text messaging for your voice. With Pinger, you can reach out to your entire basketball team, extended family, fraternity or office with one call. Everyone in the group can reply right from your message, either to you or to the whole group. A Pinger notification comes as a text message.


Rminder allows you to create reminders on their website which get delivered to your phone via text or voice. It also synchronizes your events from Google calendar, Yahoo Calendar and Outlook. They have a free version with limited functionality. To get more functionality you can get a paid subscription.


Want to make free international phone calls from your cellphone or any phone for that matter? Yak4Ever allows you to register 10 of your friends. You dial a special number and can make calls to these friends using a shortcut. Obviously you cant call people in certain countries but the list of countries you can call is pretty impressive. I had to send an email to the owner to get my account up and running. After that it was smooth sailing. I have started talking to people in Europe and the voice quality was surprisingly good.


YouMail allows you to record customized greetings for different callers. So you could have one voicemail message for your wife and another one for your sister. Just be careful not to mix up the two. YouMails standard service is free.

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Friday, May 11, 2007

Useful Gmail Tools

Gmail: Gmail is Googles webmail. Google has put in some nifty features like keeping conversations in emails together to close integration with calendar. Gmail has become an integral part of many peoples lives and lots of people have come up with tools to make Gmail even better. List of tools after the jump.

Find information on the official gmail notifier for windows and mac here and the mobile app here.

Last Updated: May 11, 2007


  1. GmailFS uses your Gmail account as its storage medium

  2. KCheckGmail a Gmail notifier for KDE.
  1. Address Book to CSV Exporter allows you to export your contacts to a CSV for easy import into Gmail.

  2. gDisk is a software that turns your Gmail account into a portable hard drive so you can always have your important files accessible accross the Internet.

  3. Gee is a notifier for the Gmail Atom Feed that sits in your menubar.

Plugins (Firefox):
  1. Gmail Manager is a Firefox extension that allows you to keep an eye on multiple Gmail accounts.

  2. GSpace is a Firefox extension that converts Gmail into online storage space. You get a ftp style interface to move files between your computer and Gmail.

Plugins (Other):
  1. Apperture2Gmail is a plugin for the Mac Apperture and allows you to email your pictures using Gmail.

  2. Gmail + Growl makes the Mac Google Notifier show Growl notification bubbles whenever new email arrives in your Gmail inbox.

  3. Gmail IM Logger plugin for Trillian Pro logs your IM conversations to Gmail.

  4. iPhoto2Gmail is a plugin for the Mac iPhoto and allows you to email your pictures using Gmail.

  5. Youve Got Gmail is a Gmail Notifier plugin for Trillian Pro.

  1. E-Mail Icon Generator for Gmail and other emails.

  1. Google Mac Dashboard widget to check your gmail accounts.

  1. GmailDrive creates a virtual filesystem around your Google Gmail account and enables you to save and retrieve files stored on your Gmail account directly from inside Windows Explorer

  2. Gmail Loader loads your emails into Gmail. The application also works on linux

  3. Notifier2 allows you to check on multiple Gmail accounts, Google Adsense, Gdrive amongst other things.

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