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Monday, July 09, 2007

Never Check Voicemail (a how-to)

Voicemail is an inefficient way to communicate. It's as transactionally disconnected as email, but without the random accessibility of text. Since the fact of not reaching you often catches folks off-guard, and since most people aren't used to delivering all their thoughts at once in a well-ordered stream, you'll likely get more noise than signal in the message. I find too that even the slowest, rambling speakers become speed talkers rivaling any auctioneer when it comes time to leave their phone number. Then there's my habit - forgetting to check voicemail, particularly on my cell phone, sometimes for days at a time.

Fortunately, there's a fantastic, free service that will automatically convert voicemails left on your cell phone service into emails sent to your inbox. This means that you won't need to explicitly call your service to check messages, or even check your phone to see if there are any waiting.

CallWave replaces your voicemail service with an automated system to record the incoming message, transcribe it to text, and send both the text and the original voice (as a sound file attachment) wherever you like. It is easy to set up for forwarding to either SMS or email, and activates instantly. You simply sign up with your phone number and email, enter the code appropriate to your cell service provider to forward unanswered calls to CallWave, and you're done. I've found the text transcription accuracy to be acceptable, although the quality does vary depending on the speaker's clarity. Even so, since you still get the original sound file as an attachment, you can certainly listen to that if you can't decipher the resulting text. CallWave is a remote service - there is nothing to install on your computer or cell phone.

If you often leave voicemail reminders to yourself (better than texting while driving), there's another free service you'll enjoy: Jott. Jott will enable you to send emails to anyone as text (plus attached voice), via dictation from your phone. When you dial into the service, it recognizes you by your caller id and asks who you want to Jott. It matches your voice response to one of the set of named recipients you can manage online. Once you give the recipient's name, you just talk away and Jott will transcribe the dictation and send the message in minutes. As with CallWave, dictation accuracy varies. I'm not sure I would use it to completely replace email or a real call, but I find it indispensable for sending text messages to myself. I "Jott myself" all the time.

1 Comments:

Blogger Ballut said...

I do agree that voicemail is a horrible way of communication. I know a lot of people that wont even leave a voice mail when calling people simply for the fact that they hate it. Now callwaves Vtxt is an awesome solution to that pesky thing. I think anything voice to text these days are great. Especially Jott! Glad you posted them too...Jott is killer for voice to text. I'll save everyones eyes from reading and just say this.....GIVE JOTT A SHOT!! Its worth it...ITS FREE!!

11:32 PM

 

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