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BrainDumping July 17, 2008

Posted by Doriano "Paisano" Carta in Collaboration, Lists, Mobile, Personal, Uncategorized.
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3 comments

Sometimes you just need to capture a thought in your head or else it’ll be gone forever. There are many ways to record these ideas or brainstorms, but none of them truly take full advantage of the social media and social networking benefits available today. Sure, there are many good mindmapping tools online but none of them work well with mobile devices which is critical when it comes to capturing thoughts wherever and whenever you have them. The process needs to be quick and easy too. Here are some mobile methods for handling your braindumping on the go.

Wridea has just released 2.0 after two long years in Beta. It was previously reveiwed here in the Best Checklist Sites. Judging from my initial experiences with the new look and feel of Wridea’s totally overhauled GUI, I have to admit that it is much improved.
Here are some of the key new features:

  • Full API support for integrating Wridea with third party projects, systems, websites, desktop and mobile applications
  • New user interface for faster idea management
  • Improved idea collaboration with friends or other Wridea users
  • RSS feeds of your idea pages and idea comments
  • Better friend management
  • Expandability with Idea Tools

The best feature of Wridea is the ability to send your ideas to your account via your own email address. The format of the email is Idea_username@wridea.com so it’s easy to remember. Just add the entry to your cell phone’s address book and you will be able to capture your thoughts and ideas anytime, anywhere straight to your wridea account. You can share these entries and collaborate if you want but mostly I think it’s best suited for braindumping.

Here are a couple of screencasts of the new and much improved Wridea.
What is Wridea?
What are the best new features of Wridea 2.0?

Jott is an excellent service to use for capturing your ideas thru your cell phone. Unlike Wridea which does this thru the use of a personalized email address that posts to your online account, Jott accomplishes this in a unique manner via your own phone number. Once you call Jott it asks “Who do you want to Jott?” and you simply reply with “Me” to capture thoughts and ideas to your account. The nice thing about this is that Jott also transcribes your audio message to text and emails it to you so it can be copied and pasted as you wish. The accuracy isn’t that bad but it isn’t 100% either so you must double-check every time. Here’s a visual explanation. Here’s a list of all the tricks you can do with Jott on your cell phone.

Zoho Planner also allows you to send thoughts and ideas to your online account via your own unique email address. You can then turn those notes into to do items, appointments on your calendar or add them as notes to your planner. While the functions work and come in handy, the interface is gludgy and not very user-friendly.

Remember The Milk is mostly for tracking tasks and appointments but you can very well use it to manage your thoughts and ideas because it also provides you with your own email address. So, you can use your cell phone to send any idea you had right to your RTM account. Another perk is the way that RTM integrates seamlessly with GMail (thanks to Firefox)! Here’s a video of how that looks. Here’s a tour of what it can do.

Utterz is like a hybrid of Twitter + Seesmic + Tumbler + Jott. It has some new features that allow you to send ideas privately to your utterz account via email (the format is very easy to remember, username@utterz.com). You can record private audio messages on your cell phone and send them to yourself privately to play back later on or make public and embed on your website or in the utterz public timeline.

Final Thoughts on Thought Capturing
Look for this space to continue to catch on fire thanks to the ever increasing popularity of social networking and mobile devices like the iPhone, Blackberry and many others. It will become increasingly easier to capture and share whatever we want, even those thoughts that used to vanish into thin air.

Utterz 2.0 June 25, 2008

Posted by Doriano "Paisano" Carta in Blogs, Mobile, Online Services, Social Media, social networks.
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1 comment so far

Utterz 2.0 is now LIVE! The biggest change is the user interface of the home page. It is much cleaner, less cluttered and easier to use! Check it out here:

 

New Profile URL

User profile pages are also vastly improved and easier to remember. The URL is no longer this long and hideously cryptic address! Instead, it’s as simple as Pai. http://www.utterz.com/Paisano

 

 

Mobile Utterz

Using utterz on your mobile device is even better than ever! Call: 1-712-432-6666 *record, listen AND reply.

Video, pics, text:
-public: go@utterz.com
Title your last utter:
title@utterz.com

Look at all the new options available from your cell phone’s keypad! http://www.utterz.com/u/cli_doc.php

Go to m.utterz.com from your handset to browse and reply to friends’ messages

Sending a message to go@utterz.com or private@utterz.com within 10 minutes of recording matches up your photo, video, or text with the recording.

 

New Personal Email Address

Members now get their own personal email address for easier direct communication.

For example, send a message to paisano@utterz.com and it will get routed to me instantly.

Also, taking a queue from Twitter, You can now send an utter to someone’s inbox by including ‘@username’ anywhere in the text of your message!

 

Finding Friends

Adding your friends from your address book or other services such as Twitter has also become much better! Just login to your service and Utterz will show you which friends already belong to Utterz. Just click follow and you will be linked to them on Utterz. http://www.utterz.com/u/find_friends/network-twitter

 

Come check it out!

 

 

iRevolution: Breaking the chains from Apple and AT&T June 10, 2008

Posted by Doriano "Paisano" Carta in Apple, Gadgets, Mobile, Uncategorized.
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3 comments

attapple

While everyone is excited about the new 3G iphone (as I am), I feel compelled to complain about the exclusive distribution deal that Apple and AT&T have in place for this beautiful little gadget! I don’t like exclusive deals like this and hope that more of us complain about it so that it doesn’t become a common business practice.

Choice

This is the United States of America and we believe in our freedom of choice! In this day and age I find it appalling that we are forced to purchase a mobile device from one specific carrier! How did this happen? There’s no way that we should stand for this.
We should be allowed to use whatever carrier we want to use: T-Mobile, Sprint, Verizon, whatever! Shame on Apple and AT&T for this blatant money grub maneuver. Our best interests were not considered one iota! They only thing they focused on was the bottom line which was profit and revenue.

The iRevolution Has Begun!

What can we do about this? Well, a revolution has begun already. People are going with other phones such as the Blackberry. Others are waiting for the GPhone from Google slated for release this fall. Another thing that many frustrated consumers are doing is unlocking the iPhone so that they can use the carrier of their choice! Yes, it’s totally legal, easy to do and get this, it’s free!

Unleashing the Beast
http://www.ziphone.org is the best place to start. It’s been around a long time and has been very successful even for the most novice of users. They’re already working on the 3G version so that will be available very soon. Once you do this, then you will be able to use the carrier that YOU, not Apple or AT&T wants you to use! What a concept, huh?

So Easy Even a Caveman can do it!

Final Thoughts

Look, I like Apple and AT&T and can’t wait to get my hands on the 3G iPhone someday. I just don’t like what they’ve done here with their exclusive deal that has totally taken away our freedom of choice. If they want to establish a system with different levels of preferred vendors as Microsoft and others have done, then fine. Apple could’ve made AT&T their premiere or preferred vendor of the iPhone with greater quantities and preferred product shipment and support, but they should not have closed the door on all of the other carriers!

Best Mobile Map Services March 17, 2008

Posted by Doriano "Paisano" Carta in Mobile.
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1 comment so far

Mapping services for mobile devices that pinpoints your location with or without a GPS are all the rage these days. They’re able to perform this without GPS thanks to the ever-growing number of WiFi networks all across the country. The more wireless hotspots that are added to the grid the more accurate and powerful the locating services become.

Here are some of the best of breed for these types of services for your cell phone.

Google Maps for Mobile is the latest to unveil such a beast. This downloadable application puts local information, directions and maps in your pocket. Here’s what it can do:

Where am I?
New! Google Maps with My Location. Learn more.
Where’s the nearest…
Cup of coffee, late night pizza or last-minute bouquet?
Is there traffic up ahead?
See it so you can avoid it.
How do I get there from where I am?
Type your destination and away you go.

Here’s a screencast on how it works:

In this roundup, Google Mobile for maps is the only service that doesn’t include any social networking capabilities which is strange. I would look for these features to come very soon though.


Loki was one of the first services to offer GPS-like tracking for mobile devices. With Loki Mobile you can post your location to MyLoki from wherever you are. As you move around MyLoki can automatically let your friends know where you are using your favorite platform — Facebook, RSS Feeds, or badges for your blog or even Jaiku. You can pick and choose how and where you want your location displayed.

Loopt does the same thing but with more social networking options such as sharing photo’s and videos from your cell phone. They use the term social compass to describe their service which allows you to see where your friends are and vice versa.

Plazes offers a manual method of showing your friends where you are in the world via SMS on your cell phone.

Summation: The mobile web is the future of the Internet (especially once 3G becomes more common!), so these mapping and locating services will become increasingly important. Look for Microsoft Earth to get in the mix soon, among others!


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How to save big bucks on mobile phone bill February 14, 2008

Posted by Doriano "Paisano" Carta in Enterprise, Finance, Mobile.
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9 comments

I recently spent a great deal of time with our company’s account representatives for our mobile phone cariers, AT&T and T-Mobile. I learned some eye-opening, jaw-dropping yet simple tricks that will reduce our company’s monthly mobile phone bill by hundreds of dollars. The changes to make are simple little things that truly add up to a great deal of savings. Here are some ways that you can help your company reduce their monthly mobile phone bills by a significant amount by simply making a couple of minor changes in the way you use your company provided cell phone.

 


Directory Assistance (411)
Companies can save substantially if every employee uses Google directory assistance from their cell phone instead of calling 411 which charges for every call made that way. It’s approximately $1.79 plus airtime per 411 call made from a mobile device which adds up quickly if a company has many employees on their plan. It’s free to use Google directory assistance via text messaging for addresses and numbers. Simply save Google’s directory assistance number (466453) under contacts as Google. When sending a text to GOOGLE just enter the name of the business and city and state or zipcode. For example, Pizza Hut Atlanta, GA. Google will then immediately start sending you the contact information that matches your request.

 

Google also offers 1-800-Goog-411 (1-800-466-4411) as well for free information calling.



There are several other similar free services, such as:
Microsoft’s TellMe 1-800-555-TELL (8355)
1-800-Free 411 
411SMS 
Try each one to see which one you like best.



Change your voicemail number
You can also save a great deal when it comes to checking voicemail on mobile devices. By default, you are charged whenever you check your voicemail because you are dialing a special phone number. In order to be able to check voicemail for free, all you have to do is change that voicemail number to your own cell phone number. Here are the instructions for Blackberry and non-blackberry cell phone users.

Blackberry Users

1. Open the phone application.
2. Click the wheel and go to Options.
3. Click on Voicemail and it will display your Access Number.
Change it to your own number.
4. Go into your Address Book and add an entry for ‘Voice Mail’ and put in the access number from step 3 as one of the phone numbers for that contact (it doesn’t matter which phone number slot you put it in).
5. Go back into your phone app. Click the wheel and select ‘View Speed Dial List’.
6. Select the [1] spot (or wherever you want the speed dial for voicemail to go).
7. Click the wheel and select ‘New Speed Dial’ (or ‘Edit’ if there is already something in that slot).
8. Select the Voice Mail contact you created in step 4.
9. Save your changes to the speed dial list and go delete the Voice Mail contact. The phone number will be left in the speed dial list.

 

Non BB users

1. Save your own number in contacts under yourself such as voicemail or “name” Jane voicemail.

2. Call the saved contact name and do not push 1 or 123 to call voicemail.

3. Depending on device:

a. Find phone options in device

b. Go to voicemail number

c. Select menu – edit voicemail number from default +8####### to your own seven digit mobile number.

 


WiFi Whenever Possible
Thanks to exciting new devices like the iPhone and the Skype Phone, mobile phone cariers such as AT&T and T-Mobile are offering models with WiFi capabilities such as the Blackberry Curve.
This is a significant move because it now enables mobile users to save airtime minutes by using “free” WiFi hotspot connections instead! There’s even a way to setup the phone to automatically switch to WiFi mode whenever one is available without user intervention. Look for mobile devices with WiFi features to become extremely popular.

Every Minute Counts!

This tip is just a matter of changing a habit and just common sense. Whenever possible, do your best to make and return phone calls from an office landline instead of your mobile phone. This will save a great deal of minutes and thus reduce your phone bill.

 

Final Thoughts
These are just some tips and ideas that can help you and your company save substantially every month. There are other things you can do to save hordes of cash such as adding your users to a pool of minutes instead of letting them each expense their monthly phone bills individually. Mobile cariers are much more flexible these days when it comes to porting phone numbers from personal accounts to corporate accounts and back out to personal accounts again so there isn’t a valid reason why an employee couldn’t join the company plan anymore. It also allows you to phone usages and control any financial bleeding that is taking place in your monthly phone expenditures. Each mobile carier provides powerful online account systems that allow you to examine how you are using your phones and minutes.