Category Archives: Communications

I Like to Download Some of My Voicemails – Google Voice

I use Google Voice for my main phone number. One of the features I like, but don’t use that often, is the ability to download voicemail messages to my computer. Those messages are also saved to Dropbox.

UPDATE: Google changed Voice’s interface. You’ll need to get back to its legacy version first, then follow these instructions. I’ve recorded a quick YouTube video on how to do that.

Here’s a graphic that shows how simple this is. When you go to Google Voice, click to display Voicemails. Then, next to the one you want to download, click the more drop-down option, Download, save the message as you normally would any file.

download Google Voice voicemail messages

That’s it.

How to Call and Text from the iPad for Free and Almost Free – SKYPE and Google Voice

Google Voice ConnectMy new iPad is AT&T 4G LTE enabled. But to be able to text or call using it, I’d have to pay for an extra AT&T plan. Ha! Here’s what I do instead of adding another bill to my budget.

With my SKYPE app for the iPad, I can call any land line I want to in the US or Canada for almost FREE, and the sound is crystal clear. I pay $8.52 every 3 months so I can call land lines. Or if they’re on SKYPE, I can call their SKYPE handle as usual.

For texting, I use the Google Voice Connect app, and can text for FREE.

If you’ve discovered other solutions, let me know in comments.

PEACE.

 

Features I Love About iOS 7 for My iPhone–Improve Your Personal Productivity

I’m digging the latest update for my iPhone (I’m still on the 4 model, and that suits me just fine).

Here are the top features that help me stay productive.

 

The Unit

  • Control Center. If you swipe up from the bottom of the screen (from anywhere except the camera so far), the Control Center opens with shortcuts. I especially like that I can quickly play my music and set a reminder with the alarm. The flashlight is right there too. The other shortcuts there are either to features I don’t use or already have easy access to (e.g., camera). You can change the functionality of the Control Center in Settings (e.g., you might want to turn it off when inside an app). When it’s disabled, you’ll still be able to get to it on the Home screen.
  • Notification Center. If you swipe down from the top of the screen, the Notification Center opens. It shows new mail, missed calls, a calendar Today view, and more. You can customize what you see by tapping Settings, Notification Center.
  • Searching. Whether I’m looking for a contact or an app, if you swipe down from the middle of the home screen, you’ll be able to conduct a quick search.
  • Alter Data Usage. Under Settings, Cellular, you can determine which apps will be restricted to using WiFi as opposed to your data plan. I turned completely off and will use cellular plan only when I have to.
  • Zoom. Use your fingers to zoom. To turn the feature on, tap Settings, General, Accessibility, Zoom. After this is set, use three fingers and double-tap to zoom in and out. Double-tap and drag three fingers to move around the screen.
  • Easier Tapping. I’ve realized that the more streamlined interface makes it easier to tap the keyboard.

Apps

  • Automatic Updates. You can set your unit up to automatically update apps. Tap Settings, iTunes & App Store, and scroll down to Automatic Downloads and tap it on. You’ll also see where you can opt to use your cellular data plan for updates instead of the default WiFi. I left this off.
  • Quick Preview of Apps. When you double-tap the Home button, you’ll be able to swipe through preview screens of the apps you have open. Tap one to open. To quit an app, just swipe it up and out of preview.
  • Organize More Apps Inside Folders. I have most of my apps organized into folders using broad categories such as Media, Travel, etc. I just noticed that I can add more than the nine I can see. To preview the others, tap the folder to open, then swipe to the right to see more. (To get them into a folder in the first place, press down on any icon until all start to shake. Then slide an icon on top of one that you want to group. When you release, you’ll have the opportunity to name the folder by tapping the text, deleting, and typing as you normally would.)
  • Media Organization. I’m a professional organizer and organize everything. I appreciate having my photos separated from videos in albums. Tap Photos on the home screen, Albums. Another feature is Summarize Photos and show in collections and by year. Tap Settings, Photos & Camera, tap to turn the feature on or off.
  • Close Apps. Double-tap the Home button. Close apps by swiping them upward. You can see more of them by swiping left and right. Double-tap the Home button when done.

Messages

  • Message Templates. I love the message templates. Go to Settings, Phone, Respond with Text. Create your own custom messages. When a call comes in, Message will be one of your options. Tap that, and choose one of your templates.
  • Selecting Text-Paragraph. Only if you’re in typing mode (e.g., replying to an email message), you can double-tap (use two fingers) a paragraph to select it.
  • Selecting Text-Word. To select a word, double-tap it (use one finger). Then drag the pointers to extend the selection.
  • Timestamps for Messages. It’s easy to check for the exact time every message was sent and received by swiping message bubbles to the left.
  • Blocking Unwanted Calls and Messages. You can block someone by first adding them to Contacts, Settings, Phone, Blocked, Add New, find that contact you want to block.
  • Always Bcc Yourself. When I send a message from my iPhone, I automatically send myself a blind copy so the message will end up in my Outlook Inbox. Under Settings, Mail, Contacts, Calendars, scroll down to Mail, and turn on Always Bcc Myself.
  • Customize Your Signature. I wanted to add a couple of lines to my auto signature. Under Settings, Mail-Contacts-Calendars, scroll down to Mail, tap Signature, tap inside the signature space, and tap your text.

Calendar

View in a List. If you’d rather see your appointments in a list, open Calendar, and tap the magnifying glass at the top. You can search your calendar from here also.

Reminders. I don’t use iPhone’s Reminders as mine are in Outlook and synched. Plus, I have a separate app (Alarmed) that I use. But if you do use Reminders, here is a great article about that.

 

More Tips

Here’s a great article I found with some more less obvious tips. Click to find out how to:

  • Delete an entire conversation (swipe to the left in the Messages screen). “However, if you want to keep some messages but delete others, this is less obvious.“
  • Find out how to see the timestamp on every message.
  • And more.

Here’s a great article on ways to save on your battery life.

Have you found features hidden in this new operation system? Leave a comment to let us know.

PEACE.

No Land Line? Bad Reception on Cell Phone? Here’s a $2.99 Solution

I got rid of my land line at least two years ago and haven’t missed it because I don’t talk on the phone often, and I travel a lot. But when I’m home and do want to talk, I’d have to stand in the doorway of my kitchen and hold my head at a certain angle. Otherwise, the reception would be spotty and, eventually, the call would be dropped.

DING! Problem solved. I signed up for unlimited calls using Skype for $2.99 a month. I can call land lines and cell phones in the US and Canada and talk as long as I want. They also have plans for calling other countries. I could use a headset with mic, but most of the time, I use my external microphone and speakers that I usually have connected to my laptop.

Calls are crystal clear, and I’m hands-free!

SMH. Couldn’t believe I’m just now setting this up. That is what I call a digital breakthrough.

PEACE.

How to Block UNKNOWN (or Anonymous) Callers in Google Voice (with video)

I was inundated with junk calls that read UNKNOWN in the Caller ID with calls coming into Google Voice. That was driving me nuts. Three, four, eight times a day those calls would come in, and I’d just ignore them.

Fortunately, my Google Voice number is the one that I publicize. I’d tried the Block function for the caller, but it didn’t work at all.

Here’s what did. Here’s what did. I went into Google Settings and changed the option for anonymous callers. When the anonymous call comes in, Google Voice has no phone numbers to forward the calls to.

PEACE.

Five Reasons I Knew the Email was SPAM – Phishing – Spoofing

I just received an email message that, at first glance, looked like it came from account@FedEx.com (the sender had altered their URL, which is called spoofing). I was immediately suspicious, and didn’t click the embedded link they’d warned me to check out.

Here are five reasons why I Shift+Deleted this message (holding down the Shift key when you press Delete bypasses the Deleted Items folder in Outlook. The message leaves my computer permanently).

  • Salutation. They didn’t address me by name or company. Instead, it read “Greetings from FedEx!”.
  • Hyperlink. The URL they wanted me to click wasn’t fedex.com. Instead, it started with “http://www.netkreds…”
  • Junk Folder. Outlook had detected it as spam and sent it to the junk folder. I’m a FedEx customer and receive emails from them every month, so Outlook should have recognized them.
  • Certain words. The message included the words, “personal information.” My radar went way up when I saw that and thought phishing (a way of attempting to acquire sensitive information such as usernames and credit card details by masquerading as a legitimate entity).
  • Grammar. The message had bad grammar and punctuation. I think better of the real FedEx.com, and didn’t think they’d send a message like this.

The Message

Here is the full message. I’ve indicated the grammar in question by marketing it red.

“During our regularly scheduled account maintenance and verification procedures, we have detected a slight error in your account information. This might be due to either of the following reasons:

1. A recent updates in our SSL server ( Due to slightly problem ) 2. A recent change in your personal information ( i.e. change of address).

Please update and verify your information by clicking or enter the following URL in your browser: ….

If your account information is not updated within 48 hours then your ability to access your account will become restricted.

Disclaimer:

This message was created by FedEx Webship/Corporateship, a product of FedEx, at the request of the sender. No authentication of email addresses has been performed.

(Please do not reply to this email address since it is not monitored for responses).”

Report to FedEx?

I won’t bother to try to figure out how to report this to FedEx. They’ve probably already received a gazillion alerts and are already on top of it. If this were from someone I knew personally, I’d let them know.

Be careful out there. Keep an eye out for these five attributes in a message that just doesn’t feel right.

PEACE.

Reduce Your Workload by Learning How to Say “NO”

If you find yourself always taking on more than you can handle, you probably have a problem with saying no. It makes you feel guilty, right? But when you say yes when you wanted to say no, that makes you feel worse.

When someone is looking for help, they’re going to call the first “yes” they think they can get. They call you because you’ve established the reputation of being that easy “yes.” Here’s how to turn that around.

The next time you get asked to help, and you know you don’t have time, don’t just say no. Learn how to say it without the guilt. Take these four steps:

  1. Acknowledge the request, as if you would like to help.
  2. Say “No,” and maintain a pleasant facial expression, even if it’s on the phone.
  3. End your response with something positive and upbeat.
  4. Remove yourself from the situation.

Instead of: “No, I can’t do it.” (This will make you feel guilty.)

Try this: “What a great idea! Unfortunately, I don’t have the extra time to devote to such a worthwhile cause. I wish you the best with this and hope you’ll let me know how it turns out!”

Once you say no, remove yourself from the situation so they can’t keep trying to convince you. Say it and get out of there, get off the phone, or bow your head and get back to work. It’ll be tough to do this at first, but the more you try it, the easier it’ll get.

Say No By Saying Yes First

Another way to say no is to say yes first. For example: “Can you do this work for less?”

  • “Yes I can, but I would not be able to give your project the time needed to do a quality job and you deserve better.”
  • “Yes, but we will not have complete success, and that’s all you’ll repeat or remember. I want you to be 100 percent satisfied.”
  • “Yes, but I have to maintain a certain profit margin in order to continue servicing my clients in the way they deserve.”

It’s often hard to get your own work done because you’re so busy helping everyone else. You can be a good community citizen or outstanding team player without always putting your needs and desires last.

PEACE.

Improve Email Etiquette and Reduce Email Overload

Improve messages you send
and reduce email overload.

For years, I’ve been helping people improve how they manage email. Whether they’re in my class or if they’ve sent me a message that needs improving, I’m always willing to offer my advice…whether they asked for it or not. I even wrote a book about it.

Every day, I receive at least one email message that makes me shake my head. If you improve your email habits, that will reduce your email overload.

My Top Three Email Pet Peeves

Here are my top three email pet peeves with a link to more. Pay attention to these, stop doing what you’re doing, and manage email better.

Reply to All to CYA (cover your butt). Stop sending to all if all do not have a need to know. You wanted to make sure you were covered so you’re sending everyone on a list your answer—whether they needed to know or not. Or you’re sending a message to everyone because you’re too lazy to select the appropriate recipients.

Don’t match subject lines to the message. Don’t pull up an old message, hit Reply, and send me a message that has nothing to do with the previous one. Suppose you sent an email message two months ago that said, “The monthly meeting has been cancelled.” You pulled up that old message because the email addresses were already in it. But this time, you wanted to let everyone know that coffee and donuts would be served at this month’s meeting. At the very least, change the subject line!

Send one-liners. You know those silly messages that say “Thanks.” You sent an email message to 25 people and 15 of them sent you a one-liner. Next time put “No Reply Necessary” at the top and at the bottom of your message. And when you send an email asking for something, add “Thanks in advance” so you won’t feel compelled to send a one-liner later.

Read the entire list of email pet peeves here on my Website.

PEACE.

Delete Thousands of Messages Off Your BlackBerry At Once

I was standing in line the other day and struck up a conversation with a woman behind me. I lost interest in the conversation very quickly because she couldn’t keep her eyes off of her BlackBerry (another post for another day). I asked her which model she had and when she held it up, I noticed that she had close to 2,000 old messages! OMG!

Are you leaving old messages in your BlackBerry because you don’t want to delete each one, one at a time? You don’t have to. Here’s how a couple of clicks can get you to a clean slate.

I don’t try to manage my life on a phone. I do my serious email stuff when I’m back at my laptop in Outlook. I  use the BlackBerry to monitor email in case something critical comes through while I’m out and about. Once I review all messages and answer only the ones that need an immediate response (e.g., a journalist on a deadline), I delete all messages in the Inbox at once.

  1. Type t to go to the top of the message list.
  2. Select topmost date, click Menu button, Delete Prior, Delete. All messages prior to the date I selected will be deleted. Because I want all messages deleted, I selected the topmost date.

I can delete everything because my email messages are not synched with Outlook and they’ll come to my Inbox when I’m back on my laptop (if you’re not on a server, email messages can’t be synched). You can also delete one message at a time by selecting it and DEL.

It’s a good idea to also get rid of the Confirm Delete. To do this, click to open Messages, click the Menu button, scroll Options, General Options.

 

PEACE.