Using Google Voice with your Existing Telephone Handsets

I’m sure there are a large number of ways to take whatever old analog handsets you having sitting around and use them with Google Voice, but most of them require things like setting up your own PBX server. Which could make for a fun weekend project if you’re a major geek, but chances are most people would rather use something a little more straight forward. Enter devices like the Ooma Telo ($199-249), which I’ve recently started using for my office phone.

It’s an absolutely fantastic device and very easy to use. The really nice thing about the Ooma Telo is that it comes with a whole new phone number, so setting it up is as simple as adding that number to your Google Voice account. Ooma also offers some additional nifty features like Instant Second Line, Multi-ring, and Call Blocking for a monthly subscription of $9.99. A 60-day free trial of Ooma Premier is included with the Telo.

Alternatively, if you’re looking for something a little cheaper, you might consider the Obihai Obi110 ($49.99) or the Obi100 ($43.99), both are great solutions for integrating your existing phone handsets into Google Voice. These devices use the actual SIP calling function that was added to Google Talk/Gmail last year.

Google Owns My Soul

For years I’ve been giving Google unfettered access to my email and my search history without giving it much thought. And over the course of the past couple years, I’ve continually kept giving them more and more access… That brings us to today, when I finally came to the realization that Google really does own my soul. That is assuming my soul is comprised of personal information, browsing habits, etc.

Let me break it down for you:

  • Each morning at 5am my company website sends an updated list of products that we have in stock to Google Base to get listed in Google Shopping.  Google now knows what products my company likes to carry as well as how quickly we sell said products.
  • My company uses Google Analytics, not only to track our corporate website, but our clients websites as well. Google now has access to very detailed information about how popular my websites are and  just who’s visiting them.
  • The afore mentioned company also uses Google Places to attempt to draw in new business. This one isn’t that big of a deal, since it doesn’t really increase Google’s access to information about my company. I’m just trying to be thorough.
  • Each of my sites generates a Google SiteMap.  Making it even easier for Google to catalog every little page on my websites, even some that I may have forgotten about.
  • All my websites that run advertisements run Google AdSense. Now I rely on Google to get paid.
  • I use Gmail for my personal email. Google gets to scan through my entire life and contextually provide ads to me. Yay?
  • I also use Google Apps for my business. Which includes the occasional Google Doc upload of a spreadsheet or presentation. Potentially giving Google access to sensitive company information. As well as Google Calendar, which lets them know where I’ll be and when I’ll be there.
  • Several of my ventures use Google Voice numbers for texting and calling. Google has access to an archive of my text messages and voicemails.
  • When I subscribe to an RSS feed I do it through Google Reader, so that my RSS feed reader on my laptop, desktop, phone, and iPad all get the same feed. Guess what? Google gets some solid feedback on what kind of blogs/articles I read.
  • If I record and upload a video it usually goes to YouTube, I also watch movie trailers and the like on YouTube. All the sudden Google knows whether or not I watched Rebecca Black’s “Friday” music video, and if so, if I watched the whole thing.
  • I often use Google Maps to get directions. Now Google knows where I’m planning on visiting, which new restaurant I’m likely eating at, and where my Uncle Phil’s house is.
  • Did I mention that I have an Android phone? Making it even easier for me to continue to use Google products in my day to day life. If I use the Barcode Scanner app to check the price of something, Google instantly knows what I’m out shopping for.
  • And last, but not least, I use Google for 99% of my internet searches. If Google didn’t already know what things I’m interested in, they do now.
  • Oh, and I use Google Chrome to do all my web browsing.

Don’t worry, there’s still more I can do to give away my life to Google. For example, I could start using Google Latitude, or start accepting Google Checkout on my company’s store, maybe use Picasa to start sharing family photos. Or actually update that Google Buzz account of mine… nah, that’ll never happen.

[Note: I’m sure I’m using even more Google services and not realizing it, so I may update this list at a later date]

Five Things iOS Could Learn from Android

Previously I featured a list of five things Android could learn from iOS, to be fair and balanced, here’s my list of five things iOS could learn from Android.
Again, this is a randomly ordered list.

1. Notifications. iOS has a terrible notification system, they could learn a lot from Android on this one.

2. Toggles. Quick toggles for turning Wifi, Bluetooth, and GPS on and off without having to opening the settings. How hard is that?

3. Widgets. For the love of all things pure and holy, please add some widgets! At least to the home screen.

4. Cloud syncing. Sure a MobileMe account let’s you sync your Calendar/Contacts/etc, but $99 a year is a joke. Go free, or go home.

5. App store queuing. I buy an app on iOS and it takes me out of the app store and to one of my homescreens, I want to buy another app I have to go back into the app store. Huh?

Hijinks Inc. Minecraft Server Updated

I just updated our server with a few sweet new features.

Enter any of these commands from the chat window.

Player List
– Type /playerlist for a list of players currently online

Warp Zones
– /warp [zone name] to quickly jump to a location
– You should also be able to create your own warp zones by entering /setwarp new zone name from the location you’d like to set a warp zone to.

Here are the current warp zones:

/warp tower – Top of the highest tower

/warp fred – The First Church of Fred

/warp town – Our currently being developed town

/warp unionhall – Miners Union Hall

/warp unionmine – Union Mine

/warp docks – Boat docks (boats are in the chest)

/calvin – Calvin’s Beach House

Week In Review: October 3rd – 9th

Top 5 posts for the week:

Peak number of RSS feed subscribers: 101

Number of Facebook Fans: 63

Busiest day: October 4th, with 877 unique visitors.

Top browser: Firefox with 31.20% market share.

Top operating system: Windows with 64.55% market share.