Thursday, January 24, 2013

Google Voice

Like most people, I was all oooh, aaaah when Google Voice came along.

I’m not sure when I picked up number but I had it for a long, long time before I did anything with it.

Then came the day when the school tried to call me and I didn’t get the message. Suddenly I realized that I could connect my home and cell phones to the Google Voice number and give that number out for those times I really REALLY want to get the call. This should guarantee that I never miss another important call.

Plus, I get to choose which line I answer the call with. If I’m at home I pick that up instead of the cell. If I’m out running around I get the call on my cell. It works like a charm.

If you carry multiple phones or if you move a lot and don’t want to be constantly handing out a new phone number then Google Voice is the way to go. One number forever. Forever!

I’ve slowly been changing my number with everybody. My in-laws can reach me anytime, anywhere… hmm, maybe not such a good idea after all. I kid – I love my in-laws dearly.

The plumber, the kids’ schools, my doctor’s offices. It is so much easier to not have to check my voice mail. Of course, Google Voice does voice mail – they even transcribe messages for you and send an email of message content. But, I don’t use them for voice mail.

Perhaps the thing that really sold me on Google Voice was the ability to block calls. No more messing with Credit Card Services (those assholes are constantly calling my home number, sigh) or any other unwanted callers.

So far I haven’t gotten any spammers calling my Google Voice number but I may have registered it on the national do not call registry so I can’t vouch for that.

I don’t even use all of Google Voice’s features but I’m thrilled with it so far. The next time you find yourself having to get a new phone number you should think about trying out Google Voice. It will be the last time you have to change numbers.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Google Music

There was a time when I was really into music. I was going to concerts regularly with my besty of the time. Even after I moved away I would still make it back to see a show.

Then it just dropped off. The kids and I started listening to podcasts instead of music – there’s some really entertaining and informative podcasts out there.

As you know, I’ve been a longtime fan of all things Google. I’ve used most of the stuff they offer. For some reason Google Music just didn’t hold any appeal for me. I’ve been buying what little music I buy from Amazon. I’ve used their service to play music but mostly I just listen to podcasts.

Google Music came along and I half assed set it up then just stopped the client from running. I wasn’t using it and I rarely listened to music anymore.

I have to admit my coming back to Google Music for a second run had a lot to do with Amazon discontinuing their free upgrade to Premium service just by buying an album or two over the course of a year. I don’t know why they stopped that but I can’t get a fraction of my music library on their service now without having to pay. I already give Amazon enough of my money. I just can’t justify doing that when Google Music is free.

I recently bought a Bluetooth Speaker dock for my phone. Mostly I just charged the phone and played podcasts. Then I started using it to play Amazon Music – I buy a lot of those 99 classical pieces for 99c deals they have all the time.

For some reason I forgot that my Zenbook has BT, d’oh. Connected the laptop to the speakers and OMG what a huge improvement. I decided to download all my Amazon music and upload it to Google Music. No need to have both services.

The more I use Google Music the more I find to like about it. I just found the mixes based on a song in your collection. These are awesome sauce! I stroll through my Google Music home page and I’ll spot a mix based on a song I love and away I go.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not giving up on my podcasts. They are awesome in the car. But, when I’m home I’m usually listening to my Google Music via BT from the Zenbook to my Philips speakers.

Now, if you don’t have a big library of music then you are probably better off with a streaming service but if you haven’t tried Google Music you should definitely give it a try. I’m finding all these songs and artists I used to love. I’m slowly getting back my love for music.