Tagged With cell phones


US-centric: Misplaced your cell phone around the house and don't have another phone on hand to call it up to locate it? Give your number to web site PhoneMyPhone and they'll instantly ring you up. Aside from instant calling to locate your phone, PhoneMyPhone will also schedule phone calls at specific times, similar to previously mentioned Popularity Dialer, to get you out of that boring meeting or awful date if you need it. As for sounding off the ring when you misplace your phone—it may not get a pizza to your door like Google Maps used to, but the easy-to-remember PhoneMyPhone should ensure a quick recovery from the recesses of your couch cushions. Thanks David!



The iPhone and iPod touch are almost indistinguishable devices except for one major difference—you can make calls from your iPhone, and you can't from your iPod touch. For the privilege of making phone calls with your iPhone, you have to pay $100 more upfront to Apple for the device itself, plus a minimum of $60/month to AT&T for the next two years (and that's only if you're in the US - AU editor) Let's say you didn't need that kind of firepower from your iPod touch, but that you would like to use it make a phone call every now and then. You can, and today I'm going to show you how to make VoIP phone calls from your iPod touch or iPhone using a freeware application called SIP-VoIP.

Predicting the future is near impossible -- but that doesn‘t stop us all from having a red hot go. Human beings have been predicting the future since the beginning of history and the results range from the hilarious to the downright uncanny.

One thing all future predictions have in common: they‘re rooted in our current understanding of how the world works. It‘s difficult to escape that mindset. We have no idea how technology will evolve, so our ideas are connected to the technology of today.


US-centric: Compare mobile phone plans and find the perfect plan to fit your usage needs at web site BillShrink. Just enter some information about how you use your phone along with your current monthly bills, and BillShrink will offer you an alternative plan that could save you a tonne of cash. Currently BillShrink is focused on mobile plans only, but they appear to be working towards offering more comparisons for cable and internet bills in the future. BillShrink doesn't take phone availability into account, so if you want an iPhone, for example, you're stuck with AT&T (unless you unlock it). Let's hear if BillShrink helped you find a better plan in the comments.


Opera has released a new beta version of their Mini browser for cell phones and PDAs that includes pretty serious improvements for anyone who's serious about their hand-held browsing—namely, actual file downloading, uploading to select online services like Flickr and Gmail, and saving of web pages for offline access. Previous versions of Mini, like most mobile browsers, could only handle files that the browser or the device itself knew what to do with, but Mini now lets you save files and web pages to the device's storage, assuming it has a working version of the JSR-75 access protocol running in the background. Opera also threw in page-based "Find" searching and claims its server-based page cache is running 50 percent faster in recent tests. Opera Mini 4.1 beta is a free download for most devices that work with Java.

Opera Mini 4.1 Beta


US-centric: Send detailed directions for getting around the city from your browser directly to your cell phone with web site HopStop. This webapp has been around for a while (we even posted about it a few years back), but it continues to add more areas to its coverage of the urban landscape. Offering options like subway-only in conjunction with preferences like "More street walking/fewer transfers," HopStop covers how to get from a-to-b whether you're on foot, train, or bus. If you're an experienced user (it's not available in Los Angeles, so I'm not), let's hear how it's worked for you in the comments.


Find and buy items from your cell phone with the new Amazon TextBuyIt feature. It works like this: Say you're out shopping and you see a book you want to buy. You figure you could save a few bucks getting it at Amazon, so you send a text message to 'AMAZON' (262966) with the title, author, or even the ISBN code of the book. Amazon sends a text back to you with search results. You pick the result that best matches your search, and an Amazon robot voice calls you with details and asks for purchase confirmation. The first time you try TextBuyIt, you'll have to link your phone with your account, but from there on Amazon wants to make it easy to find and buy products wherever you are—and hopefully you'll save some money, too. TextBuyIt is surprisingly easy to use, but if you give it a try, let's hear your thoughts in the comments.


Windows only: Freeware application ToneShop creates ringtones from a variety of formats, for a variety of formats supported by most popular mobile phones (including the iPhone). To use it, just point ToneShop to the WAV, WMA, M4A, or MP3 file you want to use as your source, and then use ToneShop's simple editing tools to choose the start and end time of your ringtone. Choose the output format supported by your cell phone, hit convert, and voilà—you've got a new ringtone. ToneShop could use a bit of polish on the interface, but as young as it is, it still makes it dead simple to create ringtones for your phone in just a few clicks. ToneShop is freeware, Windows only. If you've got a preferred ringtone tool that puts ToneShop to shame, let's hear about it in the comments.



Search for local businesses in your area without resorting to your clunky mobile keyboard with the new, quietly unleashed Google Mobile feature found at google.com/m/lcb. When you navigate to the "lcb" page (local businesses?), Google Mobile identifies what city you're in (or tries to—my test had me in either Columbus, OH ), so all you have to do is click through the business categories to narrow down exactly what you're looking for. As the ZDNet post points out, the feature would be a lot more useful if it pinpointed your location within the city à la Google Maps on the iPhone, but either way it could come in really handy if you aren't keen on using your unfriendly mobile keyboard.

Google Mobile LCB


US-centric :Ever drive by a house for sale and wonder what the price is? Find out on the spot using voice transcription service Jott and real estate valuation search engine Zillow. You'll need to register at Jott (it's free), and to set up a Zillow link within your Jott account. Once that's done, you can call Jott on your cell phone and speak the address of the home to get back a text message or email with the "Zestimate," Zillow's valuation. Hit the play button on the link to hear how Jott and Zillow work together to help you hunt for real estate.

Jott Zillow Link


US-centric: Next time you're on your way to the airport, you may be able to forgo printing out your boarding pass at home, opting instead to use your cell phone as your boarding pass. According to the New York Times:

At least half a dozen airlines in the United States currently allow customers to check in using their mobile devices, including American, Continental, Delta, Northwest, Southwest and Alaska. But so far, Continental is the only carrier in the United States to begin testing the electronic passes, allowing those travelers to pass through security and board the plane without handling a piece of paper.

So while this is currently a Continental-only practice (lucky Continental passengers), it bodes well for the rest of us as well. If anyone's been adventurous enough to try this out on a flight, let's hear how it worked for you in the comments.

Paper Is Out, Mobile Phones Are In


Windows only: Free, open source application BtProx locks your Windows computer whenever your cell phone or other Bluetooth device is out of range. Similar to previously mentioned Blue Lock, BtProx includes a more advanced feature set, allowing you to set a timeout before it locks your PC and run a program when your device is out of range. I had trouble using it with my iPhone, so if you give it a go, let's hear how it works for you in the comments. Again, it's still not as cool or impressive as the Mac alternatives, but it seems to be taking things in the right direction. BtProx is free, Windows only.



Save your most important text messages for posterity with web site Treasuremytext. The site setup is simple: After signing up for an account, you just forward the messages you want to save to the Treasuremytext number that fits your region (for the US, that's 203.434.0893). Treasuremytext will archive the SMS message and even give you options for organising your saved texts. As more important communications take place over SMS, SMS apps will inevitably need to improve text management and desktop backup. In the meantime, Treasuremytext fills the gap nicely. As a bonus for iPhone users (whose SMS app does not offer forwarding), there's a Treasuremytext iPhone app that runs on jailbroken iPhones.

AU - looks like we fit under the "UK and rest of world" banner so the number is +44 7781 486 064 (yep, that's a UK number, so beware the overseas SMS charges!



If you've been waiting for Apple to officially open the iPhone and iPod touch for development, you may have been disappointed to find out that you won't get third-party applications until June. That means that if you've been aching for those killer third-party apps already available to folks with jailbroken iPhones or iPod touches, you've still got a few more months of waiting to go. However, by downloading and running one simple application, you could be up and running with a jailbroken iPhone or iPod touch in just under a minute. Sound appealing? Here's how it works.


Green publication E magazine says you can recycle more stuff than you might think, and offers a reference on the right places to recycle everything from iPods to record albums to styrofoam to batteries to cars. If you've got old office supplies and miscellaneous materials, you may be able to recycle that, too:

Many states have "material exchanges" where odd stuff is collected and made available to the public for use. Outdated calendars, office paper that is used on one side, wallpaper, flooring samples, crayons and other stuff is gladly accepted by Materials Exchange Centre for Community Arts in Eugene, Oregon. To see if there's a materials exchange near you, search Google.com for "materials exchange" or call your local hazardous waste department.

Looks like a useful bookmark to check out before you order up the dumpster.Photo by diongillard.

How to Recycle Practically Anything


You just stepped out of that cab, watched it drive away, and 10 minutes later, reached into your pocket and realised your cell phone is gone—forever. I learned firsthand this weekend that losing your mobile phone is a huge pain in the buttocks, especially if you've set up easy access to your email and other services on it. In addition to photos I'd taken with it, text messages, and contacts, my Nokia had both Gmail apps installed, with "Remember me" checked, so that anyone who picked up the phone could've logged into my email. Not good.


Windows Mobile only: Freeware Windows Mobile application Google2GO! marries the functionality of Yahoo! Go to Google apps. As you can see in the demo video above, that means search, calendar, email, RSS, and more are all tied to the Google offerings of each application. It's no Google Android, but if you use Google apps for most of your web services, it looks pretty nice. Google2Go is freeware, Windows Mobile only, requires Windows Mobile .NET 2.0.



Web site Wirenode turns any web site with an RSS feed into a mobile-friendly version of that site, perfect for browsing sites on your mobile device when they don't have a mobile-friendly interface. "Mobilizing" any site with an RSS feed is a breeze, and when you're done you'll end up with something like this mobilised version of Lifehacker. You can also use Wirenode to create your own mobile sites from scratch, though I'm not sure how much use most of us would get from that (maybe a start page with links to your favorite stuff?). Of course, you can also mobilize individual pages with RSS feeds with Google Reader style if you prefer the GReader layout but you're not already using Google Reader mobile.



If you use your cell phone in environments where a blaring ring isn't always the ideal, but vibrate alone doesn't always get your attention, then you'd probably do well to set your phone to vibrate first and then ring if you don't pick it up after a few seconds. This functionality is available on some phones out of the box, but many other phones (ahem, *iPhone*) don't offer this functionality. Weblog jkOnTheRun offers a simple workaround:

Customize a ringtone by adding a period of silence before the actual sound. Then load up up the custom ringtone on your iPhone. Now, make sure you set your iPhone to use the new ringtone and also to vibrate upon an incoming call. When you get dialed up, your iPhone should "play" the silenced part of your ringtone while vibrating.

Obviously this tip works with any cell phone that can vibrate and ring on incoming calls, and it's a great way to take calls discreetly while still using your ringtone when you need it. If you really want to keep your calls on the down low, try assigning an inconspicuous ringtone.

How to make your iPhone vibrate first, ring second


So your friend popped the question at a concert last week, and your only evidence is a pixellated, under-lit cell phone video? Free webapp FixMyMovie won't get you up to HD-quality, but it can cure many of digital video's common ailments. Upload a video (original files are best), compare the "before" and "after" segments, then give FixMyVideo the job and preview your smoothed-over video in full screen, with the option to grab still screenshots at any point. I didn't have a video file of the tossed-off kind FixMyMovie can best help, but the MakeUseOf.com folks seem to vouch for this free service.



Reader Dr. Jonas Venture, Jr. loves a good speed dial, but like most of us doesn't remember any of his speed dial numbers beyond 9. So to extend the usefulness of his phone's speed dial functionality, he simply repeats the speed dial number for different numbers belonging to the same contact, or adds a second number based on relationships to the first. For example:

So 2 would be my fiancee's cell, 22 would be her home. My brother would be 3, his work would be 33. When I kept dialing my future father-in-law to make plans for a trip, I found it annoying to keep searching for him. So voilà, he became 23, and my fiancée's mom's cell eventually became 24.

Very clever! The whole idea is very reminiscent of how I build keyword bookmarks in Firefox, and like keyword bookmarks, a good speed dial framework will almost always be quicker than digging through your contacts.