Sunday, July 31, 2011

Manage Your Phone Calls with Google Voice

I was talking to a friend this weekend, and she mentioned that she had purchased a cheap cell phone and some prepaid minutes because she's trying to sell something and didn't want to give out her 'real' phone number.  Not a bad idea really, and I think those cheap no contract phones can be a good thing, as you can tell from the previous couple posts.  But now she doesn't need the phone any more, but she bought minutes that need to be used or they'll expire - therefore not really being a good deal at all.

I mentioned that she should have (could have?) just signed up for Google Voice and given that number out instead.  The calls could have come into her regular phone, because Google Voice lets you forward calls to any or all of your regular phones.  Just link them with your Google Voice number and decide which phones should ring when a call comes in to your Google Voice number.  And, of course, these settings can be changed at any time.

Of course, Google Voice has all kinds other features like voicemail, text messaging, call screening, call blocking, caller ID, the ability to record custom greetings for different callers or groups of callers, and even the ability to embed a widget in a web page so all callers have to do is click to call you.  For free.  And that's just the beginning, really.  Google Voice offers so much more than I've even begun to mention.

So maybe I was wrong.  She shouldn't have gotten a Google Voice number to give out instead of her 'real' number.  She should get a Google Voice number and start using it for everything.  And me?  I've had a Google Voice number for a couple years - and I really, really need to start using it!

Any big Google Voice users out there?  What do you think?  How do you use it?

Straight Talk about Cell Phone Plans

This post brought to you by Straight Talk. All opinions are 100% mine.

Here's another option for saving money on cell phones.  Straight Talk offers no contract plans that can help cut your cell phone costs way down.  They have an  “All You Need Plan” that meets even the needs of heavy phone users with 1,000 minutes, 1,000 texts and 30 MB of web data.  Or you can get their  Unlimited Monthly service for only $45 which includes calls, text, picture messaging, and web.  Imagine getting everything you need for only $45 per month - with no contracts, no surprise bills and no credit checks.  Even 411 is included free - no extra fees.  I'm really liking the sound of that.  You can even call a friend in another country with their flexible prepaid calling service that gives you low international rates.

I would really love to try this, but it almost sounds like it's too good to be true.  Great prices but no reception, right? No - they promise great nationwide coverage and excellent reception/connectivity.  Even the Fantasy Fishing guys are hook, line and sinker in love with Straight Talk, and you know they need their phones to get a signal out in the middle of nowhere - or at least in the middle of a huge body of water.  Here are what some other Straight Talk customers have to say about the reliability of Straight Talk:

Straight Talk also offers phones all the way from reconditioned phones with camera, mp3 player, mobile web access, and blue-tooth capability for about $10 - perfect for kids or people who are really hard on their phones, because it's really not that expensive to replace the phone.  They also have amazing smart phones; touch screen phones, and app capable phones with features like voice navigation, camera, video recorder, music player, instant messaging, and Bluetooth, so you can have whatever you want - just no big bills and no contracts.

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Thursday, July 28, 2011

Get a Great Deal with Net10 Unlimited

This post brought to you by Net10. All opinions are 100% mine.

We've been talking about upgrading our cell phone plan.  Currently we have 1200 anytime minutes and unlimited texting and messaging, but we don't have a data plan.  To upgrade our three lines - to 1500 anytime minutes, unlimited messaging and 5GB data per line - we'd have to pay $180/month.  And that doesn't include all the extra fees that always show up on the cell phone bill.  It's really hard to justify that.

That's why I'm thinking this NET10 Unlimited Plan would be great.  The plan includes nationwide coverage and unlimited talk, text, and data, for $50 a month.  Unlimited.  I didn't realize until I watched this video where they help a man see the Light about how much money he could be saving every year that the $50/month is all you ever have to pay.  There are no extra fees or charges, and 411 is included!  I always get frustrated when my husband calls 411 and those extra charges show up on our bill.  And those government fees and taxes?  Frustrating.  I love the idea of knowing exactly how much the cell phone bill is going to be every month. 

There are no contracts to sign, and you can switch between plans anytime with no penalties or fees, and you can get phones from trusted phone manufacturers like LG, Motorola, Kyocera, Nokia and Samsung, anywhere from simple phones for under $15 to smart phones for less than $60.  This sounds like a smart way to upgrade the plan.

Here are 10 Good Reasons to switch to NET10:

I have a hard time arguing with the price - unlimited talk, text and web for $50 a month with no contracts or hidden fees.  Unlimited everything for all three of our phones - $150.  Period.  You know how I like to save money!  It almost sounds too good to be true, but there are real NET10 customers who say it's not.  They're happy with the service.  They're happy with the price.  You really can get unlimited cell phone service for a reasonable price.  Check out to see how it works.

NET10 can also be found on facebook and twitter.

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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Show Sidebar Content on the Home Page Only

I recently had an advertiser that wanted to place an ad on one of my other blogs.   I gave some him some options and prices, but what he really wanted was something I didn't think was possible.  He wanted a link in my sidebar, but he just wanted that link on the home page of the blog and not on all the other pages.  I'm not sure exactly why he wanted that, maybe thought it would cost a bit less?

Whatever the reason, I had to tell him that I didn't know of any way to do that.  Whatever is in the sidebar is on every page and post of the blog.  That's just how it is.  So no ad.  Then I read this article the other day that explains how to have some of your sidebar content on the home page only.  I don't know how she figured out that it was even possible or how to do it, but I'm definitely saving these instructions so I can do it if anyone asks again. 

Besides ads, what other reasons would you have for showing some sidebar content on just the home page and not the rest of  your blog?

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Live Audio Broadcasting with Mixlr

I'd heard of the sites that allow live video broadcasting, but hadn't really found any that specialized in audio.  That's why when a friend on facebook shared a link to this the other day, I had to check it out.  We've been doing live audio cybercasting of our church services and Bible studies for years, using Real Audio's Producer and Server software.  That can get expensive and complicated, and you need access to your own server or someone with a server running the software.  And then all your listeners have to have RealPlayer - not that RealPlayer is bad and everyone shouldn't have it, but...

Anyway, this site is called Mixlr, and it offers high quality audio broadcasting, FREE for anyone. Sign up, download their free broadcasting app, and you're ready to go.  I just tried a test broadcast, and it was super simple.  I didn't even plug a microphone into the computer - just used the built-in microphone.  For better quality, you'd want to plug in a microphone or even a complete sound system.  While you're broadcasting, you can share with your twitter followers or facebook friends, to invite them to listen in.

Live broadcasts can be hosted on the mixlr site, where there's a chatroom for listeners to interact and comment, or you can embed the mixlr player on your website or blog, and people can listen there.  Broadcasts can be started immediately or scheduled ahead of time.  At the end of the live broadcast, mixlr saves it to your 'showreel' for later listening.  If you upgrade to a premium account, you can download your broadcast files, but with a free account, you have to listen to them on mixlr.

Mixlr looks like a very useful site/service.  Check it out if you've been looking for a simple way to broadcast live high quality audio.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Spotify Now Available in US

Spotify is now in America.  Sign up for an invite here.  No, skip that!  Hop down to the part after the video to find out how you can get a free account now, without the wait. 

Spotify looks like a great site for music lovers, promising any music, anywhere, anytime, for free.  I just signed up, and I'm looking forward to trying it.  Check out this video to learn more:

Don’t want to wait for an invitation? Jump the queue by signing up for Spotify Premium or Unlimited, starting at just $4.99/month.

Or join Klout and get an invitation for a free account right away.  Thanks to for that tip!  Now I'm off to download my Spotify  client and get started enjoying my favourite music!!

Update: I'm loving Spotify so far!!  LOVE!!  Also, if you (at least 5 of my friends) use my join Klout link, they'll upgrade my account to Spotify Premium and they'll upgrade yours, too!!!!
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Friday, July 8, 2011

Patriotic Flash Mob

Loved this!
5pm on July 1st, 2011 in Orleans, Cape Cod, MA, shoppers stocking up for the 4th of July got a surprise shot of patriotism to start their weekend! This flash mob was organized by the Spirit of America band to wish everyone a happy 4th of July!

Does it make you wish you could play an instrument, or is that just me?

Monday, July 4, 2011

I Keep "Buying" Free Kindle Books

Cover of "Kindle Wireless Reading Device,...image via AmazonNow that I've got my Android tablet with the free Kindle for Android app, I've been loading it up with free Kindle books.  There are plenty of  them available.

I found a couple sites that are really helpful for finding lots of them:
Every day they list several free and bargain Kindle books, and I find myself grabbing a lot of them.  It's kind of addicting!  Now, if I can just find time to read them all...
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Friday, July 1, 2011

Stop Forwarding that Crap

A friend of mine posted this on facebook, and it is so good.  I just had to share.

Music video by "Weird Al" Yankovic performing Stop Forwarding That Crap To Me:

If you have any more questions, please see How to Forward E-mail Appropriately.  Your friends will thank you.