PrivacyStar Blocks Unwanted Smartphone Calls

PrivacyStar LogoAs on-line marketers transfer their cold-calling attention away from land-lines to cell and mobile phones, their calls are becoming increasingly an annoyance when you are out-and-about. PrivacyStar offers a multilayered solution for Android and Blackberry to cut unwanted calls. Andy finds out more.

PrivacyStar is a smartphone app to block unwanted calls and SMS texts. At its simplest, user-specified phone numbers can be blocked to prevent calls or texts coming through and bothering you. The app also features SmartBlocking which blocks the top 25 numbers blocked by other users in the past week, so if there’s a major calling campaign on, those numbers pretty quickly get blocked.

Other features include CallerID lookup, where if the phone doesn’t know who is calling, the app consults with an on-line directory and displays the caller. For really persistent callers, complaints can be filed directly with the FTC.

The app is currently only available for Android and Blackberry, an iPhone version will be released before the summer. The app is free for a week and then $2.99 per month after that.

Interview by Andy McCaskey of SDR News and RV News Net.

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Cellcontrol: Safe Driving

One of the biggest problems today is the use of cellphones by people driving. Todd Cochrane spoke to Chuck Cox CEO of Cellcontrol about their solution to this problem at CES 2011. It is a three part solution. The first part of the solution is to integrate the program directly into the vehicle. When the vehicle moves the program is activated. It then sends a message through bluetooth to the cellphones in the car.

The program is supported by a most major cellphones and other devices. The program and policies are easy to setup and manage. The policies are also very customizable depending on what is the safety policy of the company or individual is. Cellcontrol is targeting companies with large fleets first, before moving into the direct consumer market. Businesses not only have to worry about accidents causing higher insurance and law suits, but also about the company reputation.

According to Mr. Cox twenty eight percent of all accidents involve someone using a cellphone, Driving and texting is 4x more likely to cause a accident then driving while drunk. People are going to use cellphones in their car, the question is how do we make it safer.

Interview by Todd Cochrane of Geek News Central.

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Globaltel Media’s Cherple for SMS and Texting Chat

Tom and Todd get texting with Globaltel Media‘s free SMS chat platform, Cherple. Robert Sanchez, President & CEO, takes them through it.

Cherple is a free web-based SMS texting client, which in itself is not unusual – there a plenty of sites which can send SMS messages. But what makes this a little bit different is that the recipient can text the sender back again, even though the sender is at a computer. A whole text chat can then follow, back and forth.

It’s web-based, so can be used from any web browser, but Windows and Mac downloads are on offer, too.

Cherple currently only works for texts to US-based cellphones, but Globaltel are expecting to setup local Cherple sites in ten countries in the coming months.

Interview by Todd Cochrane of Geek News Central and Tom Newman of The Fogview Podcast.

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Wydeye PicsChecker Anti-Sexting App for Android

Jeffrey talks sexting with Jeremy Witkins of Wyd Eye Software, on how their PicsChecker application can help parents keep on eye on children’s texting behaviour. It works by sending an email of all the texts and pictures sent by the phone to the parent every day. The parent can then review the content for any SMS or MMS sexting material. There’s also a web portal if the parent wants to get a immediate view of what’s going on.

It’s available for Android phones and the price point is $2-$3 per month. Check it out if you are a concerned parent.

Interview by Jeffrey Powers of The Geekazine Podcast.

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Do you read ALL of that email?

In this day and age, it’s easier to send a message to someone across the world than ever. I remember watching my mom write a letter to someone back before I knew about email. She would be meticulous in what she had to say simply because she knew that she had only one shot to get all her information in. After all, she wasn’t going to write an snail mail that said:

Hey. How are you?

Could you imagine the timeframe of those postal transactions?

August 24, 1978 – Sent “Hey. How are you?”

August 30, 1978 – Received “I am doing great. How are you?”

September 5, 1978 – Sent “I am doing great. Did you catch Led Zeppelin last night?”

September 20, 1978 – Received “Yeah.”

September 21, 1978 – Sent ” How was it?”

November 11, 1978 – Received “Sorry. Got busy. What were we talking about again?”

Now let’s flip that. Today, I might send an email like this:

Hey Joe. I am writing to talk about that thing #1 we discussed last week over coffee. I really enjoyed the conversation and would like to proceed further on that. What is a good time to sit and discuss it?

Also, what is the time frame for that thing #2? I am looking for new people to research to see if this is going to be a hot item.

I would get an email back saying:

Hey Jeff. The time frame will be by September 1st.

What happened to thing #1? Why did thing #1 even get skipped? Wouldn’t you instinctively respond about thing #1 and not thing #2?

I am not sure if anyone has done a study on this, but it would be really interesting to see how you process an email in your head and respond. It is definitely not like the days of yore. Then again, when I responded to a snail mail, I would have the original letter next to me – in which I have highlighted the important items to talk about.

Do we have short attention spans on email?

I would believe not. I think it’s more about organization. For instance – my desktop is a dual monitor system with a resolution of over 1600×1200. My laptop is a single monitor with a resolution of 1280×800 (and to respond to those who are surprised on the notebook resolution: no, I am already legally blind – at least that is what the eye doctor says).

Still, I have more real estate on my desktop between 2 screens. I can move one item over to screen 2, then respond on screen 1.

There have been past reports saying that people with dual monitor systems get more work done. Imagine what I could get done if I had 4 – 32″ monitors on my desktop at a resolution of 3200 x 2400? Imagine the suntan I could get, too.

You can always organize your email

There is a very useful tool out there called “Highlighter”. It’s a Firefox application for when I use Gmail, and there is a highlighter option in Office that I can use as well. I can mark out the key points so I remember to respond to them.

If I have an important email to respond to (especially one that will cover multiple paragraphs), I will look at it, then – depending on urgency – close it. I will open it back up an hour later and start my response. When I am done I will save it as a draft and come back to it in no less than 15 minutes later. With the “Fresh Eyes” I will paruse and make changes.

Don’t fall into the Twitter approach

Email doesn’t have to be 140 characters or less. In fact, I always hated an email – or SMS for that matter – that would be 2 letters – “OK”. It’s not even punctuated correctly, so I sometimes think “Oklahoma”, which then puts me into a rousing verse of the musical (It’s my MTS – Musical Turrets Syndrome – kicking in. I have done a thesis on this condition. Something I have to live with).

I am reminded of an important email I sent a while back. I inquired on 3 points and marked urgent. I got this for a response:

Yes, No, No in that order.

Am I bothering you?

I don’t expect a dissertation on each point, but come on: let’s be real here. Especially since I only have a short attention span to begin with. I don’t remember what the Yes, No, No could even mean. So I make things up:

Yes (I am cross-eyed), No (I don’t have a million dollars), No (I dance naked in the rain) in that order.

I’ll tell you, I get a little annoyed when I get those very short responses. I try not to take it too seriously, of course. I may eventually stop corresponding if I feel that I am wasting your time.

We don’t write like we used to. We know that whatever we miss we can send in another email a couple minutes later. No 40 cent stamp required (or whatever it costs to send via snail mail). The art of communication is blindsided by 140 character tweets. Not to say that 140 character tweets are not an art form of their own.

Don’t use the Mobile Device to respond

A screen of 240 x 120 cannot be any better than 1280 x 800. Add to it a smaller keypad, and in some cases, a numeric keypad used to respond. I seem to still send email responses on my iPhone that are a couple paragraphs, but other times want to just send out a fast reply. No “O.K.” response though.

I suppose any email response is better than no email response (Gus, do you realize I send you email on a business nature? Tell me if you are alive at least). Then again, I might just send out a snail mail for old times’ sake.

Anyone have an address I can send a letter to?

Please Stop Emailling – Please Start Calling.

Tell me what you see with this email (remember you have to read up on this one):

to: Bill
from: Tom

Original Message:

Hey Bill – don’t have your email. call me: 555.4321

——–

to: Tom
from: Bill

Original Message:

Hey, Tom – Call me: 555.1234

——-

to: Bill
from: Tom

Original Message:

Hey Bill – call me: 555.4321

————-

I have 3 clients I have been waiting for answers from. I gave them my number and told them to call me when THEY have the time. After all, my schedule is looser than most. One just emailled me and said “Hey, I don’t know your phone number. Call me when you get some time.”

Really? If you scroll down the email, my phone number is sitting there. Heck, in my signature (which is on the email about 4-5 times about now), my phone number is all over the email and I still get the “Call me” message.

Have we gotten lazy? Are we afraid of talking on the phone? Are we going to a hidden-social type environment?

I remember when I was a kid, the phone was a major lifeline. We were annoyed because our parents did not get a second line or even call-waiting. My mom would be on the phone for 2 or more hours talking to an aunt or friend.

Now we sit behind a keyboard and screen.

I love email – I can communicate to many in a quick fashion. I even enjoy SMS. But I have a policy – more than 5 SMS messages and I am calling. More than 3 short emails and I am calling. Of course it also depends on if this should be in print or over the phone.

Still, it seems that nowadays we shy away from the phone – at least using it with it’s original intention. With newer phones we’ll have the ability to SMS AND IM AND Facebook AND MySpace AND Twitter and so much more, then why would we want to call?

Wouldn’t it be funny if someone released a phone that had no receiver on it? You can do everything but call someone.

Maybe we’re just not reading the emails. After all, how many times did I have the number in the email? 4-5? I still got an email back on “Call me”.

It could be a power struggle. I do have to admit – I have a couple emails where their number was in the email and I just sent one back with my number and asked to call me. Then you sit back and go “Hey! He called ME! Yeah! I’m the man!”

Well, I got to go. I have to make some phone calls. Then again, maybe I should email them back…

GNC-2007-07-31 #289

Started the show very late here in Hawaii but a huge amount of news tonight and info on a upcoming FCC decision you will want to pay attention to.

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Show Notes:
FCC To Rule on 700mhz Spectrum
Thunderbird
StoresOnline
IT Conversations
Moon Gas?
RIAA = Privacy Breacher
Brits like to DL P2P
18 Months for Hearing Aid?
MS Breakthrough
Meteor Picture
150 Writing Resouces
AT&T Analogy
No TOS Changes
AOL – Yahoo Email Charge
Security and Web Pages
State of Blubrry
SMS Charges
Vista Service Pack Beta Leaked
Door Handle Innovation
Apple TV USB Hack
Google Wireless Plan?
Joost as a Web Application?
PanRaven
ICANN Wants Feedback
Second Life Terrorist Camp?
RIAA Hates Webcasters
Dark Vision Invades Hackers Inner Sanctum
Watch FIOS Bill Number One
More FCC news on Wireless Spectrum
Mars Phoenix Mission