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Screen Your Cell Phone Calls Like an Old School Answering Machine

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Sweet tech tip

answering machineRemember the days when you had a physical answering machine recorder and you screened calls by listening to the first part of the message and then acting like you just ran into the room and pick up the phone, “oh hey, Pam, I’m glad you caught me!” Then along came the evil cell phone and you couldn’t interrupt a message as a means of screening calls.

These days are over, thanks to Google. Now, if you sign up for a Google Voice number that forwards to your cell phone (it takes time to get a free number assigned to you, by the way), it prompts you with who is calling and you can opt to answer it or send it to voicemail, then begin listening to the voicemail live and decide whether or not to pick up.

Here’s the demo:

What do you think about this service offering, will you use it? And more importantly, would you be offended if someone used it on you?

Lani is the Chief Operating Officer at The American Genius - she has co-authored a book, co-founded BASHH and Austin Digital Jobs, and is a seasoned business writer and editorialist with a penchant for the irreverent.

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16 Comments

16 Comments

  1. Lori

    February 19, 2010 at 12:33 am

    I have/use Google Voice for my photography business. I love most things about it.

    1) I never have to give my real number. Only 4 people have that number: Verizon, my husband, and two VERY close friends.

    2) I have a record with pseudo-transcripts of incoming calls, messages, texts, etc.

    3) I can block telemarketing and other spam.

    et cetera

    My only complaints are:

    a) there is a tiny lag in the conversation. I had to get used to this and stop assuming it was my turn to talk again. It’s a little like talking to someone overseas used to be. Perhaps other VOIP services are the same.

    b) occasionally, the system hiccups. I’ve had some funky un-connected calls at times. They are occasional and infrequent. It’s worth being in the beta group for the other features (and more) listed above.

    I less-than-the-number-3 Google Voice.

    • Lani Rosales

      February 19, 2010 at 12:42 am

      I’ve never had any hiccups but I haven’t used it *that* much.

      Sidenote: I have your real number, yay 🙂

    • Jordan

      February 19, 2010 at 5:44 am

      (I’ve been using the heck outta GV (thanks to Lori) since relocating. It allowed me to keep the number my past friends & clients have while getting a local number as well w/out adding a line to my cell. It’s GREAT!)

      Lori! Thanks for bringing the delay to light! I’m always catching myself talking over my clients & now I know why! I’ll just try to remember to pause before responding.

  2. Thomas Johnson

    February 19, 2010 at 7:37 am

    GV is awesome technology which we are just starting to shake out. The one and only negative is the privacy issue. Do you want every word of your phone conversations sitting on a Google server especially since they now have opened their servers to the NSA due to the Chinese Communists hacking them? Everyone should answer this before they expose them selves and everyone they talk to to this.

  3. Scott Cowan

    February 20, 2010 at 11:09 am

    I have one observation that I wish Google would address about Goggle Voice.

    It takes way too long to receive the call. 7 to 15 rings on the callers end before it asks for their name. I am concerned that many people will not wait that long and will simply hang up and call another Realtor thinking I am simply not paying attention.

    I have found no settings in the control panel to adjust the number of rings.

    Does anyone have any suggestions?

  4. BawldGuy

    February 20, 2010 at 11:47 am

    Transcripts of every single one of your private conversations? Are you sayin’ folks know this and still use it? I’ll keep my next thought to myself, as it’s terribly offensive.

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Tech News

Use AI to automatically transcribe your Google Meet meetings

(TECH NEWS) This Google Chrome extension uses artificial intelligence to automatically transcribe and log notes from your Google Meet and video meetings.

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A woman in kitchen with laptop smiling at the screen during a Google Meet video meeting.

A new Google Chrome extension helps eliminate the pains of transcribing your Google Meet video meetings, interviews, and lectures. Otter.ai makes note-taking easy by transcribing and captioning all your chats in real-time and lets you save and share the transcripts with participants.

The AI-powered assistant differs from other transcription services because its AI model was built from the ground up to specifically handle long-form, multi-speaker, and complicated meeting situations.

“Meetings usually run long, could be 30 minutes, 60 minutes, and people interrupt each other all the time. People may speak a little faster or a little slower. They may pause and hesitate and restart and suddenly change topic,” said Otter.ai CEO and Co-founder Sam Liang in an interview on the NVIDIA AI podcast.

“All of these make taking notes for meetings way more complicated. So, that’s why we build AI technologies to optimize note-taking for meetings,” he continued.

Since Otter uses Ambient Voice Intelligence, it can recognize voices and even learn new terminology. With the tool, you can find what you need quickly. By using a summary keyword, you can see where that word appears in all instances. You can also speed up the playback or skim through long recordings.

Besides Google Meet, Otter works on iOS, Android, and Zoom. And, it’s available in all the company’s different pricing plans. With a free plan, you get 600 minutes of transcribing with each recording having a maximum length of 40 minutes.

Paid plans offer more recording time and length maximums. They give you additional features like the ability to import audio and video, advanced export and search functions, and the capability to be used during live events.

The cross-platform product can be used anywhere, which means you can use the AI transcribing assistant on your phone. So, if you’re a student or journalist trying to record an interview, you can use the mobile app to record the conversation. In the app’s dashboard, you can view all your recorded transcriptions and those shared with you.

The company’s target market is the business and enterprise meeting market, and people are definitely using it. “Today with remote work and distributed workforce, most of the meetings are happening on Zoom or Webex or Microsoft Teams. So, people are finding Otter really useful to improve their collaboration remotely,” said Liang.

Otter is simple enough to use. All you do is go to the Google Web Store to install the extension. You tap the Otter icon to open it and login or sign up for an account. Once you’re logged on, you just tap the Record button to begin recording. Then, the extension will do all the hard work for you.

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Tech News

Microsoft’s latest HUGE investment: Self-driving car technologies

(TECH NEWS) Microsoft invests in self-driving car technology by joining other investors in a combined equity investment of $2 billion.

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Cars driving on city highway, including more than one self-driving car in the future.

Microsoft has put its money into self-driving car technology. The tech giant has partnered with General Motors and Cruise, GM’s majority-owned driverless car startup, to “accelerate the
commercialization of self-driving vehicles.”

“Our mission to bring safer, better, and more affordable transportation to everyone isn’t just a tech race – it’s also a trust race,” said Cruise CEO Dan Ammann in a press release. “Microsoft, as the gold standard in the trustworthy democratization of technology, will be a force multiplier for us as we commercialize our fleet of self-driving, all-electric, shared vehicles.”

Along with Honda and other institutional investors, the companies are investing a combined $2 billion into the autonomous car company. This new funding round brings Cruise to a post-money valuation of $30 billion.

The long-term strategic partnership between the companies will be a collaborative one and beneficial for both. To roll out its fleet of self-driving vehicles, Cruise will leverage Microsoft’s cloud and edge computing platform, Azure.

In turn, as GM’s and Cruise’s preferred cloud provider, Microsoft will use the car company’s “industry expertise to enhance its customer-driven product innovation and serve transportation companies across the globe through continued investment in Azure.”

Besides helping bring the self-driving technology out to the market quicker, the companies will also work together on other digitization initiatives. For instance, they will collaborate on artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities. And, explore opportunities to streamline operations and increase productivity.

“Advances in digital technology are redefining every aspect of our work and life, including how we move people and goods,” said Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. “As Cruise and GM’s preferred
cloud, we will apply the power of Azure to help them scale and make autonomous transportation mainstream.”

Cruise first announced its self-driving car service a year ago, but when it will be deployed isn’t certain yet. With Microsoft as a partner, deploying those cars will help speed things up.

“Microsoft is a great addition to the team as we drive toward a future world of zero crashes, zero emissions, and zero congestion,” said GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra. “Microsoft will help us accelerate the commercialization of Cruise’s all-electric, self-driving vehicles and help GM realize even more benefits from cloud computing as we launch 30 new electric vehicles globally by 2025 and create new businesses and services to drive growth.”

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Tech News

Wow! This synthetic cornea gave a legally blind man his vision back!

(TECH NEWS) Another instance of “technology is amazing:” this minimally invasive eye implant has opened new doors for sight restoration surgeries for the legally blind.

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Blurry city with a single glass piece held in the middle with a clear view.

After being the first patient to receive a cutting-edge cornea implant, a legally blind 78-year-old man can see again. Directly after his surgery, the patient was able to recognize his family members and read an eye chart. The KPro implant comes from the company CorNeat.

KPro is the first implant that can be directly integrated into the eye wall, replacing damaged or deformed corneas with no donor tissue. The clear layer that protects the front portion of the eye is called the corona. The corona is susceptible to degeneration or scarring, as well as a number of diseases such as keratopathy, keratoconus and pseudophakia bullous.

While artificial cornea implants already exist, the surgeries are complex and typically only used as a last resort when transplants or cornea ring implants don’t work. That is perhaps what makes the CorNeat transplants so remarkable – it’s a simple procedure that’s minimally invasive.

Additionally, KPro uses a biomimetic material that “stimulates cellular proliferation, leading to progressive tissue integration”. Not only can these implants give you your sight back instantly, but they also can help the natural tissue in your eyes to grow back and integrate. Now, THIS is cool stuff.

CorNeat said that ten more patients in Israel are approved for trials, as well as two in Canada. Six others are in the approval process in France, U.S., and the Netherlands. Professor Irit Bahar of CorNeat stated that he believes this project will ultimately impact millions of people’s lives. Only time will tell.

This advancement in biotech comes at a time where many Americans are uninsured and at a higher risk for health ailments due to the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent effects. At its best, CorNeat’s KPro offers some hope – while COVID has brought many industries to their knees, advancements in medical technology seem to persist.

If the results of the implants continue to stay as promising as they are now, who knows – maybe we’ll all be receiving cornea implants as a normal part of health upkeep in the not-so-distant future. I know I’ll be first in line.

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