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Thursday, January 17, 2008

The Top Telephone Tricks

In no particular order, here are some cool tricks I found about a telephone. Most were gathered from Lifehacker.

1) Avoid the cost of calling 411 with GOOG 411.

Instead of calling regular 411 to get information (and an extra charge on your phone bill), Google by voice by calling 1-800-GOOG-411 to get a street address or phone number. Here's a video from Youtube on how it works:

2) Avoid annoying calls with a custom silent ringtone.

If your cell phone supports per-caller ringtones, silence the low-priority incoming calls with a dead air ringtone. This idea makes very good sense; the phone will ring regardless, so just make their ringtone something silent like dead air. Here's a link on how to make a ringtone.

3) Ring all your phones from one number with GrandCentral.

Sick of missing calls to the office while you're home or vice versa? Set up a free GrandCentral number that can ring all your phones at once from one number, or selective phones based on the caller—like your cell phone, office phone, and home phone.

4) Name that tune.

Dying to know what song that is playing on the car radio? Call 866-411-SONG and hold your phone up to the speakers. Just 15 seconds (and a small fee), and 411 SONG will send you a text message with the song name and artist. (This only works on cell phones with SMS capabilities.)

5) Swear like a sailor to skip directly to a human operator.

Some IVR's are programmed to listen for naughty words and speed you along to human help when they hear them. Drop the F bomb a couple of times and you'll be zoomed right along to a human operator.

6) Trick automated phone bots into never calling you again.

Automated phone bots keep interrupting your dinner with their pre-recorded marketing messages? Play the U.S. Special Information Tone signal for "vacant circuit" when you pick up the phone. Of course, adding this to your answering machine greeting may confuse genuine human callers as well, but that may be worth scaring off the bots. Grab the tone as a WAV file from the Art of Hacking site.

Get .WAV file here: U.S. SIT (Special Information Tones) signal: Vacant Circuit (out of service or nonexistent phone number)

7) Get a free disposable phone number for short period of time

Numbr provides free, anonymous, disposable phone numbers. Numbr is Craigsnumber re-branded with a lot of cool new features. Numbr supports 23 US cities, can forward calls to up to 2 phones, blocks telemarketers, and offers a Do Not Disturb option from 9PM to 8AM. Additionally, the app can also take voicemails and email you your disposable number's call history. If you ever feel wary about handing out your real number for a short term contact, Numbr is the perfect place to go.

Website: Numbr

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