October 5th, 2008 No Comments

Send e-mail, set reminders, make appointments by phone

Some of my most productive time, that is, when I can really think undisturbed by phones or other people, is when I’m riding my bicycle or driving alone.  Unfortunately, those are also about the only times that I’m unable to capture my half-baked ideas on my business planning napkin, or compose that new blog entry on my computer.  Some people read and send text messages while driving, but that isn’t very healthy.

A new company called Jott (http://www.jott.com ) has come up with an easy and clever solution for using the phone to create e-mail, text messages and calendar appointments.  Or as they put it "Turn your words into action."

The Jott service recently came out of beta and the service works as advertised.  In fact, it’s uncanny in its ability to accurately transcribe your messages.  They say they use a combination of computerized text-to-speach, and human operators.  My guess is that computers handle the easy stuff like dates and times, and that real people transcribe the actual messages.

The way it works is really simple.  You first set up an account at their web site – there are three types of accounts, including a free ad-supported version.  In your account you define a list of individual contacts and groups.  After a few minutes of setup you’re ready to go.  Just call a special toll free number (866-JOTT-123) and say one of your pre-defined commands.  For example, say "Reminder" and the system will ask for a message, date and time.  Then you’ll get e-mails and text messages shortly before the event.  The commands "Text Ralph" or "Email Ralph" will let you compose a message that will be delivered within minutes.

One of my favorite uses is to post an appointment to my Google Calendar.  If I’m driving down the road talking with someone I might plan a lunch for next week.  With Jott I just "call in" that appointment as soon as I make it and it imediately gets posted to Google, which in turn syncs the appointment to my phone and computers.

Jott also supports a variety of other messaging systems like Twitter, Facebook and blogs so you can post messages directly using only a phone.  They also offer desktop applications to help organize your messages, and a Google Gadget so your notes and messages show up on your personalized iGoogle page.

Jott is one of those high-tech services that is surprisingly easy to use, immediately useful, and once you get started you can’t live without it.

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