Category Archives: Google

Record and Transcribe Notes for Yourself with Google Voice

There a few key settings in order to be able to record notes to yourself and have Google Voice transcribe them for you. You can get those from that Lifehacker link, but there’s an addition note I want to make now that I’ve actually tried this.

It works, but only sort of, and you have to speak really slowly and clearly. It’s hard and actually kind of takes some practice, because the first couple times I did it, I started off slow, and Google did well with the transcription, but then I focused more on what I wanted to say and not how I was saying it and the end of the transcriptions came out like a monkey was at the keyboard.

Nevertheless, you can usually get the gist of what you wanted to make a note of, and it’s usually easier to speed-dial your GV account than it is to try to pound out a text message (or even a “note” on your smartphone). It’s also more useful than a voice note (again, if your smartphone allows for that), because you get at least some of it transcribed correctly for you, and automatically emailed to you (instead of having to send it to yourself after recording and then transcribe it from there).

So, go ahead, all tens of you readers, give it a try (if you have Google Voice) and leave a comment with your experience, and if you don’t have GV, let me know if you use something else to record and/or transcribe notes to yourself on the go.

Getting Things Done: Invisible Reminders With Google Calendar

An easy way to create an electronic Tickler file is by using Google Calendar, which can send you email, SMS, and “pop-up” reminders (which act as alerts when you sync with the iPhone Calendar), for any and all events you want.

invisible_google_calendarsBut what about stuff that you don’t really want to see cluttering up your calendar? You just want to be reminded about it when you need to be reminded about it. The solution is simple. Just add another calendar (you can have as many as you want, I believe, but I wouldn’t think you’d need more than a few extra), and click on the name of it to hide all the events. You’ll see in the image here that I have two extra calendars called (very cleverly) “Invisible Reminders” and “Sweepstakes”. The first is for the kinds of reminders I described at the beginning of this paragraph, those things that should be heard, but not seen (or something like that). The other is reminders to enter daily contests to win prizes. I put the link to the web site as the “Where” of the event, and then get the reminders sent to me in the morning for mass processing. I schedule the events so that all the reminders are sitting there after I drop my wife off at work, and then I can just go through and click the links to open them all up in new tabs and then enter my email and submit. I haven’t actually won any yet, but at $10,000 per, it’s worth the 10 minutes or so in the morning for the chance that I might hit one some day.

Yes, I could just add one even called “Enter Sweepstakes” and keep all the URLs in there, but then I’d have to remember the different end dates for all of them (and there are usually about 5-6 going on at a time). When I have them each as individual events, I know that the ones to enter will be there in my Inbox, and my mind can stay at a low viscosity level.

Gmail’s Magic Inbox

Google Operating System has found some Gmail code that indicates the coming of a social inbox!

So, not only will we have one inbox for Everything, but it’ll be organized by importance (or at least how important Google thinks things are).

So, is it Opposite Day at Google?

From the Official Google Reader blog, a post about sharing with friends and making new friends. Now, I don’t have a lot of “Google Reader Friends” and I use my Shared Items to feed into a sidebar widget over here, so maybe I’m just not into the whole “sharing” thing enough, but this part seems really overly complicated to me:

By hovering over the name of an unfamiliar commenter you can see their profile picture and the links they’ve added to their Google Profile. Furthermore, you can click the “Start sharing” link to start sharing your shared items with that person!

This is a great way to add new people to your friends list. When that person next logs in, they’ll see an option to view your shared items as well as the option to start sharing with you. If they reciprocate, you’ll have a new friend in your Reader.

I mean, I guess they’re erring on the side of privacy but really, is a thing called Shared Items supposed to be all that private? It seems to me that it would make a lot more sense to do the Twitter-style follow for this one, and send The Sharer an email when The Follower starts viewing their shared items. Then The Sharer can reciprocate if they want by following The Follower, and if they don’t want to follow The Follower back, they don’t have to do anything (as opposed to having to make a decision in Google’s model). Yes, this means that The Sharer has to be willing to share their items publicly to start with, but that seems to have worked out pretty well for Twitter. And I’d argue that sharing and commenting on items via Google Reader is orders of magnitude less personal than the kind of things people put on Twitter. All this “privacy” thing means is that Google has to add this kind of disclaimer to make sure people can understand how it is going to work:

Note: You can stop sharing your items with someone at any time by visiting the Sharing settings link in your left sidebar. Also, if someone chooses to share with you, your shared items are not visible to that person unless you consent. Finally, the “start sharing” link in profile cards will also only appear to those users sharing with friends, and not those sharing only with chat buddies.

It just seems like a real backwards way of doing it.

Thank God Google! Suggest comes to Image Search


In searching for the image for my Aardvark post, I just discovered that Google has added the drop-down suggestion list to Image Search!

I just used it to find the images for this post! As someone who writes 3 (or maybe more 😉 ) blogs, and likes to use relevant images in his posts, I can’t tell you how happy this makes me. But this guy can: