Monday, April 26, 2010

Product: Grab a Free Phone Number Using Google Voice

In just a decade, twenty-first century technology has grown to impact the way in which we live our life. Believed to be the century of innovation the science of technology often revolves back to Nostradamus, quoting his prediction that this century alone will provide one thousand times the technological progression than the previous. This interesting prophecy is one that has bewildered geeks who, like me, are anticipating the next “must have” trend. As an early adopter of technology development, my purchase preference is only for those devices I feel will substantially influence the way the future will evolve.  I also carry the same mindset when it comes to third party applications, social platforms, and other technology yielded from an online base.

During the creation of this business professional website, my goal was to provide more than just a single direct method of communication; recommended for disclosure purposes. Valuing my privacy and acknowledging Internet safety, my mobile business number wasn’t an option to consider -- yet such a number was ideal for the task at hand. Objectively desiring to give more than just an electronic address, my zealous mind tested a variety of public options without resolve. Just when I had given up,
Google Voice caught my eye with an associated snippet of video.  Acquiescent to exactly what the business professional requires for sustainability, Google Voice’s supplies a real-time dedicated platform server to voice communication –- a supplementary mobile phone service provision of the web.

Google’s objective, in creating the “Voice” platform was to provide users with an option that would serve to release traditional voice mail from the reliance of our mobile phone providers. Mobilization has now became an allowance unrestricted by Google at no charge to users in the United States. Still in a platform beta testing phase, after being released to developers in 2009, the only negative of this service is that you will need to be “invited”; my recommendation is to ask contacts who have a preference for Google --- I believe each preferred member has at least 10 invites to share. Nonetheless, despite the invitation requirement, Google Voice receives my top ranking -- 5 out of 5 stars for overall functionality, service, cost, innovation, ease of use, and the allowance of professional options. One invited, Google offers two service packages to invited members; one for only voice mail options and the other for full features with a personalized mobile Google phone number. Due to my need for business communication I chose the option for a phone number with additional features; I recommend the choice. I am astounded at Google Voice’s service, as a technological journalist I would rank it as the best Google release of 2009.

For those who opt for full service, Google’s next command prompt allows the user to choose the phone number; generated either by location or by the inclusion the user’s specific word choice. In example if you, as an invited user, wished to have the last four digits of your number spell “tool” the generation program would only pull up numbers with the last four digits spelling “tool” –- a plus for of ease specifics.  Offering pages of options, by the two qualifiers listed above, it’s simple to obtain a phone number choice based only on your preference. Mobile services usually charge an additional fee, at times a monthly fee to choose your own number. As you pair your phone to an automobile for safe driving, your Google number can be paired to all, or just specific, phones that you have service to -- including work numbers, landline phones, and mobile numbers. This excellent service allows the user to choose which phone takes the Google Voice number’s call and at what time each physical phone can be called. Settings can be directed differently for all phones. Google even provides a features for your upmost privacy, at all times, including an option to denote to callers when life is too busy -- all phone calls will be directed in these selected hours to voicemail. Settings can be changed by Internet utilization or easily through the mobile phone services.

An extended list of contacts, grouped by type, can easily be made; each group can be set up differently and a designated personalized greeting can be made for each -- for the socially adapt user specific voice mail greetings can be gave per contact though grouping methods.
Google Voice allows users to also opt for a computer generated,  non-robotic greeting, computer generated greetings can be personalized per group setting -- this simple step prompts users to call a toll-free number, voice the name on the account, follow a simplistic instruction, and hang up. However, my favorite feature of Google voice is the primary fact that my safety is the key, I know I can distribute my number freely on the Internet and still be 100% protected -- all calls, made through this service, display on caller identification as the number I selected. New numbers can be ascertained for a $10 (USD) fee per change. However, it should be noted that Google Voice is free for nationwide calls within the United States; calls internationally will be charged at a low rate per minute and can be made through crediting the account. International calling may be a downfall to some users as the US requirement may be a critical pitfall for those not in the nation. Grab an invite, for your business today, you will not be let down by Google on this innovation!

© Copyright Hollywood Geek Chic 2010

Product: APC 550VA Battery Back-Up System

As a business professional who works from my home office, it is never until the power goes off or I reach an area without the service I need that I realize how much I take the pioneered concept of technology for granted. Stripped of all basic services for eight days, following the chilled winter wrath of Mother Nature, I became keen on a little known black box called a UPS or uninterruptible power supply battery backup system. Simply these electrical devices provide you with “emergency power” for a specific period of time, based on the wattage load, when the main utility fails. Typically they are used, and only recommended for use with computers and other technological devices; perfect for a router/modem and main cordless phone -- devices that are not recommended for use with a gas generator, without surge protection. Inside the device a battery, similar in form of a scaled miniature car battery, stores generated power until that power is needed. The UPS automatically kicks itself into function when the main power generation stops and most will provide alerts when the stored power is nearly gone, to allow the proper shut down of any technological devices and the storage of any data you may be working on at the time.

The American Power Conversion (APC) device I purchased from Best Buy a month prior to the Ice Storm, having zero minutes of use until the Ice Storm of 2009. Due to having a coupon for the store, I was credited $30 from its price of $69.99 (USD) as they did not have the item in stock. Straight out of the box I was taken by surprise, of its weight; 13 pounds. In addition I purchased two back up batteries, directly from the American Power Conversion website with speedy shipping at a moderate “sale” price -- a suggestion received by the Best Buy Geek Squad team due to my work method.  Depending on the load of the four battery backup outlets, each battery is to produce up to 65 minutes of stored juice. An additional four outlets come only with surge protection with $75,000 (USD) for device protection. At a plus this device also has the means to protect a phone/fax/modem, yet the three year warranty only covers the replacement of parts and not the device itself.

Putting this product to the test for eight days, I was lucky to have a way that I could charge the additional purchased batteries close by; however replacing the batteries is very troublesome due to the weight of the product. The battery also takes many hours to fully charge however the bright LED light shows indication of a fully charged battery. With an added year of use, I feel that my recommendation for a UPS is high yet the APC device I would rate 2.5 out of 5 stars due to the reasons following -- with a function of 3.5 out of 5 stars.  While the device of a USP is great to own during a short outage, none provide power for an extended period with a full load (all plugs filled). This should be noted as not as a product problem but a general and overall USP device verity. The American Power Conversion (APC) device was purchased for a reasonable price yet additional batteries for replacement or back-up cost moderate to what I paid for the device itself. Due to the weight of the product, it requires some space however a 5 foot power cord keeps it close to the outlet which is a plus for organization buffs. The product comes with eight outlets (total) four only function for the battery-backup supply; this may be a pitfall for many who may need five and others that need a full eight. It needs to be remembered that the more plugged into the battery system the less emergency power will be generated, I recommend only plugging in the items needed as the time is greatly decreased with an increase in wattage. The surge protection has me feeling as the products are safe and protected; with the device protection guarantee on all eight outlets.  When in use, the device puts off a rather annoying and loud beep; this sound is quite disturbing. It emits a second, more frequent high pitch alarm when the supply of stored energy is nearly depleted; such alarm is great to know to store my work but even more of an annoyance. The most infuriating fact of this product is when the utility supply is cut off in the early morning hours when comfortably at rest; the American Power Conversion is a surefire way to be woke up and yield quite the expressiveness in choice four-letter words!

© Copyright Hollywood Geek Chic 2010

Service: Fed-Ex Twitter Based Customer Support

Managing the flow of goods from the point of origin to the point of delivery, we depend daily on logistical services. Seldom do we contemplate to what extent we rely on freight, air transport, and boxed trailer eighteen wheelers; yet without these methods our stores would give the essence of a barren waste land. Today the complexity and compliance of these personal logistic services exist with two apex leaders, both a global household name, UPS and Fed-Ex -- each excellent in the functionality of bringing goods directly to our doorstep.

I, like most product reviewers and business professionals, depend significantly on the logistical service providers UPS and Fed-Ex. At a rate that at times surpasses two deliveries each day, I have grew quite accustomed to the seemingly infinite yipping of my two canine ankle biters at each deliverer that stop their truck in front of my home. Yet, I’m certain that my neighbors very much do not appreciate the speedy delivery alarm clock. With both sites bookmarked, straight to my browser interface, the importance of tracking my shipment is primary to the process of logistical home delivery. However, what am I to do when I don’t have a customized order tracking number? A problem we have all ran into, at least on one occasion.

Anticipating the shipment of a newly personalized notebook computer, a subtle server error from the corporation failed to produce a Fed-Ex tracking number. Lingering in the dark, for two days, my focus turned to Twitter to vent frustration. Frequented by millions daily, Twitter is not yet synonymous as a method of customer support/service. However, at a measurable rate, the growth of such is starting to make life a little easier -- this was especially true in my recent case of tracking number mayhem.

Explaining the problem to a friend, I was stunned that twenty minutes later a Fed-Ex customer service employee had replied to my tweet; one that wasn’t even directed to the logistic firm. Eager to provide help from the discovery of my 140 character tweet, an enthusiastic Fed-Ex employee dubbed @FedExRobin provided me with the tracking data that I needed and even went the extra mile. Based on transaction speed, relevance, quality, desire to assist, and respectfulness Fed-Ex’s Twitter based Customer Service receives, in my opinion, a deserved golden star for high-quality utilization of new-age social media.

1. Respectful of my personal information, the initial tweet of assistance directed me to send necessary information to an electronic mailing address; I noticed directly that this address was designated to the customer service employee; which is something I recommend looking for so not to be scammed. The required email information included my name, address, preferred electronic contact address or phone number, and the name of the package’s point of origin. Believing that it was only respectful to Ms. Robin, I provided her with the full details of my problem and estimated dates of shipment -- additional details are of “critical importance” when dealing with any directive of customer service.

2. At the email address provided, within a time frame of 35 minutes I had obtained the data needed; when my package was shipped, the state of origin, where my package was, and date my shipment was due to arrive on my doorstep. I felt that Robin was a personal assistant, working only for me and could have not asked for more in ways of helpfulness and respect. Due to Fed-Ex privacy issues from Twitter customer support, Robin could not provide me the actual number to my specific package; however she provided me with more than enough to ease my mind, even that the package delivery requested a signature and could not be left.

3. What I was not expecting came next. Robin provided me continued point-by-point updates, as they happened, relevant to my package; even after it had arrived and been signed for. I was alerted, through tweets; each time my shipment arrived at a Fed-Ex logistics hub, the moment it left those specific hubs, what carrying type vehicle it was placed on, when the package was on route to my house, and a outstanding estimate of arrival -- all data and time provided were accurate. Once the shipment was opened and inspected, to ensure no damage occurred, Robin requested I sign off with her on Twitter as I did with the carrier of my notebook.

Would I Recommend This Service: Yes
Chances I Would Use This Service Again: High
Overall Satisfaction: 100%

© Copyright Hollywood Geek Chic 2010

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