Looks like Google Voice is FINALLY coming out of its exile in the land of eternal beta at the Googleplex. As of today, new users can sign up for Google Voice without having to put their name on a waiting list first, or beg someone for an invite.
Google Voice is a free service from the Big G that allows you to better manage your phone by enabling things that should have been offered for free by the major phone companies for years! Except, most of those things are ways to control who calls you and when they can call, which is not good news for companies that make tons of money connecting telemarketers long-distance and selling phone number lists to whoever wants to pay.
Fortunately, with Google Voice, you can now make your phone not ring after a certain time of day, or only allow friends and family to call after business hours. The boss gets voicemail if he calls at 6:30 PM.
Check it out. I’m sure that you will find Google Voice a powerful tool to help better manage not only your phone bill and family time, but for better time management overall.
While you are at it, check out Google Docs as a way to show friends or clients a rough sketch of what you are thinking about. Set up the presentation or document prior to calling and then nonchalantly say, “Can you get on the Internet?” Then show them what you got.
If you are reading this, you are here too early 🙂
I have an extraordinary list of bookmarks, tools, online services, web apps, bookmarklets, writing websites, research sites, plug-ins, utilities, applications, and (whew!) much more that make the life of the professional writer much easier. Unfortunately, a lot of it is on pieces of paper, or text files, or notes, or – more recently – in Microsoft Office OneNote 2010. Of course, many more are buried in the bookmarks of the four different browsers I use on a daily basis. Plus the top writing help sites and writing tools on the Internet which have special homes on my Speed Dial Groups (Firefox) and also on my Morning Coffee for Chrome and Morning Coffee for Firefox setups. I fired up this post to explain what was going to happen here: I am going to write some posts or pages with lists of tools professional writers use for productivity or research, as well as to get a start on that list by having a place to “dump” the ones that come to me on a onesie-twosie basis.
Some of the electronic writing gadgets, online writing tools, and software applications for writing I use have become so second nature to me that I forget that they are stand-alone apps and services that writers can use to improve writing quality and profitability. I wanted a place to be able to jot them down without them getting lost in my online writing bookmarks at Delicious or the like.
Best Writing Plugins For Firefox – Best Writing Extensions for Chrome
If you are unfamiliar with the latter two browser extensions, then consider this your reward for reading this far even though I told you at the beginning that you were too early to get the actual list of killer writing resources and best writer tools and software.
Speed Dial is a plugin for Mozilla Firefox that allows you to create a speed dial similar to the one in Opera and Google Chrome. The difference is that unlike Chrome, Speed Dial lets you manually set which websites get to be on the speed dial and in what order they are displayed. Furthermore, the Speed Dial plug-in for Firefox lets you create more than one speed dial. These are called Dial Groups and they appear as tabs across the top of the speed dials. This lets you configure workflow based speed dials, or dials for other purposes. For example, you could make a dial group for games with your top 9 gaming websites and another dial group for finding freelance writing gigs with your top 9 freelancing websites. Even better, you can change the default layout from a 3 x 3 layout to a 4 x 4 or even 6 x 8 or whatever you like. This is a huge bonus for those of use with big widescreen monitors that can clearly display a dozen or more top writing websites.
Morning Coffee extension for Chrome or the Morning Coffee plugin for Firefox offer a similar functionality as Speed Dial, but are designed instead to be configured not as a screen where you can select the one website you need to find and open, but rather as a way to open all of the websites you need for a particular function at once.
For example, if you search for writing jobs on the job boards on Tuesday mornings, you could setup a “Tuesday” Morning Coffee session that opens five or ten or twenty writing gig websites all at once. Then, if on Wednesdays you read a bunch of technology websites to stay on top of technology news in your capacity as a freelance technology writer, you can set a Wednesday Morning Coffee session to open a dozen tech review websites.