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Archive for January 28th, 2010
28 Jan

Testing out iCall – free VoIP iPhone app

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iCall is the new iPhone app that allows you to do Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) calls over the Web and 3G. VoIP, while much cheaper, is also generally known for low audio quality. Sorry, it’s true.

Well, it’s also true here. The audio quality from my iCall call was pretty bad… but remember you get what you pay for.

Compared to a traditional cell phone or land line, the audio quality is dramatically worse. Granted I was on AT&T’s not-so-great network, but you can’t blame them for everything and you can’t blame them for this.

The audio was slurred coming in when I heard my voicemail greeting and it was stuttered going out when I heard the audio playback.

Compared to Skype, the quality is also worse. But, in a pinch, this may be a cool app to have.

That said, this may happen to be a coincidence, but my battery was drained from 70 percent to 20 percent five minutes after the call.

Verdict: I don’t recommend this app when GoogleVoice is around the corner.

I uploaded my the audio so you can check it out.

Listen!

28 Jan

Two business card alternatives: Save the trees, embrace the geekiness

My paper contacts in my office.

A few months ago, I uploaded a photo of my trusty, old Rolodex onto Facebook.

Over the years I have met some great people, collected a ton of business cards and attempted to alphabetize them in my Rolodex.

That alphabetizing part only lasted about 20 minutes some ten years ago.

Since then, I have had piles from different conferences strategically growing on my desk, in my backpack and around my Rolodex.

So, if business cards don’t work for me, what would?

Here are two ways I’ve begun sharing my contact info. Both of these I learned from people at I’ve meet at conferences.

The first is the extremely, iPhone-geeky-awesome Bump. This was introduced to me by David Stanton (@gotoplanb), Poynter Institute and University of Florida instructor, and all around cool tech guy. We met at AEJMC and sure, it probably took longer than physically swapping business cards, using the bump was much more fun. More importantly, it gets the contact information into your phone!

Why is it called Bump? To swap info, each iPhone user first loads up the free app, establishes a connection, then does a fist bump. Okay, the fist bump is actually optional… but the gesture/motion between the two iPhones triggers the app to look for a receiver/sender and syncs up the info. [See the video]

The second is simply, simple and I can’t believe it is free. At this year’s CES, I met some great L.A. tech folks, including Lisa Borodkin (@lisaborodkin). She’s an Entertainment + new media law and policy expert that is jumping into Web journalism reporting for LAist.

I didn’t believe her, but she asked me to text her first name to get a text back with her contact info. I did it, it worked. I set mine up.

Contxts is awesome. The downside: it’s in the SMS side of your phone, not contact side. But, it’s in your phone and adding it to your contacts shouldn’t take too long.

How’s it work, exactly? Just have people text your name/code to 50500 and boom, they get your info. I got greedy, so I have two accounts: webjournalist and roberth.

Try ’em out and tell me what you think.

There are TONS of alternatives to business cards swaps, and these are just two I’ve played with. Which ones have you used? What do you recommend we try or try to avoid?

Let’s do what we can to save the trees… and embrace your inner geek.

π