Jott is one of my favorite on-the-go productivity services. The voice-to-text transcription service is a convenient tool for recording memos, reminders, and ideas with your cell phone (or any phone, for that matter) while you're in motion. Using a combination of technology and people, Jott quickly transcribes your musings and e-mails them to you.
That's just one way to use Jott. Now there's another: Jott Networks recently added a voicemail-to-text transcription service to its portfolio. Called Jott Voicemail, the new service costs $10 per month for up to 40 message transcriptions (after that, it's 35 cents per transcription).
With Jott Voicemail, calls that come in when you're unavailable or on the phone are redirected away from your provider's voicemail service and sent to Jott. Once received, your messages are transcribed into text and e-mailed to you (and/or sent by test message). The e-mail includes the transcribed text; an MP3 file of the original voicemail is attached. The e-mail also includes a Listen link that takes you to Jott's site, where you can play the original message.
Talk about timing. The first netbooks arrived in fall 2007, selling for prices between $250 and $400 just before the current recession kicked in. Even though the economy continues to look gloomy, however, a funny thing is happening: Netbooks are going upscale. Exhibit A: the Sony Vaio P, which sells for $900.
Yes, you read that right: $900 for a netbook. Granted, it's a Sony, meaning it has style and sex appeal to spare. But like other netbooks, the Sony Vaio P isn't designed to be as powerful as a full-fledged laptop, which can sell for $500 and up.
The Vaio P is just one of several new upwardly mobile netbooks. Here's a quick reality check on the features some of these new netbooks offer. Caveat: I haven't tested any of the netbooks that I mention. My comments are based on past experience with other netbooks and laptops. Some of the netbooks mentioned below are pictured in our online gallery, "Hot New Notebooks Shine in Vegas."
Last week I offered some lessons learned during 2008, which included the realizations that using eBay to sell your laptop can be dicey and that netbooks can quickly lose their allure. I'm back this week with three more a-ha moments from 2008: Mac laptops aren't necessarily more expensive than Windows machines; airplanes are the new Internet cafes; and video chats are lots of fun but can be distracting.
Mac OS Laptops Can Be Competitively Priced
In July 2008 I compared the specs and prices of three MacBook portables to three Windows laptops. I discovered that in some cases, MacBooks are priced competitively and can even cost less than similarly configured Windows competitors. Add to this the fact that Apple continues to get top scores for service and product reliability, and Mac laptops can be extremely attractive.
I learned a lot in 2008: Never underestimate the American voter; never take basic financial security for granted; and never pay money to see Tom Cruise in an eye patch (or to see Tom Cruise, period). But the year was full of other, more practical epiphanies, too. Among them: Selling a laptop on eBay can be an invitation to fraud; netbooks lose their novelty rather quickly while the Apple iPhone's allure only grows; and more.
This week and next, I'll share some lessons learned from 2008 related to mobile technology.
The New Year is a great time to get yourself organized and make virtuous resolutions. It's also as good as any to face an unpleasant fact: Your notebook is not your friend. Yes, it helps you be productive. But here's what happens when you're using a laptop on the road: You tilt your neck down to look at the screen. Meanwhile, you bend your wrists in order to type on the keyboard. And you do this for hours--in hotel rooms, airplanes, conference rooms, and other places not exactly known for proper ergonomic set-ups.
"Laptops are inherently unergonomic--unless you're 2 feet tall," is how physician Norman J. Marcus put it recently in The Wall Street Journal.
As a mobile professional, travel is essential to your job. But it doesn't actually help you do your job, does it? In fact, travel actually gets in the way of being productive. Or it makes you so tired and stressed, you're barely able to show up to a meeting, let alone contribute brilliant ideas.
For the next three weeks, I'll suggest some New Year's resolutions for you to consider. The idea behind each resolution is to make your life a little more comfortable and less stressful in 2009. This week: Use communications tools to reduce travel, stay connected to colleagues, and increase the power of your messages. Next week: how to be kinder to your poor body with a proper ergonomic setup. And finally, services and tools for syncing your data across multiple computers and devices.
Have you finished your holiday shopping? Stuffed your sweetie's stocking? If so, I've got suggestions for ten tech or travel-related products under $300 that would make fun gifts--for you. I mean, really, isn't it time to treat yourself, too?