Bug? Feature? Yes.

So – I’ve signed up for a SkypeOut subscription and a SkypeIn number in a long and almost funny story about overhead, organization telecommunications, and just the mere fact that I rarely use that ringy thing on the desk. (Although, honestly, I have had a lot of interactions recently that just could not be done within IM and email, which is somewhat rare for the participants involved).

Oh, yeah, and the fact that I had to try it all out, you know, like “for science”

I’m not sold on skype, but they seem to be the only ones with effective bridges in and out to the telephone network. (Dear Google, give me a telephone system bridge with Google Voice and some kind of VOIP that can talk to my microphone and speakers – like audio GChat, and I’ll so totally pay for Google Voice, certainly some significant percentage of what I pay the monopoly bell provider).

So, anyway, long stories to be told later. Today I gave the Skype line a good test for the first time. Having a co-worker call me – through my Google Voice number – which was set up to ring the home phone, skype phone, and cell phone) and answering with the skype phone.

It performed adequately, I wasn’t talking with a headset, and instead was talking at my computer screen in that kind of “raised, commanding voice” that one uses with speakerphones.

My co-worker was using Vonage. So it was Vonage over Time Warner to Google Voice to Skype over Time Warner – which strikes me as funny, like “The House that Jack’s Mouse that Ate the Clock that Struck 12” funny.

But the best part was when the co-worker’s child’s elementary school robo-called him on his vonage number, which is set to roll over to his cell phone (like how many technologies should we have had here? maybe I should have been using Skype on the iPhone) – when he got that call on the Vonage line – Google Voice suddenly spontaneously started recording our call. (You can press 4 during the call on Google Voice to start recording but as far as I know, my focus was not on the Skype client and keypad, and not even that weird Macintosh click-through focus) – plus it was waaaaay too closely tied with the reception of that vonage call.

I hadn’t the foggiest where that call recording announcement came from until I looked at the Google Voice inbox.

Spontaneous call recording with call rollover notifications over VOIP? Bug? Feature? We report, you decide.

p.s. And remind me not to use the computer as a speakerphone, talk about a direct, blunt, almost angry sounding voice I had going on there, I so need to start recording myself more (which my family has been telling me for years) – my voice so totally does not sound that direct/blunt/forceful in my head. Whoa nelly. I’m sure it’s the mp3 encoding – yeah, that was it 🙂

p.p.s. No, you will not be hearing a copy of the recording.

p.p.p.s Though it was pretty funny when my co-worker said “it’s because my head doesn’t dampen sound enough” But, nope, still not uploading the recording. Though I might snippet me saying “That… was… FAIL!” in a total southern accent “Faaaayyyyallle”

How to tie a tie

Here’s the secret. Actually, I’m incredibly out of practice, and haven’t the foggiest anymore, so let me Google “how to tie a tie” for you – along with the rest of the U.S. today – at least according to Google Trends:


Quite the swing upward today:


If you are a content producer – there’s a lesson here. It’s the same old world folks – folks seek information on the same old, surprisingly mundane things – but not in the same old, surprisingly mundane ways.

And all across the USA today, hundreds of thousands of parents, children, spouses, and significant others are straightening out those instructions this morning in person. And perhaps that may be the most important lesson of all.

(thanks to Nate Johnson and Brian Shrader for highlighting this today)

p.s. Updated to add – it’s a whole different world over at search.twitter.com


Picture This

I’m taking some vacation days this week, just to take a break from things and work on some personal projects around the house. (I’ve moved the home office to the bigger bonus room, done weed killer on the whole yard, and taken a whole bunch of walks with the dogs).

Today I took the camera with me to the Museum Park at the North Carolina Museum of Art and spent some time walking around. (I didn’t get any pictures that I thought were interesting (I only brought my 50mm and 100mm prime lenses, and the park is really made for wider angles).

I’ve been there 3-4 times over the last several years. I walked over there today – and while I knew that there were structures around it, I thought they were just additional outdoor sculptures. That is until I started paying attention to the deliberate paint changes in the amphitheater itself. I knew that the park theater had been there for years (since 1997 my subsequent research found) – but I didn’t remember any stories about it – or about the sculptures around it. I knew that paint change had to be deliberate though.

But I really couldn’t get a perspective on the ground – so I decided to get one from the air. I pulled out my iPhone, fired up the Maps application, pulled up the Google map for my location – and lo and behold – there it was:


I even twittered it.

Sometimes, in the most surprising of ways, the future happens, today I was there to see it in the form of a 12-year old outdoor sculpture given new perspective.

Picture that.