From Cell Phone to Email, Free and Easy

I’ve always been a big fan of continuing education in whatever line of work you’re in. I think that especially applies to the media production industry. The pace that technology, formats, workflows, software and hardware are changing seems nearly impossible to keep up with at times. And it’s my feeling that if you’re not continuing to improve yourself and your skills, you’re not even as good as you were. You’re falling behind.

But enough preaching.

Part of my own personal learning strategy involves listening to around 10 hours of podcasts each week. Some are targeted to the post production industry, others are technology related, and a few others are general interest. I normally listen in my car going to and from the office using my iPod, and that makes good use of my commute time. I find that there are even times when being stuck in traffic doesn’t seem to be that big of a deal if I’m really into the show. The problem I’ve had for awhile now though is that while listening I often hear things mentioned that I either want to check out, do research on, or bookmark in my browser. Sometimes something said even inspires an idea or I realize the information is perfect for a friend or colleague. But no matter how convinced I am that I’ll remember these inspired thoughts or information, the moment I arrive at the office or at home I’m almost always distracted by something else and rarely remember to jot down what I was thinking.

Enter,, my hero! is a free web service that is currently in public beta as I write this. It’s a nifty idea. Here’s how it works.

Once you’re set up your account with them you call their 800 number whenever you have something you want to remember. The services identifies you by way of caller ID and asks you who you would like to send a message to. It can be yourself, a friend, or a large group of people (all of this you setup during registration). Now all you do is talk through your cell phone as you would if you were leaving a voice mail for somebody, but the beauty part is that your message is transcribed by the service and emailed to the person/people you’ve selected. It all happens very fast too, normally 1-4 minutes from phone call to received email in my experience.

I’ve been using this for a few months now and it has had a huge impact on what information I’m able to use from the podcasts. I have bluetooth in my car and a speed dial button setup in the cars’ computer so that the moment I hear something I need to remember, I just punch the button on the screen, leave my message and hang up. What works out especially well for me is that because the iPod is running through the same system in the car, the moment I dial the phone the iPod is paused by the car and resumes when the call is complete.

What you end up with is a mailbox full of reminders, links, and ideas that I can then follow up on. But what if you didn’t speak so clearly, or you used words the computer didn’t understand? When you receive the email you also have a link that allows you to instantly listen to the audio you recorded. So if the translation is in question at all you can verify it for yourself. does a lot more then what I’m outlining here, so I would encourage you to check it out for yourself if you’re even remotely interested. It has tight integration with other sites (they call these “Links”), including Twitter, Blogger, WordPress, and BackPack just to name a few.

They also have a series of demonstration videos that show you in action, as well as some testimonials.

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