Google411 for Travelers and More

Google411 – The Perfect Phone Feature

by Gregory West
prospector16@gmail.com

Probably by now most people have used or heard of the free directory assistance that is available on the Internet: canada411.ca. That service works for both individual and business phone numbers and addresses.

Google has taken this technology much, much further. Enter: Google411.
Google offers a free phone directory and calling service that finds businesses and their phone numbers. Google will also connect you to the business immediately, or you can simply listen to the list of businesses and then make your choice.

The service is quite easy to use. You simply dial up 1-800-GOOG-411 (I have GOOG411 on my cell phone’s speed dial) and state your city and province. Then you say what it is you are looking for.

I tested it out by saying: “pizza”. A google voice began voicing the area pizza restaurants. If I had been hungry I could have easily been connected to the pizza business of my choice. This proves to be an excellent travel tool as you may want to book ahead a hotel room, reserve a seat in a restaurant and maybe check if a certain store is still open. At the present time Google only offers this service for business and non-profit listings, but not for residential information.

I love canada411.ca on my laptop for looking up names, addresses, and phone numbers, but when I nowhere near a WiFi hotspot, my cell phone gets me the information, connection and listings fast and extremely efficient.
For more information, head on over to this website: www.google.ca/goog411 and watch a Google voice engineer demonstrate this highly excellent and free service.

Note: “ Google doesn’t charge you to access Google products from a mobile phone…Check with your provider for more information about fees associated with accessing the Internet from your mobile phone” (google.ca).

Gregory West is a Mac Computer Instructor for Lambton College.  He also holds free “Basic PC Computer and Internet Training” seminars at Central United Church: 
http://central-united-church.org – (Click on “Groups).
Gregory can be reached at prospector16@gmail.com
More TIPS on Greg’s Blog: http://tips4computers.wordpress.com

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Bell Mobility Ripoff

Bell Mobility Ripoff Takin ya to the cleaners each month…

HISTORY: Recently we decided we did not need a house phone. Let’s face it; anyone who has a cell phone probably uses the cell phone more than the house phone. In fact, most customer service reps will tell you that when people give out a contact phone number it is usually their cell phone number. That is the number they can be reached most of the time…Why?

Most people carry their cell phones on their person at all times and the cell phone is usually always on, either with the ring set or the vibrator notifier set. Either way, if you really look at it, the house phone is only good if you are at home, inside the house, and can run fast enough to catch the final ring.

House phones can not travel with you. They cannot sit beside you at work. They are not in the car with you and they don’t tag along while you shop. So, this definitely BEGS THE QUESTION: Why would any cell phone user host the high costs of a house phone?

HOW TO BEAT MA BELL’S $$$ PRICING:

The issue is Long Distant Calls.

Bell Mobility charges 30 cents for each minute of long distant calling within Ontario.

Prepaid Long Distant calling services, such as xpresscall.ca charges only .029 cents per minute. That is a savings (over BELL MOBILITY) of about 27 cents per minute.

Bell Mobility is overcharging its customers at least 27 cents for every minute of long distant calling charges.

SAVINGS: Not only do we now save the $50+ per month for a useless house phone, we also save 27 cents on each minute of long distance calls.

VOIP COMPUTER INTERNET CALLING: Oh yes, and don’t forget, if you have Sympatico DSL Internet do not let Bell trick you into believing that you need a phone to have the Internet. Just call up Bell and demand they change your system to a “Dry Loop” as mandated by the CRTC decision.

A Dry Loop, or “dry pair” means you do not pay the extra costs of a phone: “A dry pair is normally used with a security system, but more recently may also be used with DSL equipment or an ethernet extender to connect two locations” (wiki). Dry loop is also used for house alarm systems.

Moral of the Story: Do not let Bell Canada/Sympatico lead you to believe you MUST have a phone connected to get their High Speed Internet. And…With using Bell Sympatico’s DSL High Speed you can use VOIP to do very inexpensive calls via SKYPE – and if you call from your computer to a friend’s computer in South Africa, or any other spot in Cyberspace, your calls are all FREE.

A WORD TO THE WISE: It took us 13 phone calls to Bell Sympatico and Ma Bell and we finally had to stop payment on our house phone their attention and to get the dry loop. THEY DO NOT WANT YOU TO KNOW ABOUT THE DRY LOOP as they lose the money from you thinking you must have a phone to get their Internet. See the CRTC ruling above, you may just want to quote the reference number when talking to a customer service rep:

Telecom Order CRTC 2005-415