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Jott

Have you tried Jott?  Jott is a service that lets you call a toll free number on your cell phone and send people messages, either SMS or email, just by speaking.  It translates your speech into text and sends it to people on your “buddy” list.  As I understand it, the translation is monitored by human operators.  If the voice recognition software has low confidence in its translation, the recording waits in a queue and is transcribed by a live operator.

I’ve used it for almost a year.  The translation is very good but I have no idea if my recordings are going to a live operator or not.  The messages are sent pretty quickly – within 5 minutes or so.

I use it mostly to send messages or “jots” to myself.  The most frequent use is to remember the location in the parking ramp where I leave my car at the airport.  After a week of traveling I simply look on my cell phone for the message I sent myself.

What I don’t like is that I have to set up the recipients in a list ahead of time.  When I’ve wanted to use Jott, it’s at a critical time when I want to send a message.  Maybe I’m late, driving, and want to send a message ahead.  But it’s someone I just started working with.  No way am I going to take the time to add those contacts or have the forethought.  It’s a security precaution but the whole thing loses value for spur of the moment communication.

Now Jott has informed me that the service is no longer free.  Or the free version will include advertising.  I assume that means some promo at the bottom of the messages.  We’ll see.  Let me know what you think of it.

Mobile Mapping Software

While I’ve been a Smartphone user for many years, I recently switched phones to a new AT&T Tilt.  I am surprised that I spent more time working with this new one to get it to do what I want.  One of the key tools for a phone is the mapping software.

The phone came with an application from AT&T called AT&T Maps.  It’s pretty good.  With all these mapping programs, I’m amazed at the speed, level of street mapping and the ability to switch to the satellite images.

Then I tried Live Search.  Similar but it seemed much easier to drag the stylus around to glide around on the map.  Again, it’s very fast.  But both of these were not very helpful in keeping track of locations once I took the time to enter them in.  With Live Search I was hoping it would access my Live Maps collections on the web.  I love Live Maps on the web because it has the least amount of “drive 6 feet, street name changes to exit ramp” steps that are only confusing.  Live Maps gives you directions just as you would give them to an out of town visitor.  But unfortunately, access to my collections with all my favorite places was not to be found.

Then I tried Google Maps.  Wow, how could it get any better?  It has a MyLocation feature that uses the proximity of cell towers to triangulate your position.  In a pinch, this is better than using the built in GPS because you don’t need line of sight to the sky.  And Google Maps makes it very easy to name and store favorites.  Sweet!

Let me know your experience with mobile mapping programs or if you’ve found something better than Google Maps.