Give Me Your Number Again...
turbotodd 100000388Y Visits (1695)
Robert Scoble and Om Malik had posts today about finding peoples' phone numbers, email addresses, etc.
Scoble was writing about how easy it was to find his info via search engines because he put his email on his blog, and Malik was exploring how to synch his Yahoo personal information manager and iCal address book.
These are two separate threads that will ultimately need to converge, either in that great Google database in the sky or on your desktop or somewhere in between. And I don't know about you, but I, personally, desperately need this convergence to occur, and soon.
A major time suck in my job each day is looking for folks' phone number and email addresses, particularly folks inside IBM (We're a small country at 300,000+ employees, so excuse me if I can't remember every IBMer's phone number or email address!)
I also communicate with a lot of people outside IBM, for whom there is no real central directory (again, save for Google). And I am actually a stickler for always taking someone's email or phone number and adding it to my PIM after we've had a virtual encounter.
Can Somebody Please Get That??!
Which brings me to the conundrum...is it better to try and keep all those peoples' names, phone numbers, email addresses, blog addresses, etc. in some centralized personal information manager, or in your dominant email client, etc?
Plaxo has certainly been one attempt to keep such information connected and up to date, but if you don't have the right email client (i.e., Outlook, Outlook Express, Thunderbird...NOT Lotus Notes) it's not very helpful.
Me, I use ACT! (The explanation point is part of the product name, not me yelling in excitement). I've found ACT! to be the perfect combination of PIM and personal calendaring (including triggered alarms). So if someone at sage software is reading this: love your product, love the feat
However, here's the problem: Even with ACT! it's difficult for me to synch with other devices. Like, my mobile phone, for example. Fuddedaboudit -- yet, when you think about it, that is exactly where I need to store a lot of those phone numbers! I just don't want them locked up in the phone and only in the phone.
Case in point: Last summer, I went river rafting on the Guadalupe River just south of Austin and took my Samsung phone with me. Hey, you never know when you might need to make an emergency phone call on the river, right?
The Next Best Thing to Being There
Turns out the 911 call I ended up needing to make was to my carrier to buy another phone! The Samsung wasn't nearly as water-impermeable as my iPod nano.
In fact, of all the phone numbers that were stored in the Samsung, only some of them had been had stored in ACT!...the others were completely landlocked...err, waterlocked...and I had no way of getting them back.
Call me lazy, but Vonage is the best thing going. Using their Click-2-Call feature, I no longer have to dial the phone while working from my home office. I simply highlight a nine-digit phone number in my PIM, hit the "F6" key on my keyboard, then wait for the phone to ring.
I answer the phone, wait another moment, and the next thing you know, the number I selected is ringing on the other end. It's magic, and it has saved me beaucoup time.
Time I can now spend on Google looking up the numbers of all those people who got lost in my waterlogged cell phone.
If the phone doesn't ring, it's me. -- Jimmy Buffet