Thursday, 28 June 2007

Truphone pricing

Truphone has extended their free calls to 40 countries promotion until the end of 2007. All Truphone users who sign up before 30 September 2007 will get free mobile calls to 40 countries around the world until 31 December. If you have a Truphone compatible handset it's a great enhancement and money saver.

Friday, 22 June 2007

Barry Eisler

I've just come across Barry Eisler's books. Barry is a former CIA employee who writes thrillers about a half-Japanese, half-American freelance assassin named John Rain. Very compelling with plenty of gadgets - many of them lethal! There are six books so far in the series, starting with Rain Fall. The UK edition of Rain Fall has some nice touches at the back including some personal safety tips from John Rain and an excerpt from The Rough Guide to Tokyo. Highly recommended - I've just ordered the second book, Blood from Blood!

Wednesday, 20 June 2007

Avoid phishing phone calls

The problem when you receive a phone call from someone purporting to be from your bank is how do you know if they really are calling from your bank. This gets particularly tricky if they start asking you questions to identify yourself and you're thinking 'but you called me - why should I give personal data to someone I don't know?'

One way to raise the level of trust in this situation is to give your trusted contacts, like your bank, a unique phone number to call you on, rather than your usual home or office number. You can do this by signing up for a FleXtel number and setting it to display the CLI (phone number) of that FleXtel number when you receive a call on it, rather than the CLI of the caller.

So your phone rings, you see 0870 xxx xxxx on the display and you know that's the number you've given to your bank. No one else has it, so unless it's a very random call from someone who correctly guesses you have an account with XYZ bank, the call is likely to be a genuine call from your bank.

You can also set your FleXtel number to send you an email showing the number of the caller which you can check later. Even 'withheld' numbers display part of the caller's number (minus the last three digits) allowing some identification (e.g. approximate location) of the caller.

And best of all ... this strategy doesn't cost anything because there is no charge for FleXtel numbers.

Tuesday, 19 June 2007

Fed up with unwanted telephone sales calls?

If you suffer from unwanted sales calls there are two key steps you can take. First make sure your number is ex-directory or unlisted. Call your phone service provider and ask them to remove your details from all listings. This is a useful step to prevent all types of unwanted calls, not just marketing related. Second step is to register with the Telephone Preference Service. The TPS is a UK organisation but other countries have similar organisations. The TPS operates an opt-out database that all companies making marketing calls must check their data against. Organisations with which you have an ongoing relationship are still allowed to call you provided they have sought your permission.

Sunday, 17 June 2007

Truphone has done it again ...

Truphone just gets better and better. The new Truphone client (v3.0) is now available as a sneak preview. It's a step change in functionality from the previous version, now including SMS send, presence and Truphone over 3G. The SMS functionality now lets you choose whether to use Truphone or GSM to send SMS (with SMS to online Truphone users free). This means your SMS recipients will see your Truphone number, not your GSM number, as the sender. Another step in making your Truphone number a complete replacement for your existing mobile number. Presence allows you to see if other Truphone users are online. Once another Truphone user has agreed to share his status with you, you can see whether or not he is online. Truphone over 3G allows you to use Truphone even when out of range of WiFi. Just make sure you have a fixed price data tariff from your mobile provider.

Also worth mentioning is the excellent quality of Truphone's technical support, both via email & the Mobile VoIP forum.

Satellite navigation on a smartphone

I've just installed TomTom Navigator 6 on my Nokia E65 to turn it into a GPS navigation device. The software works well & is a cheaper alternative to a dedicated satnav device.

I've also subscribed to the excellent Pocket GPS World site which is an fantastic source of information on all things GPS. For a small subscription the site offers speed camera locations as a point of interest download - much cheaper than TomTom's own service.

Incidentally, my TomTom software was supposed to come with one month free access to their speed camera updates service. It's never worked and TomTom's email based support has been hopeless. A shame their support isn't as good as their products.

Thursday, 7 June 2007

Spinvox - again

Picking up on my previous post about SpinVox, once you have a SpinVox account you can also use SpinMyMemo. You call a 0121 UK number from your registered mobile phone & leave a reminder message for yourself which is forwarded to your email account. There's no extra charge for SpinMyMemo and as it uses a 0121 number the call comes out of your inclusive mobile minutes (if you have them). Another reason to try SpinVox.

Blog Archive