New Media and New Ways to Communicate

This blog post is for my son Nathan. Last week he kept sending me links, Mom, you need to blog about this! Gizmodo , had a post about how to replace your landline with google voice and a couple of gadgets. Then, he suggested I also blog about how Google TV and Logitech Revue were teaming up to change your TV viewing options. While I have read both articles and claim to not entirely understand how these gadgets will work, I get the big ideas!

With the latest gadgets and a little reading, some comprehension and ingenuity I would be able to add enormous functionality to my TV set and video conference right from my living room, among many other options. For the phone piece, I would be able to circumvent the monthly fees associated with a phone company coming in and plugging in a box with wires and phones in order to meet my communication needs, by buying a gadget and setting up my own phone system!

While these options are revolutionary, I think there is too much of a learning curve for me and most of us, to attempt to add these tools to our household gadgets. However, I believe in twelve months, these two options will have been streamlined for anyone to be able to plug and play. After all, that is what most of us want, the best and newest options in working order, without us understanding all the background information necessary to make the changes, we just want to plug and play.

Now, on the other hand, Google Voice is something that I have embraced and here is why. With my google account and user name, I signed on to have my google voice number collect calls from my student’s parents. Why? Do you know how difficult is it to get a phone line out of a school building, or to have a way for parents to get a hold of you without giving your home phone number? My google voice number gave me the freedom to have my phone number available to give out to anyone. The beauty of google voice is that the incoming phone calls go right to voicemail and are transcribed to text, so I get the messages instantly as text, even I am not taking calls. It took me all of 5 minutes to set up.

I even gave the Google number to two of our students who are on vacation. They call in each day and leave us a report about their travels. It is great to have the audio and the text of their reports.

The next service I am using is Netflix Instant Viewing through my Netflix account. I used my paid subscription to have DVD’s sent to me and then I can also use the instant viewing to watch selected movies on my computer at a moments notice. The BEST feature I just found, is that I had watched part of a movie at home, then while on the road I signed into my account to finish viewing the movie. The account remembered how far I had watched the movie and picked up where I left off. How sweet is that?