Information is finally free — again

One of the most convenient and robust tools technology has brought us is the cell phone.

  • Saturday, August 23, 2008 12:00am
  • Opinion

One of the most convenient and robust tools technology has brought us is the cell phone.

Even in their infancy, when they were affectionately, yet accurately, referred to as “bricks” and only permitted approximately thirty minutes of talk time before the battery required charging, cell phones were still considered revolutionary. Even though, back then there were no rollover minutes or Faves and don’t even think about long distance.

Today, your phone fits virtually anywhere, provides hours of talk time and free long distance. Additionally, at the push of a single button you’re connected. Add voice-dialing, a hands-free device, personalized ringtones and unlimited text messaging – now you’re golden! Nothing can stop you.

Everything is within your grasp, no matter where you are. Well … almost, but that is becoming less and less of a problem. (Can you hear me now?) Yes, getting and staying connected is now easier than ever. Even my ninety-year-old mother-in-law (who refuses to use a computer) uses a cell phone.

However, even with all of this openness and accessibility, there is a nagging issue that cannot be ignored. How do you find a phone number you need when you need it without getting gouged? That helpful little service called 411 is always available, but there’s a rather steep price to pay for this convenience.

What’s a cell phone enthusiast to do?!

The next time you pick up your phone to call 411 on your cell phone, dial 1-800-GOOG-411 instead. That’s 1-800-466-4411.

This is Google’s FREE information service. There are no catches. No ads to listen to. It is voice responsive and yes, they will dial the number. You can use it on your land line, too. That is, if you still have one.

My recommendation is to program one of your speed-dial keys so you will always be only one button-push away from ordering concert tickets, making reservations at that new restaurant, scheduling a tee (or tea) time or being the hero or heroine when someone misplaces a phone number.

There’s no limit to the number of times you can access the service and it is available 24/7.

Google also has a text-messaging information service for those who would rather text or who need a visual reference for address and phone information.

In the “To:” field of your text message, simply type 466453. This spells GOOGLE. In the message body, type the name of the person or business you are looking for with as much specificity as possible and push ‘SEND.’

In under thirty seconds, you will receive a text message reply with the name(s), address(es) and telephone number(s) of your requested search, all fitting the criteria of your search parameters.

Information is finally free — again.

Wayne Nelson and Jeremy Self own and operate Wired Northwest, LLC in Redmond. Submit your questions to: techtalk@wired-nw.com. Contact Wired Northwest, LLC at www.wired-nw.com or call (206) 788-7975 or (206) 788-7898.


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