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So, You’re Not Using Jott?

I spend a good deal of time in the car every day. Not as much as some, but it’s typically somewhere around 90 minutes round trip on a given work day. And being one of those people whose brain is pretty much always going, I tend to have many thoughts and ideas during that time. It’s easy for my mind to wander around during what amounts to 75% of my “alone time” and I obviously can’t be scrawling notes down whilst operating a motor vehicle. Enter Jott

If you’ve never heard of it, whoa nelly are you in for a treat. Essentially, it uses your cell phone as a gateway to all manner of applications, websites and services. Some of the more notable mentions are your WordPress blog, Sandy (my secretary), Twitter and Remember the Milk – all accessible from your cell phone. Oh, and let’s not forget that you can import your entire address book and email/text virtually anybody directly from your phone. Intrigued?

Now, I have to be honest, the first time I tried Jott several months ago, I was skeptical. How well could a computer *really* understand what I was saying? Furthermore, would I be willing to phone something in to Jott and have it sent to 50 of my closest friends, hoping that they got “Meet me at the Phoenix Club in 30 minutes” instead of, perhaps, “Beat me in the larynx nub in 30 minutes”.

Well, after several test drives over the last few weeks, I’m a believer. Here are just a few of the tricks I’ve picked up along the way…

  • Capture, Capture, Capture – This is, by far, my most-used Jott function. Simply call the number, tell it I want to Jott myself, then leave a message at the beep. By the time I’m home, it’s waiting in my email inbox, ready for processing. And you’ll always have the option to listen to your original recording if the translation doesn’t come out quite right.
  • Get somebody a message, wherever they are – When you create a contact on Jott’s website, you have the option of entering an email address and a cell phone number. Jott that person, and the message is sent to both media with no muss, no fuss.
  • One message, a whole slew of people – Every Sunday night, several guys from my church come over for an evening of expensive beer, relaxation and conversation. Sometimes, things need to be rescheduled, or I just need to tell them all that the kids are asleep and to enter quietly – either way, I’d just call Jott and say “Dudes”, and record my message. A couple minutes later, their cell phones and email inboxes all sound off in unison with my fresh-baked Jott. Freaking cool stuff.
  • Update my favorite calendar – Just about the only thing that could make 30boxes cooler is the ability to add events with my voice. “Tractor Pull Saturday at 5pm” – that’s all there is to it. It’s on my calendar mere moments later. (Oh and you can do the same with Google Calendar, if that’s your bag)
  • Ridiculously easy reminders – I’m ashamed to say this, but I sorta discovered this feature accidentally. Once you’ve finished leaving your Jott message you can either hang up (which I always did), or you can wait a couple seconds and you’ll be asked if you want to create a reminder with the message. Give it a day (“tomorrow”, “March 10″, etc.) and a time and you’ll get an email and an SMS message a few minutes before the time you provided. Even though Sandy is my go-to gal for reminders most of the time, it’s nice to know that I can complete the whole process while sitting in gridlock, just by speaking!

All this cool stuff aside, poking around the Jott site will introduce you to some pretty sweet stuff you probably didn’t know existed. For instance, in doing some research for this post, I happened upon a *very* cool service called Mosio. You call (using Jott) or email/text your question (like, any question, about anything) to Mosio and real people answer it. Definitely worth a look.

For those of you that enjoy the GTD and such, consider this as a way to limit your possible inputs. In other words, Jott just might allow you to look one less place for that random note you wrote on the back of the gas station receipt. You’re already checking and processing your email, so why not have your random thoughts/musings/ideas funneled through the same system?

So, if you have a cell phone, give Jott a try. Add some friends and start sending them random quotes from Tombstone or something – but give it a good once over. You won’t regret it.

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