Monday, January 7, 2013

Calls from me

I am interested in reminder technology.  I have been looking for an inexpensive way to set a reminder for myself using a computer and my cellphone.  I don't have a heavy calendar of many different events but I am still curious about being able to set a time in the future when I get a phone call that reminds me to do something.

There are various techniques of research that go under the general name of time-sampling.  If we want to know something about people, we might call them at random times and ask if they feel harried or happy or whatever we are studying. Cheri Huber is an experienced Zen teacher who has a good reputation with a friend of mine.  I have posted in this blog links to her Sounds True interview and her book where she emphasizes how talking to a tape recorder with loving and gentle advice to yourself has been wonderfully effective to assist her adult students in being aware of their lives as they live them.

So, I have been looking for a free or inexpensive way to be able to send a call to myself at a future date and time.  If I send a text message, it could simply be a reminder of an appointment or something (take items to Goodwill?) but it could be an encouragement (take five and sit quietly).  I am intrigued by the somewhat closed system that Apple has: their own computer (Mac), their own browser (Safari), their own database of items (iTunes) and their own phone (iPhone) and of course, their tablet (iPad).  Their customer service rep advised me to get all of the components to have less trouble integrating all the parts.  Sometime, I might.  We did use Macs for more than 10 years and we might try one or more again sometime.  

However, these days, it seems Google is the champion of free good stuff.  I have found that Google Voice is truly helpful with texting and I can use it while getting a ring tone (a clack actually but I can hear it) on my Tracfone.  Once I hear that signal that I have a text message, I can decide whether I want to see the message on my phone or get to my computer where I can read it for free.  At home, the computer (and handy keyboard) win handily.

What I had overlooked in my thinking was Google Calendar.  Our Outlook calendar is very helpful but Google has supplied me with a free phone number as part of Google Voice.  Coupling that number, Gmail and Google Calendar looks like I may have found a combination that will allow further serious play with reminders and encouragement of myself.
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