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CIO Summit: Wowed by Pogue tech

As I mentioned yesterday, I'm down here in Fort Myers, Fla. for FCW's Government CIO Summit, which has been focused on the Web 2.0 world. The program has been really superb, if we do say so ourselves. It even spurred me to create an avatar on Second Life. I'm still not exactly sure what to do with it yet, but... that's yet to come. (And if you don't know what Second Life is, you should really be down here!)

Anyway, last night, our dinner speaker was David Pogue, who writes the weekly tech column and blog for the New York Times. (Be sure to check out his bio:

To my alarm, a couple of friendly hosts have introduced me at recent talks by reading my ENTIRE three-page bio, much to the boredom of the audience. So here's a short version (for introductions and busy people) as well as the long one (for airplane reading).


And read (and hear) his song parodies. (Yes, we had a piano there last night and he played for us!)

Furthermore, if you want to be just exhausted, just visit Pogue's Web site and see all the stuff he is doing -- columns, blogs, video and audio posts, books. He is also a really remarkable speaker and those here were able to get a peek at some of the cool technologies out there these days... and I'll pass some along to you.

One is a Google mobile SMS feature. Did you know you can just SMS "GOOGL," according to Pogue, although Google says you can text "GOOGLE" -- that is 466453 for us Blackberry users that don't have letters on our phones -- and get answers to your search questions.

Want to know the weather in Washington, DC? Just text Google with "weather 20001" and... whala. How about pizza restaurants in Fort Myers, Fla.? Movie times for Spiderman 3 in Palo Alto, Calif.? (I would definitely not recommend the movie, for what it is worth.) And the list goes on -- driving directions... sports... flight updates... Q&As... translations...

That was just the first one.

* Grand Central -- This marvelous company gives you a single phone number for all your phones. The one draw back -- it means you'll need to get another number, but once you've done that...walla... it links your home, office and cell phones together. Pogue demonstrated Grand Central -- in fact, he demonstrated 15 different technologies right there in front of us all... and they all pretty much worked. But Grand Central allows you to record and store your phone calls... block an annoying caller... have specific custom voice mail greetings for specific people... Definitely worth checking it out.

GrandCentral doesn't replace your phones; we just link them together and help them do more. How do we do that? We give people One Number...for LifeTM - a number that's not tied to a phone or a location - but tied to you.

With GrandCentral, you can be reached with a single number, answer a call at any phone you want, seamlessly switch phones in the middle of a call, and even know whether a call is important before you take it.

What else can I do with GrandCentral?
We're not your typical phone company. And these aren't your typical features.

* Check your messages by phone, email, or online
* Keep all your messages online for eternity
* Record and store your phone calls (just like voicemail)
* Quickly (and secretly) block an annoying caller
* Click-to-dial from your address book
* Surprise your callers with a custom voicemail greeting
* Turn your Mp3s into the ring tones your callers hear
* Forward, download, and add notes to your messages


* Simulscribe... This marvelous technology will take your voice mails, transcribe them, and then send them to you in the form of an e-mail message. No longer do you need to listen to your... well, anybody go on and on and on... or to those very wise PR folks who call me up and then rush through their phone numbers -- always smart!?! Well, now I'll get a transcript of the messages. I'll report back on that too.

* Popularity Dialer... Been stuck on a bad date? or need to get out of some horrible meeting? Go on Popularity Dialer and set up a call -- and you'll get a voice calling you. They have different voices and everything. The perfect escape from... well, you tell me!

* Nikon Coolpix S50c: This cool little camera lets you wifi your photos right to Flickr... right after you take 'em.

* Netflix.com's "Watch Now" feature: So we probably all use Netflix -- the service that lets you avoid the run to the video store to dodge late fees. But we've also been frustrated by the day that it takes to get our movies. Well, wait no more. Netflix now has a "watch now" feature that lets you... well, watch a movie now... right on your desktop. And it is included in your monthly rental payment. More here.

* Wifi... Meanwhile, Pogue said that you can use Apple's AirPort Express to turn... well, your hotel room into a hot spot... or wherever you may go. He also talked about a recent column, headlined Wi-Fi to Go: The Hot Spot in a Box, where you can extend those WiFi cards that you may have for your laptops.

Over all, cool stuff.

Frankly, we were all too... wowed to get Pogue's view on Web 2.0 stuff, but... it was a great presentation.

What could be better -- entertaining and informative.

More on Web 2.0 stuff to come.

Posted by Christopher Dorobek on May 08, 2007 at 12:16 PM


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