If ever there was an example of a problem in search of a solution, conference calling would have to be at the top of the list. Setting up the call, originating the call, dialing in to the call, inputting your passcode into the call and, when you are invariably dropped, doing the last couple of steps all over again.
Well, someone has found a way to improve on this nasty process with a new application called Bridg.me. Using their web page interface, you can schedule the call, input the attendees’ phone numbers and set a time. If you enter the hashtag #bridg in the description and participants numbers in the 1+ the number format, your meeting will sync up with Google Calendar. Then wait. When conference time rolls around, Bridg.me calls you and the other participants, no dailing, inputting or holding required. During its trial period, it costs $.05 per minute per person, but soon there will be a free option for basic service and a paid option for unlimited time / participant service.
It does NOT get any simpler than that! Hat tip to Techcrunch.
Instant access to your most valuable information from anywhere at any time is certainly a dream worth indulging. You can get much of the way to realizing that dream with various free and paid services. CIO.com has the lowdown on many of the options in this article by Ryan Faas of Computerworld.
The real challenge to the dream is the ability to make changes at one vantage point along your cloud-like chain and have that change reflected all across the stratosphere. This requires some sort of syncing capability controlled by a server in the cloud.
The four free services explored in the article include Google, Microsoft Windows Live, Yahoo Mail and Plaxo. The two paid services include Apple’s MobileMe and Microsoft’s Hosted Exchange. Hit the jump above for Faas’ take on each service’s strengths and weaknesses.
I primarily am using the paid service MobileMe, which syncs with my desktop’s Outlook 2007, which in turn syncs with Google Calendar. My Google Calendar is accessible by both my husband and I so that we can keep tabs of both business and personal commitments. I am driving the syncing process from my iPhone, as that is my preferred method of calendar entry. I am not fully exploiting the cloud capabilities of MobileMe, mostly using the services for the wireless syncing ability. This system is working well for me at this time.
When considering which approach to use, examine your own habits and determine how you input your information and how you prefer to access that information. One of the options examined by Faas should fit the bill.
Would love to hear what other people are doing about keeping their information up to date at all points along the cloud chain.