Jott keeps getting better

I’ve written about Jott several times in the last five months, and it keeps getting better. The Jott crew, over the last few weeks, has improved the handling of Jotts, with the service now handling some great voice to text message broadcasting features. From their new release notes:

Just Jott. Jott creates email and text messages completely hands free. No more driving with your knees as you type (please!). With V2, you simply Jott — to yourself, other people, or groups. This means there is a change in our voice menu: we simply ask “Who do you want to Jott?”… For a jott to yourself, just say “Myself”.

  • Instant Jotts. If your message to someone has to get there immediately, use Instant Jott. Simply press 1 after recording a message to someone, and we will deliver the jott as audio right away, with no transcription.
  • As for Groups… Do you hate having to make phone calls to multiple people saying the same thing? Has the soccer game shifted to another location? Jott “Soccer Team”. Flight delayed? Jott “The office”. A little late filling the tank? Jott “carpool”. With V2, simply say the name of a group you’ve created, say your Jott, and you’re done.

I’ve got Jott hooked into my GTD workflow, and have begun to rely on it as much as the small notepad that I carry around. If you haven’t tried the service yet, you must (sorry, USA only at this time).

UPDATE: Check out this podcast from Robert Scoble with the Jott team.

Googlified posts about Google’s possible PowerPoint killer

One of the prominent Google watcher weblogs out there posted this morning about a possible Google online presentation program called Google Presently. Details are sketchy at the moment, but it’s not surprising that Google has a presentation application in the works given that most people have come to expect a true ‘office suite’ to include word processor, spreadsheet, and presentation capabilities. My hope is that Google begins the daunting process of tightly integrating all of their applications sooner rather than later. With the guys at Zoho setting a torrid pace on the integration front, Google has some catching up to do.

A great post about online storage on Burnham’s Beat

In the last year or so, the concept of storing large volumes of personal data online has begun to take hold among mainstream computer users. Online data storage has become abundant and cheap just as consumers have migrated to high speed data connections. While most people are still not comfortable with managing their files online – In my opinion this has more to do with clunky access to online files than with privacy – services like Mozy and Carbonite have ‘revolutionized’ the concept of data backup. Bill Burnham, however, provides some sobering thoughts about the rush to online data storage.

I think Bill is correct that we haven’t reached the online storage ‘holy grail’ yet. Services like the two I mentioned above are really nice and easy to use, particularly for those who don’t have the patience or foresight to backup on a regular basis. In fact, I use Carbonite to maintain a backup of my primary computer. I also, however, maintain an imaged backup of that same computer on another disk drive that is connected directly to it, and not dependent on internet connection speeds. Maybe I’m paranoid, or just the victim of previous backup disasters, but I like the added security of having the two pronged approach. Anyway, I think the online backup process will continue to improve and still should be used by those who don’t have any other standard approach to maintaining a reliable (albeit slow) backup process.

Carbonite is really easy to setup, and run….set it and forget it. The downside to a service like Carbonite is that it doesn’t offer remote access to the files that it backs up. The backup is done in an inaccessible, (and I’m assuming) proprietary format that can only be accessed to restore files, not to access them for general use.

This second part is where my frustration lies with the current set of online services. I’d like to be able to access my entire file structure in a manner that doesn’t require installing some proprietary software onto the PC that I happen to be using at the time. I’ve heard rumors that Carbonite may be introducing accessibility features in an upcoming release, but right now those are just rumors.

In the long run, as my Office 2.0 migration plans shake out, I plan to build and manage all my critical files directly on the internet through applications like Google Docs, Zoho Spreadsheet, Gliffy, and the like. In the meantime, I will continue to rely on a combination of Carbonite and local backup to keep my precious files safe.

Daylife: A new type of news site launches

This is worth checking out. Daylife is a new website that can best be described as a mashup between an RSS reader and a traditional news paper. It launched today, and is generating some buzz across the web. I think that the site layout and simplicity will be a great way to introduce the concept of aggregation to the masses of net users that get freaked out by the mention of ‘RSS feeds’ and ‘aggregators’. And, despite what Michael Arrington says, it’s not all that bad for those of us who need a nice visual break from Google Reader or meme tracking websites.