CallWave (www.callwave.com) has a new service that lets you screen incoming cell phone calls. The fee is $4 a month.
It’s designed primarily for people taking cell phone calls at home or the office. You can hear the speaker, but they can’t hear you. If you want to take the call, press “1”
on the cell phone. If you press “2,” the call can be transferred to a land line at your home or office number, or recorded.
If your cell phone is off but you are near one of your PCs, the software will detect the incoming call and put it on your computer’s speakers. You can click on a button to transfer the call to a regular land line.
All this requires some inconvenience. In order to have the call screening you have to get a CallWave number. Only calls coming in on that number can be screened or transferred to land lines. That means giving that number to friends, family, business contacts, etc., so you can screen or transfer their calls.
CallWave sells a similar service that lets you see calls coming in on a regular phone line while working on your computer. As with the cell phone screening, you can listen to the incoming call on the computer’s speakers before deciding whether to take it. The cost for this service is also $4 a month.
If your computer is on a broadband connection (cable or DSL), this essentially creates a second phone line since the computer will still be active while you take the call or decide to ignore it. There’s a 30-day free trial for either of these services.
HOME MOVIES, AND EVERYTHING ELSE, ON CALL
Streamload (www.streamload.com) is a service that lets you send, receive and store megaloads of data, including streaming videos.
For US$10 a month you get 10 gigabytes of online storage and the software for sending and receiving high-quality video in real time. That’s a little more than two standard DVDs. You can e-mail videos as easily as you e-mail photos. Of course, once you’re going digital you can do the same with music or any other file. Share your photos as thumbnails, and the recipient can print any picture at home.
Prices go up along with the size of the storage, till you reach 720 gigabytes for US$400 a month. Actually, you can go up to 50,000 gigabytes, often written as 50 terabytes, at a price that can be negotiated. That’s probably enough storage and file transfer to handle everything Congress or any other government has ever done. Very pricey for Canadians.
THE NUMBERS REPORT
From Lycos (http://fifty.lycos.com/121504.asp) we get its top search requests for 2004. Five of the top 10 were searches for news and pictures about women. Janet Jackson and Paris Hilton were one, two; Britney Spears was fourth; Pamela Anderson was eighth; and Michelle Vieth was ninth. Rounding out the rest: Clay Aiken, third; Nick Berg, fifth, KaZaA sixth, tattoos seventh and poker 10th. President George W. Bush was 81st on the list, just after “prom hairstyles” and slightly ahead of “golf clubs”; Fox News was last among the top 100 searches. Prime Minister Paul Martin and CBC News for some reason did not place.
Meanwhile, to the surprise of absolutely no one, the top search for consumer items at Yahoo.com was for digital cameras.
Here is a long Web address. At www.epa.gov/water cience/fishadvice/advice.html you can obtain information about dangerous mercury levels in specific kinds of fish and seafood. Go easy on the swordfish. But you knew that, right?
Another U.S. government site, www.epa.gov/airnow, shows a map of the United States with a depiction of what’s going on weatherwise each day. It shows where there’s unhealthy air for that day, including particle and ozone pollution.
New for grid compuing is www.worldcommunitygrid.org. An organization that’s trying to create a giant public computer grid. It asks that you donate time on your computer when it’s normally idle. One project involves searching all the possible shapes a protein can be folded into. You are not asked for your identity when you sign up.