May 31, 2010, 7:34 AM — by Ian Paul, PC World - Looking for an easy out from a lousy date? Feeling like a rat in a phone-tree maze? Wishing that someone could transcribe your voicemail messages and e-mail them to you? With this assortment of phone tips, tricks, and services, you'll be able to navigate your phone with MacGyver-like ingenuity.
Collected here are the best Websites, services, and apps available to help you get more done with your phone. I've organized them by phone type. In this article, I introduce you to Websites and services to enhance any phone. Next, in "14 Ways to Supercharge Your Smartphone," I offer tricks to make the most of an Android, BlackBerry, or iPhone handset. Lastly, in "13 Tips to Supercharge Your 'Dumb' Phone," I show how you can inject some smarts into a basic candy-bar phone.
13 Sites and Services to Supercharge Any Phone
Here's how to bypass automated menus, transcribe voicemail, make free calls, and more.
Skip the Menu
At best, automated menus are necessary evils of modern life; at worst, they're a pain in the neck. Press 1 for English, 2 for billing, 3 if you hate phone-tree menus.
Fonolo.com offers a way to skip automated menus. This Web-based service has mapped out the automated directories for hundreds of large companies from Apple to Visa, and lets you browse their phone menus online. All you have to do is select where you want to go; Fonolo then calls your phone and connects you directly to the menu spot you wanted. You can also use Fonolo to set up shortcuts for entering frequently used numbers in automated services, such as your mobile account number or your frequent flyer miles card.
Fonolo is free to use, but you have to sign up as a member to get access to Fonolo's complete directory map for each company. iPhone owners can also use Fonolo's iPhone app.
Get a Personal Assistant
Jott Assistant is a voice-to-text service that lets you call one toll-free number and update everything on your calendar, social network page, blog, or to-do list. Jott works with more than 50 Web services and desktop productivity applications, including Blogger, Facebook, Google Calendar, Outlook, Remember the Milk, Twitter, and WordPress.