Supercharge Your Phone: 40 Tips and Tricks

Avoid annoying people, make free phone calls, and manage your life with these 40 tips to supercharge your smartphone

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A word of warning about Caller ID spoofing: The U.S. House of Representatives just approved a bill that makes it illegal "to cause any caller ID service to transmit misleading or inaccurate caller ID information, with the intent to defraud or deceive." The bill is working its way through the Senate, but will likely be signed into law relatively soon. Though spoofing itself won't be illegal, using it with ill intent and to harass will be.

Receive Voicemail Transcriptions

Why is it that whenever you desperately need to hear from someone, they call while you're indisposed in a meeting? For those must-get phone calls, you have a couple of options aside from disrupting the meeting with your Michael Jackson "Beat It" ringtone and announcing "I have to take this."

Option one: If the call is important but you don't need to actually speak to the person, let Google Voice do the work for you. Google Voice offers a free service that uses computer-automated voice-to-text transcription to send your voicemail as either e-mail or text messages to your phone.

To have messages transcribed and sent, you'll need a Google Voice account; if you don't have one, you can request an invitation via the service's Website. A quicker way to get an account is to have an existing Google Voice user invite you--so ask around.

Once you have an account, go to your Google Voice inbox, click Settings in the right corner, and select the Voicemail & SMS tab. Check the Voicemail Transcripts checkbox at the bottom of the page, and under Voicemail Notifications choose either the Google Voice-connected phone or the e-mail address on which you want to receive voicemail transcripts.

Afterward, be sure to give your Google Voice phone number to the person who will call you, or just forward your calls to your Google Voice account.

Option two: If you're stuck in a conference call and looking for a polite way to be alerted to an important incoming call, consider creating a ringtone sound effect like a cough or a sneeze. Two sites, Entertonement and Sound-Effect.com, offer such sounds for a fee.

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