Thursday, January 31, 2008

GrandCentral Click2Call Problems

Apparently my previous problems with people hearing long delays when I originate calls to them using GrandCentral's Click2Call are continuing. The best course seems to be to avoid using it for a while.

GMail and Thunderbird: Switching Between Plain and HTML Composition

Sometimes while in the middle of writing an email note I want to switch from my usual plain text composition mode to rich text/HTML.

Web based GMail allows this easily; Thunderbird doesn't, which is a big pain.

Signing into Plaxo with Verisign OpenID

As part of trying to flog Plaxo to a friend, I went to the Plaxo site, which I hadn't visited for a while to update my Plaxo profile with my GrandCentral info. A couple of days ago I had signed up for an OpenID using Verisign as my OpenID provider.

The Plaxo first-time-OpenID-sign-in process wasn't all that intuitive, requiring first (unannounced as far as I could tell) that my OpenID be "attached" to my Plaxo Id.

The first time I tried associating one with the other, the process flunked. The second time worked, though, as far as I could tell, I did exactly the same steps. If someone wasn't medium sophisticated in this stuff, it's unclear if they would have prevailed.

GrandCentral: Representing One's Phone Numbers

Since GrandCentral doesn't handle incoming SMS/text messages, it's a problem trying to decide how to represent one's phone contact information on, say, a business card or an email signature.

People are conditioned to understand O[ffice], W[ork], C[ell], and (maybe) M[obile] as prefixes for phone numbers on cards and email signatures.

I suppose one could use H[ome], but it's so uncommon a card or a sig[nature] that it doesn't make real sense to include it with the others. The common usuage would be to spell it out in a personal note or, perhaps, trade in a vCard.

If I were to use GC, for GrandCentral or U[nified], it would just cause confusion.

And dividing between V[oice] and T[ext] and labeling as such doesn't seem practical (and exposes a changeable cell/mobile number, too).

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

GrandCentral Experience, Chapter 1

So, I've been using Google's Grand Central phone service for a week or so for real work and I think this as good a place as any to comment on the ongoing experience, especially problems. There's a Grand Central Help Group, but formal support doesn't seem to be provided.

Setting up wasn't too awful since I had recently scrubbed my contacts as part of an iPhone conversion, using Yahoo's address book as my contacts database. One reason for this was to keep my contacts from being associated with any specific PC.

Some day to day operational problems came up such as lack of support for extensions, no Skype integration (in favor of Gizmo, and no international outbound call support.

And today, when I make outbound calls using Grand Central's Click2Call feature, people complain that they don't hear anything for a couple of seconds after they pick up the phone. This has happened for 3 callers, so far, leading one to hang up.