On our Posterous site, we previously discussed ReQall, a task manager and reminder system that allows you to record tasks with your voice, using some pretty impressive voice transcription. But why stop with tasks, calendaring, and reminders? What if you could use your voice to do much more, such as to send email and text messages, listen to and send messages on Twitter, and have web sites be read to you? Well, you can, using Dial2Do, a service that lets you call a phone number, and perform certain tasks with your voice. Read on for the myriad of ways in which you can use Dial2Do to stay on top of your life.
How it Works
Dial2Do isn’t the first service that allows you to be productive using your voice, but it may be the most feature-rich. When you set up your account, you associate one or more of your own phone numbers with your account. This allows Dial2Do to identify you when you call. To use Dial2Do to send email, you will also need to enter your email account information.
You will also want to enter some of your contacts into the service, so that you can use Dial2Do to email or text message those contacts. Then, when you’re ready to use Dial2Do, you dial the Dial2Do number. Once your call connects, a computerized voice asks you what you ‘d like to do.
What happens next depends on what you’d like to do. Many of the supported services are listed below, but let’s use email as an example. If I want to email my beautiful wife, I simply say "Email Elizabeth." After a prompt, I then speak my message. Within a few minutes, the message is transcribed using a combination of technology and human quality control, and sent to Elizabeth via email (and copied to me). The message originates from my own email address (which means you need to provide your email server settings). I have found the accuracy of Dial2Do to be nothing short of remarkable, even when it comes to proper names, product names, and similar words that should be difficult to get right. Just to be safe, though, the message contains a footer explaining that it was sent by voice.
You can do more than just email and text message using Dial2Do. Here are some more tasks that you can perform with your voice using Dial2Do:
– Listen to your calendar and add appointments
– Add items directly to your Evernote account
– Record reminders
– Post messages to your Twitter page, and listen to your timeline.
– Listen to the weather
– Listen and post to Remember the Milk (or a few other supported task lists)
– Post to your FriendFeed page
– Post to your WordPress, Blogger, LiveJournal, Tumblr, or TypePad blog
– Listen to feeds from a variety of websites, such as TechCrunch, Lifehacker, Mashable, and the New York Times.
The features that allow you to listen to information are not perfect, but they are passable. I’ve listened to my Twitter feed a few times, and I can make out about 80%-90% of the messages.
Dial2Do was completely free until recently. I was fortunate enough to join Dial2Do shortly before they started charging for most functionality, and therefore am grandfathered into a free Pro account for the next year. A basic account, which allows you to create and listen to reminders, is still free. A Pro Account allows you to use the full realm of Dial2Do services, and is $3.99 per month or $39.99 for a year. A 30 day free trial is also offered.
Also, the Dial2Do number is not a toll free call if you’re tied to a landline where you pay per call. Dial2Do works in many countries, as evidence by the list on their website.
I’m a Dial2Do fan, and will continue to use the service when my free period expires if the pricing doesn’t change. My most common use for Dial2Do is in the car. I find that when I drive, I am always remembering tasks I need to perform. Dial2Do works remarkably well with my speaker phone, and helps me to stay productive and organized on the go, while keeping my hands on the wheel.
Do you use Dial2Do or a similar service? If so, let us know some use cases that work for you.