posted at 2:43 am
on Dec. 18, 2007
Northern Voice Speakers: The Time to Submit is Now!
posted at 2:43 am
Last week, I got given a free trial of a new voice mail feature from Rogers (the cell phone company who is the devil, as you may remember.)
Basically, the service takes your voicemails and converts them into text messages sent to your phone, and the messages are really very good transcripts, I have to say. I’d like you to help me play with it—I’ll explain how below.
I’m impressed at the results, and at what this means—you can now be someplace noisy or be busy in a meeting, and if you let a phone call go to voice mail, you can get the information without calling into your voice mail later.
That also means you save yourself a minute or two of air time, over and over again. Not bad.
In this one there were maybe three slight errors: “be doing some stuff” was “bringing donuts”, “hey, texted” was “hey, I texted”, and “anyone there” was “you weren’t there”
This one was totally correct except for the punctuation, and the “Hallo”—which, in fact, was closer to what he said than “Hello”. Pretty good.
But there are problems. The service costs $15 per month, on top of voice mail, on top of cell service. I’m not going to call that a ridiculous fee, because I have no idea the cost of the technology (or oompaloompas? It isn’t clear on the Rogers site that it’s a computer behind the system) to develop or run this voice to text service. But I can say that I won’t be paying $15 per month for it, given that I’m already paying Rogers for voice mail and text messaging.
The other problems are all minor. The transformed messages take a while to arrive: my quick testing showed it was from 3 to 6 minutes. That’s not forever, but it’s still long enough that you could probably have called into your voice mail in that amount of time. Also, now that I have this service, I no longer get the simple text message that told me I had a voice mail and I no longer get the little voice mail icon on my phone. I consider this a good thing, but you might miss it.
Oh, and you might consider this a small bug: I was never able to sign up on the Web site—I had to convince the press person who contacted me to tell the engineers to activate the service for me. I never did get a confirmation msg when the service activated, either. I never could get the FAQ page to open. And the Web site is in flash. Like, ick.
By the way, if you want to sign up, this is the URL.
A meaner me might go so far as to say that each and every part that Rogers handled was screwed up (pricing, signing up, activation, notification), while the SpinVox part seems to work well, and the PR guy was a really nice guy.
So, if you want to have fun testing it, go ahead and call my cell phone and leave a message. Read a short passage from a book, or quote something from a movie or a speech. I’ll post the transcript here, and we can see how close the SpinVox transcription is!
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