My Favorite Tech of 2012


Two of my favorite new technologies were actually new in 2012; one was new to me.

Fav No. 1: Voice mail that comes over as a transcripted email. I like it because it saves at least four steps common to retrieving messages. Plus, the transcriptions are so bad, they’re great! In fact, they’re downright hilarious.

The steps saved: Instead of having to unlock your phone (step 1), dial into voice mail (2), enter a password (3) and listen through who knows how many other messages (4-plus), you get an email transcription.

Recent example: “Hi Fred, it’s Vicky. How many animals in the evening? It’s interesting, have you ever had pneumonia done on all of that? Anyway Wednesday is the day for working out of the bath. Doggone it what number should we try to reach you on?”

From this I knew who rang (the proprietor of the local beekeeping store), about a meeting she was planning (Wednesday) and that I’d have to join by phone (doggone it!). They’re almost always this entertaining, and a corollary part of what makes the service so fun is forwarding the message to the person who called. (Please! Comcast! Don’t fix it too much!)

Fav No. 2: “AnyPlay,” another Comcast service, which plays out live, linear video to my iPad. Those of you who check this column with any regularity know that I maintain an over-the-top video lab at the office — but it and all of its screens are in a back room. Near my desk, alas! No TV. Until AnyPlay. With it, I can happily tune in to House Hunters International for hours of TV background noise.

Fav No. 3 in 2012: Pandora. At least until somebody shows me how to use Spotify like it’s a radio. (Anybody, anybody?)

That two of my top three favorite new technologies in a year come from a cable operator is both surprising and delightful. And because this week contains Thanksgiving, I’d be remiss in not thanking the home team. Thanks cable people!

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