True visual voicemail

From Engadget: Apple reportedly wants to turn Siri into your receptionist

imgresThe long-and-the-short of this story is that Apple is investigating the idea of introducing transcribed voicemail messages to your mobile device, something Google Voice has been doing for a few years now. I’ve been using it for ages (once you install GV, it will walk you through the process of supplanting Apple’s built-in voicemail capability with its own) and, though it’s a bit dodgy in its transcribing capabilities, has long been a function I can’t live without.

The simple fact of the matter is that it’s much more convenient to be able to read the message a person left rather than have to play it back – particularly when it’s a long one.

This report actually comes at a good time, as a) Google Voice has been neglected for a long time, lacking UI updates, feature improvements, etc. and b) I use iOS’ speech-to-text function all the time and find it to be pretty good, so it would probably be a step up from Google’s offering.

Until then, though, don’t hesitate to install Google Voice on your iOS and start enjoying transcribed voicemails right now.

Download Google Voice for iOS here.

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Google Docs: referencing cells in other spreadsheets

I’ve tried to figure this one out a few times and, for some reason, only now FINALLY found the answer.

If you’re like me, you have a number of documents created in Google Drive, many of them spreadsheets. Rather than simply copying a value from one spreadsheet to another, I want to be able to dynamically link them so that they stay updated. This is particularly useful for ever-fluctuating budgets.

The answer comes to us from the importrange function. Start by determining the unique key for the source document by looking at its URL – the key is the long, hexadecimal-like value). Then note the sheet name where the value is stored and then the cell itself.

In your destination spreadsheet, enter the formula as:

=importrange("<spreadsheetKey>", "<sheetName>!<cellRange>")

Now, here’s the trick: when you first do this, you may get a REF error – pay attention to the little corner triangle – the issue isn’t that you made a syntax error but, rather, that you need to grant permission to refer to the external sheet!

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