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Monday, March 22, 2010

Two awesome things: Google Voice, Boxer

1) Google Voice. An internet phone number that you may associate with any of your real life phones -- cell, work, home, etc. Dialing the number will ring all phones that you have associated with the number. Voice messages are accessible for online listening, and you get an email notice letting you know when there's a message to hear. Google Voice also automatically transcribes your voicemail, so if your caller speaks clearly enough, you may not even have to listen to the message. You may also setup your existing phone numbers to route through the Google Voice system so that voicemail from those numbers are also accessible online.

So far Google Voice is a closed party, and invites are required. My good friend Sov sent me an invitation to Google Voice, and I have been delighted by the service ever since. I don't like going through the bother of dialing my voicemail box on my cellphone to listen to messages, but with Google Voice, I can just click a button and listen to it online. I am also more likely to get a voicemail in a timely manner, because I pay more attention to my computer than my cellphone, especially since I leave the ringer off my phone while I'm in class, then forget to turn it back on. I was interested in Google Voice initially because it afforded me a way to get a Portland area code phone number without giving up my Utah phone number. But being able to access my messages online is super convenient and makes the service worthwhile even if you don't need a number for a new area code. Google Voice is awesome.

2) Boxer.  We had computers very early in my household growing up. The earliest I remember was a 386 running DOS. So I grew up playing a lot of really old school computer games, like Digger, Dig-Dug, Pac-Man, Hugo's House of Horrors, King's Quest, Laura Bow, Gobliiins, Conquests of the Longbow, Commander Keen, Cosmo's Cosmic Adventure, and many others. But then computers started to get faster, until they would no longer run the beloved games of my youth.

DOSBox was created for Windows to emulate older systems, so that you could run your old school games as if you still had a machine with a slow processor, but I always found the program exceedingly buggy and many of my favorite old games wouldn't play at all anyway, so I gave up on trying on my PC. Enter Boxer, the Macintosh version of DOSBox. Macs aren't perfect by any means, but software tends to run a lot smoother on them, and Boxer runs perfectly so that I can now revisit the games of my childhood. Boxer makes installation and running of old games very easy. It is designed to run like a regular folder on your computer, and when you drop games into it, Boxer associates those games with the DOS emulator without your having to know any DOS commands. Then you just open the game like you would any other program, and Boxer takes care of the rest. There are also handy shortcut keys to speed up or slow down the emulation, in case your games are still running too fast or too slow. This feeds my nostalgia so well. Boxer is awesome.


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4 comments:

B.R. said...

Good to hear about Google talk as I have been wondering about it. I've heard generally good things about it from other sources as well which means I will also try it out soon.

Zac said...

Is that a screenshot of your own Boxer, or one from their site?

Sra said...

It's my own Boxer -- that's why it has all the awesome Sierra games in it!

Sra said...

It's my own Boxer -- that's why it has all the awesome Sierra games in it!

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