Jott, Twitter, RSS feeds and Goosh

A few weeks ago I referred to the Gibbs Universal Industries Secret Underground Bunker but I gave you the wrong link – it has now been fixed. Mea culpa.

So, this week what hot, shiny thing has attracted our attention? First up, there’s a really cool new feature on Jott that relates to our discussions about Twitter last week and the week before.

Jott, for those of you who haven’t experienced its sublime coolness, is a free voice-to-text-to-communications service currently in (go on, guess … yep, you’re right) beta test. For a longer discussion of Jott see the April 4 issue of my Network World Web Applications Alert newsletter.

To summarize: When you call Jott’s toll-free number you are identified by your phone’s automatic number identification (ANI). A synthetic voice asks who you want to "Jott" and you either say the name of a person, name a list on the Jott site or a "link" (such as Twitter, Google Calendar or Tumblr). Jott then beeps and you say whatever it is you want to have transcribed and sent to the destination you named. When finished, you can just hang up or, for message destinations such as calendar entries, you can add a reminder. Once you have completely finished a Jott you can, if you wish, wait and start another Jott.

So, here’s why Jott is so useful: You’re driving down the freeway and remember that you need to pick up milk on the way home. You call Jott from your cell phone and, when asked who you want to Jott, answer "Groceries," the name of a list you have set up. After the beep you say "Quart of Milk" and hang up.

Jott will send you e-mail confirmation and adds the transcribed message to your Groceries list. You might also set a reminder (by saying "Reminder", natch) that will be texted to you on the way home to remind you to stop. To see more of what Jott can do check out the company’s "How to Jott" page.

Now that we’ve got the explanations out of the way, here’s the new shiny hotness: Jott Feeds. When asked what you want to Jott, you say "Jott Feeds," and when asked which feed, you can say "News," Weather" or (and here’s where we loop back to Twitter), "Twitter." Jott then actually reads you the feed’s contents.

You can set up a Jott Feed to read you any open (that is, unsecured) RSS feed, but note that the full Twitter feed for any user plus her friends can’t, at present, be accessed by Jott because Twitter requires authentication to get it (that is, you can only read a users tweet feed through Jott).

Even so, this is very useful. You could set up a private Twitter feed for system status or performance messages and then, using Jott, check the feed while you are commuting.

The other hot new shininess that you have to check out is a seriously brilliant hack: Goosh.

Goosh explains itself as "the unofficial Google shell." On the site you are presented with a command line-style interface with the prompt>, and entering "h" will get you a list of available commands. For example, "web [keywords]" will search Google for the given keywords and return the top four results. Entering the number of a result opens another browser window on that page. Entering "more" will return (yep) more results.

Other search commands include "image," "place," "wiki" (Wikipedia), "blog" and "feed," while Clear does what it should and the up and down arrow keys recall previously used commands.

What Goosh now needs is to present green text on a black background, support piping and redirection, shell variables, . . .  think I’m reinventing bash. Mea culpa.

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