Voxer Walkie Talkie Review

Voxer Walkie Talkie Review

Jan 31, 2012

Every day technology gives me new and better and more exciting ways to communicate with the people in my life. But it does of course come at a cost. Phoning people costs paid minutes, and texting costs to send and receive. There are also times when I need to impart a lot of information to someone but either don’t want to type it all out on my phone, or don’t want to disturb them with a phone call. Wouldn’t it be nice to leave a voice mail but skip the step of calling their phone?

Voxer markets itself as a walkie-talkie app for phones. Essentially it offers users the opportunity to leave messages for their friends that can be retrieved any time the recipient is free to do so. Messages can be text, but the better feature is the voice option. Hold down the button and talk freely into the microphone. No need to save the message – as soon as the record button is released the message is queued in the recipient’s inbox. I’ve used this feature to co-ordinate detailed plans while I’m walking and can’t text and the other person is getting ready to meet me and can’t be on the phone at that moment. It lets them listen to the message whenever they have a few seconds, without dialing into their voicemail box.

Even better, it really does function as a walkie-talkie if the recipient is in the program at the same time. There’s no need to say “over” at the end of each message – they are all time-stamped and play in order. They’re saved for quite some time, so I’ve also enjoyed going back and listening to random conversations I have had.

I really feel like I need to stress that this is a free app. I don’t know how much money it saves, using data to send messages vs paying for phone minutes, but I know that it has saved me time. Also there is something very appealing about using my phone as a walkie-talkie. It is great, and I wish more of my friends had it. If I could get them all to download it I actually think I’d make very few direct phone calls. There simply wouldn’t be a need to.

I have experienced some bugginess in it though. Or rather I should say my test partner did. He found that sometimes, rather than playing back the audio, the app would just freeze or play static. And I found that sometimes I couldn’t hear the messages he left me unless I took my headphones out and listened to it through the external speaker. A bit odd, but it doesn’t dampen my enthusiasm for it in the slightest.

Siesta Text App Review

Siesta Text App Review

Dec 22, 2011

In an earlier blog post I briefly mentioned a 2 dollar app called Siesta Text. I’ve spent a few days with this app and after a few initial problems I found Siesta Text to be very useful, especially for the holidays and other social events. Be warned, however, if you use third party messaging services such as the very popular Handcent. Siesta Text does not play nice with Handcent or GO SMS, but I was able to work around this in Handcent by deselecting Handcent as the default messaging app. This doesn’t affect how Handcent works; it will still send notifications, and you also need to disable notifications in Android’s stock messaging service because it becomes active again. Doing this allows Siesta Text to gain access to your text messages that GO SMS and Handcent intercept.

Ignoring this issue, Siesta Text really brings a lot to the table for a relatively low price. In case you aren’t familiar with the aforementioned blog post; it dealt with ways to unplug for the holidays while not completing dropping off the face of the earth. Siesta Text allows you to set an away message similar to away messages frequently used for work emails; this works for by sending out a custom text message to those who call or text you. Other than the issue between third-party messaging applications, Siesta Text runs extremely well and, other than a few force closures, I found no performance issues with the app.

This app allows you to save up to 20 different away messages which can be set to repeat for specific time periods. For example, if you have a meeting every Monday morning from 10-11 am Siesta Text will automatically silence your phone and send an away message to those trying to reach you. Calls and text messages still display as they normally would so you can answer if you want and there is a built in limit to how many times Siesta Text will respond to one phone number.

Overall, Siesta Text is a great idea followed up with great execution and a helpful dev team to boot. I would recommend giving Siesta Text a shot even if it means doing some finagling with your current messaging client.