Ina Fried

Recent Posts by Ina Fried

Plantronics Aims to Make Conference Calls Less Painful

Okay, I’m still not sold on putting a Bluetooth thing in my ear all the time. But Jawbone and Plantronics are doing their best to lure me.

Both showed technologies at D: Dive Into Mobile aimed at making the headsets useful for more than just making cellphone calls. And on Thursday, Plantronics plans to announce what sounds like another pretty nifty feature. Dubbed InstantMeeting, it is a piece of software that makes it possible to dial in to a meeting with the press of a button–instead of having to go through the usual process, which involves calling a number, entering a conference code and then maybe a password to boot.

For now, InstantMeeting is a program for the BlackBerry (see image) and Android, though Plantronics says that an iPhone version is in the works, as is a Skype version and one that can connect directly to Microsoft’s Outlook software–the place where that call-in data often is buried. Those other versions should come early next year.

As for the Android and BlackBerry programs, a free trial version allows 20 free dial-ins, while the premium version, which allows for unlimited dial-ins, will sell for $2.99. However, Plantronics says that those who download the free trial version on Thursday will get 1,000 free calls.

I’ll have to see it in action to believe it, but it sure sounds like a time-saver. Plus, if it works, when your phone drops the call, you can just press one button to dial back in. Of course, as with Jawbone’s Thoughts application for the iPhone, I don’t actually need a headset to use InstantMeeting.

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work