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When you are in the middle of running errands, writing blog posts or emails is probably the last thing on your mind.  However, if ideas begin to bubble while you’re just about to enter the on-ramp of the freeway, don’t worry.  You can still dictate those thoughts for free by using [NO LONGER WORKS] Jott’s voice-to-text service.

All you need to do (after registering for an account) is to open up your cellphone and speed-dial Jott’s toll-free number (1-866-JOTT-123).  Record a bundle of free notes to yourself, which will quickly be converted into text for you to access later online.  Once you access your notes, you can make use of the popular (and free) Google Notebook application to assemble these notes into usable material.

Outline Your Writing

While Jott is a handy & free tool, it suffers from a minor limitation unless you opt for an upgrade.  It will only allow you to record a message that is about 10-15 seconds in length.  However, unless you’re a blabbermouth, this drawback is actually a Twitter-like asset.  It forces you to be succinct when making your notes.  For this reason, it’s good to rehearse what you’re going to say before you make your call to Jott.  Simply take a few seconds to mentally outline your idea.

Remember however that the notes you make don’t even necessarily need to be structured as sentences.  That’s right, just fire off ideas as they occur to you if you wish.  Whether you want to dictate title ideas, keyword ideas, or the opening paragraphs of the next Moby Dick, feel free to dial Jott when you’re ready to get started.

Trust Your Memory

Once you speak a note into Jott, you cannot access it unless you get online.  So, you will achieve good results with Jott if you learn to trust your memory.  Keep your writing simple, starting with a basic outline, and expanding your thoughts step-by-step.  Don’t lose your train of thought by rambling or ranting.  Instead, voice simple ideas that you can build on later when you’re at home.

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Connect-The-Dots

Once you get home, you can complete your work by first logging into your Jott account.  (Set one up for free, and add your primary & secondary contacts).  You will find notes that you sent to yourself, hopefully completely transcribed.  Occasionally, these notes contain small errors, and rarely Jott is unable to transcribe your message.  In such cases, it allows you the convenient option of being able to listen to your original telephone recording.

Here is where Google Notebook comes into play.  (Google Notebook is offered as a free perk to anyone with a Google Account).  Open up the mini Google Notebook at the corner of your browser.  Create a notebook to place your recent Jott clipping in.  Next, simply open the Jott notes you made while you were out, and copy them one by one to paste into your new notebook (unfortunately, the Google Notebook’s “clip” feature won’t work with Jott’s notes).  Once you are done, add comments if you wish.

Next, you can choose to export this new notebook to Google Docs, where you can edit it into publishable form.  To do so, all you need to do is press the “Tools” button in Google Notebook, above the “Save Now” button.

Inspire Yourself

If you begin to regularly record your ideas in this way, you may notice yourself becoming accustomed to the routine of realizing your most creative ideas while standing in grocery lines or waiting in the lobby of a doctor’s office.  Perhaps you would even like to prompt yourself to action in the middle of the day, while away from your computer.  If you want to become your own boss, so to speak, another relevant service exists that you can make free use of.  Wakerupper will let you record simple telephone reminders to yourself, which you can schedule to be sent hours, days, or even months ahead of time.

You can inspire yourself with the use of this service if you do a little homework ahead of time.  Let’s say you want to prompt yourself to write blog posts that are filled with popular & punchy keywords.  Just research the keywords in the middle of the night when you’re up for a midnight snack.  Then, schedule a call to your cellphone for the following afternoon.  Hours later, when your cellphone rings, a friendly computerized voice will repeat the keywords back to you, and you’re ready to make use of them.  You can then scribble them down for reference or simply keep them in your memory, as you think of ideas that you will want to send to Jott.

Have You Used Jott?

If you’ve already used Jott, and you’d like to share your own ideas about how to get the most out of its service, we welcome you to share your tips with us.  Tell us about whether you use Jott on a routine basis, or just every once in a while.  Have you made use of any of Jott’s paid services?  Do you use it to write emails, or just to record your random thoughts?  What would you like to see changed about Jott?

  1. Mike
    January 13, 2009 at 5:38 pm

    Yeah, it's unfortunate Jott has gone to an all paid service now. I started toying with ReQall (www.reqall.com) a few months ago and now will use it instead full-time. ReQall has a 30 sec time limit for the free account and it will email you your transcription. I wonder how that compares to Dial2Do - I'll have to check that out. Thanks for the tip!

  2. James Withers
    January 13, 2009 at 5:09 pm

    I still think that Jott's features are attractive even if they cost money. ($3.95 a month isn't too much.) With a service upgrade, I suppose they also offer the option of having the notes sent to your email, which helps to make them easier to clip to Google Notebook.

    There are only 2 reasons why I'm on the fence about paying for Jott. One is that the message is still only 15 seconds long. As I mention in the article above, this is an asset; however, it would be nice to have more time available. To increase time by just 15 seconds, a user must pay 3 times as much per month. The second reason I'm not committed is that they don't accept Paypal.

    Frankly, if I was a new Jott customer, here are things that would have me paying to use Jott in a heartbeat: 1.) Registration option to make use of 10-20 free notes, 2.) Option to pay by Paypal, 3.) Ability to condense several notes into a single note. The registration option would still allow Jott to offer a few free notes, without compromising its means of monetization. While the company offers an option to receive all of your notes in a daily email, I think its services would be more irresistible if it allow users to interactively "bundle" notes together (for example, permitting users to make a paragraph out of several solitary sentences).

    How do you think Jott can better market its services?

  3. subhan
    January 13, 2009 at 12:30 pm

    I guess you missed the recent announcement that Jott is canceling all free services

  4. Aibek
    January 13, 2009 at 3:23 am

    few more simple alterntives can be found below

    http://www.makeuseof.com/dir/tag/reminder/

    • Bill
      January 13, 2009 at 10:12 am

      Aibek, you've got a great service going! But pse put a prominent note on stuff that works only in North America. Most of us travel to other countries as well!

  5. Lyoko is Cool
    January 13, 2009 at 12:25 am

    Jott does a very good job at voice recognition. I use it to save 20 cents on a text message to twitter (Jotting to twitter is free)

  6. kris
    January 12, 2009 at 11:53 pm

    Dial2Do is the way to go. I used jott till the time limit came. I use it(Dial2Do) for everything, linking to my Google calendar to listing mileage for my expense report. Love that I can listen to weather and other services they offer. I can even link to my Evernote account.

  7. Nate
    January 12, 2009 at 9:16 pm

    I have used Jott in the past and unfortunately it seems that Jott has sold my cell phone number. Just after getting a new phone, I eagerly signed up for Jott. Almost instantly the spam calls started pouring in. I agree that Jott is a great service: I love the idea, but I definitely do not appreciate my number being sold. Has anyone else experienced this?

    • Melaney
      March 6, 2009 at 12:51 am

      You probably got a new phone number that was already being spammed. I have been with Jott (and requall and Dial2do) for 6 months now and have never received a text spam.

      Have the cell phone company change your phone number. Most will do it 1 time for free. Then send out mass text message to your contacts of the number change.

  8. bluehz
    January 12, 2009 at 5:53 pm

    I was an avid user of Jott... until it went pay only. Great service, great features, truly remarkable service, but there pricing structure is nonsensical. Instead I moved everything to dial2do.com Not quite as polished and slick as Jott, but still works quite well for this type of dictation/brain dumping.

    • bluehz
      January 12, 2009 at 5:54 pm

      Dial2Do was what I meant to say above....

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