Google Urdu Tools

Google Translate can now translate from and to 57 languages, including Urdu.

Don’t know how to write in Urdu script? The translate page allows you to write in Roman Urdu, i.e. Urdu using the English alphabet. The same transliteration (from Roman Urdu to Urdu script) is available independently here. Of course, this transliteration is available for a bunch of languages including Russian, Hebrew, Arabic and lots of Indian languages.

Got some Urdu text in the regular Urdu script and can’t read it? You can always convert it to the English alphabet using Google’s script converter.

Google Voice

I had been lusting after a Google Voice account for a while and finally got it a few months ago. To my disappointment, there was no way to port my existing phone number to the service, so I had to get a new number.

At first, I was slow to give out my Google Voice number to people, but over time it’s becoming my default phone number.

Of the features of Google Voice, voice transcription is still a bit problematic as the speech recognition doesn’t work as well as it should. I love it that it can ring all my phones and that I can switch from my cellphone to landline during a call to save cell minutes. Also, I can have different call forwarding rules and voicemail greetings for different people (using groups) in my list of contacts. One pitfall there is that a phone number should only be in one group otherwise you can’t be sure which rules will be applied to it.

There used to be a couple of Google Voice apps for the iPhone and I had bought GV Mobile but when Apple rejected Google’s official Voice app, they also removed all the other previously approved apps from the App Store. (Yes, Apple is more evil than Microsoft!) So now I have to rely on the Google Voice mobile website on my iPhone.

I have also moved my cellphone voicemail to Google Voice. Yes, I like the visual voicemail on the iPhone, but Google Voice gives me a centralized voicemail (with SMS and email notification and voice transcription) and there is more potential there.

On my AT&T landline phone, I have also subscribed to Call Forwarding Busy Line and Call Forwarding Don’t Answer with Ring Control with my Google Voice number as the forwarding number. Thus, if my landline is busy or I don’t pick it up, the call is automatically forwarded either to my other phones or to my Google Voice voicemail.

Since I receive a lot of telemarketing and other junk calls on my home phone, I have set up Google Voice call screening so callers who are not in my contact list are asked to say their name the first time they call me. This has cut down on a lot of junk business calls I was receiving because my home phone number used to belong to a business a few years ago.

I also signed up with Gizmo5 (which has now been acquired by Google) and linked my Google Voice and Gizmo. So now I can receive my Google Voice calls on my computer with GizmoCall open in a Firefox PermaTab.

Finally, dear readers, through the magic of Google Voice call widgets, you can contact me by phone now on my contact page.

iPhone 3G

I bought an iPhone 3G a few months ago and have been in love with it.

When the original iPhone came out in 2007, I really wanted one but I decided to wait for a while because I had my Treo 650 and had a cell service contract with AT&T as well.

I am glad I waited because I got the iPhone 3G last year and fell in love with it. It really is a revolutionary phone. Even Michelle loves it and found the touchscreen interface very intuitive. She loves to watch YouTube videos, take pictures (she has even figured out how to take screenshots), play games (Touch Hockey is her favorite), draw (Doodle Kids is the app she uses), and look at Google Maps.

There are a couple of things I do miss:

  • Lack of copy and paste is the most annoying and I hope Apple adds it as soon as possible.
  • Push notification support for applications and Gmail.

I have setup the iPhone to use my wireless network at home and also the AT&T wifi network at Starbucks and McDonald’s, etc. However, 3G data speeds are also very good.

iPhone wifi speediPhone 3G speediPhone EDGE speed

Download (kbps) Upload (kbps) Latency (ms)
Wifi 1863 242 86
3G 1201 249 169
EDGE 96 36 887

In accessories, I bought a Jawbone 2 bluetooth headset which reduces noise quite a lot better than any headset I have seen.

Since I use the iPhone a lot, I have to charge it every night regularly. The iPhone battery cannot be changed by the consumer, so once the battery’s gone through enough cycles, I’ll have to get Apple to install a new battery.

The applications I use the most are the following:

iPhone Apps 1iPhone Apps 2iPhone Apps 3iPhone Apps 4iPhone Apps 5iPhone Apps 6iPhone Apps 7iPhone Apps 8

I recently switched my ZackVision email accounts from being hosted by my webhost to Gmail using Google Apps. It should not change anything for those sending me emails, but I like the Gmail interface and their spam filter is also much better than the one I was using at my webhost. One problem with the email switch was transferring the tens of thousands of emails I had in my different mailboxes. Google has an Email Uploader for the purpose but it was not transferring a significant number of my emails. So I just had to set up IMAP accounts in Mozilla Thunderbird for my old and new (gmail) accounts and move the emails folder by folder. This took some time.

In addition to email, Google Apps also provides me with my own calendar and documents. So I uploaded all my Outlook contacts to Gmail and decided to switch completely away from Outlook. Instead of syncing my contacts and calendar between Outlook and iPhone via iTunes, now I am using “Google Mobile Sync” to sync over the air between my iPhone and my Google calendars and contacts at my own domain. So the only real thing I need the iTunes sync for is podcast subscriptions.

And now I am salivating over the Kindle 2.