Google Voice + Gizmo5 + Fring + iPhone/Android

I am sure I’m not alone in my never ending quest to find the perfect telecommunications balance between convenience, cost, and functionality. It seems clear to me that we are very close to a point where simple phone calls are essentially free. Now, before I get into the details to explain the title of this post, please keep in mind that I am 100% on-board with the fact that Internet access, be it at your office, your house, or on your mobile device, costs money. This is why I wrote “essentially free.” 😉

To make this work, you are going to need to have a Google Voice account, a Gizmo5 account (recently purchased by Google), and a Fring account. (You are also going to need an iPhone or an Android capable device.) 

Step 1: Login to Google Voice and add your Gizmo5 number. It is critical that you choose “Gizmo” when you set-up your number with Google Voice. On your Gizmo5 account, make sure you DO NOT have any forwarding set-up. This caused me endless headache.

Step 2: Verify your Gizmo5 number.

Step 3: Go to Fring and install their software for your mobile device. I’ve got this working on my iPhone. While I cannot confirm, I’m sure it will also work on your Android device.

Step 4: Fire-up the Fring application on your mobile device and click the “More…” option.

Step 5: Go to “Add-ons” and choose SIP

Step 6: You will need your Gizmo5 username/password. I used my actual username, but I think your full 10-digit SIP number will work as well. In the “Proxy” field, enter

Now, make sure you keep the application running on your mobile device and try initiating a call through Google Voice, targeting your “Gizmo” number. If all goes well the Fring application will ask you to answer and, like magic, you are making a call, on your mobile device, using NO cell minutes!

I’d love it if someone with an Android device would give this a try and let me know if it works as easily as it did on my iPhone.

“Privacy” (capital ‘P’) is an ideal, very much like “Democracy” (capital ‘D’)

Let me begin by qualifying that I am simply a Facebook user. I have no vested interest in Facebook whatsoever.

This posting is in response to all the “Facebook is evil” rhetoric I’ve been reading lately with respect to their latest changes to their “privacy policies.”

I don’t think people have their facts straight regarding how Facebook handled the change to their new privacy policy with respect to existing users. When I logged in the other day I was presented with a screen that let me know there was a new privacy policy and that I needed to review my settings. While I was given the option to “open up” everything, all of the radio “buttons” defaulted to “keep my settings as they are/were.” Needless to say, I like keeping my Facebook information limited, for the most part, to my friends, so I reviewed my settings and left everything as it was. I’m sure when someone creates a new account on Facebook the default privacy settings will be to open everything to the search engines (can you really blame them), but I’m sure even new users will be able to enforce the same restrictions I have on my account.

On the topic of privacy in general…

What really “grinds my gears” is why people get pissed off about privacy with respect to Facebook or any other on-line social network. I like using Facebook; it provides me a service that I have come to see as valuable. However, I know there are risks; not just with Facebook, but with almost any on-line social network. It seems to me that Facebook’s only responsibility is to tell me what they are doing with my information and give me the capacity to “opt-out” if I so desire. Ultimately, the responsibility to protect my privacy is my responsibility. I learned, long ago, that one should not put anything on-line, in any form, that one would not want shared with the universe. Anyone who really thinks Facebook has become evil should not only stop posting to Facebook, they should close/cancel their account entirely. After all, voyeurism would be disingenuous. I would applaud anyone who, for the sake of principle, stops using Facebook entirely. Anyone who does so should let me know. My bet… This will be a VERY SMALL list.

Perhaps I am a fool, but I’m no more worried using Facebook that I am using GMail, my iPhone, or Microsoft Exchange.

For me, “Privacy” (capital ‘P’) is an ideal, very much like “Democracy” (capital ‘D’). Conceptually, I think we all believe we would really like Privacy and Democracy. Unfortunately, neither is actually achievable in reality, and it is our individual responsibility to work to protect both; first for ourselves, then for everyone else.

The Perfect Digital Storm: Social Media + Internet + Mobility

On 17 Nov 2009 I have been asked to present to the Access Executive Network ( at the Center Club in Irvine, CA.

Here is a link to the press release.

My topic for the event is…

“The Perfect Digital Storm: Social Media + Internet + Mobility”

I’m very excited to be sharing my ideas and leading what I hope to be a very interactive conversation.

It should be clear to everyone just how important social media and social networking have become. However, I’ve been wondering if its clear how much impact social media can have on day-to-day life as its reach is fueled by the explosion of mobility and mobile Internet access. It is my contention that we have barely scratched the surface.

When we look back on the second decade of the 21st century, I am certain we will all be blown away by the role enhanced social networking will have played in all our lives.

I look forward to seeing you on Tuesday, 17 Nov 2009 @ 6:00 PM at the Center Club in Irvine, CA.