I've been experimenting with Pinger the last month. It is a service which allows you to record a message from your phone, to be sent as an mp3.
This is great when you know somebody is in a meeting. Or when you have only a couple of minutes to spare and you don't want to be locked in a long conversation. Think of it like recording memo's.
I discovered the service via TechnCrunch. There is also a short description in a recent technology article from David Pogue in the Wall Street Journal:
FREE ‘PINGS’ Pinger is a new way to reach someone: a method that combines the immediacy of a text message with the personality of voice mail. (You can sign up at Pinger.com.) You call one of Pinger’s access numbers, say the name of the person you’re calling, and then speak a message.But there is something even more interesting in his article: FREE INTERNATIONAL CALLS. That's right! (I haven't tried this yet, until tomorrow that is.)
Suppose you’ve just pinged your sister. She receives a text message to let her know. With one keystroke, she can hear your message — and with another, send a voice reply. There’s no waiting to roll over to voice mail, no listening to instructions, no outbound greetings.
You can now call any of 50 countries from the United States, free. Talk as long as you like. You pay only for a call to the access number in Iowa, which is 712-858-8883; if you use your cellphone on nights or weekends, even that’s a free call.
There’s no contract, no ads, nothing to sign up for. At the prompt, press 1 for English. Then punch in 011, the country code and the phone number. The call rings through immediately.
Fine print: In some countries, you can reach only landlines, not cellphones. And in part because FuturePhone’s lines have been flooded, its success at placing calls is not, ahem, 100 percent.
But it’s hard to argue with “free,” which, according to the company, it will be until at least 2010.