Plans should be simple. GoogleVoice has allowed me to develop a simple communication plan to help me stay in touch in the event my normal communications do not work. GoogleVoice provides you with ONE telephone number that you can have forever. This service will ring any other number(s) you program into it simultaneously. When someone calls your GoogleVoice number, all of the numbers you program in ring. If you pick up the phone, you hear the callers name and several options (press 1 to take the call, press 2 to send the call to voicemail, etc). If you send the call to voicemail, the caller leaves their voicemail, and you are sent a text (if you like) and an email (if you like) to let you know you have a message. If you check your email, you can also read a transcript of the call (like magic!).
I use GoogleVoice as my main number. It allows me to provide one number to people, and it will catch my MagicJack (if I am home) or my cell phone (if I am out) and I enjoy the call screening/ voice mail transcription features. If/when TSHF, I can access this same number from anywhere that I can check email, receive text messages or use a phone (to dial in to listen to voicemail). I also like the contact list (phone book) feature it has. I don't have a great memory, and this stores the phone numbers, addresses and email addresses I may need (I would also suggest a hard-copy).
To sign up, go to www.google.com/voice and request an invitation. Mine came in about 3 days. Once you get it, log in and pick your area code and number. YOU pick the area code and phone number (I use a different area code than mine in case my area code is knocked out like it was in Katrina). Once that is done, you will have to enter a phone number that you have access to. GoogleVoice then calls that number and you will need to enter the code they provide to complete your setup. Once that is done, you can set your options.
Now, you can go through the options at the top of the page to set up your call tree (the numbers GoogleVoice tries to contact to find you), you can add the text message service, email notification, etc. You can also send SMS messages through this service, AND place calls (GoogleVoice calls you on whatever number you provide, then dials the number you input. Caller ID shows your GoogleVoice number as the incoming number). Finally, if you ever have the need, GoogleVoice will record calls if you ask it to.
All materials at this site not otherwise credited are Copyright © 1996 - 2010 Trip Williams. All rights reserved. May be reproduced for personal use only. Use of any material contained herein is subject to stated terms or written permission.