Tag Archives | Talkatone

Google Maps GPS Tracking Still Works on my iPhone, even without a cell plan or data coverage

When I decided to cancel my cell phone contract and use my iPhone solely as a device, I knew I’d have to rely on apps to call and text people.

One of the things I would miss about my AT&T coverage is the ability to use google maps to find my way, especially if I got turned around while headed somewhere new.

I knew I could look upmy route on wifi and take screen shots of if. Easy peasy.

I checked out several apps that allowed me to download maps, much like carrying a Rand McNally atlas in my car. These apps were cumbersome, costly and not nearly as intuitive as Google maps.

Imaginemy surprise when I accidentally openned Google Maps one day, and saw a blue dot for my location!I checked. I was not on wifi.

I had no cell coverege or data coverage.

Google GPS was tracking me! I tried zooming in, and I could see major street names. Smaller streets were unmarked, but the larger streets are enough to help me find my way.

And then, when I started moving, the blue dot moved with me! Google maps was tracking my location in real time!

I don’t know how or why my google maps GPS still works, but I love it! Thanks, Google, for being awesome!


Posted using Tinydesk blog app

Continue Reading

Talkatone iPhone App, a review of the app that replaced my cell phone company

As I blogged about previously, I cancelled my cell service and decided to use apps on my iPhone 4S to make calls and text over wifi. Here is an update.

There are many apps available for communication in the App Store. Some require that both users be logged onto the app in question, and then users are only allowed to call or message within that app. This does me no good because I want people to be able to use my google voice number as if it were a regular number.

There are several apps that will let you send texts and make calls using your google voice number.

But there is only one app that will allow you to RECEIVE calls on your device as push notifications, in a similar manner to the way the native phone app works. This app is TALKATONE.

One week into my no-cell-bill experiment, the app crashed. And I couldn’t get it to stop crashing.

I contacted Talkatone via their blog and twitter. And eventually I started trouble shooting with them over email. They worked with me to get the app working. And now I can receive calls like normal again!

I’m glad I didn’t give up.

The people at Talkatone were extremely supportive.


The only bad thing I have to add, in the interest of full disclosure, is that the call quality is splotchy at times. I have had people I call regularly comment about it. If I’m going to be on a longer call, however, I can always use the Google Voice app directly; calls are much clearer through it.

By Erin

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Continue Reading

Skype: video calls for free

Since I cancelled my cell phone coverage by AT&T, I’ve enjoyed using different apps and services to communicate with my friends & family. One of my favorites is Skype!


First off, I almost always Skype exclusively with my parents.

If I’ve planned the call ahead of time, I will email to set up a time.

Typically, tho, I call my mom on her home phone line, using my Talkatone app & Google Voice number. If I catch her at home, I ask Mom if she & Dad want to Skype. And we switch over to a Skype video call. They sit at their computer & I use my phone.


It’s cumbersome to call & then call back, but it’s not too cumbersome.

Sometimes the audio quality isn’t that great. It depends on the Internet connection.

I love including Phoebe in Skype calls. She gets to interact with her grandparents SO much, even though they’re on the other side of the country. And video calls help her communicate without having a big vocabulary.

It’s free.

It’s easy.

It’s more enriching to communicate via video than just on a phone. I come away feeling like I actually spent time with my folks!

Skype vs regular cell calls is an easy win for Skype, in my book!

I should try to Skype with a cell phone off wifi to see how that goes, as well.

^_^ Erin

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Continue Reading

My Plan to Give Up Cell Phone Companies, Make Free Calls and Save Tons of Cash

IMG_9475This month my cell phone contract with AT&T is up for renewal, and instead of getting a new device and committing to pay them $75 dollars a month for another two years, I am cancelling my cell phone service with them. That’s right. I will kick AT&T out of my house.


I have a smart phone; an iPhone 4S, to be exact. I set up a FREE Google voice number. There are a number of apps available for placing free phone calls with a google voice number. Starting out, I’m trying Talkatone. As long as I’m on wifi, I can make calls for free. If I miss a call when I’m off wifi, Google voice will alert me to messages and will even email me transcripts of my voicemails. I can check messages and return calls once I’m on wifi again.

Wifi hotspots are everywhere these days. I live in an urban area with Starbucks and McDonalds everywhere…if I want to check in with Matt at work or change the time for a playdate, all I have to do is swing into a parking lot or grab a quick coffee and take care of my messages. Also, if I NEED to make a call, I can always ask to borrow a landline! Isn’t that what people used to do?


When I’m on wifi, I can iMessage other apple users. For free. And nothing will change for any of my family or friends that want to message me through iMessage. IF I’m away from wifi, I’ll just get the messages once I get back in range of service.

For non-iPhone users, I can use talkatone or kik or any number of other apps to send text messages for free.

Also, email is an easy and reliable way to communicate on a smart phone, as I can read email messages as easily as I can read texts.


Whenever I’m at home, I’m on wifi and can make a call if need be. If the wifi is down (which might happen once a year), I can use my neighbor’s phone. No big deal.

Whenever I’m out alone with Phoebe, I only ever drive around town to go to parks or run errands. I can handle most inconveniences on my own. If I had a true emergency, there are so many businesses and people around, I’m sure someone would be happy to assist. That’s what people do.

When we go on trips or on longer drives, it’s very rare that Matt isn’t with us, and he has a cell phone for work. So, for instance, when we go on our cross country roadtrip, we will already have one cell phone. We don’t need two.


I’m not worried about getting lost or finding new places. I’m going to look for a mapping app to see if I can download local maps onto my phone that I could access without data or internet. If not, though, I’ll just buy a map for the local area. That’s what I did when I first moved to Tacoma, before I had a smart phone.

If I get lost, I’ll do what former generations would have done: I’ll pull over and ask for directions.


I will lose my cell phone number. Instead, I will need to change all my accounts to reflect my new Google Voice number. That IS quite a hassle.


I emailed all of you my new Google Voice number. If I did NOT email you, please shoot me an email…I could not find everyone’s email address. If we know each other, please assume I DO want you to have my number. I am NOt trying to become a hermit. I am NOT trying to avoid people by canceling my cell phone coverage.



I want to save money.

More than that, I don’t like cell phone companies. Specifically, I do not like AT&T. Many customer service representatives and sales representatives that I have encountered have been misinformed, uncooperative, more concerned about commissions, or have outright lied about information pertaining to their service or my bill. The cell phone companies always have unexpected fees and overage charges. And YES. That is the way they do business. And that is their prerogative. But I still don’t like it.

This is my way of DOING something about it.

This is my way of saving money so that my family can pay for things we truly NEED, like clothes or quality food or tools for the yard.

This is my attempt at removing some of the clutter from my life.

This is a statement of faith to myself that we will be OK without a digital safetynet.

I will still talk and text and email. I will still be on twitter and instagram. I will not be going away. I will just be taking advantage of the awesome piece of technology i own, my iPhone, and using it to it’s fullest potential to work around the cell phone provider industry.


I don’t know. At this point, I think I’ll do it for 3 months or for a year. But every month I go without a cell phone bill is $75 in the bank that we can use for other things. So we’ll see how it goes. I’ll blog updates and my experiences as I have new ones to share, and I’ll try to remember to tag the posts with “Cell Bill Free” so you can easily find them. I invite you to ask me any questions you have. ^_^ I want to be an open book about this experience so that I can inspire others!



Continue Reading