Jott – Voice Transcription – and so much more

by techenet on February 20, 2009

A few months ago I was turned on to an amazing program called Evernote, and will write an article on this later. After finding it, I scoured the interwebs to find ideas and creative usage of the product and found that many many people have written on how they use it and it’s many benefits. In the course of these web journeys I also ran across another productivity app called Jott.

Jott is at its core a voice recorder. Yet it is so much more. It’s primary feature is voice to text, and I’ve been amazed at how well Jott can transcribe my voice into readable text. It’s not perfect of course, strange words seem to find themselves as strange spellings, but it really is quite nice. Transcription seems to take between 2-6 minutes depending on the length of the Jott and how clear/slow I spoke. Also, the length of time you can record is limited by your plan. The basic plan only allows up to 15 second recordings, which sounds really low, and it kind of is, but I find I really get down to the nitty gritty of what I want to say and you can always leave multiple Jott’s. Their highest plan allows for 60 second Jott’s, but even reviewing my voice recordings on my phone I don’t see many that are more than 30 seconds. They also used to have a free plan, which is what I started with, but that seems to have been nixed and it also didn’t give you all the features such as emailing, Outlook plug-in, etc.


How it works (it’s actually very simple)

  • You call in to their phone number (it never rings more than once)
  • A voice comes on “Who do you wanna Jott?”
  • You say your contact, for example “Myself” or “Evernote”
  • The voice prompt confirms your selection, to which you say “Yes”
  • You hear a beep
  • You record your message
  • The prompter may ask if you want a reminder, to which I always reply “No”
  • Wait for the prompter to say “Jott sent” – and you’re done

It might seem like extra effort, if for example you have a voice recorder on your phone as I do, but I find the extra few seconds it takes to formulate exactly what I want to say (using a voice recorder I tend to ramble), and then sending my recording directly to a list (Evernote, my email, or wherever) and in text format saves me immense amounts of time in the long run. Not to mention the fact I don’t have to go back to my recorder and wade through countless voice memos to type them all up or review them. For those GTD followers, this fits in nicely with the philosophy of capturing your ideas and putting them where they need to be, ie. putting them into a context, where they can be worked on later. Instead of having some giant ubiquitous in basket with miscellaneous items, you create several “categorized” in baskets and can filter through them as needed.

How I Use It

  • Since Evernote provides a special email address for you to email entries into it, Jott allows you to specify email contacts
    • So you create a contact, call it “Evernote” and then when you call into Jott you say “Evernote,” go through the steps outlined above and record your message
  • I also use it a great deal for tasks. Jott provides an Outlook plug-in to download recorded tasks into the Task list
    • So I call in, say “Outlook Tasks,” follow the steps above and record my Task/ToDo, then wait about 3 minutes and there it is in my tasks list
    • I still have to categorize it and assign it a date and priority, but just to get my task into my Inbox instead of some notepad or other capture device saves loads of time as well as lost tasks
    • What’s more, by having it in my Outlook, and since my Outlook is connected to a MS Exchange server, my task is then synced to all my open copies of Outlook, at all my computers, and is ready to be HotSync’ed to my Palm at any time
  • jottoutlook

  • Finally – I use Jott to get blog post ideas out of my head
    • Jott has a WordPress link that connects right into your blog, so I call in, say my blog name, follow the above steps, say my blog idea or topic, and within 5 minutes it shows up as a post in my bog Drafts!

You really could use this with any application that accepts email, which many more apps are these days. In addition though, Jott has well over 30 links you can setup for different apps such as Remember The Milk, Google Calendar, Twitter, Facebook, and many more.

Small Business Applications

  • In addition to simply being able to capture your amazing napkin worthy business ideas, here’s some ways for your Small Business to use Jott
    • Setup a Jott account for your team to call in tasks, using email, Outlook Tasks, Remeber the Milk, etc
    • Setup a team calendar, then have your team call in meetings or client events for all to see
    • Give your assistant access to your calendar, then when you’re on the road, call in your calendar or task item and have him/her deal with it
    • Setup a group email list, then call in to that list when you’re on the road and you can blast everyone with an update or what’s going on
    • Have a Facebook or Twitter account? Call into Jott and update your status on the go
    • Stuck in a commute and thinking about an email to someone? Call into Jott and dictate an Outlook Draft that will be waiting to revise and send when you get to the office

Have some more ideas on how you use Jott? Let me know, I’d love to hear them.

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