Ask Sensei

Now you can BYOP (bring your cell phone) when you switch carrier

posted Aug 4, 2014, 3:17 PM by Tomoko Y


If I buy an iPhone with my money, I should be able to use it as long as I want to keep it! National Economic Direct Jeff Zients said, "the first time a We the People petition has led to a legislative fix."

In my opinion, if they know there was a "mistake to fix", they should do it on their own without taking People's effort and time away from something more productive!

Here is the link to the article: "Obama signs cellphone unlocking bill", The Hill

How to get in touch with your friends in Japan

posted Mar 18, 2011, 6:05 PM by Dojo Master

If you have family and friends in Japan.. you've probably connected with them through Skype, Facebook, or Twitter. But did you know that you can call them for free? Right now, AT&T and Verizon is offering free calls and text to Japan. This offer from AT&T will be free from 3/11 (the date of the earthquake) through end of March. Verizon's offer is valid through April 10. (Read more about this at MNSBC article here)

I am not sure why.. but I received an email from Skype Japan that I got 25 minutes free credit voucher for calls within Japan! This voucher is valid calls within Japanese WiFi spots to PSTN lines.

Texts and tweet is nice and quick, but there is something special with hearing the voice of loved ones.

Take care you and your loved ones.

Telephone Reminders - Wakerupper

posted Dec 17, 2010, 4:08 PM by Dojo Master   [ updated Dec 17, 2010, 5:45 PM ]

Nowadays, many of us have smart phones with calendar or alarm features. If you want to remind yourself of something, you can just go to the alarm setting of your iPhone and set the time to ring the phone. Easy, right?

Although people think this service is not necessary because of the reason I mentioned above, but I think this tool, Wakerupper, can be very useful for some purposes.

First of all, it is very simple to use. This page (image on the left) is the single page you need to deal with. Another nice thing about the service is to provide the "personalized message" field. Text-to-speech engine will read up your message for you, so the recipient of the call knows what the reminder was.

Most of us do not have access to set alert on other people's phone, right? So, instead of nagging a person to remember a thing, you can use this tool to remind them for some important (or unimportant) things that you wanted to nag them about. Sweet, huh?

After scheduling the call, you get the option to cancel the reminder, or receive the link to cancel your reminder call later.

I received a reminder call from local number. The personalized message was synthetic but understandable. The after the personalized message played, the recorded voice asked me whether if this message was sent me by error or not. I didn't go through the IVR menu since I actually have ordered the reminder.. but what will happen if it was a mistake?

I thought it will be fun to use this tool with our Broadcasting feature of Brekeke PBX. You can send out message (read by text-to-speech) to everyone at schedule time. You can use this for "meeting reminder" or "clean up fridge otherwise everything will be thrown away on Friday" reminder.

Reference: Brekeke PBX User's Guide - Broadcasting Feature (Section 1.11 pg.13)

Short hold time & bring peace to you

posted Dec 14, 2010, 3:53 PM by Dojo Master   [ updated Dec 17, 2010, 4:17 PM ]

There are other services like this available, like which I wrote in this thread little while ago. This new site is called, GetHuman. I like that GetHuman displays the wait time for each number you plan to call.

Facebook is on the top of their list.. why the heck people are calling Facebook? As of right now, they have 572 minutes average wait time... for 10 hours of on hold time, you can get a lot of things done! Why wait? Seriously!

The site provides the wait time, customer rating, and also other means to contact the particular vendor.

I personally prefer using email as means of my communications. I don't like to be disturbed myself, and I treat people as I would like to be treated (nice, huh?). Now a days, some people are getting better results by using social network as the mean to receive better customer service! (here is an example) But some things will be easier to be handled by a phone calls, I admit. So when you have such need arise, use your time wisely by utilizing a service like GetHuman or

Taking survey?

posted Nov 19, 2010, 5:47 PM by Dojo Master   [ updated Nov 19, 2010, 6:21 PM ]

This site "whatdoestheinterentthink?net" is very interesting. It gives the instant survey back to you for whatever you are interested in knowing.
I wasn't sure whether if everyone is hating Mel Gibson nowadays.. so I just used their service to find out. Well.. I was surprise to see the result. I personally haven't changed about how I feel or what I think of him after all gossips how he hadn't had best behavior with his girlfriend. I guess the rest of the world agrees with me (for once).

Well.. I didn't like the result that shows when I searched "Sarah Palin".. but I knew that world does not agree with me most of times.

Although this service is very fast and interesting, it does not really do anything if you are looking for atypical thing or targeting specific segment of people like your customers.

Web is very useful tool to take survey.. but phone call can be very good way to get a response. For the customers who called in, you can take surveys about the representative they just talked, the service as a whole, etc. With Brekeke PBX's IVR option feature, you can create your own IVR (Interactive Voice Response) system that collects your customer's voice and improve your business and customer experience.

Reference: Brekeke PBX's developer guide for IVR Script 

Using Cell Phones to Unlock your car

posted Oct 25, 2010, 1:43 PM by Dojo Master   [ updated Oct 25, 2010, 1:47 PM ]

Did you know that you could open your locked car using your cell phone? No, I am not talking about the iPhone app. Just using your regular cell phone, yes your non-smart phone! 

I only new "FIFTH" item in their list. The one you can get call directory service without calling (and charged) 411.

I really would like to try using "unlock car lock" trick. I haven't lock myself out from my car for a while.. but will try when I have to ;-) Unfortunately, these trick may not work for the people with newer car that has "key-free" system.

Here is the original article:
Unknown Features of Your Cell Phone

What kind of useful tips we can have for IP-PBX or SIP server?? If you have any good idea, please send email to sipdojo(at)! (Google Site does not allow you to leave "Comments"... why not?)

How to improve the customer experience at Contact Centers

posted Jun 4, 2010, 1:35 PM by Dojo Master   [ updated Jun 23, 2010, 5:18 PM ]

Though many customer service centers have improved their phone systems in past few decades, they usually still require callers to wait on hold for a long time. A while ago, I stumbled upon a website called that provides a nice solution to this problem. Instead of waiting on hold, this site allows you to hang up the phone and it will then call you when a representative answers.

First, you enter the 800 or 866 number you are calling, plus your phone number. Then you will receive a call to your phone number from the 800 number that you have entered. When you do this, you will hear Lucy's greeting and then just wait for "her" to tell you that someone has picked up on the other end.

For example, earlier this week, I needed to call one of the credit card companies where I have an account. Credit card companies are notorious for having some of the worst customer service telephone systems. So I gave "Lucy" a try.

When my call to the credit card company was finally answered by a live person, the representative on the other end was asking "Are you calling XXX Bank?" I wasn't entirely sure what the representative heard when she picked up my call — maybe Lucy was talking to her, too?? But she could hear me just fine, so I talked with her directly.

When I told the representative what I needed to be done, she put me back on hold. So I put her on Lucyphone again, then hung up my phone. When she returned to the line, I got a call from Lucy. I picked up the call and again I was talking to the rep. Very nice! 

There are many good services like Lucy that are trying to fill the holes that contact center telephone systems haven't been able fill on their own. Nowadays (at least in the US) the collaboration of computer and telephony services like this is something we have come to look for and expect.

Share this story!

The gadget spec URL could not be found

Making a free international call?

posted May 20, 2010, 11:50 AM by Dojo Master   [ updated Jun 8, 2010, 2:44 PM ]

About 15 years ago, back when I was living in Japan, phone calls to the US used to cost about 100 Japanese Yen (about $1) per minute. Yes, the good Lord NTT was making lots of money out of my calls back then! Nowadays, we have many options other than paying Lord NTT.

Today, there are many options that people can use to make international calls for free. I recently found a website called EvaPhone that lets you make free international calls directly from their website. The duration of the free call depends on where you are calling. (Here is the list of countries and the length of time that you can have a free conversation.) You should note that —even though I couldn't find this info on their website— I've read that they only allow two free calls per day. So in total, I can have 20 seconds of free calling to Tokyo! But I can't complain — after all, it is free.

I wanted to try out this service, so I called a US number and it worked! It had some issues with DTMF, but I think you should be able to use it for regular conversations. Then I tried calling my old friend in Japan at 3:00 in the morning, but unfortunately it said, "This call direction is not supported," on the EvaPhone screen. Too bad, I couldn't wake the poor guy up!

Despite some issues that I have found, I still think this is a good service. The fact that you don't need to install anything to use the service is great. You just go to their website to make a call. I'm always suspicious of "free" services on the internet that ask you to install stuff on your computer anyway, so it's nice that this service doesn't require anything like that. 

Of course, using Brekeke products is also a very good way to make free calls. You can call anyone for free as long as the person you are calling has an internet connection with SIP capability. The product works as the same way as email — it doesn't matter where the person is physically located.

Besides the free calls that you can make, with Brekeke PBX in place, you can connect all of your family and friends under one PBX system. PBX might sound like a service that is designed for an office environment, but there are many ways that families can enjoy PBX as well.

Here are some examples of how your family can use Brekeke PBX:
  • Your mom can use the call recording feature whenever she makes important calls —such as to an insurance company— and then save the recorded files in case any problems arise later.
  • Your sister can have all of her "unwanted" calls forwarded to her voicemail (which can then be directed to her email inbox), but she will still receive all "wanted" calls directly on her cell phone.
  • You can set up a conference call to coordinate everyone's schedule for your Christmas gathering or for any other holiday or occasion. Or you could just make a group call to everyone whenever you can't get together for occasions like this.
  • Using the call monitoring feature in tutoring mode, you can help your friend ask a girl out for a date without her being able to hear your voice. What could possibly go wrong? ;-)
There have been so many occasions in my life when I have wished that I had Brekeke PBX features. The only thing you need is a PC to install Brekeke PBX, and a SIP phone to make the call. If you don't want to invest in a SIP hardphone (physical phone), then you can just use a free softphone (software application that you install on your PC or smart phone).

Here is the link to our Quick Start Guide for Brekeke PBX.

Click-To-Call (CTC) with speech-to-text function!

posted Apr 7, 2010, 7:16 PM by Dojo Master   [ updated Jun 8, 2010, 2:14 PM ]

As I was tweeting last night, I found that Hamilton Relay's FREE service, Hamilton WebCaptel, is amazing! This service allows you to see your conversation typed on a web page as you talk on the phone. Just create a free account, and you're ready to go! Then when you initiate or receive a call to your specified number, that call will be recorded as text.

Technology improves the way we live, and this service certainly can do just that. It's not just for people who are hearing-impaired, but also for non-native speakers who have trouble understanding people over the phone, or just for people who want to keep text records of their conversations.

Hamilton Relay's Corporate Website:
Hamilton WebCaptel:

Have you used Gimp? (off topic)

posted Jan 18, 2010, 5:02 PM by Dojo Master   [ updated Jun 8, 2010, 2:40 PM ]

Gimp is a free graphic editor that I am using to replace my copy of Adobe CS software. I have been using Macromedia Studio for the past seven years, and it got to the point that upgrading the application really didn't make sense for me any more — the expense is just too great for what I need to do with it. Besides, when I called customer service to ask about upgrading the software, my experience wasn't exactly a positive one. :-(

I tried using Gimp a couple of years ago, and it made me re-think whether or not I should continue to use the old version of Macromedia's product. Today I tried editing one of the image files for the Dojo site, and I have to say that my experience with Gimp was very positive! The end result was satisfactory as well.

I used one of the online image editors —rsizr— which was recommended by one of our engineers. It was pretty good, but I did see minor deterioration to the image quality. Still, it's a very cool product that's worth looking into.



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