UPDATE: I just tried this again and it works fine (as of November 9, 2011). One change from the instructions below. If you are getting the Hello World message, you likely added a new application using Google App Engine Launcher (a program you install in the instructions). To fix this, simply click Add an Existing Application and browse to where you unzipped and edited the files. Then deploy. Happy calling!
I often find myself wishing I could schedule phone calls using my Google Voice account. If this were possible, I would not have to worry about being at the particular phone that has the Caller ID my caller anticipates. For example, let’s say I want to schedule a call with my dissertation advisor/mentor. In his phone, the number that is saved for me is my Google Voice number. This is partly so that I can easily record calls with him since there is so much dense information being discussed. He has agreed to allow me to do that any time, and Google Voice has a pleasant warning that call recording has begun.
Since he is a busy professor, we often schedule calls around his flexibility. Let’s say we wanted to schedule a call for a certain time one afternoon. This means that I have to remember, usually with some sort of calendar reminder. This is easily accomplished by using the reminders in Google Calendar. But what if Google Calendar could dial the number for me, too? That would make things a bit easier and my life a bit more productive.
Enter GVCallScheduler. GVCallScheduler allows you to do just that. You enter a certain code with the number to be called, and it initiates the Google Voice call for you at the scheduled time. So now instead of me having to manually dial my professor’s number at the designated time, the call happens automatically. Easy!
Here is how to install GVCallScheduler:
(NB: All links open in a new window to make it easier to work on it while not losing this page)
1. Sign up for an account with Google App Engine. This should be as easy as entering your existing Google account password.
2. Create a new application by clicking create an application.
3. Name your application something memorable, and write down the name.
4. Download the Google App Engine SDK (Software Developer Kit) for Python. Make sure you download the Python one, not Java. Download whichever one works for your computer, be it Mac OS X, Windows, or Linux. The rest of this post uses Mac OS X as an example but the instructions do not differ for either other OS. You need to install the software also. You’ll need this later on.
5. Download the latest GVCallScheduler code.
6. Unzip the zip file. I unzipped it into a folder on my desktop to make it easy.
7. Open the folder and edit the file called config. The file will appear not to have a file extension. That’s ok, we need it that way. On Mac OS X I used Textedit to edit it. On Windows, I used Notepad or Notepad ++. Any of the above are fine, just make sure it does not append a file extension when you finish editing. Here are two screenshots to help you see a better explanation and an exemplar. (click to make them larger)
8. Edit the file app.yaml making sure to enter the exact name of your new app. This is what I told you to write down in step 3. Enter only the name, not the rest (i.e. if you named it coolcalls, enter just that. DO NOT ENTER coolcalls.appspot.com).
9. Minimize your web browser. Open the Google App Engine SDK. You installed this in step 4. Your screen will look something like this.
10. Click File -> New Application. Name the app the same name you called it earlier when you created it online. Click Choose to navigate to the folder you unzipped in step 6.
11. Click Deploy on the Google App Engine SDK main screen. You should see a terminal window (or cmd window) running commands. This takes a minute or so. Be patient.
12. Visit your app page by typing in http://YOURAPPNAME.appspot.com – you will need to authorize it once.
13. Refresh your app page (YOURAPPNAME.appspot.com) and it should say “GVScheduler is up and running – OK…”
Making it work
Now that you have it set up, we need to walk through how to schedule calls.
Simply add a calendar event at whatever time you want the call to originate. Add this phrase to either the title or description.
In this format GVCall=18035551212
You will notice my screenshot doesn’t use that, but it’s a good idea.
So that’s how to schedule calls with GVCallScheduler! Good luck. If something doesn’t work, read the directions again. If it does work, let me know in the comments.
Phone booth image credit Mike Cattrell.