Jott is a new service that lets you make a note to yourself even when you don't have hands free to write something down. You phone Jott on your cell phone, record a message up to 15 seconds, and Jott will run the message through a voice-to-text application and e-mail you the results.
I've heard of people using their own voice mail for this kind of thing. You're driving along and remember that you need to schedule a meeting with Bill to go over the quarterly reports. You don't want to forget, so you get out your cell phone, call your own voice mail, and leave a message to yourself: "Call Bill to schedule a meeting on quarterly reports."
Jott gives you a purpose-built mailbox just for messages to yourself. It also adds speech recognition, so your voice mails to yourself get transcribed and e-mailed to yourself. Each message, or "Jott," can be up to 15 seconds long, but you can string together as many as you like. So you can dictate your Great American Novel to yourself in Jott, so long as you can do it in 15-second increments.
I tested out Jott by reading my to-do list into it, and it did a good job of translating my speech into text, with most of the messages transcribed well enough that I could easily figure out what I meant to say. If you don't like the way Jott transcribes your speech, you can listen to a recording of the original message you left.
Jott e-mails transcribed messages to you, at an e-mail address you give it when you sign up for the service. It also stores the messages in its in-box, which it calls a "JottBox." You can "JottCast" messages to other people by creating a contact list of your associates' phone numbers and e-mail addresses.
The service is currently in beta, and it's free.
I could have used this service last week at South by Southwest. Tuesday morning, I had a million ideas for articles and blog posts, but I also needed to pack my bags and check out of my hotel. If I'd known about Jott, I could have put my cell phone in my pocket, hung my earpiece off my ear, and dictated the messages to myself while I packed. As it stands now, most of those ideas are forgotten and lost. What a tragic loss for humanity!