Jeff's Blog

My daily (well I am trying to update daily now) weblog covering topics such as wind power, embedded electronics, software development, CNC Machines and some fun stuff like travel and sailing.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Free Software to Reduce Your Cellphone Bill

I am a long time (decades long) user of Verizon Wireless which I have used since they were locally called Bell Atlantic. They are expensive but there coverage is second to none and they work in my house where few other carriers get a signal.

I currently have four phones on my family plan, used by myself and three of my children in three different states. With a data plan on my Smartphone, the bills get up there pretty quickly. That's why I was happy to hear about Verizon Wireless's new Friends and Family plan, which allows you to pick five or ten frequently called out of network numbers and add them to a list for free calling.

While this feature has been out since February, I only just heard of it. Enthused at being able to save some money and moving to a cheaper plan with fewer minutes, I call Verizon Wireless and asked about the plan, and verified I was able to use it. I then asked them to put the top ten phone numbers which were eating up most of my minutes onto my plan. The service person on the other line said that he couldn't do that, but I could figure it out myself on their website. Well, I logged into "My Verizon" online and it wasn't obvious which callers were the ones to pick because only call details are provided. They did have an option to download call details as a spreadsheet, but not being a spreadsheet expert I didn't have a quick solution.

Instead, I wrote a program which associated itself to the spreadsheet files, and totaled them up by number, from biggest user to smallest. It also shows all call details and has reverse number lookup capability in case you can't remember who is who by number alone. A charting tab also shows your top 10 callers in a pie chart.

This software worked well for me, so now I am making available to others who may need this functionality at no charge. Here is the download page: . Please try it out and let me know how it works for you.