Quick update: Yesterday I mentioned that I'll be at the Plymouth (Michigan) library this Saturday at 10 a.m. What I neglected to mention is that I'll also be at the Detroit Public Library this Saturday at 2 p.m.! So if you can't make it to one, try catching me at the other. Everyone who shows up goes home with something cool.
Back to business. One phone, one phone number, right? Actually, it's possible to add a second line, which can be useful in all kinds of ways.
There's a good free option in the form of Google Voice, but I'm going to make the case for a better option that's crazy cheap: ZDNet Academy is offering a lifetime subscription to second-line service Hushed for $20 with promo code CNETHUSHED20.
If you've never used a second-line app before, it works like this: You choose a number to use with Hushed. When someone calls that number, your phone rings (duh). To make a call, you use the Hushed app instead of the stock dialer. Update: I was just informed by Hushed that porting in is not included with this offer. My apologies for the error.
Messaging works pretty much the same way, and Hushed offers some noteworthy capabilities in this side of the app: group chat, burnable messages (meaning they're deleted after being read) and, perhaps most important, end-to-end encrypted messaging. That puts Hushed on par with Signal, except that the former has "no affiliation with any major corporations and [is] in no way beholden to anyone," according to a company rep.
Hushed also offers features like auto-replies to text messages, custom voicemail, Slack integration (you can send texts directly from it) and support for syncing messages, voicemail and the like to a Dropbox account.
Stuff like that helps explain why I can recommend paying $20 for Hushed instead of $0 for Google Voice. I've used both, and while the latter can definitely get the job done, I find it confusing in places.
It's worth noting, however, that this lifetime subscription limits you to "a combination of 6,000 SMS or 1,000 phone minutes per year." That's probably more than enough for most users, but Google Voice has no such limitations.
I won't say Hushed is perfect, but for $20, for life, it's a killer deal.
Update, April 4: Clarified information regarding porting in an existing number.
Metal Gear Solid V: Just $4
Here's something you almost never see: A game with a perfect rating. But that's what GameSpot awarded Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain back in 2015. Granted, that was for the PS4 version, but we all know PC games are even better than their console counterparts, right?
They're certainly cheaper. For a limited time, GamesPlanet has Metal Gear Solid V for just $3.99. It normally runs $20, and of course it was probably triple that when it first debuted.
Metal Gear Solid V is an open-world tactical action game. In addition to GameSpot's glowing review, it scored an impressive 91 Metacritic score. Users were a little less enthusiastic overall, but, hey, $4 to find out for yourself!
The purchase nets you a Steam key, so you'll need to be a Steam user to play the game.
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