On Monday, December 21, 2015 at 11:23:57 AM UTC-5, burfordTjustice wrote:
my machine will answer on the 4th ring if it is empty and on the first ring if there is 1 or more unread messages on it.
This is so that if you want to retrive your messages when away from home, you can call your own number. If it picks up on the first ring, you know there are messagesto retrieve, so you enter the code and it will play them back
If it waits till four rings, then you know thee are no messages so you can hang up on the third ring before it answers and "save on the toll"
On Mon, 21 Dec 2015 13:26:38 -0500, burfordTjustice
No ifs or buts about it. I bought my first "Code-a-Phone" answering
machine back in the late seventies for exactly that reason - and it
was not cheap - but cheaper than paying an answering service - and
that was before cell phones, when mobile telephone service was also
I'd call in from a customer's phone, or a pay phone, to check
messages. The "toll saver" saved a lot of change when using the pay
phone (you DO remember those, right??)
On Mon, 21 Dec 2015 13:18:38 -0500, burfordTjustice
If you are not home and whant to know if someone was trying to reach
you, you have no other choice - other than going home. Lots of people
use a phone and answering system for business purposes and don't give
out their cell number to just anyone - they use the landline for
business use, and the answereing system as an answering service -and
call in from cell or elsewhere to check messages on a regular or
semi-regular basis. VERY common - whether YOU would ever find a need
to do so or not.
Years ago, I had some software to implement an answering machine
with a PC (and modem). When a call arrived, it could be configured
to email a notification *or* WAV file of the incoming message to
an email address. This was handy when I was traveling as I didn't
have to tell people I was traveling, where I was, etc. And, didn't
have to keep checking the machine to see if anyone had called
since the last check!
It's relatively easy to detect "no message" as most folks drop the connection
before the OGM has completed.
The problem with this solution was that it was too much of a "toy";
having to set aside an entire PC (tower, keyboard, display) -- big,
power hungry, noisey (fan), etc. -- for the functionality of an
An answering machine is "worth" ~20 cubic inches, ~4 oz and ~2 Watts.
Anything beyond that is "waste". In the timeframe when I was using
this, that was closer to a cubic foot (or two), 10 pounds and 100+
Today, an answering machine with those capabilities is "worth"
considerably less (size/power). But, getting to that point with a
flexible solution is tricky...
When we sort through our messages, we sometimes encounter "dumb"
robodialers that just recite their "payload" without regard to
whether or not there is anything listening. The local public
library is like this. And, must know how stupid their approach
is as the repeat the message several times -- in English
and Spanish -- in the hope that ONE of them is caught by
<whatever> is "listening"
It means a PC needs to be on 24/7. And, to not be a "superfluous
PC", needs to be the one you *want* to use for <whatever else>.
Nowadays, you can find small, low power machines (I have some that
run on less than 10W that I have "up" 24/7/365). That wasn't the
case decades ago.
I just rescued a pair of SFF PC's (Optiplex 745's) one of which will
replace the tower that's been our HTPC/DVD player. They were chosen
for their small size and (relatively) low power consumption. Plus
the fact that I can swap out the DVD player easily if it fails,
over time (this was a concern with the original tower -- I could
replace the half-height optical drive with another far easier than
buying a new "DVD player").
But, any PC based solution ties my hands with the approach I can
take to the problem. What happens when that PC dies? Will the
PC available 5 years hence support the same peripherals that
I'm using for that feature? The same physical busses, etc.?
And, what about the OS? If I have to code on bare iron, then
the PC is the LEAST desirable hardware platform!
So, instead, I'm pursuing a VoIP gateway sort of approach:
an appliance that has an FXO port on one side and an RJ45 on
the other. Bury all the telco interface (hardware) in the
device and just deliver network packets to my software.
This allows my software to run on anything that I choose -- as
long as there is a way to "get to a network connection".
But, it adds other complexities that a PC-as-answering_machine
doesn't have to address -- mainly latency. The gateway has
to buffer audio content before delivering it to the network.
It has to then compete with other network traffic and travel
to my "machine" (whatever it may be), percolating up through
the network stack before my software can "see" it. This
all takes time. And, can vary from one instant to the next!
In an exaggerated example, imagine your phone buffered up
entire sentences from the calling party before delivering them
to your ear. You'd *hear* everything the caller said. But,
while you are hearing them, the caller is wondering why you're
not SAYING anything -- he/she stopped speaking moments ago
and you've not yet replied (because you are only, just now!,
hearing those statements).
"No free lunch." To gain some measure of independence/isolation,
I have to assume some additional design complexities.
*UNLESS* I can get my code to run *in* the VoIP gateway!
There, it could access the incoming analog audio as it
arrives -- without having to buffer it and transfer it
over the network...
And, when you use an answering machine, they're too stupid to WAIT FOR
THE BEEP. Some or all (depending on length) of the message isn't recorded.
BTW, I once tried one of those "challenge / response" systems, where the
caller gets a "please press 1" message. Using it made the "dumb
robodialer" problem worse (considering that the ring-ring-message-beep
sequence becomes ring-ring-messsage-ring-ring-message-beep).
1 day until the winter celebration (Friday December 25, 2015 12:00:00 AM
for 1 day).
The more amusing cases are the (real) folks who ramble on and on -- until
the machine hangs up on them!
We had a friend who would call after having a few drinks. One time,
she talked to the machine for so long that the *tape* (back when
you had dual cassettes in the machine) ran out! (half an hour or more!)
Handling incoming calls -- wanted and unwanted -- is an amusingly difficult
Historically, it's been such a ubiquitous medium that it was hard to
impose any rules/constraints on callers; someone legitimate might
call and be incapable of complying with whatever "system" you'd
[I had a scheme35 years ago where you had to key in a number.
Worked great -- except for my folks (who had a dial-pulse telephone!]
As a result, I've decided that *you* have to bear the responsibility
for making it work; you can't just "impose" something on your callers
because they're not accustomed to "having to comply" with a
dictatorial phone system!
[How many folks lean on '0' when faced with endless voice menus?]
OTOH, with email, I can "force" certain contacts to use PEM if
they want to correspond with me -- without imposing that on
When I was home, I could usually tell (from the caller ID) when a
legitimate call came in. With that "press 1", system most of the time it
would be me that pressed 1. If I was not home, the message was often
missed (or half-missed when the caller wouldn't wait for the beep).
A lot of the times I have to deal with such a system, there'll be
multiple menu items, given unpleasantly slowly, none of which are what I
Currently: happy holidays (Friday December 25, 2015 12:00:00 AM for 1
I find it more distressing that the choices don't always line up with
what *I* would like them to be. So, I've developed a habit when
dealing with these things: as soon as I hear an option that is
better than the best option I've heard so far (which may have been
"none"), I throw out that many fingers to "remember" the option
number. When I've heard the entire menu, then I press the button
indicated by my current "finger display".
Too often, I've taken an early choice only to discover that
waiting would have exposed a *better* choice!
(sigh) Yet another example of how businesses have so much
contempt for their customers -- pushing off THEIR costs onto
On Friday, December 25, 2015 at 1:58:08 PM UTC-5, Don Y wrote:
verizon is the absolute worst! their goal is to discorage the customer calling so they just go away.
they have endless menus, with multiple choices, then when you finally get to the one you want, it says all techs are busy please try again later and hangs up on you.
fios wwas a absolute nightmare.
which is why i got ri of it..........
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