I need a phone answering machine that will forward my messages via email
December 11, 2003 5:31 AM   Subscribe

I need a phone answering machine that will forward my messages via email. If the email connection is down, it will have a way to play the messages mechanically like a normal answering machine (blinking red light, press play to hear messages). Other than building one from a Linux box, and not paying a monthly fee to a service, is there a commercial solution box available?

Clarify the first sentence. It will record the incoming message, digitize into .wav or somthing then send out via email through an ethernet port using SMTP across the Internet. If the network connection is down (can't reach the remote SMTP server) it will store locally for playback.
posted by stbalbach to Computers & Internet (9 answers total)
I heard about a box for OSX that you plug a phone line into, and then your Mac becomes an answering machine. It also lets you serve up specific messages and actions (like restarting a process) depending on what number is calling and what numbers are pressed.

You could probably rig something up so that an incoming message is saved as a sound file, the sound file is then run through some sort of speech-to-text processor, and then the text is emailed to you.

Of course the actual implementation is left as an exercise for the user :-)
posted by bshort at 6:30 AM on December 11, 2003

When I had VoIP from vonage the voicemail would do what you're talking about. Of course that was a monthly service charge of $24/mth for service. [unlimited local and 500 minutes]. You could have the service forward a wav file or send a text message [I did the latter so I'd get a text message on my mobile when I got a message at home. Then I could call the voicemail or go to the web to check the message. The emails had the caller id for the caller in the subject line which was pretty cool].

The only reason I dropped the service was I decided I only needed the cellphone and dropped my home service completely.
posted by birdherder at 6:31 AM on December 11, 2003

Response by poster: Yes know about VoIP providers and theres tons of software for running on a computer but really hoping for a standalone answering machine->email gateway box, just plug and go no moving parts small form factor. I would think there would be a demand for somthing like this but maybe not, in which case someone could make a nice little business probably. It is a lot cheaper then paying VoIP providers for the voicemail->email feature.
posted by stbalbach at 6:56 AM on December 11, 2003

This might do what you want, together with a TAPI-compliant voice modem.
posted by cbrody at 7:42 AM on December 11, 2003

Alternatively, there's the way2call Stylus (framed site, click on Products.)
posted by cbrody at 7:47 AM on December 11, 2003

There is a product for OS X called phlink that seems to be able to do what you want.
posted by terrapin at 8:50 AM on December 11, 2003

More on phlink.

I was skeptical about the uses for such a product, but the more I read, the more I like.
posted by terrapin at 8:53 AM on December 11, 2003

If you're handy with unix you could probably set it up using mgetty-voice and a few shell scripts.
posted by fvw at 11:14 AM on December 11, 2003

Would this be the kind of thing Pagoo would do?

It doesn't, AFAIK (but I never mess with the config) send 'em by e-mail -- when I'm online and someone calls, it auto-forwards the call to an 800 number, does a caller-ID on the forwarded call, invites them to leave a message, which is then played back on a pop-up player that alerts me while I'm online. (Pretty slick in a 1999 kind of way.)

Maybe some sort of password-protected audio blog software might work for you -- only you could get in, and you could have it e-mail you each time someone leaves a message?
posted by Vidiot at 11:14 AM on December 11, 2003

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