Answering machines that call or email me.
August 22, 2006 2:42 PM   Subscribe

Are there any reasonably priced answering machines that can send email or can call me when a message is left on it?

I guess one alternative is getting a really cheap PC and using Asterisk to make an uber-answering machine that can do this. But I'm looking for a simpler solution that I can use take calls at home, and somehow let me know when a message has been left on it.
posted by jaimev to Computers & Internet (10 answers total)
it's a big of an extreme solution...but Vonage emails you and you can listen to the messages from their site (in mp3 format, no less).
posted by nadawi at 2:50 PM on August 22, 2006

I can't imagine that there are too many physical answering machines that do this, since (for anything but notifying you via an alternate phone number) it'd require the answering machine to have network access. There are a slew of computer apps that can do it, though -- something like EZVoice, Advanced Call Central, FaxTalk Messenger Pro, or any of the other ones out there would do the trick. The only downsides are that (a) your computer has to have a voice-compatible modem (I can't remember the last desktop I had that had a modem in it!), and (b) you have to leave your machine on 24/7; the upsides are that (a) good modems cost pennies these days, and (b) most of these apps let you do clever things, like set up multiple voice mailboxes which route the messages differently depending on who they're destined for.

All that being said, we went with Vonage. :)
posted by delfuego at 3:08 PM on August 22, 2006

eFax's free service is consistently awesome for receiving faxes and voicemail via email. Maybe you could set up your phone to forward there if there's no answer?
posted by trevyn at 3:41 PM on August 22, 2006

Vonage can also email you a wav of the voicemail. I changed my settings to do that when I got tired of logging into their site every time I got a message.
posted by cabingirl at 4:39 PM on August 22, 2006

You may want to set up an Asterisk server on an old computer that's connected to your broadband and phone line. Software is free, and if you have an old PC with a modem, well, that's free too!

(a description of a conf file shows that it will email you an audio file if you set it up correctly.)
posted by hatsix at 4:43 PM on August 22, 2006

Trinsic is another phone carrier that sends email when you get a voicemail message (in addition to other cool features), and they're a traditional POTS service, not all internetty like Vonage. Plus they're very affordable.
posted by Eater at 10:15 PM on August 22, 2006

Pretty much any VOIP service, not just Vonage, will e-mail you your voicemail messages. I've had three different VOIP services and they all have the feature.
posted by kindall at 10:36 PM on August 22, 2006

In fact there's a free VOIP service that claims to give you a real US phone number and voice-to-email capability. You could have your phone company set up "forward on busy" and "forward on no answer" to a FreeDigits number.
posted by kindall at 11:16 PM on August 22, 2006

NetZero has free voicemail with local numbers that will email you an alert. Great.
posted by JamesMessick at 2:55 AM on August 23, 2006

For what it is worth, Sunrocket will also email you when you have a voicemail.
posted by Sheppagus at 1:34 PM on August 23, 2006

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