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Sun, 21 Dec 2003
Solutions for voice mail?
Rajesh also had a pieces on Computer Telephony Integration (CTI). We had a CTI system in the startup that I worked at when we moved to Seattle. It required a dedicated PC with a special hardware card that connected to the phone line, as well as custom software that could talk to Outlook. When it was working, you could get caller ID notification on your computer, and you could control voice mail playback via the software. You could also dial from your Outlook address book. While it took some of the sting out of dealing with the telephone, it still really could have done more.

Today, the world is changing. For one, I'm on the Mac now. I haven't seen anything like our old phone system, but I haven't looked that hard because I don't need a server or anything like that. It seems like what I need is a combination of Parliant's PhoneValet, which could take care of doing the Caller ID, and address book integration, and Vonage's ability to deliver voice mail as e-mail with a sound attachment. If you have a decent sound player for the attachment, then you would have a reasonable UI for dealing with voice messages. Since PhoneValet talks to the Mac's system wide AddressBook, you might actually have a prayer of having all your address information in a single place, since you could use iSync to keep cell phones/PDA's up to date, as well as using Mail.app to do your e-mail. If the Thunderbird folks could figure out how to sync the ThunderBird address book with the Macintosh Address book, the world would be good. I just started using Mail.app to do my OSAF e-mail, and there are some nice features (maybe a separate post on this will come soon).

The telephone is very intrusive, and more often than not I'd prefer not to answer it. But the thought of pushing the voicemail button, entering my access code, and navigating through a long rambling messsage with number keys on the keypad frequently causes me to answer the phone when I'd rather not. Anything that makes it easier to deal with voice mail is an improvement in my book. Oddly enough, I find instant messaging and IRC to be less intrusive. It'll be interesting to see how I feel about voice and video tied to IM once I can get the bandwidth cap lifted on my DSL...

[23:42] | [computers] | # | TB | F | G | 0 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post
Coffeehouses as the internet of the Enlightenment
Rajesh Jain has some observations on coffeehouses as the internet of the Enlightenment area. All I can say is that I'm glad that I live now and not then. After almost four years of living in Seattle, I'm still not a regular coffee drinker, much less an avid one. Truth be told, I can't really tell the difference between expensive Starbucks coffee and cheap no name coffee. Couple that with being lactose intolerant (yes, I know, soy or rice milk), and coffeehouses have little to no appeal for me. I'll go for coffee if someone wants to go, because I like to be social, but it's not something I'd choose to do just by myself.

As far as combining coffehouses with today's internet, most of the coffeehouses in the Seattle area are on one of the big (expensive) wireless networks. So the coffee capital hasn't figured out that information wants to be free.

[23:18] | [computers/internet] | # | TB | F | G | 3 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post

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Ted Leung FOAF Explorer

I work at the Open Source Applications Foundation (OSAF).
The opinions expressed here are entirely my own, not those of my employer.

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