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This MacNews Category Review looks at telephonic software for the Mac. Products covered include Address Office, Call Recorder, First Class, Gizmo, HiSoundDuty, KeyPlanning, Nofelet, Ovalab Phlink, PhonePro, PhoneValet, POLE Contact, Skype, SOFT GSM, TRX Recorder, WebEX Meeting Center and WellPhone Mac.
Address Office by Centromedia is a multiplatform telephone and address book that allows you to manage addresses, phone numbers, URLs, AIM, ICQ and Email addresses. It's integrated with the Internet, allowing you to connect with web pages and send email. The program also helps you to dial phone numbers by reading them out loud (through the speaker) or through your modem. Address Office offers support for international options, plug-ins and statistics.
Call Recorder is Mac OS X software that lets Mac users record conversations with Skype. It allows you to start and stop the recording, as well as adjust recording options.
First Class by Centrinity is more of a corporate product than one targeted to individual users. It offers one mailbox for e-mail, fax and voice mail that can be managed from your (via client or browser), telephone, cell phone, and Palm OS devices. Together with the groupware solution powered by FirstClass core architecture, it offers self-service communication, collaboration, conferencing, knowledge management, and calendaring.
SIPphone's Gizmo Project uses your Internet connection (broadband or dial-up) to make calls to other computers. With inexpensive add-ons like CallIn and CallOut, you can talk to any telephone -- mobile or landline -- on the planet.
With CallOut, you can call any landline or mobile phone with CallOut Credits for 1.8 cents a minute. You can enter any number into Gizmo Project and dial away. You only pay for the calls you make, and your credits only expire if you donâ€™t use your account for six months. There are no monthly fees, no connection fees, and all billing is per minute.
If you want to receive calls from mobile phones and landlines, you can use the US$5-per-month Gizmo CallIn merchant services and have a phone number in over 50 cities in the US and UK. Your CallIn number goes with you wherever you roam. Your Gizmo Project account has two identifiers. The first is your Gizmo name. The second is the SIP number, which is automatically assigned to your account. With this number, VoIP networks can reach your Gizmo account free.
Access Numbers are a gateway to make calls to your Gizmo from the old phone system. With a simple, two-step dialing procedure, anyone on any phone can give your Gizmo a ring, according to the folks at Project Gizmo. You can make calls to and receive calls from VoIP networks all over the world, including Asterisk-based networks. The Gizmo Project network provides a free conference calling system that lets you create conference rooms on the fly.
The Gizmo software has call recording functionality built in. Some podcasters are using Gizmo Project to create audio shows. Multiple hosts or guests can take advantage of the free conference calling feature so participants can be in remote locations. The Blast feature allows for callers to play audio clips and sound effects during a call as a radio DJ would. Stock sounds are shipped with Gizmo Project but WAV files can be loaded into the software, customizing them for any audio need. Gizmo Project is supported by a directory and a firewall and NAT traversal functionality.
HiSoundDuty is Japanese software that enables sound recording on your hard disk drive for more than 24 hours. It's available for telephone or tele talk records.
Key Planning TELWatcher Professional CTI System is a Japanese CTI system that connects telephones to databases. It's possible to install it without changing the existing business phone environment. Supported adapters include [ISDN] Aterm series, INS Mate series, MN-128 series, ALEX series, [Analog] Aloha PC1 and FS-A01.
Ovalab Phlink is telephonic software that offers such features as call snooping, advanced multiple voice mailbox features and remote control of Elgatoâ€™s EyeTV. Itâ€™s also a Universal Binary release, which means it will run natively on PowerPC and Intel Macs.
When call snooping is active, Phlink records all the conversations that take place on the phone line, regardless of whether Phlink has answered the phone or not. This lets you keep a record of all conversations for later playback. Call snooping works with any call that takes place on the phone line, including conference calls, and can play a periodic beep to notify other parties that the call is being recorded. Call recordings are stored as audio files on the userâ€™s Mac: they can be labeled, annotated, browsed and sorted using Phlink, and theyâ€™re even indexed for Spotlight searches for users of Mac OS X 10.4 or higher.
Phlinkâ€™s call logging features let you instantly see when a person last called, and return the call at the touch of a button. Phlink supports 10-digit and 11-digit dialing as well as international dialing, and automatically picks all the necessary prefixes and country codes when dialing international phone numbers.
Phlinkâ€™s Voice Mailbox Setup wizard can create an unlimited number of voice mailboxes. For each mailbox, users can record their own greeting and choose which email address to forward the voicemail messages to. Users who prefer to check voicemail by remotely dialing into Phlink, rather than receiving the messages by email, can retrieve voicemail messages over the phone. Through an interactive menu, users can also change their current greeting, switch between standard and temporary greetings and modify their email forwarding options.
Users of Elgatoâ€™s software for digital video recording can schedule recordings remotely over the phone, by calling home and typing a secret code on the telephone keypad. If you forgot to tell EyeTV to record your favorite show, call Phlink and tell it to record it.
PhonePro from Bing Software lets you create your own telephony applications. It's telephony development software that uses an icon-based scripting interface. Each one of PhonePro's icons represents an action or function, such as picking up the phone, dialing a number, recording or playing a sound.
Users simply drag the icons from their palettes onto a work space and arrange them in a flow chart fashion to create full function telephony applications. PhonePro ships with prepackaged scripts that users can run out of the box or customize to their specifications. PhonePro is also available in a Runtime version, which executes scripts developed using the full version of PhonePro. Plus, developers can use PhonePro Runtime to create custom double-clickable applications.
Parliant makes a variety of PhoneValet products. The PhoneValet Message Center is telephony software for small businesses, homes and home offices. In addition to automated dialing, call screening, call blocking, call logging, call recording and forwarding messages via email, it has an unlimited number of voicemail boxes, the ability to transfer incoming calls and permit any caller to initiate Mac-based remote control processes from anywhere in world.
PhoneValet offers unlimited voicemail boxes or announcement choices. Any caller can remotely control PhoneValet to execute AppleScript or Unix shell scripts that trigger on-demand information via text-to-speech (weather or stock updates, iCal events), control X-10 enabled cameras, or play archived news podcasts among many other applications. Each voicemail box can now transfer calls to another extension or cause an associated AppleScript to execute, as well as record a message. The new call transfer feature is dependent upon available phone company or PBX services options.
PhoneHerald Broadcast Dialer with Interactive Voice Response (IVR) is a product thatshares the telephony architecture of Parliantâ€™s PhoneValet Message Center and offers the productivity edge and convenience of automatic dialing, personalized message delivery and response collection for businesses and institutions of any size. PhoneHerald applications include medical appointment reminders, school attendance calling and parental surveys, club meeting and membership reminders, small business service pick-up notifications and maintenance calls, and emergency response alerts. Itâ€™s a combination of USB phone adapter hardware and Mac OS X software.
PhoneValet Anywhere is an extension to the PhoneValet Message Center telecommunications hub. Equipped with PhoneValet Anywhere, anyone using the PhoneValet Message Center can access PhoneValet messages and reports, call log and phone book information from their Mac through an Internet connection anywhere in the world. The software also supports caller ID popups that announce caller names and numbers as calls come in, and Mac users can hear voice announcements for those incoming calls.
PhoneValet Podcast is also a software product extension to PhoneValet Message Center 3.0. It comes in a bundle that includes the VST edition of SoundSoap 2 and Peak Express from BIAS. With PhoneValet Podcast, podcasters have an all-in-one bundle of three OS X compatible tools that capture, edit and enhance telephone recordings for interview results. One is, of course,PhoneValet Message Center 3.0. The second is SoundSoap 2, which â€œscrubsâ€ podcast phone interview audio clean.
SoundSoap 2 eliminates or reduces just about any type of audio noise without degrading the original audio. Along with hiss, hum and rumble removal, version 2â€™s Click & Crackle removal is for vinyl LPs and other sources, while the Enhance feature is for added â€œsparkle.â€
Since audio may suffer from lost frequencies before and after the restoration process, professional restoration engineers will often perform a procedure of equalization, compression and further processing to bring the audio â€œback to life,â€ according to the folks at BIAS. SoundSoap 2â€™s Enhance feature is designed to do this, as well. Itâ€™s based on a multi-band compressor and equalization algorithm. Whatâ€™s more, an integrated limiter is designed to work behind the scenes to ensure the audio never clips, even when boosting the Enhance slider to its maximum position.
The third app is Peak Express, a streamlined edition of the stereo audio editor for the Mac. It offers Digital Signal Processing (DSP) support for Sample Rate Conversion, Invert, Fade In/Out, Gain Envelope and Normalize. Supported file formats including AIFF, WAV, QuickTime, Dual Mono and Apple Lossless Advanced QuickTime and DV clip support, also imports CD audio.
POLE Contact is Mac OS X software that manages individual and company files, a file of transactions and in each record a history of all actions (telephone calls, letters, etc.)
Skype enables voice calling via the Internet. It sports free Skype to Skype calling and conference calling for up to five participants, cross-platform communications, presence and personalization features, and the pre-pay SkypeOut service. The latter allows you to call any landline or mobile worldwide for the price of a local call.
Thereâ€™s also Skypeâ€™s Global Directory, a user-built global Skype contacts directory with a variety of search options and an add-a-contact tool. Other features include: cross platform instant messaging; the ability to reference or discard call and message history; the capacity to manage availability and view status of contacts; a variety of customization options; the ability to send and receive files via Skype; Multiple Skype accounts on one computer; and end-to-end encryption for superior privacy
SoftGSM is a software GSM-modem. You install the software, connect your handset to the USB port of your portable computer and you are ready to use mobile data. The product works with the majority of mobile phones, Nokia, Siemens, Motorola & Ericsson telephones. SoftGSM also supports HSCD and GPRS telephones which can enable faster transfer rates (network dependent). SoftGSM also allows the storing of mobile phonebooks onto the computer. If you lose your phone, the numbers can be transferred onto a new sim card via the USB cable connection
TRX Recorder is a Mac OS X compatible phone call recorder program for desktop computers. It lets you manually record telephone calls on a phone line connected to a voice modem, a telephony card or with a sound card connector lead.
WebEX Meeting Center
WebEX Meeting Center provides real-time global communication and collaboration services with integrated voice, data and videoconferencing. WebEx online meeting and web conferencing services can be accessed using any web browser and telephone and can integrate into corporate web sites. In addition, the WebEx architecture enables a set of capabilities with scalability and extensibility. These capabilities include: application and desktop sharing, full screen mock-ups, PPT animation, web browser sharing, live video, teleconferencing, VOIP, chat, file transfer and whiteboard capabilities. WebEx services run on the proprietary MediaTone Network, which is designed to provide enterprise level security to ensure effective web-based meetings that are secure and private.
WellPhone Mac is software intended for "Mac nomads," providing on-line communication in a variety of circumstances. The software automatically configures your iBook and mobile phone as well as your carrier settings, which transforms the telephone into a fully functional modem for mobile networks. The application is compatible with all GPRS, EDGE, UMTS mobile phones and smartphones.