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Using computer for voicemail/fax/dialup access?

Old 02-09-03, 09:47 PM
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Using computer for voicemail/fax/dialup access?

I may soon have a machine cable-modemed to provide Internet services - FTP, remote desktop connection, serving webpages, etc.

But I'm looking to expand its capabilities. The computer is equipped with an internal fax modem; why shouldn't I use it to handle (and expand) normal telephony services? I'd like my server to receive incoming faxes and record incoming voicemail, and provide them as digital files via an Internet service. And, I'd like to be able to dial into my machine from outside and access the Internet through it.

What software and/or hardware might help me?

- David Stein
Old 02-10-03, 12:08 PM
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Go to Tucows and search on "fax"
http://www.tucows.com/system.html
My current machine included a fax app. but my prior machine did not (after I upgraded from Windows 95 to 98 SE). I used one called "Call Center" and recommend it. The basic version is 100% legit freeware, but they (softly) push an upgrade. Tucows has several that are freeware or shareware. If you expect to do a lot of faxing, one of the commercial programs like WinFax might be better suited to heavy duty use. If I send 20 faxes a year and receive five, that is a lot for me, and Call Center worked fine. (What came on my current machine, Quicklink III, works fine too)

I don't think that will let you dial into your machine to use Internet though, just a fax receiver mode. You need a special modem to support voice, but Call Center supports voice if your modem does (mine didn't)
Old 02-10-03, 12:20 PM
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Is your fax modem voice capable? It should have come with software that would do this for you if it is.

I recently tried a fax modem from a Dell that came with BVRP software. It supposedly had all the capabilities you are looking for. But BVRP is the biggest piece of crap software I've seen in a long time. And that's saying something.

I know people who were happy with US Robotics modem/software. But of course you need a US Robotics voice modem to make it work.
Old 02-10-03, 12:28 PM
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Yeah, PC fax software is typically a tremendous piece of crapware. I bought a top-of-the-line U.S. Robotics (3Com) external modem/speakerphone/fax device, but it was crippled by the bundled software, and workable alternatives were unworkably priced.

I'm just surprised that no one has really come up with a solution for this stuff yet. I sense an unfilled hardware niche...?

- David Stein

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