Callwave Internet Answering Machine For the few of us left who are still dependant upon unreliable and slow dial up internet access, this little download is a great tool in allowing us to see and hear who is calling (in real time) while we have our phone lines tied up, chugging along in cyber space!
With various service levels, I have chosen the "Connect" level, a $5.95/month service that is billed through my telephone carrier monthly. Sadly, the basic "Alert" service is supposedly provided free via PeoplePC software, but upon downloading the software one is utterly unable to obtain this service and must - eventually - end up paying! This is obviously a PeoplePC issue and I shall leave that alone - back to Callwave....
A fast and easy to install download is available online through the Callwave web site and, even with a prehistoric internet connection, takes only about 3 or 4 minutes to install! Callwave then contact your telephone provider requesting them to enable a call forward feature (approx. $2/mo depending on your provider) and, normally within a day or two you are able to use this feature!
One drawback is that the software does not always automatically open while connected to the internet, so I urge you to be certain that you have it logged on while online or it will defeat the purpose - unless, like me, you hate those annoying phone calls anyway, in which case, don't get this service!
How it works
While gleefully playing around online - or writing incredible reviews, you will be notified of an incoming call by a little ringing sound emminating from your computer speakers - don't forget to turn up the volume - and a dainty and unobtrusive little rectangular box will pop up on the top right of your screen displaying the number of your incoming caller. You now have the dreadful decision of either:
"Talk" which disconnects your internet connection and reroutes the call back to your home telephone (you must run to the phone jack quickly and re-plug in your phone!), at which point your phone will ring and you can chat to your hearts content with this honored caller or,
"Ignore the call" for times when you don't want to acknowledge this unwanted solicitor! Or...
Do nothing, keep working, listen to the message left by the caller and call back later! My personal favorite!
Callwave automatically stores all incoming calls in your contact list and from there you can edit the name, add more contact information or removing the log completely. This is a good tool as once the info is stored, the callers number AND name will pop up from there on.... You can also add the info of contacts who have not yet had the pleasure of reaching you via Callwave, thus ensuring that when they do call, you see the name and contact info pop right up on the screen - ready and waiting!
A call log feature enables you to keep track of the last 100 calls received and offers you the option of blocking future calls from that person/company. I have used this on several occasions when I receive calls that are obviously sent from a fax machine - that darned squeaking and crackling that ties up your phone even after disconnection. When this call comes in, I go to my call log and click "block caller". Should they decide to call back, Callwave automatically stops the call from reaching my computer and they hear a "blocked call message", all I see is a little box showing me that a blocked caller tried to contact me! Great!! Revenge is sweet!!
(Oh, now you also have the incoming phone number of the people who are harassing you - FCC notified!!)
Callwave also offers a toll free number that allows anyone to contact your home phone number free of charge for a maximum 10 minute call (no limit to the amount that they can call, should they be chatty like me and get disconnected after 10 mins... just call back!). This is excellent should a friend or family member need to make a call to you without a cell phone or change for a pay phone! Normally the number is 1-888-Callwave, and from there you enter the Callwave members home phone number (the number they are using to connect to the internet and that is logged with Callwave). This works whether you are online - take call from computer - or home - just pick up your phone!
The customer service is very friendly although not completely adept at their job. A couple of past issues have taken me on average 2 or 3 days to rectify after talking to 3 or 4 different agents! Fortunately, no problems seem to arise very often but when they do, be prepared to have patience! Its difficult to get angry with these people as they are - as I stated - rather friendly and obliging - they just don't know what they are talking about!!!
I believe it is worth the monthly fee for the convenience of not missing an important call, and out of the few similar online answering services I have used, this may not be the cheapest, but it is the best and most reliable, not to forget that they offer some nice extra features within the packages. Although Callwave claims to take care of the call forward service with your phone company, I strongly recommend that, after installing Callwave, you check with your phone company personally to explain what additions need to be made to your service - it speeds up the entire process.
Now just go online and wait for a call........ it may be ME!