Friday, December 14, 2007

PhoneGnome Call Recording - very slick

I've searched all over the Internet and I have not found anything out there that matches PhoneGnome's phone call recording features.

There are software programs for a PC (using a modem) but this requires a PC to be left on. There are hardware gadgets that you connect to the phone line or the handset of your phone that can record to a tape machine. But none of these come close to the simplicity nor the capability of PhoneGnome. You can literally spend thousands of dollars on conversation recording equipment and still not have what PhoneGnome provides.

PhoneGnome provides both "selective recording" and "automatic" or "full-time" recording.

Selective Recording

Selective recording means you want to record a specific call. To do so, just dial **732 (**REC) before the call. At the end of the call, you can find the recording on your My PhoneGnome site (as shown above).

Automatic Recording

With "Automatic" or "Full-time" recording, PhoneGnome will automatically record conversations. You can record all outbound calls, all inbound calls, or both. When someone calls you, recording will be triggered automatically and the calls will be archived on your My PhoneGnome site by date and number.

To activate automatic recording dial the following codes:

CodeRecording Mode
**7321Activate automatic recording of outgoing (placed) calls
**7322Activate automatic recording of incoming (received) calls
**7323Activate automatic recording of both outgoing and incoming calls
**7320Disable automatic recording


Recordings are stored on your My PhoneGnome website as WAV files. These can easily be downloaded to a PC and saved forever, copied to CDROM etc. The PhoneGnome website only holds recordings for so many days (about a week it appears), so if you want to keep a recording longer than that, you must download it to your PC and store it off-line. There are utilities to convert the WAV file to other formats such as MP3. You can also do this conversion with iTunes (From the Advanced menu, choose Convert.)

Once you have the audio file on your PC, you can do anything you want with the recording using your favorite audio editing and mixing software - even lie detector analysis! :)


The My PhoneGnome site has information about the legality of recording phone calls. There are other sites with information, such as: but I am explicitly NOT providing legal advice. The laws apparently vary by state so check with your legal advisers regarding the implications of recording phone calls.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Will a Softphone work with my Cable VOIP service?

Here's a question I was recently asked:

I just got my cable company's digital (VOIP) phone service. Since I already had their Digital TV and Internet service, I got a really good deal on this.

They basically just switched out my old cable modem for a newer one that supports this service. So I'm curious if there's any way I could make and receive calls on my Mac using my new phone service? So I was thinking perhaps there's a softphone or some kind of application that would allow me to do this? I've looked around and seen some applications like X-Lite and iSoftphone but I'm not sure if these will do the trick. I'm actually not sure if anything will.

It seems rather complicated. This isn't something I really need, because I can obviously just use a regular phone, but it would be kind of nice.
Answer: YES!

Purchase the PhoneGnome box ($99) and connect it to your cable modem phone output (connect PhoneGnome between the cable box and your phones). Then you can use X-Lite or iSoftphone on your Mac using the SIP softphone credentials provided by PhoneGnome.

This way, you can even use your cable digital phone service when away from home - at work, from a hotel, at a friends house, Starbucks, etc. - anywhere you can get an Internet connection (even from another country). There are no extra monthly fees for this service - your cable company won't even know (and PhoneGnome doesn't charge monthly fees for the softphone capability).

By the way, this approach works with ANY hardware based VoIP service, even if they don't offer a softphone or support SIP, including even ooma.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Cheap International calls on cell phones

The new MobileWeb that we talked about recently has another feature that we didn't say much about.

It's a terrific way to make cheap International calls on your cell phone. Simply click 'Call' to dial any number, or click 'Contacts' to make a call to one of your My PhoneGnome contacts - which includes SIP, Gtalk, Yahoo! Messenger, or even Skype contacts. That means it's possible to call someone on Gtalk, SIP, or these other systems directly from your mobile phone, even without a special high-speed data plan or VoIP software download.

As an example, call someone in France for 2.3 cents per minute using PhoneGnome Mobile Web with no special plan and no monthly fee - as opposed to the standard AT&T rate of $1.49 per minute! If the person is a PhoneGnome member, the call is free - Even better!