Plug-N-Play Voice Mail == "CallWave.com"
About a month (or two??) ago, I saw a note posted by Jason Alexander about CallWave.com. He was looking some phone features, and being interested, I took a look also.
I just checked my voice mail, via phone, for the first time in about a month, and deleted around 85 voice mails. It took about 30 minutes to do, but it was on my commute, on speaker phone, so it worked out alright.
I know what you're asking, "You haven't checked your voice mail in over a month?" Well yes and no. I haven't dialed "1" (press and hold) to check my voice mail in a month. This is because my voice mails are now delivered to me via email.
I have an outlook rule setup that delivers these mails to a "Voice Mail" folder, and I can simply listen to my voice mail on my desktop. Or if I'm on the road, I can listen with the media player on my phone, so there is no longer a need to dial "1" and check my messages.
This service has been so great, but it seems to be one of those things that people don't get. I've probably told over 100 people about CallWave, and so far, not a single person has written back to let me know they like the service. This is either because they didn't try it, or because they didn't think to write me back. I'm guessing the former.
Prediction. I bet within the next 2 years, every voice mail system has email delivery. I'm sure some do now, but my Cingular/ATT account doesn't, so this was a nice addition. It's Sooo great to have voice mails as attachments to emails. it's free, it's fast, and has many side effect benefits.
One of the biggest benefits that I would not have been able to foresee - is when your phone is "out of area" which happens more often than you realize. If you're not using your phone, you're probably not looking at the service signal. In a 3 story basement (the Library in PHX) your phone will not ring. BUT.... your voice mails will come in if you're working on your laptop. This is a great side effect. Also - Hang up calls. Callwave sends a text telling you who called, and what number they called from. Finally - True "Home Style" caller ID. I call it home style, because at Home, the caller ID shows the name and number. Cell phones don't have Caller ID - they have Number Lookup. If you have my number in your cell phone, my name will popup when I call you, if you don't, you only see my number. Who is that Calling you ask? When callwave sends a text to you, it sends info from the real caller id. So you call me from your home, I don't recognize the number and press ignore. Then callwave sends me a text, with your available Caller ID. It's a great side effect.
Callwave.com does have a pay for service that is $9.95 a month. To be honest, I don't know what extra services you would receive for that $9.95. Here is some bad news for everyone. Callwave.com customer service doesn't know what the $9.95 gives you either. I just called to upgrade and the CSR didn't know there was a premium plan. I was put on hold for 30 seconds "to research" the idea of a paid plan. Then I was told the service was $9.95. naturally I wanted to know that the differences were in the free and the paid plans. This question could not be answered. I'm sure the 411 is on their website, but I'm currently offline. I have my machine in a cafe, with no access, Live Writer, and my phone. I say bad news for everyone, because the customer service doesn't seem to be the best (bad for customers) and the since they don't know about the revenue plans (bad for the company) they might have some hard times ahead. Fortunately for me, the free service is great, and I don't foresee have to call customer service back.