capsule review

PhoneValet Message Center 3.0

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PhoneValet extras

You can greatly expand PhoneValet 3’s power by purchasing one of the available add-ons or bundles. PhoneValet Anywhere ($80 for two users) lets you access many of the application’s features via a local network or over the Internet. You can retrieve voicemail messages, as well as sift through PhoneValet’s call log, from any Safari, Firefox, or Internet Explorer Web page, provided you’ve configured your firewall to allow incoming connections to your Mac.

PhoneValet Anywhere also includes a remote agent, which allows nearby Mac or PCs to display caller ID announcements when an incoming call comes in. This feature makes use of Apple’s Bonjour (formerly Rendezvous) networking standard and works only with computers connected to your Mac’s local area network. (Note that PhoneValet’s main competitor, Ovolab’s Phlink, comes with remote-call announcements built in, though it doesn’t support Windows.)

PhoneValet’s Podcasting Option ($75) consists of two applications to help aspiring podcasters edit and clean up phone interviews or messages recorded with PhoneValet. The bundle includes Peak Express, a functionally limited version of BIAS’s excellent audio-editing application, and SoundSoap, a noise-reduction plug-in for Peak. Since it doesn’t actually expand the application’s functionality, the Podcasting Option isn’t really an add-on for PhoneValet, per se. But it’s a pretty good deal if you plan to use PhoneValet for recording podcast content.

[ Ted Wallingford is a senior systems engineer with LCG Technologies in Elyria, Ohio, and the author of Switching to VoIP (O’Reilly, 2005). ]

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