Read the full story on MSNBC: "New book claims Bell stole key telephone idea."
Why is it that your typical office phone stinks compared with the one you have at home? Here are a few of the ways they are harder to use, do less, and look uglier.
Office phones are ugly: They are typically anonymous black blobs with boring key shapes and colors and utilitarian speaker grills. Stylistically they are circa 1985 and made with shiny black textured plastics that would embarass a home phone or cell phone.
Office phones are hard to use (part one): They typically come in two types: Those with just one cryptic "function" button that through … Read more
VoIP and telephony service babyTEL is launching a new Facebook application this morning called Telephone that gives you access to a phone and answering machine without leaving Facebook. Instead of going the embedded route, like YackPack, babyTEL instead relies on a small Java runtime that sits in your computer's taskbar, or the dock if you're on Mac OS X. Once you fire it up, there's a simple authentication process to pull up your list of friends on the social networking service, and allow you to call them for free--assuming you have a headset or speakers and a … Read more
I am in favor of any tool that saves me from listening to voicemail on a phone. I use CallWave (review) on my cellular line to shunt voice mails to my e-mail, and I've been using GotVoice (review) on my home phone for the same purpose. GotVoice, to date, has been a bit of a hack: It got your voice mails by dialing up your voice mail, just as you did, and then entering the right touch tones so your messages would play, which it then recorded and sent to you. Pure replacement voice-mail systems (like CallWave, SpinVox, and … Read more
For a while, there seemed to be no end to the incredible shrinking of cell phones. The tinier your handset, the cooler you probably thought you looked around 2001 or so. But the trend has slowed, thankfully, and in some circles, there's a backlash against handsets that required toddler-size hands and heads to talk comfortably.
Take the Yubz retro handset, for instance. It's the same design from many millions of dial and push-button telephones in the 1970s and '80s, before cordless became king. The earpiece would fit snugly between your ear and shoulder as you walked several feet … Read more
Google has just announced the much-rumored acquisition of communications service GrandCentral. TechCrunch broke the news about the acquisition last week and is now reporting the deal is rumored to be somewhere in the range of $50 million. Details about final price and terms are confidential.
This is Google's latest move into the telecommunications market and one of their biggest. For current GrandCentral customers, service will go uninterrupted. For users interested in signing up, GrandCentral is now limiting sign-ups to invitation only.
There are so many products announced at the January Consumer Electronics Show, a few of them always manage to slip off your radar. For me, one such product was the new line of GE-branded cordless phones from Thomson. I know what you're thinking--"Thomson" and "GE" are yawner brands that have no place among your carefully groomed hipster-approved gadget lineup. Well, think again: I was able to spend some quality time with the new GE phones last night, and each of them offered at least one compelling leg up on competing products. Each model is a DECT 6.0 product (Digital Enhanced Cordless Technology), meaning it operates on the 1900Mhz wireless band that's free of the interference issues that can occur on the more-crowded 2.4Ghz band (which competes with everything from microwave ovens to Wi-Fi to wireless speakers). A quick roundup of the key models follows: … Read more
Hopefully, you don't hand out your phone number to just anybody you meet on the street or online. But if you'd like to gab with people while retaining some anonymity, Jangl can hook you up. Launched today, this service provides users with virtual telephone numbers that route calls to your real phone number and messages to your e-mail in-box. Rather than being designed as a buffer between you and the masses you meet out on the town, Jangl (also here) focuses on allowing voice calls for relationships that begin on the Internet.
This privacy screen could add a … Read more
Remember those retro phones sold in Pottery Barn catalogs for $80? They had become such a symbol of useless consumerism that "Seinfeld" made sport of them a decade ago.
Granted, the same argument can be made against the reincarnated Princess phone from Wild and Wolf, which we found on Shiny Shiny updated with buttons and redial. But for us, it brought back memories of our older sister yacking with her friends before the senior prom. (Yes, we're dating ourselves again.)
And aside from pure nostalgia, the Princess' sleek mid-century design gives it more of a culturally iconic … Read more