If you spend a lot of time online, it’s a sure bet you’ve missed your share of incoming calls. To keep your connection, you typically have to disable your phone’s Call Waiting feature. Most calls were probably not important enough to cause much grief, but occasionally an important call is impeded by your time on the Net. Home office users are especially plagued by this problem unless they have a dedicated line. Command Communications hopes to solve it with its latest device, HotCall 2000.
HotCall alerts users when they are connected to the Net and have an incoming call. The device is very easy to set up and get started, but it can only be used on lines that have Call Waiting provided by a local phone company. To get started, just connect the unit to the phone, outlet and modem via the ports on the back of the device. Don’t forget to enable Call Waiting in your Internet connection settings. Once online, you’ll be alerted to incoming calls by a ring from the unit and a flashing red light.
When the red light appears, you have the option of answering the call or allowing it to go straight into voice mail. (You’ll need to subscribe to your local phone company’s voice mail service.) Unfortunately HotCall 2000 is not compatible with answering machines, so the only way you can screen your calls is to actually answer the phone. The company, quite accurately, states that users of the device can return to their Internet session within a few seconds. During testing, “a few seconds” turned out to be no more than 10-plenty of time to decide that a call isn’t important enough to interrupt your browsing. If you can’t decide in under 10 seconds, your connection to the Net will be terminated and you’ll have to reconnect.
Home office users, who often use a single line for phone, fax and Internet, should welcome the addition of HotCall to the plethora of devices and wires already infringing on their space. It’ll help put an end to the days when you have to ask people to call to make sure the line is free before sending a fax. To screen calls more completely, try HotCall plus. It works in conjunction with Type 2 Caller ID to show the number of the second party so you don’t even have to bother answering to find out if the call warrants terminating your Internet connection.
HotCall plus: $99.50
For more information, call Teledynamics L.L.P. at 800-847-5629.