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Landline Phone Features
Old 05-27-2016, 06:36 PM   #1
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Landline Phone Features

Our landline phone/anwering machine/recorder just died in a recent thunderstorm and we're now in the market for a new device which is at least as good as the one we had.

I recall reading a thread back in the early 2000's and one of features I saw mentioned was the ability to create a list in the machine (sort of like the contact list in Outlook). The phone would then screen all incoming calls and any number NOT on the list would be sent straight to the recorder to take a message without ever ringing the phone (i.e. no more solicitors, evangelists, missionaries, politicians, robocalls, etc). Plain and simple. I searched for this thread (to see if the idea ever went anywhere) and to see if I could purchase such a device today.

Alas, no luck....
Could not find the thread and could not find any phones with such a feature. The only thing that came close was the ability to add a number to a black list which would cause the number to be rejected in the future. Since the unwanted callers have gotten quite sophisticated, such a list would be absolutely useless (as is the federal do not call list).

Does anyone remember the thread and what ever came of it or do you know of any devices that would help to prevent unwanted calls as described in the previous para? Don't worry, I am NOT worried about missing ANY calls from numbers I don't recognize! They can merely leave a message.
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Old 05-27-2016, 06:42 PM   #2
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"Land line?" Didn't those die off in the 90's?
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Old 05-27-2016, 06:52 PM   #3
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I don't recall such a thread. But do find myself forgetful so not saying there is no such thread.

The have been a few threads on call blocking devices that add to reject/accept lists. I have a blocking device with my old answering machine which I'm happy with (though the blocker still rings once on robocalls and blocked calls).

I have a really old answering machine made by GE that I bought for about $15 that was once considered modern as it records my messages digitally instead of old cassette tapes. Works fine for me.
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Old 05-27-2016, 06:55 PM   #4
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The Sentry Call Blocker offers the typical blacklist, but also a whitelist. You can configure it to hang up on all calls except 1) those already on the whitelist or 2) those that listen to the message for whitelisting instructions and then call back to follow those instructions.
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Old 05-27-2016, 07:00 PM   #5
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The Sentry Call Blocker offers the typical blacklist, but also a whitelist. You can configure it to hang up on all calls except 1) those already on the whitelist or 2) those that listen to the message for whitelisting instructions and then call back to follow those instructions.
The Sentry Call Blocker is the blocking device I have and that's the device discussed a few times here.
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Old 05-27-2016, 07:14 PM   #6
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I still have landline, mostly because I am also stuck with phone co DSL for internet. One of the issues living outside in the country. No fiber optic and limited choices.

My phone co has the voice mail as one of the included services, so I don't have an answering machine per se, but I just ignore any number I do not recognize on the caller ID.
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Old 05-27-2016, 07:52 PM   #7
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I still have landline, mostly because I am also stuck with phone co DSL for internet. One of the issues living outside in the country. No fiber optic and limited choices.
Limited choices? Out in the sticks where I live we don't even have DSL.
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Old 05-27-2016, 07:54 PM   #8
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Get Voice Mail set up, I did not realize that anyone used a answering machine anymore.

If you can port the number to Google Voice, all your features will be available.
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Old 05-27-2016, 08:54 PM   #9
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Get Voice Mail set up, I did not realize that anyone used a answering machine anymore. ...
I get tired of hearing that comment. Some of us have reasons to actively prefer an answering machine to voice-mail.

It's not fear of tech, or old habits. An answering machine does things that voice mail doesn't. It's not for everyone, and I don't try to tell others it is right for them. If voice mail works for them that's great. But an answering machine is best for us.

-ERD50
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Old 05-27-2016, 08:56 PM   #10
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An answering machine does things that voice mail doesn't.
Other than breakdown, what can an answering machine do that voice mail cannot?
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Old 05-27-2016, 09:03 PM   #11
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What is this land line you speak of ?
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Old 05-27-2016, 09:13 PM   #12
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Nomorobo handles telemarketers https://www.nomorobo.com

We converted our landline to Ooma VOIP several years ago - it includes Nomorobo but also allows you to divert calls to voicemail. Our "trash" calls are down to a few a week from several a day. It needs decent broadband, but if you have that, its got several features a landline doesn't and pays for the initial investment in a few months.

#1 Ranked Free Internet Phone Service | Ooma VoIP Phone
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Old 05-27-2016, 09:38 PM   #13
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Other than breakdown, what can an answering machine do that voice mail cannot?
It doesn't breakdown, I'm not talking about the old cassette versions, they are digital in this century!

Again, not for everyone, but DW and I use the number we've had for decades for our home phone (VOIP for many years, not traditional POTS), we don't use our cell phones much.

So I'm home more, but she gets more calls. With an answering machine, I can listen, and typically I let hers go to the answering 'machine'. Sure beats picking it up and then getting 20 questions and having to try to write a meaningful note about some meeting/event that I know nothing about. But, sometimes as I listen in to the recording message, I realize that a real time response would be best (like "no, she just left, so she will meet you there"), so I pick up rather than create a back and forth of calls and messages.

If it goes to voice mail, I can't listen in, and it's an extra step to retrieve it. I guess some new systems have a 'listen in' voice mail feature, but not our VOIP provider.

We also have one child at home yet. If she hears an important message, she will pick up.

That's why. -ERD50
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Old 05-27-2016, 10:27 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by MBAustin View Post
We converted our landline to Ooma VOIP several years ago - it includes Nomorobo but also allows you to divert calls to voicemail. Our "trash" calls are down to a few a week from several a day. It needs decent broadband, but if you have that, its got several features a landline doesn't and pays for the initial investment in a few months.
I am going to go to Google Voice once my Magic Jack subscription is up. If I would do it today, I would have to port my number to a cell service, then to Google Voice. Google Voice is a free option. Pick up and answer calls anywhere in the world, on any device.
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Thank You
Old 05-29-2016, 06:59 PM   #15
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Thank You

Thanks all for your insightful responses and suggestions, but after much research and thought (at least on my part), DW drove to Office Max and consulted with one of the "technicians" at their store (whose talent turned out to be the ability to listen to the customer and tell them exactly whatever they want to hear (even if they contradict themselves several times)) and he talked us into purchasing the device that was supposed to make all of our dreams come true.

Unfortunately, I have received a new assignment today, pack up this new phone, return it and attempt to purchase one exactly like the one that broke (part of the reason that our PCs still run on XP, we have a landline and a Cptn Kirk Flip Phone (no smartphones in this house).

Oh well,....
Like I said, Thanks!

P.S.
That Sentry device sounds interesting.
Perhaps we'll track one of those down and add it.
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Old 05-29-2016, 11:54 PM   #16
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We have a VTech cordless 4 unit phone system with an answering machine function. I guess it's like a landline except that it's a just a magicjack that connects to it.

Magicjack has a voicemail system but it just sends an email if you have a message. I don't want to have to check my email, I want to be able to enter the house, hear the "answering machine" in the kitchen give it's alert beep and know to check the message recorded on the machine.

We get very few messages. All I wanted was a way for someone to leave a message and a way for me to know that I got one and to listen to it. And like the poster, if it's an unfamiliar number I will let the caller leave a message and I'll listen and pick up if it's someone I want to talk to.

When DH retired we decided to cancel our actual landline (our least used utility) and go to a magicjack. The magicjack is connected to the old house landline wiring that used to go to the kitchen phone. We shopped around for a set of cordless phones that would all work like the old landline with multiple extensions. We must have tried 3 or 4 new phone sets before we decided on this VTech system. Many trips and returns to Staples, Best Buy and Office Max.
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Old 05-30-2016, 09:09 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by 38Chevy454 View Post
I still have landline, mostly because I am also stuck with phone co DSL for internet. One of the issues living outside in the country.
I'm sure you have a cell phone (based on comments on another thread) for voice services. Have you checked to see if your phone company offers "dry" DSL at at reduced price?
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Old 05-30-2016, 01:53 PM   #18
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What we do is assign a special ring to our friends. Everything else goes the machine and we screen the call. If it is a new friend, we save the number and assign a tune. Then we can pickup before the machine kicks in. It is solid state so no tapes to worry about. We limit message length to one minute.

In addition to screening telemarketers, we can pick up doctors' secretaries confirming appointments. Saves a callback.

Some dumb telemarketers leave messages when we are out but they are easily deleted.

We also have VOIP and Mobile calling plans. Who said life gets easier.
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