Computers & Electronics

What is this weird phone cable called?

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[OP]
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Aug 15, 2003
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What is this weird phone cable called?

For a long time I hoped to find some means of conveniently recording my phone calls on my computer. I did get a USB voice modem, but there seems to be no convenient, cheap Windows software for voice communications. I was starting to contemplate toying with an Asterisk server.

But then I suddenly found this in a dumpster the other day:
[IMG]https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/359 ... ething.jpg[/IMG]

What, exactly, do you call this thing? Is anyone still selling them?
14 replies
Sr. Member
Feb 27, 2011
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Regina
How often do you "suddenly" find items in dumpsters?
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"PC LOAD LETTER!!. What the **** does that mean?"
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Oct 14, 2010
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Jorpho wrote: For a long time I hoped to find some means of conveniently recording my phone calls on my computer. I did get a USB voice modem, but there seems to be no convenient, cheap Windows software for voice communications.
I don't know what you call cheap software, but I have been using Call Station for almost 20 years with great success. It costs $35.00. Not only will it record phone calls, but it can act as an answering machine, which provides personalized messages depending on the incoming caller ID. It can announce the callers name over the speaker, as well as send the caller ID information to a pop-up window on every PC in the house. I also use it to automatically hang up on callers that I have entered into a blacklist. When I'm traveling I can be notified via SMS of incoming calls, or I can choose to have the voice messages sent to me as a WAV file attached to email. I think there is a time limited trial available.

The only difficulty is locating a voice modem that is compatible with the Canadian CID data. As I have upgraded my PC over the 20 years, and the the type of motherboard busses have changed, I have had to search for a compatible modem many times.
[OP]
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BobSagget wrote: a telephone logger patch?
Sounds about right, from the looks of things. They seem to be oddly expensive little devices.
RoughriderFan wrote: How often do you "suddenly" find items in dumpsters?
Best prices anywhere. :cheesygri
Rick007 wrote: I don't know what you call cheap software, but I have been using Call Station for almost 20 years with great success. It costs $35.00.
Well, that's not astronomical, but it's certainly not cheap. I guess it's worth a shot. Thanks for bringing it up.

The common free OEM tool seems to be something called Classic Phonetools, but it barely works. There's also something called vgetty for Linux, but there's no sign of a Windows port.
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Aug 22, 2006
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I'd just use Asterisk. However it's kind of a pain if you have a PSTN line since you need a device to interface with it.
If you can port to VoIP or use a VoIP line then it's a breeze because you can automatically record all calls.
Cheapest deployment would be on a RasPi for $50ish including case etc.

Callstation looks pretty cool actually and might be an interesting alternative if you don't want an Asterisk.
But why wouldn't you want an Asterisk.
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Jan 31, 2007
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It's missing the other end. But this can be plugged in to record calls.
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Aug 28, 2001
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Its complete. I had one long ago, looks exactly the same and made by RCA.

It's used with a voice recorder. Plug the phono plug into the microphone jack of a voice recorder and the other end into the handset plug of the phone
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Oct 6, 2005
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Jorpho wrote: But then I suddenly found this in a dumpster the other day:
[IMG]https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/359 ... ething.jpg[/IMG]
It used to record / play audio your telephone conversations. I use one to play audio during my conference calls via my PC. I think this particular model was sold at Radio Shack/The Source a few years ago.

This device connects to your sound output device (i.e. sound card) and the other end plugs into a desk phone handset.
Sr. Member
Jan 15, 2010
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Toronto
For a cheaper alternative take a look at this. A while ago I needed to record some phone interviews and hookup my phone into a mixer. After doing some research I found that the headphone jack in some coordless phones split the mic and speaker into left and right. If you got the right attachment you were able to filter what I needed through a mixer (or into a pc). Something to look at.

http://www.podcastpickle.com/forums/lof ... 11853.html
[OP]
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death_hawk wrote: But why wouldn't you want an Asterisk.
Then I'd have to have a system running Linux, plus I'd have to figure out how to get Asterisk configured. (And then everything would probably break during a system update.) It sounds exceptionally difficult. I'm already using a VOIP line, but I just use a VOIP box.
GavinCampbell wrote: For a cheaper alternative take a look at this. A while ago I needed to record some phone interviews and hookup my phone into a mixer. After doing some research I found that the headphone jack in some coordless phones split the mic and speaker into left and right. If you got the right attachment you were able to filter what I needed through a mixer (or into a pc). Something to look at.

http://www.podcastpickle.com/forums/lof ... 11853.html
Interesting. I thought about getting into that once, but I didn't realize it was as simple as left-and-right.
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Looks exactly like the ones we have at work. I work in a news organization and the reporters find these things invaluable for recording on on our old phone system straight to a voice recorder. From here they can listen back and take notes/quotes from the interview for their stories. Had a hell of a time tracking down replacements and at one point was sourcing them from a seedy PI out of Ontario, until I found the same kind of thing at The Source.

One end plugs to the phone and the other end plugs into the phone handset. Essentially sits between the phone and the handset so the phone can be used as usual then when you want to record you can hook up your recorder of choice using the audio jack and away you go.
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Aug 22, 2006
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Jorpho wrote: Then I'd have to have a system running Linux, plus I'd have to figure out how to get Asterisk configured. (And then everything would probably break during a system update.) It sounds exceptionally difficult. I'm already using a VOIP line, but I just use a VOIP box.
You could install it in a RasPi. That's how a couple of my low volume sites are setup.
Configuration is dead easy since everything is a webui. You may have to google a few terms you're not familiar with but otherwise it's quite simple.
Same with updates. It's not written by MS so updates won't completely screw your system.
Even if you don't install it on a RasPi you could easily set up a VM to handle it.
Unless you're compiling from source and using Asterisk exclusively (eg without FreePBX) it's actually quite easy to use.
[OP]
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death_hawk wrote: You could install it in a RasPi. That's how a couple of my low volume sites are setup.
Configuration is dead easy since everything is a webui. You may have to google a few terms you're not familiar with but otherwise it's quite simple.
Same with updates. It's not written by MS so updates won't completely screw your system.
Even if you don't install it on a RasPi you could easily set up a VM to handle it.
Unless you're compiling from source and using Asterisk exclusively (eg without FreePBX) it's actually quite easy to use.
I forgot to mention: could I keep using my VoIP box at the same time?

Part of the reason I got the box in the first place is because every IP phone I've seen is absurdly expensive, whereas the VoIP box lets me use any cheap analog phone.

(And MS aren't the only ones capable of writing system-screwing updates. But that's a subject for another thread.)
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Aug 22, 2006
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Assuming what you have now is an ATA then yes.

And yeah MS isn't the only one capable but they are usually the king of breaking stuff. And yeah that's another thread.

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