One of my favorite Mac utilities is PhoneValet, the most utilitarian of Mac software.
Think of PhoneValet as your personal voice mail, answering machine, call screening, caller ID assistant. It turns your Mac into a telephone answering service.
I know what you’re thinking. That’s what my answer machine does. Yeah, sorta. PhoneValet is actually a sophisticated voice messaging system, made even better and more affordable with the new Home Edition for Mac users at one third the price of the original PhoneValet Message Center.
PhoneValet’s Home Edition does more than just answer your phone like a static $50 answering machine. Home Edition captures your messages and delivers them to you via email so you can listen to your voice mail at work or on the road.
Set up to five voice mailboxes on the Home Edition. Retrieve your home messages just like the voice mail system at work, or listen to them on your Mac when you get home.
One of my favorite features is how PhoneValet handles junk calls. We have filters for junk email, right?
How about a filter for junk phone calls? Home Edition has one built in. It will identify the caller, answer and refuse the call, then hang up.
The Home Edition also announces caller names on your Mac. The pop up identifies the number and the caller, and, if you choose, it will announce the caller using a built in voice, then send the incoming message to one of five different voice mailboxes.
That also means you can have a different answer or greeting for each voice mailbox, and attach a specific sound or song as a ringtone for special people. If your mother calls, PhoneValet Home Edition plays one ringtone, if your mother-in-law calls, it plays a different one. You choose which ringtone for which caller.
PhoneValet logs all your incoming calls but does even more by remembering your long distance dialing codes. Yes, you can use PhoneValet to dial out, too.
So, why is PhoneValet Home Edition only $49 vs. the $169 for the full version? Big brother PhoneValet Message center has unlimited voice mailboxes, call recording, and will handle multiple phone lines, which makes it perfect for a small business or home business.
The Home Edition has only five voice mailboxes but still dials out, answers, and sends your voice message to you via email. It also handles call blocking and specific ringtones.
Another difference is that the Home Edition only requires your Apple Modem to be connected to your phone line. The more expensive version comes with a special hardware dongle to connect your Mac to the phone line.
Add the PhoneValet Anywhere option to either version and your incoming messages can be shared on other computers, home or office, Windows included. And, here it comes, on TiVo, iPhone and iPod touch.
If you have Apple’s USB modem you can get started with the Home Edition with a simple download and a free 30-day trial. Your Mac becomes a sophisticated voice mail system without the complexity.
We’re always asking our Macs to do more, and answering the phone is a perfect utility request.
There are some things I’d like to see in the Home Edition. Remote notification beyond email. Both versions will capture a voice message and send the message to you via email. How about a visual pop up notification on other Macs in the home network, similar to the pop up that occurs on the Mac which hosts PhoneValet Home Edition?
More than half of all Macs sold these days are notebooks, either MacBooks, MacBook Pros, or new MacBook Air. That makes it impractical to connect the telephone line to a specific Mac if it’s moving around the home. However, a Mac mini or an iMac on your home network is stationary. Let it answer the phone and send out pop up notifications to other Macs.
Yes, I’m wishing and hoping, but it’s a good request. Otherwise, both Parliant’s MessageCenter (which we’ve used for years), and the new lower priced Home Edition and excellent ways for Mac users to add sophisticated voice messaging systems without the complexity or expense.