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Home Phone System That Syncs To Computer?

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the not-where-the-action-is dept.

Communications 405

An anonymous reader writes 'In comparison to the advanced technology in today's smart phones, the standard home phone is painfully backwards. My current setup is a Panasonic system that has 4 cordless phones over one base station. Setting the time on one phone changes the time on all the phones; however, this is not the case for the phone book. Each entry must be manually copied (pushed) to each handset. Is this as far as home phone technology has come? What I would like is a phone system that I could sync to my computer so I could update the phone book over all the units (if not sync with Address Book or Outlook), keep a log of caller IDs, or even forward me new voicemail notifications. Does anyone know if such a system exists?'

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no. it does not. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29999346)

next question.

Re:no. it does not. (1)

roc97007 (608802) | more than 4 years ago | (#29999382)

> next question.

Ok, I'll bite. Does this seem like a business opportunity to anyone?

Re:no. it does not. (3, Insightful)

s.bots (1099921) | more than 4 years ago | (#29999418)

Not really for personal use, unless you live in an area where owning a cellphone is prohibitively expensive and a landline isn't. I think the number of geeks that would fit this niche would be very small. Other than this case, I really think the landline is slowly going the way of the dodo as far as home users are concerned.

However, being able to push something like this out to business and corporate clients may well be a viable opportunity.

Re:no. it does not. (5, Insightful)

HockeyPuck (141947) | more than 4 years ago | (#29999524)

I really think the landline is slowly going the way of the dodo as far as home users are concerned.

My landline phone, never needs external power or batteries. It never has problems when the "tower" is overloaded with people trying to make calls. By LAW, it can always call 911 from any phone jack in any house. I never have to deal with "are you there? you're breaking up" nor deal with "ATT|Verizon|Sprint|T-Mobile has crappy coverage at my house..." related issues. I have a $5 corded phone from Walmart for emergency use and a cordless phone (requires external power) for normal use. Maybe as a society we're becoming too dependent on continuous sources of electricity.

And yes I've been without power to my house for days on end (ice storms in the Northeast). Light's didn't work but my home phone worked fine.

Re:no. it does not. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29999684)

My horse, never needs gasoline or battery power. It never has problems when the "highway" is overloaded with people trying to go to work. By NATURE, it can always get me home from any bar in any area. I never have to deal with "you need an alignment" nor deal with "FORD|CHEVY|DODGE has crappy dealerships near my house..." related issues. I have a $5 leather whip from Walmart for emergency use and leather saddle from Walmart (requires external buckle) for normal use. Maybe as a society we're becoming too dependent on continuous sources of transportation.

Re:no. it does not. (0)

mafian911 (1270834) | more than 4 years ago | (#29999990)

Someone please mod this up. I couldn't agree more.

Re:no. it does not. (1)

nsayer (86181) | more than 4 years ago | (#30000004)

Must really chafe you to no end to see all those "Pedestrians, Equestrians and Bicycles prohibited" signs on the highways.

Re:no. it does not. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29999882)

It may not have problems when the tower is overloaded, but it will when the circuits from the CO are. Can call 911 or use the phone during a storm should something actually break the line going to your house. You still will have to deal with crappy coverage because people that call you will be using their cell phone. Thanks for playing.

Re:no. it does not. (1)

Rob the Bold (788862) | more than 4 years ago | (#29999902)

I really think the landline is slowly going the way of the dodo as far as home users are concerned.

And yes I've been without power to my house for days on end (ice storms in the Northeast). Light's didn't work but my home phone worked fine.

My phone lines would always get pulled down by the same tree branch that killed my power, you insensitive clod! But other that that, POTS is still very reliable. However, since I don't have POTS anymore, I guess that extra reliability wasn't that valuable to me, at least compared to the cost of a cell plus a landline.

Re:no. it does not. (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 4 years ago | (#29999612)

Yeah, I was thinking the same thing. After Katrina, I was living 'on the run' so to speak..and just had my cell phone.

I've since settled, and I've never really seen the need to get a landline again. I just keep my cell as my main phone. I have considered though...since I live in a multi-story house, to getting one of those phone systems that will connect via bluetooth to your cell phone, and all the other handsets throughout the house, will go through your cell phone. That would make it more convenient so that I don't either have to carry my phone up/down stairs with me....or just leave it on the other floor and miss calls.

Re:no. it does not. (2, Informative)

Curtman (556920) | more than 4 years ago | (#29999486)

Ok, I'll bite. Does this seem like a business opportunity to anyone?

Anyone who is worried about this kind of thing should already have an asterisk server which could do this for all phones, not just the cordless ones. And yes, its a huge business opportunity [voip-info.org] .

For home phones there is OOMA (1)

goombah99 (560566) | more than 4 years ago | (#29999808)

look into ooma.com. besides their zany bussiness model (buy the voip console, get free basic phone service) they seem to be offering a lot of what you are asking for as add-on services( $110 per year). I own one and can say they do work as well as any other voip.

Re:no. it does not. (1)

tonyreadsnews (1134939) | more than 4 years ago | (#29999622)

Actually it does seem silly that cordless phones couldn't be 'synced' with a local computer.
My Logitech remote can do it, and has cool features, why couldn't the cordless phone.
it wouldn't even have to be all that complicated (I've seen some people mentioning asterisk).

Re:no. it does not. (2, Interesting)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 4 years ago | (#29999824)

Most people dont want to pay hundreds for a cordless phone. THAT is why.

My Engenius cordless has a 2 mile range (real 2 mile range not fake marketing crap) and it cost me $325.00 for a single handset+basestation and antenna. I have never met another person that owned an engenius phone because of the cost.

Re:no. it does not. (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 4 years ago | (#29999800)

no.

DECT phones already auto copy their phonebook to each other. At least quality ones do.
I have 6 cordless phillips DECT phones and when you add a number to one, they all have it.

Now create a PC to DECT gateway, they has a very light saleability at around $19.95

Re:no. it does not. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29999834)

Yes it does. Here's my business plan:

1. Invent smart land line system.
2. ???
3. Profit!

Re:no. it does not. (1)

Phoenixlol (1549649) | more than 4 years ago | (#29999574)

you never know... here, [lmgtfy.com]

Re:no. it does not. (1)

Sl4shd0t0rg (810273) | more than 4 years ago | (#29999716)

Microsoft had a 900 MHz phone a little over 10 years ago that did this and it worked really well for me until it was no longer supported when Windows 2000 came out. You can read about it here here [wikipedia.org] .

Re:no. it does not. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29999988)

Wow! Don't buy from Microsoft?

Huh? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29999404)

What's a "landline"? :-)

Re:Huh? (1, Flamebait)

dreamchaser (49529) | more than 4 years ago | (#29999864)

"What's a "landline"? :-)"

It's the line that always works. A lot of us live in places that still have very poor cellular signals. Most adults have landlines so I'll assume you're young. I'm not knocking your choice, but don't assume that everyone can do without one.

Re:Huh? (1)

kurt_harlan (1648185) | more than 4 years ago | (#30000008)

I think you missed the /. sarcasm . . .

iPhone (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29999416)

The iPhone can do all you asks.

The Tech That Oughtta Be (2, Interesting)

25thCenturyQuaker (739040) | more than 4 years ago | (#29999422)

That's a great question, and an even better request to broadcast to manufacturers. I have a 4 unit/1 base V-Tech cordless system at home that I love (rugged [survived a drop in a toilet and kept on working], battery life, etc), except for wishing that it did stuff that it doesn't. The feature tech isn't the difficult part, it's getting the manufacturer's attention so they know it's wanted.

Re:The Tech That Oughtta Be (2, Funny)

rcolbert (1631881) | more than 4 years ago | (#29999594)

survived a drop in a toilet and kept on working

Given the relatively low cost of a replacement handset, I can assure you that 99% of all phone owners who drop a handset into the toilet never find out one way or another if the handset survived the experience. But it brings up a question. Do you often talk on the phone at home while using the toilet, and if so do you flush mid-conversation, wait on the toilet until the conversation is over, or (hopefully remember to) come back later to flush?

Re:The Tech That Oughtta Be (2, Funny)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 4 years ago | (#29999746)

Obviously, he drops his in the toilet, thus ending the conversation and solving the problem gracefully.

Re:The Tech That Oughtta Be (2, Funny)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 4 years ago | (#29999842)

Doesn't matter, he was talking shit anyway.

Re:The Tech That Oughtta Be (5, Funny)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 4 years ago | (#30000000)

Understandable. He was pissed off.

The overkill solution (5, Insightful)

clutch110 (528473) | more than 4 years ago | (#29999428)

Time for overkill solution number 1:

1) Buy a SIP to POTS adapter
2) Install asterisk on your Linux server (You do have a Linux server right?)
3) Create a web app, preferably Ruby on Rails, that connects to Asterisk over the management port and dials a phone number and rings it back to your home phone line
4) Profit until the system breaks and the wife wrings your neck because she can't call to make her beauty salon appointment!

Enjoy!

Re:The overkill solution (3, Funny)

25thCenturyQuaker (739040) | more than 4 years ago | (#29999458)

But can an idiot grandma in a hurry figure out how to do that?

Re:The overkill solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29999482)

But this is Slashdot, so there is, in fact, no wife, and the profit never ends!!!

Re:The overkill solution (1)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 4 years ago | (#29999610)

Or just get Google Voice and make your calls using the Web interface. No need for an address book in the phone at all, and Google's done all the hard work for you.

Not as easy as a speed dial, but if you have a landline you might also be interested in saving the long distance charges...

Re:The overkill solution (1)

Darth Sdlavrot (1614139) | more than 4 years ago | (#29999792)

... you might also be interested in saving the long distance charges...

This is the obligatory "What are long distance charges?" post.

In the event this had been a real post there would have been something of interest here.

Re:The overkill solution (1)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 4 years ago | (#29999974)

Well, granted, but remember - the question was asked by someone who uses a landline.

Some landlines include long distance services, but many companies actually still differentiate between calling your neighbor and calling someone hundreds of miles away.

It's really old school, like, having, like, food you actually have to, like, cook in the microwave and stuff. :)

Re:The overkill solution (3, Funny)

Rob the Bold (788862) | more than 4 years ago | (#29999708)

Time for overkill solution number 1:

1) Buy a SIP to POTS adapter 2) Install asterisk on your Linux server (You do have a Linux server right?) 3) Create a web app, preferably Ruby on Rails, that connects to Asterisk over the management port and dials a phone number and rings it back to your home phone line 4) Profit until the system breaks and the wife wrings your neck because she can't call to make her beauty salon appointment!

Enjoy!

If you don't want to kill it that much, you could switch to a VOIP service for your home number. But your solution does have that cool Dr. Seuss/Rube Goldberg vibe, so don't let me discourage you.

Re:The overkill solution (1)

Darth Sdlavrot (1614139) | more than 4 years ago | (#29999814)

2) Install asterisk on your Linux server (You do have a Linux server right?)

Nope, FreeBSD. Next question!

Re:The overkill solution (1)

Jay L (74152) | more than 4 years ago | (#29999816)

You left out a few parts of the overkill solution:

5. Excellent O'Reilly book on Asterisk
6. RSS feed for NerdVittles / PBX-in-a-Flash
7. Copy of VMWare Fusion because hey, why bog down the Linux server when you have a fast desktop?
8. Subscription to TWO different SIP providers because you want to compare call quality
9. iPhone to use until you get around to reading that Asterisk book ...

hypothetically, I mean. I'd imagine. Pure conjecture, you understand.

Regular phones are so backwards... (4, Insightful)

hey (83763) | more than 4 years ago | (#29999440)

... they work *all* the time.
Personally, I would never replace my POTS phone with anything "high tech".

Re:Regular phones are so backwards... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29999540)

Right, because nothing 'high tech' works all the time.
Is your POTS phone a rotary one?

Re:Regular phones are so backwards... (1)

tygt (792974) | more than 4 years ago | (#29999752)

Mine is. Red, too. We call it "The Kremlin Hotline".

Of course, this is the phone that's in the garage... the other POTS phones in the house are wireless

Re:Regular phones are so backwards... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29999764)

I don't know about the parent, but I had a rotary phone forever. I loved it.

It was over 30 years old, still worked, and most people I talked to always asked who my cell phone carrier was ("Your voice sounds really clear!").

Additionally, the land line never went down. Power out? No Heat? Need to call someone to plow your out? Cell phone towers swamped with callers? Land line worked perfectly.

The only reason I don't have one any more is the land line was going to cost me 10 more dollars than the cell phone and honestly, I'm a cheap bastard. I've also moved 3 times in 2 years, so I need a mobile number so that work and friends can get a hold of me.

Even so, if I got roommates willing to split the landline again I'd get one in a heartbeat.

Re:Regular phones are so backwards... (1)

value_added (719364) | more than 4 years ago | (#29999682)

Personally, I would never replace my POTS phone with anything "high tech".

Unless you have an older model made by AT&T (bonus points if it's rotary and heavy enough to kill a horse), or use business-quality phones at home, chances are good that the quality and feature set of your home phone is "adequate" and not much more.

Re:Regular phones are so backwards... (1)

flyboyfred (987568) | more than 4 years ago | (#29999756)

A few years ago, we had a major storm that took our power out for four days. We had (and still have) one plain old corded phone, so we never lost phone service. Most people we tried to call, though, never answered because their cordless phones didn't have power. I think it's a good idea to have a corded phone around for such emergencies.

Re:Regular phones are so backwards... (1)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 4 years ago | (#29999768)

Hmm, you've never heard of Fairpoint, then. :)

Re:Regular phones are so backwards... (1)

aphelion_rock (575206) | more than 4 years ago | (#29999798)

In the case of the great NE blackout 2003 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northeast_Blackout_of_2003 [wikipedia.org] or if the terorists get organised and start blowing up power stations then the humble POTS phone will be the only thing left working. Sometimes the more basic the technology the more reliable it is

Re:Regular phones are so backwards... (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#29999804)

I haven't had a POTS phone since 2002, and never missed it. In fact, I've never seen it NOT work since then. When the tornados tore through my neighborhood in March 2006, my phone worked fine. POTS phones were out for weeks.

I really don't see much use for POTS phones, or for making them "smart" (which would only require a wifi or bluetooth connection to your PC, and a little software).

Damn, dude, I'm 57, you must REALLY be old. Are you on the right site?

Pots? (1)

toastar (573882) | more than 4 years ago | (#30000010)

If you got rid of your POTS how do cook?

Re:Regular phones are so backwards... (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 4 years ago | (#29999854)

Too bad, because outside the cordless I have Cisco phones on a Asterisk box. works ALL THE TIME as well, and my VoIP service never goes down unless internet is out, and if internet is out, then POTS phone is out too. (DSL is screwy that way)

the Cisco voip phones are incredible sounding.

It's called Asterisk (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29999448)

Yes, it's called Asterisk, but it requires more than a box you buy at a retail store. You can share a phone book and click-to-dial (Asteridex) based on entries in MySQL. It supports about every feature you can think of for the phone, from wake-up calls to auto-forwarding. Get a VOIP trunk running SIP and you'll also pay far less for phone service. You still need a tiny server running Linux, some IP phones, or an analog card, but you'll have total control and all the features you want. Personally, I like FreePBX (http://freepbx.org), and there are even easier-to-setup versions such as the distro at http://nerdvittles.com/ [nerdvittles.com] .

Cost (4, Insightful)

ewoods (108845) | more than 4 years ago | (#29999450)

The biggest reason this doesn't happen is cost. Those crappy phones you mention (I have similar setup) costs the manufacturer pennies to make. There's no fancy operating system, no connectivity with disparate systems, no pricey architecture, nothing fancy. In order to do what smart phones do, the cost would go up. Your smart phone isn't cheap, but the price is subsidized by the phone provider through deals with the manufacturer and built into the cost of the plan as a whole. Good luck, but I wouldn't expect it to happen any time soon because most people won't pay hundreds for a home phone system when they can get one that works with 4 handsets for $50.

Re:Cost (1)

FooAtWFU (699187) | more than 4 years ago | (#29999608)

You might think that a proper telco like AT&T might want to make a good wired-phone infrastructure, to stop the flight of people to cell phones, so they'd encourage the development of features like syncable phone books, and Internet-accessible voicemail (a la Google Voice) and things like that.

Then you'd remember that AT&T bought out Cingular a while ago, so they probably make more money off your cell phones anyway, and they're just try to wring as much as they still can out of their existing infrastructure without spending any money to develop it further. (Also, you'd remember that AT&T is legendary for being slow and stupid and incompetent.)

Re:Cost (1)

Sl4shd0t0rg (810273) | more than 4 years ago | (#30000036)

You might think that a proper telco like AT&T might want to make a good wired-phone infrastructure, to stop the flight of people to cell phones

You mean by offering VoIP and IPTV services over their wired-phone based internet connection? They are with their Lightspeed/Uverse service which I am really happy with.

Re:Cost (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#29999918)

How much would a wifi or a bluetooth chip set them back?

Cybergenie (2, Informative)

alatar_b (670896) | more than 4 years ago | (#29999452)

http://www.cygnion.net/ [cygnion.net] It did exist, and there are still some available out there if you look hard enough. It had some issues, the main one being lack of sales hampering the development of the technology any further, but it worked pretty well all being said.

Not now, but 10 years ago (1)

CaseyB (1105) | more than 4 years ago | (#29999456)

Microsoft Cordless Phone System [wikipedia.org]

You might be able to find one on EBay...

My phone setup (5, Informative)

flyboyfred (987568) | more than 4 years ago | (#29999462)

I have a Panasonic phone system with 3 cordless handsets and one base station. It keeps all of the phone book entries centrally, so if you change it from one handset all get the change. Same with the caller ID log. No connection to my computer, but this sounds like most of what you're asking for. Maybe you just need a newer phone?

CLX475 (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29999464)

I have a Uniden CLX475 ... it does pretty much everything you ask ...

http://www.uniden.com/products/productdetail.cfm?product=CLX475-3

Depends. (4, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#29999474)

Good old fashioned POTS stuff has its advantages(phones, even wireless ones, are incredibly cheap, you can carry the signal over cable of virtually arbitrary crappiness); but sophistication isn't really one of them. Even DECT gear, while ostensibly some kind of standard, is little more powerful or interoperable than the old-school proprietary RF linked wireless phones.

If you want power, you really want VOIP phones(even if you end up using a copper POTS line to dial out, though you can often save money by using a SIP provider). Voicemail sent to your email, speech to text, configurable menues, contacts lists that connect to LDAP/AD backends, the whole deal. Unfortunately, VOIP hardware tends to be substantially more expensive than the old POTS stuff(unless you count software VOIP clients running on hardware you already have) and need proper modern data connections(either wired or wireless ethernet, usually).

Re:Depends. (1)

Rob the Bold (788862) | more than 4 years ago | (#29999810)

Good old fashioned POTS stuff has its advantages(phones, even wireless ones, are incredibly cheap, you can carry the signal over cable of virtually arbitrary crappiness)..

If you define "carry the signal . . ." to mean sound quality gets worse and worse the crappier the cable gets. There's some pretty craptacular wiring out there. I have had to pull out all the POTS wiring in a house ("quad" cable spliced with anything convenient: scotch tape, bandage tape, nothing . . . all hooked together in a bizarre ring/star/daisy chain hybrid group loop disaster ) because I couldn't understand anybody and vice-versa..

Re:Depends. (1)

i.r.id10t (595143) | more than 4 years ago | (#29999906)

Heh. I've got a short run of CAT5 going from phone box outside to a rafter in my attic, each wire spread out, stripped, and wrapped around a nail. Then CAT3 from the nails to the phone jacks in the few rooms that have a landline phone. Voice quality is no issue.

My DSL on the other hand is CAT5 from the phone box outside up into the attic down thru a wall to a wall plate. And I get constant disconnects due to "timeout waiting for PADO" which apparently is due to too much noise on the line.

Re:Depends. (1)

Ecuador (740021) | more than 4 years ago | (#29999826)

Instead of VOIP phones dialing out of POTS, you can also get the features the OP wants by going the opposite way. For example I have simple DECT phones hooked on a Thomson VOIP DSL router, which router can have a unified address book, call logs etc. Obviously this is solution is dependent on having a DSL+VOIP provider in your area.

Re:Depends. (1)

ericfitz (59316) | more than 4 years ago | (#29999980)

A good old wired POTS phone will work even if the power is out at your house. No UPS necessary.

Why are you so backwards? (0, Offtopic)

idrumgood (1672260) | more than 4 years ago | (#29999488)

Why on earth are you still using a landline? A mobile phone will probably be cheaper, you can take it with you anywhere (even in your home), and most of them can sync with your computer contacts (or even your contacts in the cloud).

Re:Why are you so backwards? (1)

kalirion (728907) | more than 4 years ago | (#29999692)

What if I don't want to have to take my phone with me everywhere around the house? It's bad enough having to remember to take it whenever I head out...

Re:Why are you so backwards? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29999898)

So you can't separate your cell phone from your body? What exactly is your point?

Re:Why are you so backwards? (1)

Carik (205890) | more than 4 years ago | (#29999732)

Because my cell phone doesn't work when:

1) I'm in my house. (AT&T, Verizon, or Sprint... I haven't tested anyone else.)
2) The battery runs out.

Also, my land-line is cheaper than most cell-phone plans, and the phone is more comfortable to use.

Re:Why are you so backwards? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29999782)

Mobil phones connect you to a person and landlines connect you to a place. When you don't know who to talk to you call a place and ask them to help find the right person.

Re:Why are you so backwards? (1)

Cro Magnon (467622) | more than 4 years ago | (#30000044)

My landline kept working during a 5 day blackout. My cellphone barely lasts a day without recharging.

My landline has great sound. My cellphone is mediocre.

My landline rings loudly enough to hear anywhere in the house. I can usually hear my cellphone when it's in my damn pocket, barely.

My landline might be "primitive", but it works.

Not For Consumers (1, Insightful)

KBlommel (1165263) | more than 4 years ago | (#29999494)

Unfortunately, no such beast exists in the consumer market. For businesses, definitely.

The problem is, home phone systems are quickly becoming extinct. The market for an advanced home phone system may have been there 5-10 years ago, but not today. Cell phones have become so prevalent that most people under the age of 30 don't even get home phone service anymore. Landline subscribers for all major phone companies keeps going down year after year.

Investing R&D into an advanced home phone system would be equivalent to investing in a sharper color VHS technology. There's no point. This problem isn't the answer you wanted to hear, but it's the truth.

Re:Not For Consumers (1)

Absolut187 (816431) | more than 4 years ago | (#29999686)

What is this "home phone" of which you speak? .. I'm 29.

Re:Not For Consumers (1)

ubrgeek (679399) | more than 4 years ago | (#29999714)

True, not as a standalone component. But as part of some sort of centralized, combined home system it makes sense. Voice dialing from anywhere in the room with the call moving with you from room to room means being able to use both hands while talking (without a stupid Borg bluetooth headpiece). Combine it with skype and TV and you've got video chat. Combine it further with a camera and you have a baby monitor that you can check on with PiP on the TV (Jesus. Would mean someone would actually use PiP). I can think of all kinds of applications, but like you said, a standalone advancement of landline-like phone technology doesn't make sense. That said, there must be enough of a market for non-cellphone home-phone usage for Verizon, Comcast, etc. to put effort into their VoIP product (I know, it's part of the marketing strategy of getting your floor wax and dessert topping from one location, but it's still an offering that plenty of folks take.)

Asterisk? (1)

_Hiro_ (151911) | more than 4 years ago | (#29999504)

I have at least one friend who set up Asterisk for their home system, and got SIP phones where hardware phones are needed, and put software phones and headsets on all the computers.

http://www.asterisk.org/ [asterisk.org]
http://www.trixbox.org/ [trixbox.org]

I've not played with the free (as in beer) solutions, but the semi-free business versions (Trixbox, Digium) do support a shared speed-dial list. Plus you gain intercom, paging, music on hold, etc.

Re:Asterisk? (1)

Rob the Bold (788862) | more than 4 years ago | (#29999672)

Asterisk would definitely do it. You can get SIP instruments for under $100 each. Power over Ethernet switch with 8 powered ports isn't too expensive and eliminates the need for wall warts at all your extensions (Assuming you get PoE capable phones). Migrate or replace your home phone number with a VOIP service, they're not that expensive, might even come with an incoming fax line.

P.S. Grandstream phones relatively are cheap. You can get executivey, businessy, or homey type models. They can import your XML phonebook from your server, you can remotely manage the extensions with a web interface. What's not to love, except for the not-wireless part? Probably wifi SIP phones too, but I've never checked.

Well, yes, there is. (1)

dkuntz (220364) | more than 4 years ago | (#29999520)

Generally, that type of functionality is provided with an actual PBX (either analog line, digital line, or VoIP service).

Of course, the core system can be pricey (the analog or digital cards... VoIP service isnt), and the phones generally range from $99 to over $500.

You would use Asterisk (or one of it's various incarnations), and any compatible SIP phone (Aastra, Cisco, Snom, etc). Some are 100% wireless (using wifi), some are wired, but come with an optional wireless phone.

So, yes, it can be done, but all depends on how much money or effort you want to put into it.

Our VTech phones have a common phonebook, etc. (1)

Richard Steiner (1585) | more than 4 years ago | (#29999532)

We purchased an $80 VTech cordless phone system around three years ago (three handsets, one base station, and two other charging stations), and it seems to keep both its caller ID records and its phonebook data in a central location. If you make an entry on one unit, it shows up immediately on all three.

Try this bluetooth 2 line POTS phone - I Love it. (1)

geaux (876839) | more than 4 years ago | (#29999552)

It has bluetooth that you can used with a standard headset AND copy your contacts from your mobile. Pretty slick. Panasonic 2-Line DECT 6.0 Expandable Digital Cordless Answering System (KX-TG9381T) https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002KF21FK/ref=oss_T15_product [amazon.com]

A similar thought... (1)

ckaminski (82854) | more than 4 years ago | (#29999556)

I've been looking at Skype headsets for a while, but I wanted something that would work without being connected to a computer, and would work with my existing panasonic 4 station system. Verizon had some great ideas in their Audrey-like home phone station, but cost-wise and lockin sort of kept me away.

Everyone's going to wireless or VoIP - there's not going to be any more innovation in the home phone arena. And in the commercial VOIP arena, this already exists in $500 desktop units.

ISDN? (1)

pavon (30274) | more than 4 years ago | (#29999576)

I see many posts recommending switching to VoIP and using Astrix. I have no experience with setting up an ISDN system, however it seems like they do everything he is asking, and he would have less to rewire going that route. Are there any simple, reasonably priced ISDN PBX boxes that would work well for this?

Hand-crank phone (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29999582)

My dad has a hand-crank phone.

It's not live but it has instructions to rewire it to bypass the crank and hook it to an American phone line.

I'd love to see this hanging off my VoIP router!

One ringy-dingy, two ringy-dingy

Why not "converge" to mobile with wifi? (1)

giladpn (1657217) | more than 4 years ago | (#29999636)

Many mobile handsets on the market have wifi abilities. This means - when you are at home - they can talk with your home wifi router to do home-based calling rather than using the cell network.

Quite separately, many of these mobiles also have the ability for software installations that will sync your mobile phone with your contacts, calendar and email. I use an app called "RoadSync" - they have a website, google them. It works pretty well for me.

The combination of these two separate abilities means:
- You can use mobile sets also as your home phone without paying cellular prices.
- When they are on your home wifi net, you are also using less intense radiation
- You are fully sync-ed with your email contacts and calendar

The drawback is that mobile sets can be a bit more expensive then home cordless phones. You need to research the features and prices.

It's called Android.Put #s into gmail contacts FTW (1)

ClintJCL (264898) | more than 4 years ago | (#29999638)

When my wife got an Android phone, do you know how she put people's phone numbers into it? By editing their phone number in her gmail contacts. I'd say that's pretty damn synced. She never entered a single number into her phone, and me, never having used it, and not having a cell phone myself [and thus not savvy with them], could still figure out how to call someone in about 3 seconds.

Re:It's called Android.Put #s into gmail contacts (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29999772)

Did you even RTFS?
The OP clearly mentions that he wants this kind of functionality in POTS, knowing that it already exists in most smartphones.

Works with Siemens dect (3, Interesting)

Xerfas (1625945) | more than 4 years ago | (#29999644)

SIEMENS GIGASET S680 BLUETOOTH DECT PHONE http://www.cordless-phones.uk.com/cordless-phones/digital-cordless-phones/siemens-gigaset-s680-phone [uk.com] easy to program, easy to use. I have worked with Siemens dect systems when I worked with Siemens HiPath 4000. Most new dect phones got sync to PC that I have used.

I remedied some of this with VoIP .... (1)

King_TJ (85913) | more than 4 years ago | (#29999660)

I got rid of my regular land line, and went with "Phone Power", a cheap VoIP provider out of Calfornia. (Only $14.95 per month if you're willing to sign a 2 year contract with them, and you get unlimited calls to anywhere in the USA for that price.) I'm sure there are many other inexpensive choices as well. (I was previously using "AT&T Callvantage", but that one is going away so I had to switch services. It cost more like $25 a month anyway.)

A nice side-effect of switching my service to VoIP is, I can centrally create a list of "speed dial" numbers on their web site, and all phones in my house use them. (They're all dialed with the * and then a 2 digit number.) Additionally, Phone Power does a "virtual 2nd. line" feature that could come in handy. Basically, a second phone jack on the terminal adapter they ship you can be configured as the "virtual" number. So when you're on a phone in the house that's running off the primary jack of the adapter, and a second call comes in, it will ring the phone(s) on the second jack and allow someone to answer it without interrupting your original conversation. Alternately, you can take the call yourself on the primary line by clicking over, in the typical "call waiting" manner. By the same token, even though phones on both jacks will present themselves as being the same phone number, you can make 2 simultaneous outgoing calls with both of them.

A caller ID log is also maintained on their web site for you, and you can even click on a call in the log to add it to a "block" list. (Once blocked, future incoming calls from that number either get immediately routed to your voice mailbox, or they get an immediate busy signal ... your choice.)

The voice mailbox feature can essentially be "disabled" if you still prefer using a traditional answering machine, by telling it to wait an "unlimited" amount of time before calls are transferred to it once your number starts ringing. But if you do opt to use it, it's pretty powerful too. You can have copies of your messages emailed to you as .WAV sound file attachments, for example. And by setting up "advanced call routing", you can create a whole sequence of phone numbers that a call will ring before going to voicemail. (This might prevent someone NEEDING to leave you voicemail in the first place, if you have, say, a cellphone ring simultaneously with your home number.)

I used to care if my land line phones had certain features, but now, I've realized VoIP renders most of it pointless duplication.

Re:I remedied some of this with VoIP .... (1)

Darth Sdlavrot (1614139) | more than 4 years ago | (#29999884)

I got rid of my regular land line, and went with "Phone Power", a cheap VoIP provider out of Calfornia. (Only $14.95 per month if you're willing to sign a 2 year contract with them, and you get unlimited calls to anywhere in the USA for that price.) I'm sure there are many other inexpensive choices as well. (I was previously using "AT&T Callvantage", but that one is going away so I had to switch services. It cost more like $25 a month anyway.)

I too had Callvantage. I added T-Mobile's @home VOIP to my cellphone plan for $10/month. It doesn't have all the features that Callvantage had, but the price is right and ultimately I expect to wean myself off the landline anyway.

trixbox & Polycom IP Series phones (1)

Dragon_Eater (829389) | more than 4 years ago | (#29999680)

You can run the server software ( Free ) on any older machine and the phones are nearly open source with the options they have.

The Phone can be expensive but any unit ( phone, cell, PC etc) that can run SIP based telephone calls will interface fine.

For example I have a HTC Dream with android and the SIPDroid app works very well.

Links:
http://www.trixbox.org/ [trixbox.org]

http://www.polycom.com/ [polycom.com]

http://www.sipdroid.com/ [sipdroid.com]

partial solution (1)

sribe (304414) | more than 4 years ago | (#29999740)

Doesn't do anything about synching the phone books, but logging caller id, forwarding voice mail to email, remote access to voice mail: PhoneValet [parliant.com] .

Contemporize, man. (1)

jtownatpunk.net (245670) | more than 4 years ago | (#29999786)

My phone does all the stuff you want. And it has no wires. And nobody asks, "Is Bobby home?" when I answer it. It keeps an extensive callerID history on board and a full accounting of all incoming and outgoing calls is available online. I can synchronize my contacts and calendar with the computer. Got voicemail notification and everything.

Land lines are dying. The chances of seeing major integration improvements are slim to none so, if you're stuck on the idea of keeping a land line, just start looking at what's out there right now and buy the best you can afford. There's no point in waiting because it's not going to get any better.

My smartphone is my home phone (1)

frank249 (100528) | more than 4 years ago | (#29999818)

I finally realized that we did not need a home phone since everyone in my house had their own cell phone. My Blackberry uses my wifi network when I am at home and for $15/month I have have unlimited local and long distance through the Rogers talkspot plan. Now I don't miss any calls since there is only one number to reach me no matter where I am. I even have a bluetooth handset phone that automatically connects when I am in the house. Its great not having to answer the phone and find out the call was for my kids.

My Panasonic Phone Does This Already (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29999852)

I have a panasonic cordless 4 handset model that will copy phonebook entries from one handset to another - it's a function that is buried in the "Phonebook" options menu on the handset.

Unidean CLX475 or CLX485 (1)

tradjik (862898) | more than 4 years ago | (#29999872)

I own a set of Uniden CLX485s. Basic base station with expandable handsets. I have the 485 which includes color screens. They come with a USB cable and a program that will pull contacts from Outlook with a little configuration (contacts with many numbers require mapping to home/office/mobile). Once imported you can set personal ringers and pictures for each one up to the storage limits. My only issue was the battery died and I never got around to ordering new batteries, then a woot deal came along and I got newer Uniden phones (that lack Outlook sync) So they are out there, but I don't know how much support they still get:
http://www.uniden.com/products/productdetail.cfm?product=CLX485 [uniden.com]
http://www.uniden.com/products/productdetail.cfm?product=CLX475-3 [uniden.com]

Google Voice (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29999876)

Just keep your contacts in your Google account and use Google Voice. Works with SIP (Gizmo5), POTS, and cell phones. Additionally it delivers SMS and voice mail messages (transcribed) into your email so you no longer have to deal with additional places to check messages.

very good advance phone system (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29999932)

Verizon has a phone service called IOBI ... it does all you ask plus it takes your voice mail and changes it to text ... you link with another service from Verizon (Wireless) called the Hub and it will do everything but brush your teeth and comb your hair

Microsoft Cordless Phone (1)

joeflies (529536) | more than 4 years ago | (#29999936)

It was a product that was just a little ahead of its time for the home market, but it never really took off. Cool in concept, being able to listen to voicemail on pc or the phone. If I remember correctly though, the downside for why I didn't buy one was that I wasn't leaving the computer on all day back then. Microsoft Cordless Phone [archive.org]

Yay (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29999944)

Asterisk would be your best bet - especially now with the GUI that can be used to set this up. One would also need some sort of SIP trunk - unless you buy a nice expensive PCI card for your asterisk box.

Microsoft Cordless Phone (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29999958)

You might be able to find one of these on ebay...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vyevPhRoboE

E.T. phone home (1)

flahwho (1243110) | more than 4 years ago | (#30000016)

Certainly this would be a great opportunity for VOIP phones, which is a market waiting to either grow: where we'll see everyone back to Land-line style phones in their homes (not likely to happen) or bite the dust: the mobile phone world has taken over as the preferred method of consumer communication, leaving the 20-somethings saying stuff like "what's a land-line?".

What's an E.T?

Landline abandonment (5, Insightful)

cdrguru (88047) | more than 4 years ago | (#30000018)

I see lots of people deciding they don't need a landline any more. Well, for a single person or in the case where everyone in the house has a cell phone, that can work. It works better when your wireless carrier has a WiFi component to their plan - although since they lose money by the fistful on these I would expect either the carrier or the plan to disappear.

But what happens when you have a three-year-old child? Going to get them a cell phone? I don't think so. And while you can teach a three year old to dial 911 calling from a cell phone may not be anywhere near as easy or helpful. In a house the GPS chip isn't going to work so well, so your phone isn't going to know where it is. Meaning that the fire department doesn't know where to go.

Landline phone service is also just plain more reliable. If you live in an area where there are weather-related power outages, which is just about anywhere, you can't assume that the cell tower infrastructure has much battery backup - some have none at all. Contrast this with the landline Central Office which when the batteries start getting low fires up the generator to keep dial tone available. I have had no electricity from the power company for more than 24 hours after an ice storm, before there were cell phones. After a few hours a cell phone would be a paperweight under these circumstances.

Why do you need a land line? Children. Emergencies. Power outages. Maybe you don't care now, but you very well might in the future.

And one thing to consider. If enough people drop land lines, they will disappear entirely. Try, just try to find a pay phone outside of an airport or train station today. Nobody needs them, unless your cell phone dies and you need to call someone like maybe a tow truck. Good luck, because pay phones have been declared obsolete. So now there is no alternative. Land lines might be declared obsolete as well - in which case good luck teaching your young children how to dial out on your Blackberry.

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