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Screening for Fax Calls with Panther?

Cliff posted more than 10 years ago | from the don't-pick-up-unless-it-squeals-at-you dept.

OS X 42

Peter Brodsky asks: "Panther advertises faxing as one of its cool, new features. If you're like me, and you have one land line, which you use for DSL and voice, you don't want to hook up a fax machine that will answer after X rings, because if after X rings it picks up and starts beeeep, beeep, bleeeeping at you, you cut yourself off from voice mail... which is programmed to pick up after Y rings. Is there a way to make your Panther box 'screen' for fax calls before it picks up?"

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Sort of (3, Informative)

m0rph3us0 (549631) | more than 10 years ago | (#7663232)

You can get some software to turn your mac into a voicemail server. Then you can screen it effectively. Otherwise you'll need to pickup a device that will screen the call and then direct it to the appropriate device.

It would probably be more cost effective to signup for that efax service where faxes come into your email box.

Basically, you'll end up wasting alot of time for a few buck a month.

Isn't it a hardware issue ? (1)

Romain 101 (623942) | more than 10 years ago | (#7663439)

I would love to hear about a software solution for OS X to turn my Mac into a voicemail/fax machine.

As I recall it, it's not possible due to the modem that is inclued in standard in todays computer. They are not meant for that use.

I remember a (now old) Performa 5200 that would do that using a software provided with the OS at the time ! Why did they stop that amazing piece of hardware/software ?

Re:Isn't it a hardware issue ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7663452)

Because exactly 3 people actually used it. The 2400 baud modem included on those machines just didn't have the bandwidth to handle voice so it sounded really bad. Now that modems do have the capacity, people have broadband and can do cool things like streaming video.

You fucking Macintosh weenies (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7664262)

You worthless pieces of shit. Everybody else on this web site is talking about extreme programming or Perl tips or the relative merits of C versus C++.

But you fucking worthless pieces of dog shit are talking about using your $4000 computer to SCREEN FUCKING FAX CALLS!!!

THIS is why you're such fucking losers and THIS is why NOBODY has any respect at all for your fucking nonexistent technical skills.


Re:You fucking Macintosh weenies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7664368)

your ideas intrigue me and i would like to subscribe to your newsletter thx

p.s. i posted this on a powerbook g4

Re:You fucking Macintosh weenies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7687166)

I know you're very upset about all the time it takes to keep your winblows box up and running, but we don't really want to hear it. You see, on the mac side our computers work so we have more time to talk about the more mundane topics.

I also find it interesting that you have no idea that programming on a mac is even nicer than working on a linux box. Sorry it took so long to reply, but I was busy working on a c++ program in vi on my G5.

Re:Isn't it a hardware issue ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7664102)

"I remember a (now old) Performa 5200 that would do that using a software provided with the OS at the time ! Why did they stop that amazing piece of hardware/software ?"

You're talking about the GeoPort. I never really thought about it, but I guess it got Steved--it just wasn't worth it to continue providing support for the GeoPort, when very few people used it. I don't think there was a 56k GeoPort--I'm sure it would've required a fair amount of development. So it would've cost money not only to continue improving the GeoPort interface itself (which looked like an external modem with almost nothing on it), but also to continue providing hardware support (in the form of an old-style externally accessible serial port) on newer machines that started using completely different (and much better) architectures. Not to mention continuing to provide support in system software--I think your Performa 5200 would've shipped with some limited telephony software that didn't improve much over the rest of the life of the GeoPort, and continuing to really support it through OS 9 (let alone OS X!!!) would've been a major PITA, I have to imagine.

Again, it just wasn't worth it. :-)


It definitely IS an hardware issue (2, Interesting)

Romain 101 (623942) | more than 10 years ago | (#7675992)

"You're talking about the GeoPort"

No I wasn't. The performa 5200 didn't have a Geoport included (see Apple's product description [] ).

The sound was excellent, much better as anything recorded on tape or using a crapy digital encoding like in todays answering machines.

All in all I was very satisfied with it, and wouldn't have an air plane company totally crashed it after landing, I would still use it today as a very convenient answering machine/fax.

The money they gave me to compensate the dramatic lost of this BIG answering machine covered partly the cost of the G4 I have now. And whatever anyone thinks about OS X, if it's stable enough to run 24h/day 365days/year, it's then stable enough to be also an answering machine (as well as much more). I don't see why this should be worst than using a G4 to browse the web, listen to MP3's, were, for that use, a Quadra would be enough :)

Re:Isn't it a hardware issue ? (1)

Random Frequency (34459) | more than 10 years ago | (#7665161)

because it cost too much to bundle functionality like that into something no one used.

Re:Isn't it a hardware issue ? (1)

op00to (219949) | more than 10 years ago | (#7750474)

Isn't that the point of going for a Mac over another platform? Because paying the extra bucks gives you the extra functionality? Oh.

Re:Isn't it a hardware issue ? (1)

Random Frequency (34459) | more than 10 years ago | (#7750739)

not when the majority of your customers are college students or photoshop geeks.

Faxes? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7663251)

Who Faxes Anymore?

Re:Faxes? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7663464)

Apple users apparently are several years behind their pc counterparts.

Thats why they dont have such things as Apple PDA. Dont wanna move too fast for them apple-ites now.

Give them about 3 years, and apple will release them

Re:Faxes? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7664533)

Yeah, it's not like Apple invented the PDA, or coined the very term itself [] ...

a guess (2, Informative)

ross_winn (610552) | more than 10 years ago | (#7663290)

(I haven't upgraded to Panther) Find out if the Fax recognizes a distinctive ring. If it does the use the distinctive ring number for your faxes.

Re:a guess (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7664051)

It can be made to recognize a distinctive ring, yes. There was a hint about this on Mac OS X Hints maybe a week back. Not too hard to configure, IIRC (don't think any third-party software was needed).



Re:a guess (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7664129)

D'OH!!! Already addressed below. Sorry about that. Mod this and parent down. :-)

Multi-ring (4, Interesting)

krray (605395) | more than 10 years ago | (#7663308)

Well ... as I'm not sure if the Apple modem's support mutli-ring service ... you could always get a second phone number (typically $5/mo from the telco) which will come in multi-ring. There are devices to route calls based on ring (Radio Shack used to carry one, not sure anymore).

Now -- if you're smart you'll get a new number and make that your base number. Your home phone will be the multi-ring #. The benifit is that the multi-ring number is not listed or published. I did this for years (upon getting a new home number) to instantly do away with telemarketing calls. All sales people and stores get the base/fax/whatever number.

Today -- I still do the same except my base ISDN# is just always busy (unless I am expecting a fax). The second number is for voice. Other benefits include multi-line home number, always send the busy # out on CID and give that number to store clerks or use it for fax as needed -- including the fact that since it is a digital circuit (SBC now) it is automatically non-listed/published as well. Literally no telemarketing calls for years.

I know my parents still do the multi-ring setup with one device as the POP box. Multi-ring calls go out to the house line and straight rings are routed (silently) to the newly run fax line in the den. Telemarketing calls? Also -0-

Re:Multi-ring (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7667172)

This could be a good solution, but you need to watch out - "multi-ring" or "distinctive ring" service can often screw up DSL running on the same circuit. Most likely wouldn't be a big deal, but make sure you ask about it first to be safe.

Out of style, perhaps... (3, Funny)

cjhuitt (466651) | more than 10 years ago | (#7663321)

But you could do it the "old fashioned" way, which is what I'm planning on doing. If somebody needs to send me a fax, they can call me first and tell me. Then, I'll let the computer answer it.

Unfortunately, Panther (with this feature) came out just _after_ I had finished the process of buying a home. (For anyone who's never gone through the process, there was a large amount of faxing to be done, between about 4 different parties.) It would have made some things much simpler, instead of my wife using the one at her job, and needing to hop down to the office 2 floors below her to receive an incoming fax.

Re:Out of style, perhaps... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7663348)

Best advice then: always ALWAYS make backups. It can save these kind of dramas.

I don't really see the problem. (3, Funny)

Mordant (138460) | more than 10 years ago | (#7663374)

If you just set your Mac running Panther to answer all your incoming calls with its FAX-modem, won't that have the effect of screening out FAX calls, along with bill-collectors, telemarketers, annoying family-members, etc.? ;>

no (1)

perrin5 (38802) | more than 10 years ago | (#7663504)

not really. the options outlined below about distinctive ring of a second line is about the closest you'll get.

There might be a way to link it up with caller id, and make a "whitelist" of fax numbers. Other than that, a fax machine can't make the phone ring differently, so you'll have to deal with it some other way.

All your base belong to MacOSXHints (5, Informative)

Brontojoris (528644) | more than 10 years ago | (#7663517)

Once again, you can find the answer to this question on MacOSXHints:

10.3: Enable Disctinctive Ring fax answering [] .

Stupid facts (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7664159)

You and your damn facts have stopped this thread cold. I hope you're happy.

Re:All your base belong to MacOSXHints (0, Offtopic)

Artifex (18308) | more than 10 years ago | (#7664576)

Cool. By posting that link, you're also helping those of us thinking about buying Macs, who want a ready db of support websites.

Got any more URLs you think are must-haves?

Re:All your base belong to MacOSXHints (4, Informative)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 10 years ago | (#7664786)

I check all these daily:

MacInTouch []
MacNN []
MacMinute []
MacFixIt []
Mac OS X Hints []
MacSurfer []

Great software update resources:

VersionTracker []
MacUpdate []
OS X freshmeat []

Other great sites:

O'Reilly Mac DevCenter []
O'Reilly Mac OS X Page []
Apple Mac OS X downloads []
Apple Third Party Products Guide []

Developer sites:

Mac OS X Developer Home Page []
Mac OS X Developer Documentation []
Darwin []
OpenDarwin []
fink []

abc123abc123abc123abc123abc123abc123abc123abc123ab c123abc123abc123abc123abc123abc123abc123abc123abc1 23abc123abc123abc123abc123abc123abc123abc123abc123 abc123abc123abc123abc123abc123abc123abc123abc123ab c123abc123abc123abc123abc123abc123abc123abc123abc1

Re:All your base belong to MacOSXHints (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7665372)

and macrumors isn't on here? go to hell, buddy

Re:All your base belong to MacOSXHints (2, Informative)

mdarksbane (587589) | more than 10 years ago | (#7665455)

You completely forgot

An absolute necessity if you want to use off-the-shelf hardware (ie, ide cd-burners, $5 realtek ethernet cards, or "unsupported" wireless cards) on your mac. It's also my first stop if something going on with my system; they report almost any weird incompatibility anyone's ever had.

Re:All your base belong to MacOSXHints (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7710281)

still talking shit.

you know nothing about unix.

you know nothing about Macs other than how to use them because you are a faggot user.

You know nothing about anything.

You fuck dick and you are a fucking fag. SUCK OFF

Re:All your base belong to MacOSXHints (1)

pudge (3605) | more than 10 years ago | (#7669334)

Took me awhile to make sure it was working because I couldn't get a damned test fax, but once I did, it worked great. Yay! Now I can have my unused second phone number dedicated to my unused fax modem and software!

Answering machine or voice mail? (3, Informative)

Anonymous Freak (16973) | more than 10 years ago | (#7664325)

If you are using voice mail (phone co-provided, not a box at your house,) then you're pretty much out of luck. Because in order to detect a fax call from a voice call, you have to answer it. If you have a device (like one of those silly 'Catch-A-Call's,) pick up the line to detect what kind of call it is, then the phone company provided voice mail won't pick up.

If you use a physical answering machine in your home (digital or old-fashioned tape,) then you're in luck. You can set your fax machine to 'TAD'. (Or 'External Answer') This sets it to passively listen to the phone line, but not pick up the line ever. Then, if someone faxes in, and either you pick up and answer, or your answering machines picks up the fax machine will detect the incoming fax, and pick up. (That's how I have my multifunction machine set up.)

Unfortunately, I can't find such a 'TAD answer' setting in Panther. Panther only seems to support having itself answer after 'x' rings.

So, for having PANTHER do it, you're out of luck period. If you're using phone company voice mail, you're out of luck. If you're using an answering machine and a separate fax machine, use 'TAD'.

It, as always, depends. (2, Insightful)

stienman (51024) | more than 10 years ago | (#7664424)

If by 'Voice mail' you mean, "My phone company's voice mail service" then no, there is NO way for ANY home connected device to see if there's a fax machine on the other end of the line without actually answering the call - you have to use distinctive ring, or a seperate line.

If by 'Voice mail' you mean 'Answering machine on the same line' then any intelligent faxing application will listen to the line after it's been answered for the telltale beeps and take over if necessary. This means that if you or voice mail picks up, the fax machine should recognize the beeps. The answering machine may or may not record the conversation depending on how smart it is.

Your best bet is to use distinctive ring, OR use panther as your answering machine/fax machine, and it should take care of all of it for you.


Apple Telecom software (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7666872)

I picked up an old Performa 6400 and a PCI ethernet card for $100. It won't run OSX but it will network with a newer Mac. It comes with 'Apple Telecom' software which can spot the difference between voice and fax on the same line without different ring tones. A hard disc makes for a very long voice tape/fax paper roll. It is also a good speakerphone when the Apple mic is plugged in. You can set an F button on the keyboard to answer the phone. You can't run headless though.

I don't understand why these facilities have not been bundled with all OS9 and OSX Macs, although I believe the Apple Telecom software requires a non-standard Apple Geoport modem to work fully, so it may be a symptom of Apple settling for standardised less specified hardware.

Performa 5xxx/6xxx + Apple Telecom software (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7667142) the ideal solution to your problem. Used ones are very cheap. They...
  • come with geoport modem/apple telecom software
  • answer phone after preferred number of rings
  • distinguish automatically between incoming voice messages/faxes and record each to disc
  • don't interfere with other devices on the same line
  • allow remote collection of messages

Silent Answer (1)

gfilion (80497) | more than 10 years ago | (#7667232)

My old Supra FAX Modem 288 has a feature called "silent answer". When the phone rings, it listen to the line without answering it, if it hears a fax's beep beep beep it answers the call, otherwise it doesn't. That worked pretty well, but I'm not sure if Panther supports it.

Might have a software solution (1)

MouseR (3264) | more than 10 years ago | (#7667955)

Every time this issues comes up, I keep thinking of Apple's canned GeoPort thing. While not a modem per say, this signal processing external device was used to emulate a voice-fax-modem. With proper software, it was used to automatically take calls and manage incoming and outgoing faxes. It also served as a 14k modem. It worked beautifully. In one demonstration Apple had made on stage in a mid 1990s World Wide Developer Conference, some guy (using a cell phone) called in a number that was monitored by a computer on stage, with the help of a GeoPort. The computer picked up the line and said "Yes?" using speech synthesis (same as we have today), and started listening using it's speech recognition technologies (same we still have today). The calling guy said "Ask [name] if he can join me for lunch today".

The computer replied "ok. I'll call you back", hung up, dialed [name] and repeated the message, to wich the computer was replied "yes" and phoned back the original caller to give [name]'s answer. (I don't remember the name of the other person, but that's beside the point.)

I find it hard to believe that after nearly 10 years, we still can't do that again (hey Steve! What's up with the digital hub??).

Anyhow. for regular voice and fax duties, I have found CoMa X [] from a small german shop. it supports a number of modems, but it's unclear if it can handle your internal modem.

As a reference, the blue And White PowerMac G3 tower has a Rockwell compatible modem, so this one should work with CoMa X, wich supports Rockwell as well as other chipsets. The manufacturer also mentions that some older PowerBooks use Rockwell chips, but makes no mention of other machines.

I have not been able to make it work with my Dual G5's internal modem, but I haven't tried that hard. Whenever I get more time, I'll give it another whirl.

For all it's worth, though, it might be worth it to buy another USB modem that falls in the list of supported modem. Sure would cost less than a multi-ring subscription.

iChat and the digital hub (2, Interesting)

Offwhite98 (101400) | more than 10 years ago | (#7670968)

I was looking into a voicemail solution for OS X when my old answering machine finally gave out. I looked and figured that with the new phone number portability in the US I will simply move to a new provider and that voicemail solution should suffice.

But this question got me thinking. I would never need to use OS X as a voicemail/fax system if I move entirely to a cell phone, but it sure would be great if Apple could work with the cellphone providers to make my voicemail and faxes available from my broadband connected home computer. I could get faxes as a PDF and voicemail and an MP3. I do avoid listening to my voicemail on my cellphone because it is very awkward and difficult to hear. Apple should more closely integrate Apple Mail, iChat, and the Address Book with a cellphone service which would make fax and voicemails easily accessible from the desktop as a communications hub, and it could all be done over my broadband connection.

Every other call, then? :) (1)

saikou (211301) | more than 10 years ago | (#7673025)

Perhaps it makes sense to switch between voicemail and fax on the second call? I.e. when you call your home number, fax picks up, records the caller id info. Then you hang up, and dial number again. Seeing that caller ID is the same, and last attempt to receive fax has failed, fax ignores this call completely and you get to your voicemail. At this point flag gets reset again, and next call will be picked up by fax etc...

hivelogic has instructions (2, Informative)

jub (10089) | more than 10 years ago | (#7674135)

just written up and posted: []

basically, you get a distinctive ring tone from your phone company for the fax line, and the panther fax software will distinguish.

Businesses / Resumes (1)

Zw5 (731867) | more than 10 years ago | (#7688486)

Lots of businesses still use faxes for accepting resumes, etc.

Ovolab Phlink (1)

Axello (587958) | more than 10 years ago | (#7710480)

I recently bought the Phlink telecom adapter [] , which seems to have the functionality of the old Geoport adapter. The accompanying software can recognise DTMF codes and can sample sound (i.e. an answering machine), which it can send to you by email. I do not know if the developer Ovolab [] has plans for fax functionality, but maybe it can supply an Apple event structure to 'wake' the built-in fax server for Panther if it detects a fax tone. Axel
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