Block Unwanted Calls

angrytelemarketer I’ve had a surge of telemarketing calls lately and it’s prompted me to start some additional research on what I can do about it. There are a number of great sites with some great ideas and solutions around minimizing some of the unwanted calls. donotcallIf you live in the US, the number one site everyone should register for is the National Do Not Call Registry. However, this only keeps honest companies honest. I needed something more.

I’ve done a little bit of this time of research in the past when I was trying to come up of ideas of products to build. I thought that the best solution would be a device that will intercept all caller ID signals and based on a database, determine if that call was allowed through or simply disconnected. Also, it needed to be a device – not a computer, so that it was incredibly easy to use for the average consumer. Wouldn’t you know, someone already made one?

Caller ID Manager, a product sold by Privacy Corps, was exactly the device I wanted to build.call id mgr Privacy Corps also The device sits between your wall outlet and your phone. The device was configurable in a number of ways – whitelist phones numbers, block specific numbers or range of numbers. You even had a choice of what to do with a block number – send the call to voice mail, never answer the call, or simply disconnect.

This was almost perfect if not for two things:

First of all it had a limited number of memory slots for remembered numbers. Thus you could only block a limit of something like 175 numbers.

Secondly…They stop making it.

That’s right .. much to my dismay, Privacy Corps, stop selling the device because of some issues with the offshore company they had make the devices. Fortunately, there is still hope. According to an email correspondence I had with the company, they will be offering a better solution in 90-120 days (Aug-Sept ’08.) I’ll check back with them then. However, check out there site for information on a number of privacy issues.

My only other alternative is to start looking into more complex solutions that may involve getting a computer involved. Since I’m desperate to get a solution now and I’m not really trying to build a product, my search criteria has expanded a lot. Right now, my thinking is that I need to get an Open Source PBX solution in place. I only know some older telecom technology, thus I’ll have a sharp learning curve here. I’m every hopeful in my friend Google, which has already has me looking at Asterisk, TrixBox, and FreePBX solutions.

I’m sure I’ll write more about this subject as I get deeper into my research.

-JT

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