Like everyone, we get lots of phone calls that are just SPAM. We’re on the National and state Do Not Call lists, but as we all know, those programs just don’t work in the real world – kind of like Speed Limit signs.

And with the upcoming presidential elections – phone SPAM is only going to get worse.

We went through a phase of politely asking to be removed from call lists – as you know, that should work, but doesn’t.

Anyway, the next line of defense was our Panasonic phone which has the ability to block up to 20 numbers – it also has the ability to “announce” who is calling as well as allow us to assign a custom ringtone. We quickly found that 20 numbers is not sufficient for a “block call” device.

So, I decided to take matters into my own hands. I’ve been a computer programmer a long time and I know that a lot of PC based modems can interpret the caller ID data “buried” in the phone call, so I decided to get a modem and write me a java app that could read the caller ID data and decide to let it ring, or just hang up the line.

I bought a modem from NewEgg.com here – http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16825164003 – total cost was under $10 – i actually got it with free shipping so was $7 – YMMV

The modem comes with some answering machine software but it doesn’t allow you to block calls.

So I start researching the caller ID specification to write me an app to do what I want. One of the first sites I looked at was a page on the Beiley Software site at http://beiley.com, Turns out that Beiley has an app that will do exactly what I want – it’s called AudioCallerID.

Beiley also has a good list of modems that are compatible with his AudioCallerID software.

AudioCallerID allows me to create an unlimited list of numbers to block calls from, it announces the incoming call (if it’s not on the block call list) and it allows me to assign custom ringtones. Cost for this software is $25 – it’s something I could write, but not for $25, so I bought it.

The only other item I needed (and had) was a long phone cord to get from the closest phone jack to my PC.

When a call comes in, a window pops up on my screen with the caller ID info showing as well as a log of all incoming calls. If the number is not blocked, AudioCallerID announces the name of the incoming call.

If the number is new to us, I research it on Google and if it proves to be phone SPAM, I simply right click on it in the call log and choose “Block Call” from the menu.

My total project costs is a mere $32. My PC is in our living room and is always on, so having it announce non blocked incoming calls is nice – being able to block anyone I want is definitely worth the cost.

Let me know,
Mike

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