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Connect your Mac and your landline to this adapter to open up the wide world of digital call management.
VoIP applications like Skype aren’t the only way to take control of voice calls. Apps such as Ovolab’s Phlink and Parliant’s Phone Valet transform your Mac into a superpowered answering service for your traditional telephone.
Ovolab Phlink is one of the best arguments we’ve seen for not abandoning your landline. It consists of a phone-to-USB adapter and the Phlink software, which lets you manage outgoing and incoming calls.
The software automatically logs the phone number and duration for all calls, pulling contact names from your Address Book when a known number appears in its caller ID. Call recording can be scheduled automatically or triggered manually, and the recordings can be saved in a variety of file formats, including AAC and MP3. Missed calls are directed to voicemail, where the messages can be emailed as attachments to an address of your choice.
Phlink’s iTunes-like playlists can group calls by label, contact name, or phone number, among other options.
Phlink also offers impressive integration with the rest of the Mac. When a call is active, the software automatically pauses iTunes and changes your status in iChat. Beyond the basic features, robust AppleScript support even lets you control your Mac by calling from a touch-tone phone. Other included AppleScripts provide support for sending call notifications to a cell phone via SMS, uploading voice messages to a webpage, and transferring incoming calls to another phone number, to name only a few.
Given the AppleScript support, we could find no feature that wasn’t possible with the software, but several items could be easier to use. Customizing your voicemail greeting requires running a separate setup app from the Extras folder on the disk image. This is simple enough, but why not include it by default in the Preferences menu? And while the AppleScript support will please power users, less advanced users may find themselves wishing that some of the script-enabled features were accessible as regular menu items. (After all, not everyone is comfortable installing or modifying scripts.)
The bottom line. While some of its features cater to advanced users, Ovolab Phlink is a powerhouse for those who want to control a landline from their Mac.
REQUIREMENTS: Mac OS 10.3 or later, USB, analog telephone service
Almost complete control over incoming and outgoing calls. Full integration with Address Book and other applications. Extensive AppleScript support. Universal binary.
Many advanced features require familiarity with AppleScript.