- Speed Up and Fix Up Your Dial-Up
- Bring Me a New Brain, Igor!
- What You Need to Know to Perform Brain Surgery on Your Modem
- Don't Just Call Any Number (Choosing the Correct Dial-Up Number)
- It's Not Your Modem—It's Your Phone Line
- Testing, Testing—Is Your Phone Line Ready to Rumble?
- Tweaking Your System for Faster Speed
- Adding Extra Horsepower to Your Internet Connection
- Software That Makes Tweaking Easier
- Super Glue Two Modems Together with Bonding
- How Bonding Works
- Will Your ISP Approve?
- Upgrading Windows 95 for Multilink Support
- Setting Up a Multilink Connection on Your Computer
- "We Interrupt This Online Session..." (Getting Calls While You're Online)
- Grabbing Messages While You're Online
Grabbing Messages While You're Online
Services such as BuzMe (www.buzme.com), CallWave (www.callwave.com), and others take advantage of the call forwarding feature offered at minimal cost by most local telephone companies. Call Forwarding on Busy or No Answer sends the call to a special number used by the answering service, which plays a message inviting your caller to leave a voice message, which is played on your computer.
BuzMe also offers a low-cost enhanced service that enables you to select a predefined reply, type in a custom reply, or block the caller from reaching you. BuzMe uses text-to-speech technology to play your standard or custom replies for your caller. You can also take the call immediately.
Making Telephone Calls While You're Online
Combine incoming answering services such as BuzMe or CallWave with voice-over-IP outgoing call services such as PhoneFree (www.phonefree.com) or Visitalk (www.visitalk.com/Default.asp) and you have a good workaround to the dual problems of taking and making voice calls while you're online. Most of these services are free or cost only a few dollars per month.
If you have Windows 98 or above, you can download the new Microsoft Windows Media Player version 7, which includes telephone call software from Net2Phone. Media Player 7 enables you to make free local or long-distance phone calls to any number in the U.S. or Canada.
The Least You Need to Know
You can upgrade your modem's firmware to improve its speed and reliability.
You can adjust your Windows configuration to improve your modem's effective throughput, but most changes require editing the Windows Registry.
You can achieve an inexpensive greater-than-100Kbps solution by using modem bonding, but you will probably need to change ISPs and you need at least two phone lines.
You can use free or low-cost Internet answering services and outbound calling services to handle voice calls while you're online.