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TotalTalk - Advanced Features

Now that I had verified the basic operation of the service, I turned to exploration of the advanced options and settings available from the web interface. The basic screen displayed after logging in to the TotalTalk web site showed a summary of both my incoming and my outgoing calls, along with an address book (Figure 9).

TotalTalk Welcome Screen

Figure 9: TotalTalk Welcome Screen
(click image to enlarge)

This screen also contained a form for dialing a number, which I thought was a bit curious. How could a form on a web page dial my telephone for me? But a little investigation and a test showed that what really happened was a two step process. When I submitted a number to dial, first the AOL server would "ring" my phone, and then when I picked it up, the submitted number would be called. This was a bit different than "normal" usage, but it worked well and was handy. It sort of reminded me of the old-fashioned phone systems you see in the movies where the operator would dial a long distance number and then call you back when the connection was made.

Browsing through the various pages on the web site, I found an extensive set of options (Figure 10). I could set up call forwarding, define the behavior of voice mail, and turn on call-waiting. I could listen to my voice mail or even download it as MP3 files. I also found an option for blocking long distance and/or international calls. When I enabled international calls, I was able to call my brother on his cell phone in Cairo. This time the quality was very poor, but it was probably due to spotty cell coverage on his end.

Call Handling screen

Figure 10: Call Handling screen
(click image to enlarge)

An interesting setting was the one for 911 service (Figure 11). Nationwide, there have been a number of problems with people trying to call 911 when on a VoIP phone. The settings on this page allow you to define locations where the phone was to be used. The idea was that you would update your location whenever the phone was moved, in order to properly handle 911 calls. The page specified that only your "home location" could be used for outgoing calls, but there was really nothing to keep you from moving the phone from place to place without making a change on this page.

Specifying 911 Locations

Figure 11: Specifying 911 Locations
(click image to enlarge)

I used the phone in a couple of different states without issue, although if I had made a 911 call it would have been routed to the wrong place. I did notice that after leaving the phone powered off for a while - such as during a move - that when I turned it back on, it would ask me to verify that it was still located at its "home" location. The few times this happened after I had moved the phone, I "lied", by acknowledging it was in the same place, and it worked fine.

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