If you build it...

by Alan Graham

On occasion I desire a solution that does not currently exist. Since I am not wealthy, and therefore unable to build these devices myself, I must pine silently in my office waiting for the day when my needs are answered. But then again, I thought my blog would make a perfect place to beg for such things. So from time to time, I'll be putting in a request.

iChat iPhone

Here is what I want. A small box with a phone line-in jack, and another jack to plug any regular cordless phone into. Then I want a USB cord that goes to my computer.

When a call comes in from the phone line, I'd like the device to just pass it through to the phone, unmolested. BUT...when an iChatAV/AIM invitation comes through, I'd like it to take the persons ID, translate it into CID (Caller ID) data and put that through to the phone as if it were a regular phone call.

I mean what does the phone care? A call is a call, right? Just like any other call, it would ring (perhaps with a distinctive ring) and display the incoming AIM/iChat info on the screen.

Now to make things even more interesting, I'd like the box to listen when I pick up the phone to make a call. I can make any call I like by just dialing, but by dialing certain codes first (that I can customize), I can change my away message, or initiate an iChat/AIM call (just assign buddies a "speed-dial" code). If the person is unavalable, it could just give me a busy signal. VoIP as easy as pie.

Now when you make out the check, remember I spell my name with one "L."


2004-01-20 09:41:09
On the way there
Good suggestion. I am a big fan of my iSight/iChat and use it at work and home...But I can't use it to communicate with a daughter away at school whose unenlightened institution greatly encouraged (and underwrote) her purchase of a Windows machine. Sure, there are work-arounds for Mac-PC videoconferencing, but nothing as elegant as the iSight/iChat.

As an incremental step to your "box," I suggest that Apple do an iPod/iTunes-like strategy of making the iSight/iChat platform available to the Windows world. It would at least establish a stadards-platform to serve as the foundation for what you describe.

2004-01-21 03:41:18
I always wanted a JavaPhone
Way back in 1998 when I knew people at JavaSoft (or was it still inside Sun then?), I kept bugging them for a JavaPhone which would have a little screen to set all sorts of features, including distinctive rings, kill files, and other things. I thought that would be a great use for the technology.

Alas, the world was excited about web applets, which I haven't seen in years, and I still want my JavaPhone.

2004-01-21 06:37:08
D-link i2eye
D-link i2eye has many of the feature described. I setup one for my paranets. For them, even Macintosh is still too "user unfriendly" :)
2004-01-21 06:37:34
D-link i2eye
D-link i2eye has many of the features described in your comments. I setup one for my paranets. For them, even Macintosh is still too "user unfriendly" :)