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Digital Loggers' Personal Call Logger


When doing business today, a lot of facts can turn out to be subjective. Did your customer agree to certain provisions or were they just discussed? Were negotiations finalized? Was your client aware of specific problems?

Fortunately, you needn't answer these questions from memory. With a Personal Call Logger from Digital Loggers, you can record all incoming and outgoing phone calls onto your computer's hard drive. For just $89.99, whenever you need to check a fact or verify an agreement, you can access a file, listen to it, and then e-mail it to the other party.

Setting up (1)
This is a very easy product to set up. The personal logger box is about the size of a standard computer mouse and must be connected between your computer and your telephone. To do so, simply connect one end of the logger to your computer's microphone port and the other end to your telephone. If you have digital lines, you'll want to position the logger between your telephone's handset and the base. All required equipment and cords are included. The last thing you'll need to do is install the software from a CD-ROM, which takes about 30 seconds.

Once the software is installed and enabled, take your handset off the hook and adjust the sensitivity of the logger. One small problem, I suppose, would be that the slide for this setting is counterintuitive—moving the bar to the left, not the right, increases sensitivity. You can also adjust the amount of dead air you want the logger to recognize (assuming you are using the voice-activated, or VOX, feature) before closing a file. Overall, total setup took me about 5 minutes.

In order to record conversations, just make sure the software is open, and recording is set to VOX. In this state, all activity will be recorded automatically. If your recording needs are not so comprehensive, you can set the recorder to manual operation.

Recording and sending files (2)
Many logging systems record files in their own unique format. There are good and bad aspects to such a setup. The disadvantage is that if you want to e-mail files/recordings, the recipient must also have the logging software in order to play the files. The advantage of unique formats is that files are often compressed so that, as with the Vidicode Soft Call Recorder, you can store much more information in a limited amount of space. Since the Personal Call Logger records in standard .wav format, you can send files to anyone you like. Unfortunately, these files are about 7 times larger than Vidicode's compressed files. So if you have limited hard drive space, you might want to take a look at the Soft Call Recorder.

Or, if you have a very high volume of calls or you'd rather not use your own hard drive, another product from Digital Loggers, the Web-Network Call Logger has its own 80 GB hard drive and can record calls from up to 4 phone lines.

Finding and playing files
Once a call is recorded it is filed by date. Every day will have a separate folder, so finding calls is relatively straightforward. For additional ease in indexing, you can also record notes for each file.

But the best way to find files is to use the included Call Analysis software. This indexing program adds a few extra fields to the files, allowing you to find calls by telephone numbers and business names (3). Once you find a file, just double-click it and your computer's default media player will play the file.

Final comments
Recording your telephone conversations can do much more than assist with possible legal problems. No longer will you have to try to find scribbled notes or try to remember specific details. Just go back and replay the call. For just $89.99, you're buying a lot of security and peace of mind, in addition to refreshing convenience.

What I Liked Best   What I Didn't Like
  • Easy setup
  • Very low price
  • Lightweight and unobtrusive
  • Records in .wav files
  • Works with both analog and digital telephone lines
  • Simple to use
  • Does not provide notification beeps
  • Files are relatively large

(1) If you encounter problems during setup, be sure to use Hello Direct's customer service. The number for Hello Direct's trained specialists is 1-800-964-6444.
(2) For incoming calls, name/number information will be stored only if you have Caller ID. Caller ID service must be set up through your phone company.
(3) The U.S. government requires only one participant of a conversation to be aware that a recording is being made. This means that as long as you know, the other person needn't. However, many states (such as Florida and California) have statutes that require the folks on both ends to be notified. Here I have assembled a chart with the current requirements for U.S. states. But because these statutes do change, your best option is to notify parties at the beginning of each call that the conversation is being recorded.
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