20-Aug-2010 (Fri)
Wherein the Infoline Robot gets an upgrade.

Hey, give our infoline number a call -- 415-626-1409.

In this modern world, I'm not really sure whether it's worth even having such a thing, but that's our oldest phone number -- I've seen it on flyers from 1986!

Until now, I had no idea how many people ever called that number or whether they listened to the message at all, because the phone company refuses to give us those statistics. Yes, that's ridiculous. No, we couldn't get it out of them after many, many phone calls. We also couldn't get them to give us a number that both A) let us leave a multi-minute outgoing message and B) had voicemail turned off so that people couldn't leave messages on it. Such service from those guys.

Anyway, I've just switched it to use Twilio, which is pretty cool. So now not only will we actually get logs, but we can get the recording up there automatically, instead of having to update it manually by either reading it out loud, or holding the phone up to a computer reading it. Twilio has a pretty neat system. Their end handles the phone network and speech synthesis, and they pull an XML URL off of my server where the behavior is defined -- e.g., they do a POST to my URL when you press a keypad key, and I return a new XML document.

It can also do SMS responses, but I haven't gotten that working yet. I'm not sure how useful that will be, but it might be nice to be able to SMS something to 626-1409 and get back a text saying what's going on here in the next few days.

There are lot of systems out there where you can sign up for SMS notifications. It would be pretty easy to build something like that, but since I can't personally imagine ever wanting that, I'm not sure what I'd do with it. They exist, though, so other people must use them?

2 Responses:

  1. poitoi says:

    heee, infolines. That takes me back, like the mixtapes i've been litstening to since the CD player in my car crapped out.

    I'll actually have to remember that. as one of the 5% of Bay-Area-ans without an internet-capable phone, this could come in handy.

    =)

    ALso, most relevant captcha evar! Jeaded journal. HA!

  2. strspn says:

    Spectacular! Maybe the cadence is a touch slow but I wouldn't be minding that if there were background noise in my other ear.

    Did you have it up long enough to figure out how many calls were you getting per day before you announced the robot overlord/announcer update?