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From: Rohit Khare (
Date: Tue Feb 29 2000 - 18:16:46 PST

Damn! Much nicer than I thought the state of the art was. However, I
still want to see 1) more accelerated speech; humans can hear much
faster than they speak, as shown by (at least) Chris Schmandt at MIT
Media Lab (if you don't make it Chipmunk -pitch) and 2) smoothing out
the likely touch-tone UI frequencies and 3)barge-in speech
recognition, both for prompts and small replies and 3) integration
with paging notifications. I'd *love* this as a nextel service -- if
every page from a hotwirelessmail had a "dial me to play" button if I
cared for more info. and 4) I assume if you want it faxed, it will be
MIME-compatibly prettyprinted.

Read on... Rohit

Now, E-Mail is Just a Phone Call Away

Mail CallŪ provides a convenient and easy way to access and manage
e-mail from any telephone in the world, without the need for a
computer! Mail Call will access your e-mail messages and read them to
you using state-of-the-art computerized text-to-speech.
Click on Pricing Plan to view special pricing available to customers
who sign up for Mail Call through GTE.

Once your Mail Call account is set up, you may use the service by
dialing 1-888-624-5225.

For help with signing up or in using the Mail Call service, call
1-888-624-5011. This number is for Mail Call Technical Support, and
not for GTE Internet Technical Suport.

Listen to Your E-mail Messages - Listen to your messages with
advanced Text-To-Speech (TTS) technology.

Access E-mail From Anywhere - Use any touch-tone telephone to
retrieve your messages.

Toll-Free Access - The Mail Call access number is 1-888-624-5750.

Send Replies - Record your own voice response over the phone or
select from 4 canned responses.

Forward Your E-mail - Forward e-mail, including attachments, to
anyone in your address book.

Enhanced Web Interface Process - With Mail Call, the sign-up process
and preference modifications are completed online. When you sign up
for the service, you gain instant access to your mailbox. Similarly,
when you update your preferences, they take effect on your next call.

GTE customers receive preferred pricing for the Mail Call service.
There is a $5.00 annual fee to use the service, then $0.20 for each
minute of use, with no monthly minimum. Faxed pages are billed at the
rate of one minute per page, no matter how long it takes to complete
the fax.

You are only charged from the time that Mail Call connects to your
Mail server, and is able to successfully tell you how many messages
you have.

All calls to Mail Call from the United States or Canada are toll-free.

Once your Mail Call account is set up online, you will have immediate
access to your account. In addition, all of your preferences and
options can be updated real time via the easy to use Web interface

After dialing the Mail Call toll-free phone number, 1-888-MAIL-750,
you will be prompted for your Customer ID and PIN numbers. Both of
these numbers are chosen by you when you sign up. After you enter
your code, Mail Call greets you and tells you how many e-mail
messages you have.

If your account is set up to prompt you in Spanish, you are greeted
in much the same way, except, of course, in Spanish:

[voice-synth spanish is odd^2 to me... ]

Mail Call then gives you the important parts of the header for each
message. For example:

Message 9:
From: Ron Schnell
Subject: Meeting tomorrow

Mail Call then gives you the important parts of the header for each
For each message, you are prompted with several options:

Listen to the text (with or without headers)
Continue to the next message
Send an e-mail message using your address book
Delete this message
Reply to or forward this message
Fax this message
Go to a particular message
Terminate this call

Listening to your message plays the text of the message for you in
easy to understand text-to-speech. The example below shows some of
the sophisticated features of the text-to-speech processor:


Important meeting scheduled for tomorrow at 9:00am with Dr. Carter.
It will be at his Canyon Dr. office. Please let me know A.S.A.P. if
you can attend.


Note the proper pronunciation of the two instances of Dr., as well as
the pronunciation of 9:00am

Here is another sample message:

Dear Andrew:

Looking forward to seeing you at the meeting next thurs. I have been
very content with the content of the previous meetings. Hopefully,
old man Leland won't be there this time. ;-) ;-) Speak to you soon!


Note again the pronunciation of the highlighted words, and especially
note the emoticons!

You can Reply to the message using the Reply Menu:

Reply with an e-mail saying "Yes"
Reply with an e-mail saying "No"
Reply with an e-mail saying "You have received the message and will
get back with the person soon"
To touch tone in a phone number causing an e-mail to be sent to the
person to call you back at that particular number
Forward this message to someone in your address book
Reply with your customized response
Reply with your voice!

If you reply with your voice or use the e-mail initiation feature,
the message will be sent to the recipient as an Audio file
attachment. Simply by clicking on the attachment from almost any
browser, they will hear your recorded reply. The e-mail initiation
feature allows you to send an e-mail to your most common addressees
simply by using your voice. The reply feature is a reply to an
existing e-mail message using your voice.

There are several preferences that you can set and update for your
Mail Call account. On the next page, you can see what the "Update
Preferences" page looks like.

Here are some of the options you can change. When you change your
preferences online, they are updated instantly on the Mail Call
system! Mail Call, Inc.
Update Preferences
All preferences are optional and can be updated at any time.

Choose a voice and pitch below. You may need to experiment with the
different voices until you find the one that is most understandable
to you.
Voice: Pitch:In what language would you like your e-mail read? (Note
that headers are always read in English)In what language would you
like to be prompted?Do you want to set a default fax number to use if
you request to have your e-mail faxed? If so, enter telephone number
(USA or Canada only):
If you choose to reply to e-mails you receive over the telephone,
Mail Call provides four canned and one personal response you can use.
The possible canned responses are:

* Yes
* No
* I have received your message and will get back with you soon.
* Please call me on the telephone as soon as you can.

You can also touchtone in a phone number, and reply that you would
like the sender to phone you at that specific number.

Your personal response can be up to 512 characters in length. If you
wish to have a personal response, please enter it here:

Selective Screening:
You can configure Mail Call to read mail from selected people or
subjects first. Supply us with a portion of the e-mail address or
subject. For example, if you want all e-mail from people at your
company read first, just type in one of the boxes
below. E-mail from people whose addresses contain your company name
will be read first, during the preferred message pass. If you want to
read e-mail from 'John' first, enter 'john' and Mail Call will read
mail from john@xxx.yyy or from users with John in their personal name
first. You may also use this field to prioritize by subject. Simply
type the subject or portion of the subject for which Mail Call should
look and read first.
5.You can configure Mail Call to exclude e-mail from selected people
or subjects. Simply type a portion of the e-mail address or
subject. For example, if you want all e-mail with get rich to be
excluded, type get rich in one of the boxes below.

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This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Tue Feb 29 2000 - 18:19:24 PST