The end of Ernestine (Symantec TalkWorks 3.0)
by Alan Zisman
(c) 2000. First
published in Toronto Computes,
Symantec TalkWorks Pro version 3.0
$177.95 (downloadable), $192.95 (packaged), $71.95
requires: Pentium 166, Windows 95/98/NT/2000, 100 MB
compatible voice-capable fax-modem
One of the joys (and sometimes curses) of the personal
computer as we
know it is its versatility. Add a laser printer and desktop publishing
software and become a typesetter and printer. Add a digital camera and
become a darkroom and photography special effects center. Add a video
card or connect a digital camcorder to a Firewire port, and produce
Add a voice-capable fax modem and Symantec?s new
TalkWorks Pro version
3.0, and your Windows 9x/NT computer becomes a ?Voicemail and Fax
System?. TalkWorks? roots lie in WinFax Pro, originally created by
Delrina. WinFax attained wide popularity by making it easy to send
any computer-generated document using a fax modem?and (with somewhat
difficulty) set up a computer to receive faxes as well.
WinFax (now, along with the rest of Delrina, owned by
Symantec) has continued to add features and capability. Somewhere
Version 8, it gained an add-on, TalkWorks, allowing users to use their
computer to replace their telephone answering machines.
But TalkWorks gained a life of its own, and now the
tables are turned?WinFax
(still available separately) has become an add-on to the TalkWorks
WinFax gets a separate manual, the user interface is integrated into
main TalkWorks message center.
Along the way, TalkWorks has gained features, and now
is much more than
a simple telephone answering system. Like higher-end dedicated
systems, you can set up multiple voicemail accounts, with separate
giving your home office or small business the professional air of a
But it also does much more?more than you can get from
a typical answering
machine. It keeps track of all calls and faxes?logging even the callers
who just hang up. it supports phone company services like Caller ID and
more, so you can see on screen who?s calling. By combining this with
stored phonebooks, you can find the name and other details of who?s
before you answer the phone.
New features can go beyond that?and track you down
when you?re out of
the office. You can have all messages forwarded to your cell phone or
or set it to just forward callers who you?ve identified as important.
can be set to try multiple phone numbers to track you down, if needed.
If you?d rather, calls can be automatically forwarded right to your
or other phone number?or you can reserve this feature for your
Messages can even be forwarded as e-mail attachments,
so you can easily
get them over the Internet.
In a networked environment, a single Host machine can
share voice modem
and fax capabilities with the other computers. You can use it to record
a single voice message and then automatically phone up everyone on a
and play them your message. The software can also be used to set up and
control a fax on demand system?allowing callers to request specific
using their touch-town phone, and having them faxed directly to them
they hang up.
The new version is much easier to use?there?s a new
interface that combines
the telephone and answering machine interfaces. New wizards and
simplify setting up your answering system?helping you create the
and messages that you need. And multimedia tutorials help walk users
some of the more complex tasks. On-screen simulation lets you test our
your system before letting it loose on the real world.
To get full use of this program, you?ll want a modem
ready, and that supports CallerID. And of course, you?ll need to get
turned on by the phone company. But with the right hardware, this
and some patience, you can make your computer replace a receptionist.