Voice Mail When You're On The Go

Here's a gizmo that can turn your portable computer into a personalized telephone-answering service. Who would need such a thing? Imagine you're traveling on business and check into a hotel that doesn't have voice mail. Just plug your computer-cum-voice-mail system into the phone line, and it can record messages and receive faxes while you're away. You'll even be able to call the computer, punch in an access code, and listen to your messages one by one from a remote phone. Messages are stored in compressed, digitized form on your hard disk. Or you can program the computer to periodically dial another voice-mail system, at your office, say, and retrieve messages waiting for you there, so you can listen to them at a remote location.

All this is made possible with a plug-in circuit card from MagicRAM Inc., a Los Angeles company, that's designed to work inside computers offering a PCMCIA card slot. Software to handle the voice-mail functions is designed to run with Microsoft Corp.'s Windows operating system. The $495 card is based on a 14,400-baud data and fax modem for sending and receiving information over telephone lines.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.