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Desktop As a Cellphone Extension? 199

spaceman375 writes "Like many slashdotters, I've given up on landlines and have only a cell account. The problem: when I am home I don't want to carry my phone on my person, AND I don't want to have to run (possibly up or down stairs) to answer a call. Landlines solved this with extensions. I could go buy an xlink or other Bluetooth-to-POTS solution, but that takes money for equipment. My desktop has Bluetooth, as do my laptop and cell. All I want is a program that can use my cell's Bluetooth to make and receive calls from my Linux PC. I can do this with asterisk or related programs, but that is like buying UPS when I just need a taxi ride. Yet all I can find are programs that either use 'presence' to shift other-sourced calls to my cell, or ways to use a Bluetooth headset when receiving a call on a PC. Has anyone found a way to use their desktop to make and receive calls through their cell via Bluetooth?"
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Desktop As a Cellphone Extension?

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  • by MikeV ( 7307 ) on Sunday June 28, 2009 @05:46PM (#28507217)

    You don't want to be bothered with carrying the phone with you (the easiest solution), and don't want to be bothered with having to run up or downstairs to answer the phone, so your idea is to what - answer it from your PC, which if you're away from it would STILL necessitate you having to rush to it up or downstairs to answer??? Just pocket the stupid phone and be done with it.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Khris ( 1010709 )
      I have to agree. It sounds like you're trying to reinvent the wheel when the problem can be solved by simply carrying your cell phone with you. It's not like it's a 50lb weight strapped to your back.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ls671 ( 1122017 ) *

      Maybe the guy is ALWAYS on his PC when at home. Maybe he even falls asleep in front of the PC before waking up in the morning to go do his daily tasks ;-))

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by LihTox ( 754597 )

      Cellphones generally have to be charged, and cellphones don't always work everywhere in the house.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by imamac ( 1083405 )
      1. Get Google Voice. 2. Set it to ring your cell and a Skype number. 3. No step 3. See how easy that was?
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Wamellx ( 1518011 )
        Another problem, Google Voice isn't open to the public yet.
      • 1. Get Google Voice.

        From the web site: "Google Voice is currently available by invite only." How long did it take Google to get, say, Orkut to the point where invite codes were no longer needed? Google's blog [] claims that Google began activating accounts on June 25, 2009, but will the invite backlog become cleared before November 2009?

    • Yep. Keep the phone in your pocket and don't bother with anything else.

      But if you really want to, use Asterisk. Or use FreeSWITCH as suggested in another post. They would be easier to set up than looking for other solutions, they are not much resource intensive, so the comparison with UPS would be more acceptable if you could buy them for the price of the taxi. Not only they would do everything you need, but should you decide to extend your needs, you'll be able to do it with just a little change in the co

    • Just pocket the stupid phone and be done with it.

      My cell phone doesn't work in the basement, where I spend time at my workbench (or doing laundry) and have a landline extension. I also get only 2 signal bars in some parts of the house, and have to walk to a different part of the house when receiving a cell phone call there if I don't want chopped speech and unexpected dropped calls. Surely I'm not the only one with this problem. I haven't given up my landline, but if I do I'll need a solution like Cel

    • And fry your balls?

    • "which if you're away from it would STILL necessitate you having to rush to it up or downstairs to answer???"

      What is this "away from it" of which you speak?

      I spend lots of time on the computer and such a solution would avoid having to reach for the phone, dig it out of my belly folds, etc. To be able to respond to calls with a mouse click, have all data/messages displayed on my laptop screen, etc would be genuinely useful.

    • by sorak ( 246725 )

      I can think of one scenario in which the OP's thinking would be valid (of course there could be many more). In my home, I can only pick up a signal in certain spots. I would say that reception is sketchy in 50% of the house, and non-existent in 25%. So, it may make sense, if I cared enough to do it, to find one spot where the phone gets good reception and either use a bluetooth headset, or a PC solution as a way of making and receiving calls when in dead zones, or, if the range isn't quite good enough, to p

  • Grand Central (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cps42 ( 102752 ) on Sunday June 28, 2009 @05:50PM (#28507245) Homepage
    I understand you dont want to run for your phone -- Bluetooth won't reach up and down stairs, so linking phone and computer are likely not going to solve your problem. Why not use Grand Central [] and a Skype number? Have Grand Central ring your cell and your Skype number at the same time. Then whichever you're closest to, you can answer.
    • Re:Grand Central (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 28, 2009 @05:55PM (#28507291)

      Grand central isn't available to the general public yet.

      They have been opening it up to those on the waiting list over the last few days, but overall it's still a closed site.

    • Re:Grand Central (Score:5, Interesting)

      by chipschap ( 1444407 ) on Sunday June 28, 2009 @06:14PM (#28507461)
      You don't need to pay for a Skype number; get a Gizmo account. That works perfectly in conjunction with Google Voice (formerly Grand Central). Google Voice will ring your cell phone and your Gizmo SIP number simultaneously. This makes for a completely free solution (but people will have to learn to call your Google Voice number). You can also make free domestic calls from Google Voice, via Gizmo. Google Voice will ring your Gizmo SIP number and then connect your call. Of course, the other option, as many here have stated, is to put your phone in your pocket and be done with it.
      • I've had problems with simultaneous ring service with cellphones before; there are inevitably circumstances where the cell goes straight to voicemail and terminates the IP call. "Find me, follow me" works well though, ring the IP phone a few times, then switch to cell.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by adolf ( 21054 )

          Google Voice doesn't have that problem.

          It just rings all of the phones of my choosing, and if someone answers one of them, it talks to me: "You have a call from [caller's name]. Press 1 to answer, 2 to send to voice mail, 3 to listen in on the voice mail, or 4 to accept and record the call."

          Since neither my home answering machine nor my cell phone's voice mail know how to dial 1, calls don't get terminated if voice mail (or whatever) answers inappropriately. It'd work the same way with a Gizmo SIP extens

  • The BlueZ code to host the handsfree profile is fairly new and might be immature. And I don't know of a program to actually use it, so you might have to write your own client program.

  • Use Forward (Score:2, Informative)

    by lunk ( 80231 ) *

    I just forward my calls to my asterisk instance with *72 on Verizon. *72111-222-3333.

  • 1989 called. (Score:3, Informative)

    by Gordonjcp ( 186804 ) on Sunday June 28, 2009 @06:06PM (#28507389) Homepage

    They want their breezeblock-sized phones that run off a car battery back. Apparently you were supposed to go and buy a modern phone that you can carry with you.

    • by quenda ( 644621 )

      Gordon, The 1990s called. Apparently they want back their joke about calls from a previous decade.

  • HFP For Linux (Score:5, Interesting)

    by kylegordon ( 159137 ) on Sunday June 28, 2009 @06:08PM (#28507409) Homepage

    You probably want to look into the No Hands [] project. It'll allow you to control your phone remotely over bluetooth from your PC. Aimed primarily at in-car situations, I guess it'll work just as well on the desktop.

    • Aspire one netbook running ubuntu jaunty belkin micro usb bluetooth adapter and an old motorolla v3

      sudo apt-get install subversion g++ autoconf libtool libspeexdsp-dev libasound2-dev libbluetooth-dev libaudiofile-dev libdbus-1-dev

      svn co []
      cd trunk/ ./ ./configure
      sudo make install
      sudo hciconfig hci0 scomtu 64:8

      pair the phone and the laptop

      dial out using the netbook

      It works not sure of the audio device settings yet thou just took a

      • by anilg ( 961244 )

        Thanks.. simple interface.. works as advertized.. and exactly what the poster wanted. everyone tag "nohands" on this story

  • Why so complicated? (Score:4, Informative)

    by fluch ( 126140 ) on Sunday June 28, 2009 @06:11PM (#28507439)

    Place your battery charger at a convenient place and when ever you get home plug the phone into the charger and do NOT unplug it untill you leave the house. Then you have the same functionality as you had with a fixed line phone with a cord. You cannot misplace your phone anymore.

  • We are not near the computer at all times sometimes out side working so not realistic to have the cell phone on you. and have to have it inside pluged in to charge. So I got a house phone with base unit and 3 portable phones. solved all problems karen []
  • by Pokey.Clyde ( 1322667 ) on Sunday June 28, 2009 @06:39PM (#28507655)
    You neither want to carry your phone with you, nor do you want to have to actually walk somewhere to answer it. Are you really that damn lazy? It's a damn phone. Stick it in your pocket and be done with it. Shit, do you need help tying your shoes, too? Get a helmet and go on about your life.
  • If you live in France you get a my favorite ISP, (don t have any commercial relation but be one of his customer), free (appears at on irc )who has what they call a freebox (, which is one of the inventor as what we know now as triple pay for internet, phone, and video, and they offer as a small but good geek bonus an option like a sip account, wifi, and redirections of your phone line linked to your adsl account to that sip account you own. now if you have
    • aren't they also the ones who offer additional tv packages with lots of anime series? Good to see that at least some companies understand the internet.
  • I thought about these issues and ended up just buying a Panasonic bluetooth capable home phone: []
    I paid about 100 USD.
    When the cell phone is in range the base acts just like a headset but relay's the call to any of the three cordless phone handsets around the house. My wife has even grown accustomed to it but there are a couple drawbacks. Weak bluetooth signal drains the battery, fast. No voicemail alert.
    I we
  • by diego.viola ( 1104521 ) on Sunday June 28, 2009 @06:46PM (#28507715)
    I have been using FreeSWITCH, it does much more things than Asterisk and it's a lot more stable and flexible, check it out:

    Most VoIP providers such as Teliax Inc,, iCall, etc, are switching from Asterisk to FreeSWITCH because of it's flexibility, stability and features.

    "How does FreeSWITCH compare to Asterisk?"
  • by holophrastic ( 221104 ) on Sunday June 28, 2009 @06:55PM (#28507751)

    You have a free solution -- putting your phone in your pocket, which is actually easier than leaving it somewhere.
    You have a convenient solution -- you've listed a system that gives you the pots.
    You have an extravagent solution -- you can go ups.

    And you still aren't happy?!

    Write your own, and stop whining. I'd kill to have those three solutions for any of my problems: do little, spend money, or get a lot. You aren't happy with any of them?!

  • by Ernesto Alvarez ( 750678 ) on Sunday June 28, 2009 @06:59PM (#28507773) Homepage Journal

    I find it amazing that you're asking for a solution that requires no effort to set up, lets you answer the phone everywhere and does not require any investment. It looks like you're asking for the impossible. However the solution is very simple:


    If you don't want to carry it, that's what extensions are for. You're asking how to convert your PC in an extension. Also, you'll need to rush to the extension (or your PC, and let me tell you that buying an extension is cheaper than buying a PC) every time it rings.

    You're asking for the ultimate solution in telecommunications. It doesn't exist yet.

  • It's not very imaginative to conclude that the ultimate goal of these technologies is to achieve convergence between the various devices, to seamlessly use them all from either one of them.

    My own short-term wishlist is:

    • Store personal information, like the address book, possibly e-mail and other messages, etc. mirrored (synced in real time) between my mobile phone and a datacenter in a bunker somewhere safe. I carry my mobile phone around with me all the time, so every desktop should just pick up the data f
  • For Windows, most of the Bluetooth dongles I've tried come with the profile and drivers to use the PC as a Bluetooth speakerphone for a paired PC.
    Is there such a possibility for Linux?

  • Go buy a flipping magic jack, and call forward your cell. Plug your old pots phones into the magic jack and done. for 20$ a year or so. That cheep enough??? Unlimited long distance too.

    • I've got a Dlink VTR unbundled from vonage (I never had a vonage contract) plugs into my router and can be used to provide 2 lines ,used it with a Pabx 16 extensions (free landline calls) (replace a landline and use adsl or cable), even works (just) with mobile broadband).

      theres a few similar boxes around that don't even need hacking to work.
      still not ideal people have the mobile number and call him, voip requires a 2nd number or him paying to get his calls forwarded to his voip number.

      now getting the call

  • by Quothz ( 683368 ) on Sunday June 28, 2009 @07:32PM (#28507999) Journal
    I have a low-cost, public-domain solution I use. It's called "not answering my phone". If I'm working at home or anticipating a call, I keep my phone nearby. Otherwise, I feel no special obligation to answer it. If you have to worry about emergency work/family calls, assign special ringtones to potential callers-with-emergencies. If you are the sort of person that absolutely must answer it regardless, then simply smoke lots of pot until you're no longer that sort of person. Easy!
  • by SuperCharlie ( 1068072 ) on Sunday June 28, 2009 @07:45PM (#28508075)
    Kids less than ~12 yrs old. It goes like this.. GET ME MY PHONE :)
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by DanJ_UK ( 980165 ) *
      I believe the OP was looking for a cost effective solution that doesn't require extra equipment. I believe (don't quote me on it), that children have a substantial overhead in terms of cost, time and patience.
  • Asterisk... (Score:5, Informative)

    by lordsid ( 629982 ) on Sunday June 28, 2009 @08:14PM (#28508239)

    Congratulations you answered your own question in the very same post you posed it in.

    There is no "buying" asterisk, it's open source. At most you will need an FXS card/box. The FXS card allows you to ring your house phones. If you want to deal with a real land line you need an FXO card.

    Using the FollowMe feature in Asterisk will give you exactly what you ask for. In all you shouldn't have to spend more then $300 on the card and computer. Best part is you can keep using the same house phones you've had all along. (SIP phones cost $90+)

    Your ideal setup would be a cellphone with a friends and family package where you pick a number you get unlimited calls to. Setup a SIP account through one of the many services. This will give you a callable number. Pick this as your number in your friends and family package. Connect the asterisk box to the sip account. You can now call home to your asterisk box over the internet for free, you can then call out again using your asterisk box to any other sip user for free or to any other landline for a small charge depending on the service (typically $0.01/min).

    • by vlm ( 69642 )

      (SIP phones cost $90+)

      I also used to believe that. Technology and mass production have dropped prices dramatically. Back when asterisk was a "new idea to me", seems like at least a decade ago, sip phones were hundreds of dollars, so I said, forget about asterisk.

      I was surprised when I priced out ip phones a couple years ago. []

      $54 each plus shipping.

      This is by no means a stripped down phone. It has most features you'd expect in a desk phone. I have no connection with Grandstream or Voipsupply oth

  • OK - so I plug my cell into the USB dongle that charges it - now I want the phone to be answered by the AI in my machine - and filter the call: pass it through via the speakers and microphones in the house, record a message, or call the FTC/CRTC for the voice spammer.

    So I want all the functionality of turning the phone into a demarc point to the cell service - so I can call out, answer, ignore or whatever - but through the AI (penguin powered) in my home.

    There's a product in there somewhere!

  • Solution 1:
    Wear clothes
    Wear cellphone

    Solution 2, if you don't want to wear clothes.

    Acquire velcro cable ties

    Attach above to cell
    Set cell to vibrate

    Call friends, leave messages.

    Use velcro to attach cell to proper body part


  • My Suggestion (Score:3, Insightful)

    by webheaded ( 997188 ) on Sunday June 28, 2009 @08:40PM (#28508415) Homepage
    Take your cell phone and put it on your computer desk. This is the most retarded question I've ever seen.
  • Bluephone Elite for the Mac kind of does what you are asking for. But why? A cell phone is actually better at making phone calls than a desktop PC, desktop microphone, and desktop speakers.

  • I had experimented with pairing a PC bluetooth with a cell phone. Mostly though I was experimenting with establishing a ZRTP-like session over bluetooth audio to do secure end-to-end media over the cellular network, rather than the application proposed here.

  • AT&T DECT 6.0 (Score:2, Interesting)

    by AvenNYC ( 1042622 )

    I bought the AT&T DECT 6.0 from best buy not too long ago once my old land line died. It comes with 2 handsets (a base with answering service, and additional charger and handset). You can add as many more handsets as you want (I'm sure there is an upper 10 or 12). []

    Sure I had to put some gaff tape over all the AT&T Logos, but small price to pay. When I walk in my house, my iphone cuts in aut

  • You are not a Borg. You do not have to be plugged into the collective hive mind at all times. Come home from work, put the phone on your desk / table / kitchen counter, and leave it there. If it rings while you're away, call the person back if you must.

    Or just leave the thing in your pocket. I'm "old school" enough to still have a Razr, which is thin enough to keep in my back pocket at all times without my even noticing it's there.

    Yes, I realise that wasn't the solution you were seeking, but yo
  • One option is simply to carry your phone around

    Or you could set up a Vonage line and have it simultaneously ring your cell. I worked at home for 4 years and took advantage of this. Any calls to my home number were promptly answered.

    Or just wait for Google Voice []

  • Like many others, when i first read it i thought "you lazy cheap SOB". Then it was "wait, he wants to carry around his computer rather then his phone? HOW BIG IS THE F**KING PHONE?"....

    But, it is an interesting techo question in the "can it be done" basket. I've tried "nohands" myself previously and wasnt overly excited by it, it would be nice to be able to walk in my home, stick my phone on charge, have it associate with the server at home which can then route my calls in through the ata and out to the pot

    • by Nikker ( 749551 )
      I think it's a cool idea, if you are able connect your cell phone to your network it does give the ability to use that service from applications(Astrix, IVR, Call Branching). It also makes it easier for other people in the house to call out with out having to ask you for your cell, as long as your cell is close to the blue tooth receiver. At the end of the day once you get all this set up grabbing a VOIP number will be too easy to ignore, you could even swap your cell # with the VOIP # having important c
  • Femtocell? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by GotenXiao ( 863190 ) on Monday June 29, 2009 @03:46AM (#28511059)

    Since the problem seems to be one of coverage (i.e. his basement gets none) a better solution (that would allow him to keep the phone with him) would be to install a femtocell in his house so he can get coverage. Vodafone are launching them in the UK, people like IP Access ( produce them.

  • You're thinking about the problem in far to conventional way - change the question - what you need is a number that friends, family, colleagues, business, etc can reach you. Your cell phone is just one of many systems designed to carry voice. A great example of reversing this problem is the former "Grand Central" now "Google Voice". (Note: I have it under good authority that if you are on the waiting list an additional one million new subscribers will be added as soon as July) There are dozens of other

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