TypewriterFrom The Urbach Letter – October 2002

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Cool Thing of the Month

Hear It Again

The Hear-It-Again
You’re on the phone with somebody who’s giving you driving directions or relaying some very important information. Instead of stopping and asking the person to repeat the info over again so you can write it down, just reach over and push a button on the Hear It Again. This device is like a TiVo for your phone. It continuously monitors your phone line, recording only the last 30 seconds of each call. At any point you can press a button, and it instantly captures the past half minute into flash memory. After the call is over, you can play it back as often as you like to write down the details or enter an address into your PDA or whatever. Plus, if somebody said something really stupid on the call, you can capture that and play it over and over for the amusement of your friends.

This isn’t like using a regular tape recorder to record every call from start to finish. If you don’t push the button, nothing is saved. There are privacy laws against tape recording for non-personal use or broadcast. If you’re using a regular tape recorder, you have a legal and moral obligation to notify the other person he or she’s being taped for that purpose. Since the Hear It Again is a “memory aid,” using it doesn’t require disclosure.

The Hear It Again is available from The Sharper Image for 40 dollars. They also make one for your cell phone that doubles as a hands-free device. It has four memory banks, each holding 30 seconds, and indicator lights showing which banks are filled, plus a very cool glowing blue ring that shows it’s on duty monitoring your phone line, so you’ll never again have to say, “Could you repeat that?”

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(c) Copyright 2002-2010 Victor Urbach
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