Stephen Fry is stunned by the sheer brilliance of the Spinvox, which translates voicemail into text
However uninterested you may be in technology, it is likely that you use a voicemail system. If you have a mobile, then it will probably be the one provided as standard by your network. You dial 121, or 123, and dance the ghastly Menu Minuet until you’re done. The Apple iPhone has introduced a patented “visual voicemail” system, which presents a list of onscreen messages enabling you to play them in whichever order you like, but for 15 years that has been it so far as innovation goes.
But now we have SpinVox, a most extraordinary service that takes your voice messages, translates them into text and then sends them to you as either email or SMS text message. Or both.
Photograph: Steve Forrest/Rex Features
Here’s how it goes. I call you up, but you are out, or busy, and I am played your outgoing message: “Yodi, this is Dork Talk Reader, sorry I’se not in, but like leave a message after the tone, innit, and I’ll be in your face laters.” I leave my message: “Sorry to miss you, darling Dork Talk Reader. Do call back when you have a moment. I have momentous news. I guarantee it will rock the foundations of your world. Toodle-pip.” Now, if you, Dork Talk Reader, are a SpinVox subscriber, within minutes or less you will get a text as from my number that looks like this, inverted commas included:
“Sorry to miss you darling dork talk reader. Do call back when you have a moment. I have momentous news. I guarantee it will rock the foundations of your world. Toodle (?) pip” – spoken through SpinVox <*n> where <*n> refers to the number assigned to the message. You can call a SpinVox number (which will replace your old network voicemail number) and press *n to hear my message the old-fashioned way.