The Telecrapper 2000 (TC2K) is a computerized system designed to intercept incoming Telemarketing calls on the first ring, and then carry on a virtual conversation with the telemarketer. Here's how it works:
First the TC2K computer (any standard PC) is connected to the phone line via a Caller ID modem or serial Caller ID device. The user creates a setup text file (called a "hit list") that declares all of the Caller ID strings (numbers and/or names) he considers "annoying" and wants intercepted on the first ring. When a call on the users "hit list" arrives, the computer intercepts the call and picks up the extension. This feature alone is very valuable. It gives the ability to identify legitimate calls anywhere in the house by simply waiting to hear a second ring.
As if that feature wasn't enough, the TC2K then plays a wave file over the extension for the telemarketer to hear. The user can declare a list of wave files, in a specific order, that he wishes to be played to calls on his "hit list". The first wave file is played immediately after picking up the extension, the TC2K then waits for the telemarketer to respond, then the TC2K waits for silence (for the telemarketer to finish speaking), then plays the next wave file on the list. The cycle of play wave file, wait for response, wait for silence is repeated for each wave file the user has declared in his setup text file. This way the TC2K can carry on a "virtual" conversation with the telemarketer and the content of that conversation is completely up to the user. All the user needs to do is record his own set of wave files to be played and declare them in a setup file.
Perhaps best of all, the "virtual" conversation between the TC2K and the telemarketer is recorded for the user to enjoy and share with other TC2K users. I will try to maintain links to as many TC2K conversations as possible from this page.
Americans have an aversion to telephone solicitation. Because of the pace of American life, productivity is constantly sought after and guarded. Phone solicitors are particularly annoying then because they steal our productivity. We spend time with them that we would otherwise use for more productive purposes.
The telemarketing corporations on the other hand have very sophisticated computer technology on their side to insure maximum productivity from their telemarketers. Computers do all the dialing and interfacing and only engage a human on their side of the telephone when they're sure they're talking to a human on our side.
No-Call Lists and gadgets like the Telezapper only shift the telemarketing call traffic around. Telemarketing is no less attractive to advertisers because their technology still works the same ... only the numbers dialed have changed. Only the TC2K has the capability to turn the tables on the telemarketing industry. With similar computer technology on OUR side, we can reduce the productivity of the telemarketers and make the entire enterprise less attractive. The more TC2K devices in use, the less productive every telemarketer becomes. They will spend more and more time talking to OUR computers and less and less time on potential sales.
I am not pursuing patents or copyrights on the TC2K. To do so would greatly reduce the potential number of TC2K devices in use and therefore diminish its effectiveness in reducing telemarketing productivity. I'm after a change in the industry not money. The entertainment factor is just an added bonus.
I have been in contact with Windows and Linux programmers that have visited this site and share my disinterest in telemarketing. There are various efforts underway to implement software only versions of the TC2K. My version of the TC2K is not user friendly and requires significant computer know-how to implement and use. A "Modem Only" approach would be more user friendly but was beyond my know-how. As soon as a software only solution is operational, I'll post a link here. They have agreed to provide their solution as open source too, so anyone should be able to use it.
Even a non-PC based device could serve a similar purpose. Currently, you can purchase phone line dongles for under $30 that play sounds on the phone line. You can also purchase phone line dongles that perform the Caller ID functions. A dongle device should be manufacturable for under $50 that combines the 2 functions and has the same basic functions (and effect on the industry) as the TC2K. If anyone knows of or is interested in pursuing such a device, please let me know.