One of the more interesting modem spin-offs recently is the DoveFax+. I'm personally not all that impressed with fax technology, but I think sticking fax capabilities in a modem is a good way to avoid killing more trees. What makes the DoveFax+ stand out though, is its ability to do limited voice-messaging. You probably wouldn't replace a huge voice mail system with the DoveFax+, but for an individual or a couple of people it looks quite good. The DoveFax+ is the first voice messaging system for the Mac, at least in the normal-person price range. It can differentiate between voice calls and fax calls when in the Voice Mode, and it sports several other modes, the Data Mode (2400 bips) and a straight Fax Mode (I assume that in Fax Mode the DoveFax+ doesn't try to differentiate between voice and fax calls, but there may be more differences too). If you have really complicated phone setups, the DoveFax+ works with phone line managers as well, and Dove has tested it with the Phone Line Manager from La Cie and the SmartMax II from MaxTrax.
The DoveFax+ simulates the "Press1 to talk to a VP, Press 2 to talk to the CEO, etc." with a Caller ID feature. Unlike anything to do with the phone company, this is merely an ID that you assign to a caller, so if they call and punch in their ID, the DoveFax+ plays a specific message for them. You can record different messages and link them to different Caller IDs, which gives you a lot of flexibility in the sort of messages you leave. You can also save messages and reuse them, a technosend (I'm not religious, and the word godsend didn't seem appropriate) for those who hate creating messages. The DF+Manager program even keeps track of people who called with a Caller ID and will auto-dial that number when you get back and want to return the call.
Since the DoveFax+ records messages digitally onto the hard disk, I was concerned about the amount of space it could consume. Page Gilley of Dove Technical Support said that a 30 second call takes about 150K of disk space. That would only cause problems with a few of my friends who like to talk to the answering machine at length. You probably wouldn't want to leave for vacation without clearing some hard disk space, but in general it doesn't sound like disk space will be a problem.
The main problem I personally have with the DoveFax+ is that it's not all that impressive as modems go. At the moment, it is merely straight 2400 bips Hayes compatible, but that can't compete with the 9600, v.everything modems that come in at about the same price, $549. Page said that Dove was working on implementing v.42 and MNP, which could increase the throughput significantly, though I'd still prefer a full feature 9600 bips modem with the fax and voice features of the DoveFax+.
As far as the details go, the DoveFax+ can work in the background as a fax modem and is a Group 3-compatible 9600 bips fax. Included are the QuickFax DA, customizable cover sheets, an activity log, and automatic phone directory updating. The voice messaging part of the DoveFax+ can import SoundEdit, snd, and AIFF sound files (so you can use all those great sounds as phone messages, and if you've got SoundEdit, you can have a lot of fun with manipulating your messages). Two other useful features for when you're away include remote retrieval of messages and message forwarding to another number. So if you are in the market for a modem and a fax machine with some sophisticated answering machine capabilities thrown in, you might consider what the DoveFax+ will do for you.
Dove Computer Corp. -- 919/763-7918
MacWEEK -- 19-Mar-91, Vol. 5, #11, pg. 16
Macworld -- Sept-91, Vol. 8, #9, pg. 223