ITP Spring Show 2009
Sunday, May 10, 2-6pm & Monday, May 11, 5-9 pm

Jorge Just
RuthAnne Doyle

Voice From The Past

A telephone time-capsule that lets you leave voicemail messages for the people you love, far into the future.

Redial: Interactive Telephony

Voice From The Past is a telephone-based time capsule that lets you leave voicemail messages to be delivered far into the future. Callers are asked to enter the target phone number (their own or someone else’s), the date they’d like their message delivered, and whether their message can be made public. Public messages will be posted to a website for listening by anyone who visits. Both public and private messages will be stored in a database to be delivered on the date specified.

There's a website called which I've always been intrigued by but never used. It lets you write an email to yourself in the future. I loved the idea but thought it made more sense as a voicemail application, because voice is such a personal, transitory and immediate medium. We say things to each other that we would never write, and we're naturally able to communicate so much emotion and feeling using voice. I think of it as the difference between calling a loved one and singing happy birthday over the phone and sending them a heartfelt ecard.

The beauty of asterisk projects is that they're available to everyone who uses a phone.

User Scenario
Someone picks up the phone, calls a number and navigates through the touchtone menus. They leave a message for a friend who is visiting the show tomorrow, or a loved one who's birthday is coming up, or perhaps for themselves or a partner to get delivered in a few minutes. When the message is ready to be delivered, their phone rings and a voice informs them that someone from the past has left them a message. That message is then delivered, and the person is prompted to leave a future message of their own, if they'd like. Messages that were marked as 'public' will show up on a website once they've been delivered, where anyone can listen and comment on them.

It's an asterisk dialplan with a bit of php/mysql integration.

I've had to learn asterisk agi and php. It's been a tough slog. I also learned that even though it's a very simple idea, it seems to resonate with people.

I almost broke my brain on php/mysql