mirrorshades

Grand Central?

16 posts in this topic

Anyone using it? Anyone got any invites they'd care to send my way?

Yah... I'm not too proud to ask here in public. :)

How does this service differ from the normal "forward calls to any phone" service?

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I'd send you an invite, but the invite option is nowhere to be found anymore. I don't think they're accepting new subscribers right now. As for how it differs from your average call forwarding service, it has some pretty cool features. The call recording feature has reasonably high quality audio. While I'd feel wary using it on a frequent basis for my recordings, it's better then the formats a lot of voicemail or other call recording-ish services use. One feature that's interesting is that it'll let you call people on your call log from the web interface. It passes your CPN as the GrandCentral number, but it passes the BTN as some Asterisk box number in DC. If you search on the web, there's a few people posting complaints about calls from this number, so my guess is that the box belongs to Bandwidth.com, or whoever they have providing them with VoIP service. The callout service is pretty good as far as most VoIP connections go, but one of the things that irritates me to no end is that it'll superimpose a fake sounding ring over the connection until it supervises.

The service, which might explain why it's still beta, has some bugs, though, that can get on your nerves, and the GrandCentral team really doesn't seem to eager to fix them. The first bug is with the callback button on the web interface. If you happen to be using it to call something, be sure you're calling something that you're capable of hanging up, because the hangup button is broken on the interface. If you happen to call something that's busy, or makes noise for a little while, you're going to be stuck with that on whatever you called it into. If you happen to be on a bridge with people, this is going to piss them off pretty quickly, because it'll be a few hours before GrandCentral thinks about hanging up :blush: .

Probably the worst bug of all is something that only happens I think with a good deal of DIDs in the Southeast-ish US. The GrandCentral number I have in my signature won't let you listen to your messages when you call in -- you have to check your e-mail, or log in to play the messages. I think it has something to do with the server that actually holds your messages being mis-configured or something, because it'll act like it's starting to play your messages, but it skips past the message, and asks you if you want to replay or archive the message, or call the number back. I was actually talking to a friend of mine with a GrandCentral number on the West Coast, and he tells me that it seems to work fine. As for what GrandCentral has to say about it, so far, nothing; I e-mailed them about it about a month back, and I still haven't gotten a reply.

The last problem is probably described as a feature somewhere on the site, a-la Microsoft. As discussed by Royal on the (hopefully not) last Default Radio episode, if you add your number as a cell phone, you'll get a text message alerting you whenever you get a new message. While this is all well and good, if you spoof your CPN as the cell number that's set on the website, it'll let you right in without authentication! For those who haven't listened to the episode, Royal actually wrote in about this, and the response he got was that it shouldn't be a problem, because you're giving your GrandCentral number out to people, not your cell phone number.

So, yeah, it's nice to have around, but all and all, I really don't think you're missing that much. A lot of independent telcos offer a very similar service to their customers for a few bucks a month.

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Hmm, yeah I just checked and I can't find an invite section either. :\

You can request an account though, I don't know if they are going to just send you a login right away or leave you in limbo though.

http://www.grandcentral.com/home/reserve

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Hmm, yeah I just checked and I can't find an invite section either. :\

You can request an account though, I don't know if they are going to just send you a login right away or leave you in limbo though.

http://www.grandcentral.com/home/reserve

I applied about a year ago, and within two months I was sent an invitation. I'm not sure how long the wait is nowdays though.

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Well, I filled out a reservation. We'll see how it goes. :)

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As discussed by Royal on the (hopefully not) last Default Radio episode, if you add your number as a cell phone, you'll get a text message alerting you whenever you get a new message. While this is all well and good, if you spoof your CPN as the cell number that's set on the website, it'll let you right in without authentication! For those who haven't listened to the episode, Royal actually wrote in about this, and the response he got was that it shouldn't be a problem, because you're giving your GrandCentral number out to people, not your cell phone number.

I wasn't the one who contacted them about the exploits; it was a friend of mine last year. If you're using a cell phone and don't want anyone to be able to spoof into your voicemail, set that number as a different type of phone, such as a home phone. You'll still be able to receive text alerts of your voicemails by entering your cell phone number in the appropriate field.

GrandCentral is going to come out of the BETA stage and offer their premium services for an annual fee. Until that happens, you can't get a GrandCentral number, nor invite someone to the service. There were a couple of ways around this for some time, but they died recently.

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I wasn't the one who contacted them about the exploits; it was a friend of mine last year. If you're using a cell phone and don't want anyone to be able to spoof into your voicemail, set that number as a different type of phone, such as a home phone. You'll still be able to receive text alerts of your voicemails by entering your cell phone number in the appropriate field.

Pardon me if this seems kinda n00bish but couldn't someone still get in my spoofing your home number? Just sounds like security through obscurity to me.. Of course it might be more difficult for someone to find your home number than your cell number but still...

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Pardon me if this seems kinda n00bish but couldn't someone still get in my spoofing your home number? Just sounds like security through obscurity to me.. Of course it might be more difficult for someone to find your home number than your cell number but still...

Sorry I should have explained further. When you add a phone number and label it as a cell phone, GrandCentral will auto-log you in the voicemail (GrandCentral's voicemail that is) when you call from your own phone. The easiest way to protect yourself from this is to label your cell phone as a non-cell phone.

So for example, on my GrandCentral, my main number is my cell phone, however it's labeled as my "home phone" on GrandCentral, even though it's really a cell. This way I always have to enter a password, even from my own phone, thus preventing a spoofing intrusion as well.

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Thanks for the good discussion. A bit off topic, here's a tarball of all 29 GC ringback tones:

http://dualisanoob.com/tarballs/gcringback-080420.tar.gz

Nice, I'll have to download those later. Are they the ringback tones you can choose from when people call you? I wish they still had the option of uploading your own custom audio file.

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Anybody know how to get a grand central account or have 1 they don't need?

I have a valid working Google GrandCentral invite up for auction on eBay.

AUCTION LINK

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wow, people selling invites..

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heh, rare is such a trendy word on eBay. I don't care what anybody says, a GrandCentral invite isn't worth more than $10.

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I don't think an invite is worth much either, but they are selling for $100-$200. I'm not going to argue free money.

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