Most VMSs are similar in the way they work. There are a few different ways the VMSs store the voice. One way is that the voice is recorded digitally and compressed and when heard it is reproduced back into the voice that recorded it. Another method that is slower and uses more space, but costs less, stores the voice on magnetic tape, the same type that is used to store data on a computer, and then runs the tape at a slow speed. Using this method the voice does not need to be reproduced in any way and will sound normal as long as the tape is running at a constant speed. On some of the newer VMSs the voice is digitally recorded and is transformed from the magnetic tape at about 2400 bits per second.
There are many different types and versions of voice mail systems. Some of the best and easiest to get on will be discussed.
These are direct dial (you don't have to enter a box number). To get on one of these, first have a number to any box on the system. All of the other boxes will be on the same prefix; just start scanning them until you find one that has a message saying that person you are calling is not available. This usually means that the box has not been assigned to anybody yet. Before the nice lady's voice tells you to leave the message, hit #. You will then be prompted for your password. The password will usually be the same as the last four digits of the box's number or a simple number like 1000, 2000, etc. Once you get on, they are very user friendly and will prompt you with a menu of options. If you can't find any empty boxes or want to do more, you can hack but the system administrators box, which will usually be 9999 on the same prefix as the other boxes, will allow you to hear anybody's messages and create and delete boxes.
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