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Online Relay Services

Whoa! I didn’t realize it had been a while since my last entry. I had surgery late last week, so I’ve been doing only what is necessary as recovery is slow. No worries – I’m getting around and all, just have to stay off my feet more than preferred.
Online relay services are a great convenience. The only drawback is the lack of VCO (voice carry over) capabilities. However, I would think with VoIP that could change. I have primarly used two services: MCI Relay and Sprint Relay.
Both use Java and take a few moments to load, so be patient. I am not crazy about Java and the wait, but I find it’s easier and faster to use the online service than the clunky TTY. Plus, I can use it anywhere there is a computer.


MCI Relay
This one stands out because of its customization features. Customize regularly called numbers, font preferences, and speed text (frequently used text such as “If answering machine, leave following message”). It’s not required to register (free) to use the customization features, but if you want the site to remember them, obviously it is necessary otherwise it means reseting it every time.
When I first used it and plumb forgot my password, I asked the site to send it to me. It would not do it. After a few months of this, I finally get a bunch of emails with my password in it. Since then, I believe it has been working.
I used this for a few months, but have stopped using it after I received complaints from people I called saying the operator was rude, difficult to understand, or didn’t understand. I like the customization, but it’s useless if communication isn’t smooth.
The service has a new feature for wireless users. Right now, I don’t have wireless capabilities.
Sprint Relay
A big annoyance with this one is the pop up window. When arriving to the main page, enter the phone number you wish to call and any special notes then hit “Connect to Relay Operator” and a new window opens. The problem is sometimes the connection fails taking you back to the main page where the text you entered disappears. You have to re-enter it. If nothing else, at least, the information should stay there.
I don’t connect about half the time and have to redo the phone number. Another problem is I get disconnected in the middle of the conversation about 20% of the time. Other than that, the conversation is more professional with this service according to the people I call.
There is no customization. The SRO button is great… if you use Internet Explorer. It’s a shortcut to quickly access the relay. It doesn’t work with Mozilla. In fact, if you click on SRO info in Mozilla, a pop up appears and indicates, “Browsers: Microsoft Internet Explorer, Version 5.0 and higher.” This is unacceptable. More people are moving away from IE.
I tried the SRO feature and it didn’t work in MyIE, which is an IE-based browser with better features.
I use Sprint Relay because its operators are better communicators.
I have used AT&T Relay, but it has been a while. I’ll need to look at it again before reviewing. Another is Hamilton Relay Service. Also, there is NexTalk. I was excited about this one. This will have to wait for another day.