How to Record Any Phone Call (With Some Advance Planning)

Last Updated Apr 28, 2011 6:37 PM EDT

A few weeks from now I'm going to be interviewing famed Wall Street Journal tech writer Walt Mossberg. Not in person, alas, but over the phone -- meaning I need a good way to record the conversation (so I can transcribe it later).

If I was initiating the call, I could use my iPhone and an app like Recorder, which lets me record outgoing calls. Alternately, I could use a service like MessageShuttle, which offers free call recording (but, again, requires me to initiate the call).

In this case, Walt's people want him to call me, so neither of these solutions will work. But there's another one that will, and it's actually a little better -- though it does require some advance planning.

Instead of my office number, I gave the Mossberg camp my Google Voice number -- which I've configured to forward directly to my office line. As soon as I'm on the call and get the go-ahead from Walt, all I have to do is press 4 to start recording.

When the call is over (or I press 4 again), I'll have an MP3-formatted recording I can listen to online (or download) just like a voicemail message. It doesn't get any easier than that!

Ironically, Google Voice doesn't allow recording on outbound calls, so I'd have to go with one of the aforementioned options if I was the one doing the dialing.

If you've discovered any other bulletproof ways to record phone calls, tell me about them in the comments!

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    Rick Broida, a technology writer for more than 20 years, is the author of more than a dozen books. In addition to writing CNET's The Cheapskate blog, he contributes to CNET's iPhone Atlas.