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23 Comments:
tga said 14 days ago:

An infinitely simpler version of this is to connect the phones together with a power supply (48VDC) over two (long, cheap) wires to get a good old telephone line -- with no computers involved. Add in some hand cranks to also get the phones to ring.

When I was young, I used to have this with a friend who lived next door. It was amazing to have a free, private, always on hotline. If memory serves me right, it even worked for playing Starcraft over 56K baud modems!

toast0 said 13 days ago:

> If memory serves me right, it even worked for playing Starcraft over 56K baud modems!

You would likely have connected closer to 33.6k. 56k modems can only receive at that speed, to send at that speed, you generally need a digital line like a T1 or maybe ISDN.

jdc said 13 days ago:

Latency OTOH would have probably been very low.

dhosek said 13 days ago:

Hmm, I wonder how hard it would be to do something like this to get some use out of all the unused POTS wiring in my house.

tga said 9 days ago:

Not hard at all, if you add a 48V DC power supply ($20 on Amazon) in series with the wires anywhere in the house, you will be able to pick up any phone and talk to the others.

For ringing apparently you need 60-100V AC, I'm not sure what a simple solution for that would look like. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ringing_(telephony)

relieferator said 14 days ago:

I'm considering buying a big house with multiple floors to do this.

lsllc said 14 days ago:

Hah, for "vintage" I was imagining a candlestick telephone. I guess I need to rethink what vintage means!

thom said 13 days ago:

I don’t think I’ve spoken into a landline phone in more than 10 years, they’re all fairly vintage at this point.

jimktrains2 said 13 days ago:

My wife and I decided to teach our 4yro how to dial 911 if there is an emergency.

How to our landline: Go to my wife's desk. Pick it up. Dial 911. He literally has to say or do nothing else as the address is registered to the phone by virtue of being a landline and if you say nothing they send people. (We did tell him to talk to the person, but I just mean even if he's not understandable or too scared or worried to talk things will/should "fail safe". (We also made labels for the back of the phone with a big 911 on it, along with some smaller labels with alternate contacts for when he's older or if we have a babysitter over.)

Our cellphones: find the phone (which sometimes takes us forever under better circumstances). Find the power button. Hit the power button. Find the little phone icon. Drag it up just right without letting it "drop". Dial 911. Give the operator our address. Now, if he's too scared, worried, or freaked out to talk or be dextrous enough to handle a touchscreen or remember what to look for to bring the emergency dialer up, &c, the whole system won't work. It's essentially a "fail unsafe" system.

It's also useful to have a landline as I've used it to fax documents at least once a year for various reasons. I know there are sites that donut, but having it on hand just makes it so much easier, especially when starting with paper, which I always was.

Anyway, I'm not arguing your point, but I feel like people, especially with small kids, should give landlines more love. We have FiOS and it essentially comes with one that you can't pay less to not have.

thom said 13 days ago:

On iPhones this process is: press the side button five times, or hold that an one of the volume buttons down, just FYI.

jimktrains2 said 13 days ago:

Yes, now teach that to a 4 yro and that it only works on mommy's phone and not daddy's. And that's once he finds said phone.

xellisx said 13 days ago:

I was thinking crank style, which is even older....

bitwize said 13 days ago:

Is there a cord that permanently goes from the telephone into the wall? If so, then it's vintage.

1propionyl said 13 days ago:

Ah... the good old Model 500.

tonywastaken said 13 days ago:

It would be even more impressive if this was a real rotary phone. It seems like this is some sort of hybrid that looks like a rotary but has number buttons.

StavrosK said 13 days ago:

A real rotary phone isn't much harder (might even be easier): https://www.stavros.io/posts/irotary-saga/

aceperry said 13 days ago:

Hey, I loved your 10 minute python tutorial!

StavrosK said 13 days ago:

Thank you, glad you liked it!

tonywastaken said 13 days ago:

Any plans to upgrade to a 3G modem?

StavrosK said 13 days ago:

Not really, I don't really use it, but who knows.

lowdose said 13 days ago:

Made a doorbell out a real rotary phone hanging on the wall.

rubatuga said 13 days ago:

Or just run a PBX server, but I guess that isn't a "hack"