Friday, January 18, 2008

Ah, the good old days...

Moving offices did have some fun side effects - namely the discovery of an old, forgotten box of stuff from WAAAAY back.

I'll post more over the next few weeks, but I'll start with a personal favorite.

This is a Radio Shack Pocket Tone Dialer. What's so special about it? Back in the mid 80's of phone phreaking, coin deposit signaling was done in channel for pay phones. A device that utilized these tones to trick the Bell switch into thinking that you had actually deposited money into the pay phones were called Red Boxes. They came in all shapes, sizes and colors (no, I've never seen one that was actually red).

Then Radio Shack started producing this little tone dialer and the tones/chirps used for the coin signaling we're not touch tones, but they were close. All that was needed was to modify the tone crystal to change the actual touch tone frequency, program in the appropriate number of chirps (quarters were 5 chirps, a dime was 2 chirps and a nickle was a single chirp) into the speed dial buttons and POOF! Instant red box. ;-)

Of course pay phones are doing the way of the dinosaur, and even if you could find one, most of the coin signaling is all done off channel digitally. Still, a nice relic from days gone past.

This one still works - Check out the video below.

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