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Community Phone Update

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This project has just stepped up a gear! Not only is it prepped and ready for the competition in a couple of weeks but I am now the proud owner of an old BT payphone. It's always been the aim to integrate with original hardware. If the main aim of the project is to save the old phone boxes from extinction by repurposing them in some way, then integrating with the original hardware is what needs to be done. For me, this is like climbing Everest. I have always enjoyed poking around old tech and I've been really interested in how this pay phone has been put together - The locking mechanism alone is a work of mechanical genius. The downside it that this thing is a tough nut to crack, it's built like a tank! Play the video below for the latest update on hacking the BT payphone. I first needed to get into the handset to understand how it works. I have huge admiration for the drunks and vandals who make this look so effortless but I just could not get into the receiver without the

Community Telephone Prototype

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A prototype of the community telephone network for Salisbury has been built and here is a quick run through of some of the initial ideals with a video at the end of the post: To properly present the idea, a kiosk was required to house the telephone in its intended surroundings. I'm currently trying to source a box or kiosk for later on but I wanted to try an build something temporary in the meantime and set to work cutting and reassembling an old set of drawers. Then it was time to crack open a new can of paint, wire a few LEDs under the roof and install a small strip of white plastic to display the name of the project when it eventual has one and it's ready to be assembled and tested. The video above goes through some of the initial ideas listed in the previous post. Some work better than others but this is main point of a prototype - to trial and refine ideas. A summary of the options are listed below. Option 1: Making calls Option 2: Mailbox Option 3: Helplines Option 4: AI

Salisbury's Community Telephone Network

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  Let's benefit our community, save endangered city centre furniture and create conversations. With public phone boxes disappearing from our streets at an increasing rate, I've been thinking of projects such as the Phone Box Pirate Radio to repurpose the boxes in a bid to generate interest and save them from extinction.  But what if we could integrate this project with the original telephone hardware once the phone sets have been retired, offering a sort of Dial-A-Radio facility? Then, what if other services could be made available such as free phone calls and voicemail facilities for the people who really need them? Further still, what if we could integrate into the original hardware saving the iconic high street furniture from disappearing, offer a vital service for free to those in need whilst offering an artistic and community outlet for all to enjoy, including pirate radio? Then I say we have a project in the making that potentially benefits the community on a massive sca

Pirate Radio Project Update

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Initially the original idea was to try and repurpose the old, abandoned telephone boxes that are peppered around the city of Salisbury, turning them into broadcasting booths for pirate radio. I even came up with a way to turn neighbouring telephone boxes into relay stations to boost the signal from the transmitting booth. The boxes I had my eye on to start with were the ones situated in the centre opposite Tescos. After seeing how other towns and cities are repurposing theirs (I've seen some converted into shops and phone repair places, as well as your usual defibrillator station and libraries) I soon learnt that BT run an 'Adopt a Kiosk' scheme but my idea doesn't qualify for obvious law-breaking reasons. Shame, the idea was rather a good one, I was even sent an Ad Space Hack Pack that opens up advertising holders and frames to help promote the project. Not one to give up on an idea, and to make the project more desirable in the eyes of the law, I studied and passed my

Amateur Radio Foundation Licence

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Radio has always been an interest of mine from a young age and it's probably the main reason why so many radio related projects feature on this blog. As we all have time on our hands at the moment, I decided to put the time to good use and study for my amateur radio Foundation licence. Not knowing where to start, I turned to Google and quickly found the Essex Ham group who offer a free training course. I signed up with them and even joined them on a couple of their live Q&A sessions. Now Essex Ham are a really interesting group, have you ever met someone who is just genuinely so nice and helpful? Well, that describes this group, they are simply marvellous and give up their free time to help promote the hobby and tutor people who want to learn.  Due to the pandemic, the Foundation exam consists of only the theory exam as the practical element (that would normally take place at a group club meeting) can't be carried out but I still found that studying for the theory alone wa

Cloud Storage - Devlog #5

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I've been working on the artwork for the game and looking at how best to do free up more screen space. The labels displaying the water tank and population variable values have been replaced with two simple meters that run alongside the board. There are a great many positives coming out of this rewrite. As I mentioned previously I find it rather relaxing just to switch off and build with the random tiles that are present to me. As I now have an engine that when I pass in the assets it will produce a simple builder game. This will make it really easy for me to make little spin-off construction games in the future. The rewriting of this game features on my latest podcast Finding Space . Put the kettle on, grab a biscuit and have a listen by clicking on the below.

Cloud Storage - Devlog #4

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The great rewrite ! The decision to rewrite the game has allowed me to plan the structure better as I'm able to cherry pick everything that was good in version 1 and better plan in this version. The rewrite has also resulted in a better project plan. For this update I am planning on concentrating on the following: IKEA aesthetics Tile delivery system Wiping the board clean Game save I put together a random selection of shapes with the intention of evolving them into proper buildings later on. Once these were in place a basic tile delivery system was written that presents the player with a single item tile at a time and does this in a random way. I am dreading revisiting the logic I penned in the notebook for this system, it is what broke everything in version 1 and forced this rewrite as a result. Despite it only being a basic prototype, it is strangely satisfying just placing the random shapes onto the board. I have been able to plan a better method of recording each piece placed