Posts

Payphone Project

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 I nteresting routes my latest project has taken me down during the last month. It would appear the  #RecodeThePhone  payphone project is now going places. Not only is it designed to save the old phone boxes from extinction by repurposing the payphones within them, I have had such a great response from people helping me verify the telephone numbers of the payphones still out there, with a plan to ring them all at once at strategic times of the year when we know the number of suicides spike, to play messages of hope and reflection raising awareness of mental health causes. I was concerned that I wouldn't be able to work all the payphones in Salisbury let alone reach boxes across the whole country! I even made the local paper here . This is both unbelievably fantastic and a little bit scary at the same time. I am now connecting with support organisations who will help develop the message. The video I made a couple of months ago where I stepped through the options of the new phone sys

Summer Holiday Computer Exhibitions

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We have previously visited an excellent arcade event in Bristol at the beginning of last year and it was really nice to stumble upon another such exhibition in the same city this week. Titled, The History of Video Games , this is similar exhibition packed full of consoles charting the evolution of the video game whilst also allow visitors to play on various classic games in their arcade. We found the one game that I spent hours and hours on when I was younger, Point Blank. This game brings back happy memories of the wife and I battling it out when we were at university together and despite it being a rather old game, it still holds up today and was great going up against my son. They even had Area 51 too, another great game that I used to play endlessly, usually drunk in the student union bar. The following day we visited Swindon and took a quick detour to the small but really interesting Museum of Computing . I have a soft spot for this museum as it's something I could imagine set

Community Phone: Finished Build

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It has taken months of hard work, both sat at a computer screen and in the workshop but the community payphone hacking project is now complete. It's been a huge amount of fun, despite it being a steep learning curve in integrating with old technology but I now have a working model of a hacked payphone and it's a delight, if not a relief to finally get to this point. It still holds true to the main point detailed in previous posts but as the project has evolved so have the features it now offers. The main idea behind the #RecodeThePhone project still remains, to save the disappearing phone boxes by repurposing the payphones that reside within them, whilst offering free calls, mailbox facilities and access to helplines to the people who need them. Previous versions: The #RecodeThePhone operating system now offers the following options: Option 1 : Free phone calls for registered members Option 2 : Free mailboxes for registered members Option 3 : Help and support lines Option 4 :

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