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The Call Is Coming From Inside The Grave

"If the phone rang and you were in another room, you had to come running: in that immediate sense, and in a way that now seems comical, your phone controlled you. And before the ‘90s, there was no caller ID, an inconvenience which ensured, for that benighted first century-plus of the instrument’s analog existence, the first premise of phone horror—that you could never know for certain whose voice, or what sound, would issue from the other end of that raised receiver." - HiLoBrow is in the middle of a series exploring the tropes and history of Phone Horror. Of particular note is the brief historical connection between the telephone and the world of occult crypto-science - The Atlantic explains further.
posted by The Whelk on Jun 25, 2014 - 53 comments

"Give me LI-berty or take the blinking phone out."

"In the mid-20th century, in response to the United States’ rapidly expanding telephone network, executives at the Bell System introduced a new way of dialing the phone. Until then, for the most part, it was human operators — mostly women — who had directed calls to their destinations." The new system, which eliminated letters from phone numbers and set the stage for an automated national (and eventually international) dialing system. was met with a minor rebellion against "creeping numeralism." The Atlantic examines "Our Numbered Days: The Evolution of the Area Code." [more inside]
posted by zarq on Feb 23, 2014 - 99 comments

France in the NSA's crosshairs

Using documents leaked by US whistleblower Edward Snowden, Le Monde reports that the NSA has been intercepting French telephone communications on a massive scale. Under a programme called 'US-985D', the NSA is collecting not only metadata but recordings of telephone calls: From 10 December 2012 to 8 January 2013, 70.3 million French telephone calls were recorded.
These revelations came just as US Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Paris on a pre-scheduled visit. Francois Hollande is not pleased.
posted by anemone of the state on Oct 21, 2013 - 166 comments

And who shall I say is calling?

Once upon a time, the telephone was a strange, intimidating invention. So in 1974, the fine folks at the phone company made a short film to help children overcome their telephone-related fear and uncertainty. Taking their cues from children's entertainment, they tried to create a fun-filled land of song and dance, not unlike, say, Sesame Street. The end result was not exactly successful along those lines (it turns out that not even a catchy song can make the white pages exciting), but is no less compellingly, weirdly watchable for it. Come with us (and with Telly, a strange, merry man who kind of comes off like one of the Telephone Elves of the Eschaton) to the magical land of Telezonia.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER on Jul 19, 2013 - 40 comments

"Phone companies didn't think you were going to blow them up back then."

What's in the database? Roughly 1,000 records of documents related to phone phreaking history. It includes newspaper and magazine articles, letters, memos, FBI memos, audio recordings, you name it.. Extra Goodies! [more inside]
posted by shoesfullofdust on Jun 6, 2013 - 7 comments

Celebrating The Very Best That Tony Danza Never Did.

DANZA DID IT! Free Propadanza for Tony Danza. Call the hotline! "Fanza" fan art galleries. Spread Danza. Tony Danza.
posted by The Whelk on Apr 29, 2013 - 43 comments

Like a weird game of Rock Paper Sissors Lizard Spock

Inventions that Changed the World is a 2004 BBC Miniseries in the vein of Connections (previously) hosted by Jeremy Clarkson (yes the Top Gear guy). The Gun. The Computer. The Jet. The Telephone. The Television
posted by Mitheral on Mar 17, 2013 - 11 comments

Perpetuum Jazzile

This cover of Lady Gaga's "Telephone" (video) is performed by Slovenian vocal/a cappella group Perpetuum Jazzile. [more inside]
posted by flex on Oct 6, 2012 - 20 comments

it's hard to look right at you, baby, but here's my number, so call me maybe

"Call Me Maybe" (Chatroulette version) is Steve Kardynal's latest costumed lip-sync cover video - and as usual it comes complete with hilarious & happy audience reaction shots. If you like this, you'll probably also enjoy his Chatroulette versions of Katy Perry's "Peacock" (previously) and Lady GaGa's "Telephone" (previously). All videos may be considered NSFWish. [more inside]
posted by flex on Aug 10, 2012 - 64 comments

Videophone

Dan and Ben filmed a scene. It was shown to the next team. They had 1 hour and 1 take to re-create it from memory. The video that team made was shown to the next team, and so on and so on.
posted by mrgrimm on Aug 7, 2012 - 34 comments

Where the hell is Bill?

Telephone Free Landslide Victory (side A): Border Ska, The day Lassie went to the Moom, Wasted with quality shut us down, Yanqui go Home, 9 of disks, Payed vacation greece, 1985 footage of Camper Van Beehtoven singing WTHiB and Cowboys from Hollywood. [more inside]
posted by vozworth on Jul 4, 2012 - 23 comments

Drawception

Draw Something meets the telephone game: Drawception.
posted by jchgf on Apr 1, 2012 - 27 comments

Why can't I find Amanda Hugginkiss?

A GRAVE JOKE ON UNDERTAKERS — Some malicious wag at Providence, R.I. has been playing a grave practical joke on the undertakers there, by summoning them over the telephone to bring freezers, candlesticks and coffin for persons alleged to be dead. In each case the denouement was highly farcical, and the reputed corpses are now hunting in a lively manner for that telephonist.
Paul Collins uncovers the birth of the prank call. [more inside]
posted by Horace Rumpole on Nov 6, 2011 - 28 comments

Man writes on little blue website.

Great news: Broken Picture Telephone lives, it's called Teledraw!
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane on Sep 25, 2011 - 31 comments

Woman eases release from a cotton disability.

This is what happens when you play the game Telephone with YouTube auto-captioning.
posted by lazaruslong on Aug 29, 2011 - 25 comments

Reach out and touch someone. We're Beatrice

The Porticus Centre is a repository for historical material from Beatrice Foods, Bell System and the Borden Company. [more inside]
posted by unliteral on Aug 11, 2011 - 10 comments

The cellphone goes really retro

The Portable Rotary Phone is an original black rotary-dial phone that has been modified to be a cellular phone.
posted by storybored on Jul 7, 2011 - 51 comments

You have to have some manners, baby can't you see?

Telephone Manners For Kids (SLYT WTF)
posted by yellowbinder on Jun 1, 2011 - 20 comments

"Next to the originator of a good sentence is the first quoter of it." — Emerson

‎"I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy." In the wake of bin Laden's killing, partially fabricated misquotations were circulated widely via Twitter and Facebook. [more inside]
posted by RogerB on May 3, 2011 - 247 comments

Bell's-lettres

Alexander Graham Bell's Delightfully Weird Sketchbooks . You know him as the inventor of the telephone, but Graham Bell also came up with horse-pulled kites, really sweet airplanes, "ghost effects" with an "elliptical reflector", and a better seesaw. More of Bell's papers from the Library of Congress.
posted by twoleftfeet on Mar 11, 2011 - 24 comments

"The U.S.A. Is Only A Few Minutes Wide"

Wired: "Who 'Ruled the Air' in 1910, and Who Rules It Now?". Also see: Vintage AdBrowser (Previously): Communications Ads of the: 1910's, 20's, 30's, 40's, 50's, 60's, 70's, 80's and 90's.
posted by zarq on Oct 25, 2010 - 9 comments

760-705-8888

In August, Google added a feature to Gmail that lets you make phone calls — for free, if you live in the US or Canada and you're calling someone in the US or Canada. When you make a call, your number shows up as 760-705-8888. Judging by the nine pages of complaints found here, the service is often being used to prank, harass and scam people. [more inside]
posted by defenestration on Oct 2, 2010 - 60 comments

Beware the Electronic Automatic Sound-Spectrograph Computing Digit Translator Playback Recognizer Machine

Telephoneme: Even if your Alphabet Conspiracy succeeds and you destroy the books, machines have no minds of their own. They are easily confused by different voices and different accents. It is the brain of man that tells them what to do. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Aug 20, 2010 - 10 comments

When Five Fell

Morning. Before the world wants anything from her. When Five Fell is the beautiful short film about the five senses loving you back... from Wong Fu Productions. [more inside]
posted by netbros on May 9, 2010 - 4 comments

This is NOT your grandpa's iPod. Oh wait. Maybe it is.

Thinking of getting an iPhone? There is an alternative, you know. It's a bit complicated, but this video will help you understand how to use it. (SLYT)
posted by grumblebee on Mar 29, 2010 - 58 comments

Told you she didn't have a dick

Continuing the story from Paparazzi, Telephone from Lady Gaga and Beyonce. [more inside]
posted by mccarty.tim on Mar 12, 2010 - 224 comments

The Fore River Shipyard

The Fore River Shipyard was in service between 1886 and 1985, first under the management of the Fore River Ship and Engine Building Company, then Bethlehem Steel, and finally General Dynamics. She helped to close out the age of sail with the construction of the largest sailing vessel in history without any kind of engine. Besides providing a substantial number of liberty ships, surface warships of various classes, and submarines during WWII, it may also be the source of the "Kilroy was here" graffiti. [more inside]
posted by rmd1023 on Nov 4, 2009 - 3 comments

Outing An Online Outlaw

The Smoking Gun turns the table on a group of pranksters allegedly responsible for terrorizing strangers over the phone: Outing An Online Outlaw describes how the group leader used skype, an unprotected wifi connection and his mothers bedroom to engage in what TSG calls "an orgy of criminal activity."
posted by krautland on Aug 4, 2009 - 65 comments

Broken Picture Telephone

In the spirit of Friday being game day, I give you Broken Picture Telephone; a pictoral version of the classic game of telephone (also known as Chinese Whispers.) Previously on MeFi.
posted by ob on Mar 13, 2009 - 180 comments

Dual Tone Multi Frequency, AMIRITE?

Beep boop beep! If you wish to become a Touch Tone Genius, you must first practice the Telephone Keypad. Start with the standards -- sheet music and mp3 samples can be found at these two sites. Once you've mastered the easier songs, you can move on to the more challenging classical pieces, like Mozart's Turkish Rondo (K331) for Two Office Phones and Two Cellular Phones. Just don't dial any real phone numbers; that could be a violation of copyright.
posted by not_on_display on Jan 10, 2009 - 10 comments

Don't be micro-bored

Ever spend a few moments during the day idly mucking about with your cellphone? You're part of a new trend known as micro-boredom - which now presents "a significant opportunity for a publisher to exploit readership and advertising consumption". Get away from the bombardment of advertising and find some sacred space, or just turn off the phone.
posted by divabat on Dec 30, 2008 - 30 comments

Gooooood morning Norway!

Share your innermost feelings with Dalsfjord, Norway. [more inside]
posted by mecran01 on Aug 13, 2008 - 35 comments

The Androids are coming!

Google's Android goes live for demo. Lots of video and stills. Cache.
posted by loquacious on May 28, 2008 - 62 comments

Who really invented the telephone?

Who really invented the telephone? Was it this guy?, or did he just win a foot race to the patent office with this guy or was it really... [more inside]
posted by Rafaelloello on Apr 18, 2008 - 5 comments

No More Phoning It In at the Times

[archaic tech filter] Foreign correspondents and reporters in the field at the New York Times say goodbye to the paper of record's recording room.
posted by digaman on Dec 6, 2007 - 9 comments

"Put your boob in my scotch. Come on, put your tit in my drink."

Bob Log III plays distorted trash grimey blues slide guitar with his hands, he drawls through a telephone attached to the bubble face of the motorcycle helmet he wears, and he drums with his feet. He is known to ask women to stir his scotch on stage with their breasts, which is sadly Not currently Safe for Work. Sometimes he asks them to sit on his knee, bouncing up and down on the blue glittery jump suit he wears whenever he plays. [more inside]
posted by 6am on Oct 11, 2007 - 47 comments

If the iPhone had been made in the 80s

The son of industrial designer Hartmut Esslinger (creator of the distinct styling of the Apple IIc and subsequent products, as well as founder of frog design) shares memories and photographs (auf Deutsch; Google cache) of Apple's early attempts at an iPhone.
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Jul 18, 2007 - 6 comments

This keyboard will not only stomp your colon, but the colons of distant relatives of the human species such as lagomorphs

Maddox on iPhone
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 on Jul 17, 2007 - 92 comments

A horror movie come to life

For four months, the Kuykendalls, the Prices and the McKays say they’ve been harassed and threatened by mysterious cell phone stalkers who track their every move and occasionally lurk by their homes late at night, screaming and banging on walls. Police can’t seem to stop them. The late-night visitors vanish before officers arrive. The families say investigators have a hard time believing the stalkers can control cell phones without touching them and suspect an elaborate hoax. Complaints to their phone companies do no good – the families say they’ve been told what the stalkers are doing is impossible.
posted by daninnj on Jun 29, 2007 - 99 comments

Listening to the past

Before the iPhone there were devices known as telephones.
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Jun 29, 2007 - 60 comments

Telephone Central Office / Exchange Name Histories

Telephone Central Office Histories - A fascinating collection of personal anecdotes and histories about telephony from the US and around the world, from The Telephone Exchange Name Project. Coral Cache links -1- -2- (via)
posted by loquacious on Jun 9, 2007 - 8 comments

PSST! Pass It On…

PSST! Pass It On…
posted by ijoshua on May 8, 2007 - 8 comments

the goverment owes you $60

Telephone excise tax refund
Get your $60 + bucks back from the government... and do something good with it (beware talking website). Via the always excellent Ian Masters today.
posted by specialk420 on Apr 8, 2007 - 24 comments

cohen on the telephne

"Cohen on the Telephone" (real audio) is "not politically correct by modern standards, due to its Yiddish stereotyping, but certainly popular in its time and rumored to be the first comedy record to sell a million copies. This bit primarily made fun of the crude telephone system in use during 1913, when Joe Hayman recorded it in London in July of that year for Regal/Zonophone (it was issued on Columbia here in the States the following year). Several other labels hastily released versions by other artists, and a series of sequels followed right up into the mid-20's." Such as "Cohen Exceeds the Speed Limit", "Cohen at the Pay-station", "Cohen Phones His Tailor", "Cohen Telephones the Health Department" and "Cohen's Recruiting Speech" (all mp3s from The Virtual Gramaphone). There was even a movie.
posted by grumblebee on Feb 26, 2007 - 10 comments

"The first comment is El-Oh-El-exclamation mark-exclamation mark-one-exclamation mark."

Blogs by Phone - for when your family and friends have trouble keeping up with your blog posts. (YouTube video from SixApart)
posted by divabat on Dec 22, 2006 - 23 comments

The Globe Tglo

Use the badly named Tglo to call any phone in the USA for free, and to SMS anyone in the world (maybe) for free.
posted by riotgrrl69 on Aug 6, 2006 - 18 comments

'Cause that's my number, 634-5789

During a 1987 radio broadcast, Dutch comedian and writer Wim de Bie decided to take Ry Cooder up on his offer and give him a call. Hilarity ensued (RealAudio). Note: the song is played until about 1'55", phone conversation follows.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane on Aug 2, 2006 - 27 comments

Saying goodbye to goodbye.

If you watch enough television, you may have noticed that nobody says good-bye on the telephone. A little google action finds that some are worried that it may be a natural sociological progression. Or maybe it only happens on TV and with annoying telemarketers?
posted by Ekim Neems on Jun 12, 2006 - 104 comments

The End of the Internet?

The End of the Internet? "The nation's largest telephone and cable companies are crafting an alarming set of strategies that would transform the free, open and nondiscriminatory Internet of today to a privately run and branded service that would charge a fee for virtually everything we do online."
posted by allkindsoftime on Feb 4, 2006 - 32 comments

Your Phone Records, Cheap

Psst... I know you called your girlfriend last night. No, not the one you live with. The naughty hottie that she doesn't know about. I know this because I paid a website $110 to buy your cell-phone records, which they delivered in two hours. Did you know that your private phone records are for sale?
posted by digaman on Jan 7, 2006 - 49 comments

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