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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

The future that everyone forgot

Apple's WWDC keynote showcased some of the upcoming advancement in their platform, but let's take time to reflect on The future that everyone forgot. Chris DeSalvo, formerly of Danger, talks about the Hiptop/Sidekick and what they did. Such as in 2004 they created a GameBoy Advance + Hiptop phone that never shipped. Chris also went onto Google, worked on Android, and penned another piece of phone-lore: The Day Google Had to 'Start Over' on Android
posted by wcfields on Jun 4, 2014 - 24 comments

Carrier Access Codes and cultural detritus, featuring Alf and friends

Carrier Access Codes are a largely dated*, though still functional service to select your long-distance telephone carrier per phone call. In the United States, these "dial-around codes" reached a (commercial) peak in the late 1990s, as seen with ads featuring such semi-notables as Marla Gibbs, Christine Taylor and Reginald VelJohnson, Harry Anderson, John Lithgow, Tony Danza, Doug Flutie, and even Alf and some well-known friends. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Mar 29, 2014 - 73 comments

Taken to the gleaners

Blackberry will be harvested by a private equity firm for US $4.7 billion. Generally blamed for their own decline by disdaining the massive rush of popularity of competing smartphones and becoming increasingly well-known for the bizarre behavior of their leadership, Blackberry hoped to turn things around by ejecting their co-CEOs, rebranding from Research In Motion to the name of their sole product, and launching a new spate of products: OS 10, new generation of touchscreen phones, and planning a second attempt at tablets. In spite of some misguided punditry predicting a new era, they won no love from either the reviewers or the public. [more inside]
posted by ardgedee on Sep 23, 2013 - 85 comments

The Barry Bonds of butt dialers

Meet Jay Horwitz, the king of butt dialing.
posted by Faint of Butt on Mar 26, 2013 - 26 comments

"No one noticed, they found, until the cords had lost an entire foot."

John E. Karlin, Bell Labs' first behavioral psychologist and the father of human factors engineering, has died at the age of 94. [more inside]
posted by spitefulcrow on Feb 11, 2013 - 32 comments

Minimal Android

Minimal Android minimal homescreen, minimal icons, themes, wallpapers or other minimalistic android things - as long as it is minimal and meant for android.
posted by Artw on Oct 8, 2012 - 36 comments

The Payphone Stadium Project

In 1990, the avenues of information we have today weren't around. So what was a baseball fan who wanted to know the score of a game elsewhere in the country to do? Compile a list of pay phone numbers at stadiums and get the score from passers by who picked up.
posted by reenum on Mar 5, 2012 - 46 comments

Can you hear me now?

The number of mobile-connected devices will exceed the number of people on Earth by the end of 2012. (Never mind the phone chargers.) By 2016, there will be 1.4 mobile devices per capita.
posted by wensink on Feb 15, 2012 - 26 comments

Kuang Grade Mark Eleven

He leaves his cellphone and laptop at home and instead brings "loaner" devices, which he erases before he leaves the US and wipes clean the minute he returns . In China, he disables Bluetooth and Wi-Fi , never lets his phone out of his sight and, in meetings, not only turns off his phone but also removes the battery , for fear his microphone could be turned on remotely. He connects to the Internet only through an encrypted, password-protected channel, and copies and pastes his password from a USB thumb drive. He never types in a password directly, because, he said, "Chinese are very good at installing key-logging software on your laptop." - Travel precautions in the age of digital espionage.
posted by Artw on Feb 13, 2012 - 125 comments

Yesterday's Tomorrow Today!

The BBC broadcasted the science and technology showcase show Tomorrow's World (titles on piano) on 7 July 1965 on BBC1, it ran for 38 years until it was cancelled at the beginning of 2003. Unlike the boosterism of US science programs, Tomorrow's World was more famous for it's live stunts and wry outlook ( James Burke experiences the "convenient" office of the future and the future of home gardening and crushing ennui). The BBC has an archive of episodes and clips for UK visitors, everyone else will have to be content with clips concerning Home Computers, New Banking, Nellie The School Computer, The Elliot Light Pen, Mobile Phones, and Moog Synthesizers.
posted by The Whelk on Nov 26, 2011 - 17 comments

Nokia World kicked off in London today

"We comb our hair each morning. We pick you up from school. We would always send you a birthday card. But it’s not enough.” Nokia's President and CEO Stephen Elop opened Nokia World with this frank assessment of his company - although he has been known for franker assessments in the past. Despite having created the most popular operating systems in the world for dumbphones (S40) and smartphones (S60), the Finnish giant has been a cause for concern in recent years, withdrawing from the lucrative US smartphone market and struggling to profit from sales of inexpensive phones to the developing world, while reviewers lamented the wasted opportunities in the form factor and hardware quality of phones like the Tron-tastic N8. [more inside]
posted by running order squabble fest on Oct 26, 2011 - 46 comments

A Phoney Video

Splitscreen: A Love Story is a short film by JW Griffiths. Filmed entirely with two Nokia N8 phones, it was the winner of the first Nokia Shorts competition.
posted by Lutoslawski on Jun 30, 2011 - 11 comments

PaperPhone: Flexible phone technology.

Researchers from Queen's University have been making strides (link to academic paper) in the use of flexible E-ink screens to create wearable phone displays that respond to bend gestures and adapt the software depending on what surface the device is on.
posted by dflemingecon on May 7, 2011 - 7 comments

Hypercard for phones?

Could App Inventor, Google's new easy development software for Android, be Hypercard for phones?
posted by Artw on Jul 12, 2010 - 263 comments

"Samurai spirit-a!"

Quentin Tarantino is the latest American celebrity to be featured in a TV commercial for SoftBank Mobile Corp, a Japanese telecommunications and media company. Tarantino stars as “Uncle Tara-chan” in the bizarre and very popular “White family” commercial series. The Whites consist of the "Mom", the daughter “Me” (a Softbank shop saleswoman played by popular singer/actress Aya Ueto), the "Older Brother" (played by African American actor Dante Carter), and the father, Otosan, who happens to be a white Hokkaido-ken dog named Kaikun.
posted by mrducts on Dec 10, 2009 - 28 comments

Your own personal cell phone antenna

31% of households get most or all of their calls on their cell phones. Unfortunately coverage remains problem, particularly indoors. Some rather interesting folk remedies have been suggested, but the preferred solution appears to be your own personal cellular antenna. Trials have been going on for a while now. And with a crystal clear 3G signal in your house, you may just want to skip setting up your own wireless network entirely.
posted by tkolar on Dec 31, 2008 - 24 comments

Ladies in Waiting...

Before the advent of Cellular phones and the internet, cities around the world were entwined with a series of webs hanging precariously overhead. Their function: to relay messages from one part of town to the next. And the pioneers who were put in charge of this arduous task--the Switchboard Operators. The first choice for this new source of employment was a disappointing failure, not surprisingly, but then a new breed of worker emerged on the scene. These hardworking individuals were the epitome of good behaviour and gritty determination. Patient and understanding, they were always expected to fulfill their tasks, no matter what the cost. And, to their credit--they are still remembered today for the unique place they held in some peoples hearts.
posted by hadjiboy on May 14, 2008 - 19 comments

Phone Porn

The Nokia Morph concept phone is currently featured in The Museum of Modern Art “Design and The Elastic Mind” exhibition (warning: flash interface). This 'self-cleaning' shape-shifting mobile follows Nokia's other recent phone concept, the environmentally-friendly Remade, unveiled at Mobile World Congress earlier this month.
posted by chuckdarwin on Feb 28, 2008 - 20 comments

International payphone pictures and phone numbers.

Photos of payphones from around the world. More international payphone photos. Stylized payphones from Brazil. Seen enough photos? Then perhaps you'd like to start calling some of them? [more inside]
posted by Effigy2000 on Jan 2, 2008 - 11 comments

Make all your phones ring at once

GrandCentral: Have a cell phone, a work phone and a business phone? This free service gives you one number that will ring all of them at once. Reviews: Slate, NYT, CNET
posted by Pater Aletheias on May 30, 2007 - 22 comments

Are mobile phones wiping out our bees?

Are mobile phones wiping out our bees? Electromagnetic waves from cell phones and other sources may be the cause behind the mysterious bee colony collapses in the US and Europe, a serious problem for food crops.
posted by stbalbach on Apr 15, 2007 - 89 comments

Can you hear me now?

Retrobrick sells those old giant clunky cell phones we still called "car phones." To anyone old enough to remember them, it's a little scary to think they are desirable antiques now. Too bad they aren't as sweet as these photoshop fantasies. For a little history, Martin Cooper's account of making the first cell phone call, 33 years ago, on the streets of NYC (to his rival at Bell Labs.)
posted by CunningLinguist on Jun 22, 2006 - 18 comments

CCTV Nightvision phone

A nightvision camera you phone up This seems to be a wireless CCTV camera that you phone up with your mobile and watch what is going on. It says it works in the dark. Now what would anybody use that for? As you dial it I guess it has it's own sim. "Pupillo", err horrid name.
posted by priorpark17 on May 4, 2006 - 4 comments

Flashy Friday

Badgers and Bananas. A Flashy Friday contribution mon amis. So we got the Badgers, here's the Cussing CeleBriteez (Yes re-post and NSFW) and finally Fingertips! Do I really need to explain the connection..come on!
posted by Mr Bluesky on Nov 18, 2005 - 15 comments

iTunes Phone Rokr

Apple iTunes to launch a phone. Made by Motorola nd will be available via Cingular. It will be called, 'Rokr'. Just goes to show how much Motorola dislikes 'E' s. (Razr & Rokr)
posted by benkolb on Aug 31, 2005 - 47 comments

hello?

I dont know whether to be upset or envious? Dont know about the kid market but i could totally see this for "older" (read my mom) consumers.
posted by ShawnString on Mar 16, 2005 - 48 comments

Mobile Porn Ban?

Will mobile phone porn be banned before reaching the mainstream? Startup Companies as well as established veterans alike have been itching to make a buck from the mobile market. Will they ever get the chance? Not in Israel.
posted by analogue on Mar 3, 2005 - 30 comments

Things to do when bored

Jenny, from every block. The results of dialing 867-5309 for every area code in America. Now, no one else ever has to, "just to see."
posted by XQUZYPHYR on Jan 3, 2005 - 48 comments

SkypeOut!

Last week popular peer-to-peer telephony company Skype launched SkypeOut, allowing you to call regular telephone numbers from your computer or PDA. The price list is sweet, and the global rate for selected countries looks good too. There's no press relase, news announcement or description page yet, but Heiko Hebig confirms that it's working with an early short review.
(Via Loic Le Meur Blog, Rodrigo A. Sepúlveda.)
Related on MeFi: Skype Launches.
posted by will on Jul 4, 2004 - 16 comments

Sky Ear

Sky Ear will be a one-night event in which a glowing "cloud" of mobile phones and helium balloons is released into the air so that people can dial into the cloud and listen to the sounds of the sky. The cloud will be made of one thousand large helium balloons each responding to the electromagnetic environment (created by distant storms, mobile phones, police and ambulance radios, television broadcasts, etc.) with coloured blue, red and yellow lights.
posted by schoolgirl report on Apr 9, 2004 - 22 comments

The Old Telephone Company

The Old Telephone Company, Essex, England
posted by hama7 on Mar 12, 2004 - 7 comments

Background noise for your cellphone

SounderCover Are you the type who likes to call in sick to work... from the beach? This might just be for you. Seems like phonecams aren't the only cellphone app that raises some issues. (via cacheop)
posted by Stoatfarm on Mar 4, 2004 - 5 comments

Not your fathers POTS phone system goes Voip

Its not your fathers P.O.T.S. Plain Old Telephone Service is undergoing a fundamental shift as companies such as Verizon, AT&T and British Telecom embrace Internet technology to route long-distance and local phone calls to compete with services from the likes of upstarts Vonage and Packet8 and Skype etc. Is this the beginning of the Telepocalypse a race to the bottom of less and less profit and more and more layoffs? Follow the history and future of the woeful crumbling of the hiearchical phone phone company at David Isen's web page Are the guts of the phone companies the class 5 switch go the way of mainframe computer
posted by thedailygrowl on Dec 11, 2003 - 9 comments

Got lesbians?

Got Lesbians? Every once in awhile I think "gee, self. I don't have enough lesbians in my life." Now there's a service just for me: LesbianPhoneCall. To quote their site they "deliver[s] you a phone call from a genuine lesbian!" You get to choose from Choose from a variety of lesbians, from militant bulldyke to on-the-fence lesbian (VERY popular). It even details what each type of lesbian is liable to talk about. Super! (via MonkeyFilter/UncoolCentral)
posted by answergrape on Dec 7, 2003 - 34 comments

Can *you* hear me now?

Mobile Phone Throwing World Championships You can register either in Freestyle or Original (the traditional over the shoulder -style). Alternatively, you can register as a team (max. three persons / team). There's also have a Junior category for competitors of under 12 years. Grading in Freestyle is based on style and aesthetics, whereas in Original the grading is purely based on length and style. In both categories theree prizes will be awarded. The current Ukranian record is 57 metres.
posted by riffola on Jul 14, 2003 - 10 comments

Gub'mint... waste money? Come now.

Over $200 million collected for future enhanced-911 service. But the 911 of the future, which was supposed to be in place now, hasn't actually arrived. The problem? The money, collected via a mandatory cell-phone tax, wasn't actually used for setting up an e911 system at all. - Wired.
posted by cinematique on Apr 18, 2003 - 8 comments

damn telemarketers

Thought you were rid of the telemarketers? Perhaps not. It looks like they're fighting back to items like the TeleZapper that fake telemarketers into thinking your phone is disconnected by playing the three tones you get if your phone doesn't work. Castel, Inc claims their DirectQuest software defeats devices like Telezapper by reading the connect messages delivered by your public switched telephone network. Fave quote - “It’s a privacy arms race.." Will this ever end?
posted by djspicerack on Feb 27, 2003 - 17 comments

Choosing a Cell Phone Service

Among the most confusing dilemmas facing today's consumer is the question of which cell phone carrier is right for you. Even though Consumer Reports just published an article rating different carriers, the results are far from conclusive. I've been searching for web resources to cut through all the crap, and I thought I'd share a couple with the MeFi community, since typing "compare cell phone plans" into Google brings up a load of pop-up laden vendors thinly disguised as dispensers of advice.
posted by grrarrgh00 on Jan 23, 2003 - 16 comments

Vibrating cellphones of love!

Vibrating cellphones of love! "Within a year you could be able to "touch" someone over your mobile phone", says the BBC. Some people have been waiting for this for quite a while - and dreaming up VERY specific applications.
posted by theplayethic on Jan 21, 2003 - 8 comments

The Almighty $

Christians become aquainted with the Almighty. "When the Wheat Ridge man got laid off from his computer-programming job in June, his friends and family asked what they could do to help. He asked them to pray for him and offered a daily reminder: an automated text message on cellphones and pagers. Now, Wostenberg, a devout Catholic, is offering that same technology to anyone who wants a psalm sent to him each day at 3 p.m. He's selling the service online at PsalmWeaver.com He charges $19.95 a year, plus a $4 setup fee."
posted by crasspastor on Dec 16, 2002 - 16 comments

Free Electricity from the phone company

Free electricity from the phone company. I already knew that phone lines carry an electrical current, but using it to power devices other than telephones is a new one on me. Some of these are useful, some are interesting, and some are pretty ironic. [via boingboing]
posted by shecky57 on Dec 4, 2002 - 45 comments

50 Cents, Please.

50 Cents, Please. Remember When A Call Cost a Dime? Soon: the 50 cent NYC local phone call. The poor state of payphones in NYC has long fascinated me. Supposedly, most don't work because of vandalism (often, the dial tone works, but the you lose your coins), but I suspect Verizon just wants to maximize cell phone sales. And I suspect the payphone is an endangered species for health reasons. What's the state of the pay phone in your city?
posted by ParisParamus on Mar 12, 2002 - 38 comments

Hackers target Cell Phones

Hackers target Cell Phones With the connectivity of cell phones to the internet, hackers have begun to target cell phones, programming prank calls, placing calls to wherever and erasing the software in the phone.
posted by Lanternjmk on Mar 11, 2002 - 7 comments

Nice

Nice or not. It looks like Verizon manages to get kudos on their service while getting relatively little exposure while they are trying to lock-in their customers. What do you think? Does it make sense to go to 3G with Verizon or should one go with competitive content providers who are willing to let you keep your phone numbers when we leave them? Which is more important?
posted by Adman on Jan 30, 2002 - 7 comments

Nokia's new subsidiary - Vertu -

Nokia's new subsidiary - Vertu - lays out its plans to combat street crime by developing undesirable mobile phones.
posted by mook on Jan 14, 2002 - 13 comments

Looks weird. Sounds Great.

Looks weird. Sounds Great. Nokia's latest mobile phone seems to be a rather weird symbiosis of phone, keyboard device, pda, and mp3 player. I guess it will take a while before it hits the USA. But me, being in Europe, I think I'd like to check it out closely.
posted by HeikoH on Oct 11, 2001 - 24 comments

Burn peanut butter not fossil fuels.

Burn peanut butter not fossil fuels. Great little piece on a new cell phone charger that you windup to recharge and the promise of a windup charger any application. I always thought the windup flashlights were great but the windup radios with one speaker leave a lot to be desired.
posted by skallas on Sep 6, 2001 - 10 comments

9 out of 10 Brit Kids Have Cell Phones...

9 out of 10 Brit Kids Have Cell Phones... and 8 out of 10 have tumors the size of oranges above their right ear. Beer with school lunches and now cell phones for kids?

What happened to tying up the phone line for hours and hours til mom turns red?
posted by jennak on Jul 2, 2001 - 7 comments


Yesterday,

Yesterday, the Good Morning Silicon Valley webpage at the SJ Merc (which I love since it keeps me from having to see CNET's god awful ads) had an interesting blurb as an offshoot of the whole NY cell-phone safety debacle (scroll to the last item.) Columnist John Paczkowski asked if it was possible to change your pants in a moving car at 65 miles an hour. He got some pretty funny responses. What have YOU done in a moving car that you shouldn't have?
posted by machaus on Jun 29, 2001 - 23 comments

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