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    I’m not sure exactly what I was expecting, but at random hours in the day I’ll be working in my office and the payphone will ring and my daughter will tell me about her dolls for a minute or so and then I’ll say, “That’s great, but I have to get back to work.”

    Wholesome as heck. Also something that will inevitably happen anyway if you live with a child in roughly that age bracket, so you might as well use technology for it!

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      My daughter is 5 - I don’t want her dialing 911.

      It’s weird to think of this as a problem since the entire world had this potential concern for a while and it was… fine?

      Super cool though. I’m jealous of the payphone.

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        In Britain the number is 999, which lends itself very well to being dialled by any toddler who sees fit to mash a single button. Ask me how I know!

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          Kids today will never know the joy of crank calling a random phone number.

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            Maybe not, but the “It’s Lenny” crowd sure have fun with pranking the scammers who call them instead. https://old.reddit.com/r/itslenny/

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              Hopefully not, but there are many folks that end up stuck doing that for a living!

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                I wonder if there’s a YouTube video of someone playing The Jerky Boys for some kids and seeing what they make of it.

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                I find it very weird. Why wouldn’t they want their child to be able to call for help?

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                  You know I’ve never thought about the positive case. What do people do nowadays? Instruct their kid on how to take the iPhone out of their pocket and make an emergency call from it?

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                    We bought our children their own phones, partly for this reason. Especially as we encourage them to wander the neighbourhood and catch trains from age 7.

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                  I actually did dial 911 on a dare on a payphone as a kid, and surprise, emergency services showed up (and I was being an idiot but what can I say). According to a friend who works in emergency dispatch, this used to be quite common (though because we’re both of around the same age I don’t know if any of us have stats on how 911 dialing has changed in the mobile phone era.)

                  So yeah this is definitely a concern, but there’s also the positive case. My mother was in ill-health when I was a child and I did have to dial 911 for her a couple times. I was a technical kid, but it was nice that I could just take a few specific actions (namely dialing 9-1-1 on a phone) and get help for my mother. (You would think, having both dialed out to 911 as a prank and in legitimate need, that I would understand what a silly thing it was to have dialed out on a dare, but it took me a few years for that self-reflection ability to happen in my child brain.) I’m curious about what kids do these days especially since most folks keep their phones locked. Do folks keep a home phone around specifically to dial out to emergency services?

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                    Locked phones typically still have an “emergency call” button that allows dialing the local emergency number. On Android it also allows you to dial any of the contacts stored as emergency contacts in the phone. The question is still a valid one if a child was home without someone’s cell phone, but in general a locked phone shouldn’t stop an emergency call.

                    EDIT: And, yes, I also have a landline for just such a situation.

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                      Even phones without a SIM are supposed to be able to call the local emergency number, so that slightly narrows the use-case for a landline.

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                    My parents had a lot of older phone and computer equipment laying around that we liked to play with growing up. One item was an old rotary phone that belonged to one of my grandparents and I recall my father one day explaining the differences in dialing between it and DTMF. To let us hear the differences, he plugged it into one of the phone jacks and, after booping a few buttons on the touch-tone phone, he then showed us the difference in the rotary.

                    He first dialed a “9” to let us hear all the clicks, then to show the difference he dialed a “1”. Because that was so short, he repeated the number to make sure we heard it. Two minutes later, the emergency operator called back and he had to explain himself…

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                      I was almost in big trouble when a random kid I was playing with at the Burger King nearest my childhood home wouldn’t quit calling 911 on the pay phone. I don’t remember details. I’m not sure if I was just assumed to be the mastermind, or if the other kid tried to pin it on me.

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                      One could also connect it with an ATA to a server running Asterisk to do coin detection and then build your own red box to bypass it :)

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                        I’m not articulate enough to say exactly why, but I very much want to do this for some reason. I’ve even got my old tone dialer from the 90s in the same drawer as a bunch of thumb drives.

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                        I had never heard of a phone line simulator, but I really like this setup and have dreamt of doing something similar (having found a new old stock rotary dial phone) at home.

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                          If you want to take it a step further and merge the old and the new, you can buy an ATA (Analog Telephone Adapter) that turns any regular phone into a Voice-over-IP phone. With a VoIP server like Asterisk installed a Raspberry Pi, you can do all kinds of wacky things.

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                            I DID NOT NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THIS WONDERFUL IDEA

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                          Now I’m not sure what the first rule of credit card fraud is but it might be “Don’t give the person you’re defrauding your actual telephone number”.

                          When the story went from “hmm interesting” to “funny”

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                            http://futel.net/ tries to reenable abandoned payphones.

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                              Stealing from the phone company is stealing but I’ve done it. Long time ago there was a pay phone in our dorm and someone had drilled a 1/8” hole in a very specific place and whenever you put your quarters in and got tone, you pushed a paper clip into the hole and it hit a lever that let your quarters drop back into the change return slot. No 2600 needed.

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                                This is just awesome. The post takes a great turn in the final bits.

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                                  I love this post, takes me back to my phreaking days and prank calls with RBCP. Also love the call out to 2600, I still pick up their issues from time to time.