Last week I stumbled upon an old article on Altas Obscura, initially published in 2018, that brought back some fond memories. What if I told you that once upon a time (the late 60’s), you could take a cheap plastic whistle that you dug out of a box of Captain Crunch and blow it into a mouthpiece telephone to call any place in the world for FREE? The 2600hz tone the whistle produced was the same tone used by phone carriers to signal an open line on their once analog phone systems. Once you had an open line, you could dial any number you wanted free of charge.
Phone Phreaking “hobbyists” created a little “blue box” that reproduced the same tone, and the world would never be the same. A story about blue boxes was published in Esquire in 1971, and after reading, Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs (yes, the boys from Apple) were all over it, creating a business selling such a device. See, kids, we DID know how to have a good time before the Internet!
I was a little late to the phone Phreaking party, but I remember reading about it as a kid and “playing” around with phone lines using my Apple IIc computer in the 80s, and tiring known hacks on random pay phones I would come across. Since I’m unsure of the statute of limitations for such questionable activities, I’m just going to leave it at that.
Years later, I discovered the infamous 2600 Magazine, launched in 1984 and still in publication today, and I got the bug again. For some unknown reason, I used to have the quarterly issues of 2600 delivered to my office vs. my home (poor attempt at privacy, I guess?), but I do remember expensing an annual subscription for “research” while I did a stint as a programmer in the early 2000’s. Inside each issue were stories of hackers doing some crazy things, like taking over the intercom system at K-Mart to accessing the terminals at Best Buy to get discount codes. The back cover was one of my favorite things about the 2600 magazine. It featured a picture of a working payphone from some random place around the world, something rarely seen in the United States these days.
Speaking of phones, Apple Insider just released a report titled “A secret tool lets police conduct mass surveillance using app data,” and it’s a little unnerving that data sold by Fog Data Science LLC to target ads based on a person’s location and interests is being accessed without a warrant.
This is another reason to audit your phone settings and adjust your security regularly.
And finally… If you use Emoji’s, you might have wondered how popular the one you’re about to send is. Well, wonder no more with this real-time Emoji tracker that shows the real-time emoji use on Twitter. Warning: a LOT is going on, and it might overwhelm those subject to issues with flashing things.
I hope everyone remembered to set their clocks forward an hour before you wane to bed last night. I usually have DST on my calendar as a reminder but didnt for some reason this year so the time change kind of snuck up on me.
I was doing some work in Downtown Indianapolis this past week and you can feel the energy of the big basketball tournaments. The Big-10 games started last Wednesday and wrap up today. Then we start all over with March Madness this Thursday through April 5th. EVERY Big-10 championship game and EVERY March Madness game will be played in Indiana. This is the first time this has ever been done and really puts our State under the spotlight. From what I’ve seen so far Indianapolis has cleaned up quite nicely and is doing a great job hosting everything.
If you ever want to know how much of the year has passed you can get real time updates on the Year Progress twitter page. I’ll admit I was watching it closely last year.
The BEST cheesesteak shop in the city has a second location! Originally starting in Flat-12 brewery on the near east side, and later relocating just south of Butler University, Hoagies and Hops just opened a second location inside Chilly Water Brewery on Virginia Ave (Fletcher Place). I stopped by on Friday to try the 1/4 pound chili cheese dog and a small side of fries. This was a BIG dog. The chili and cheese were both infused with beer so it was a different tasting chili dog. Overall I enjoyed it and would order again if I wasn’t getting a cheesesteak.. I dipped my fries in a lot of the cheese and that was a winning combo.
And finally, I’m a fan of the Burger King Original Chicken Sandwich. When it’s done right it’s delicious. Sam the Cooking Guy makes his version at home and it looks really easy to make. I think I’m going to give it a shot next weekend.
As Dan Frommer on Twitter points out:
Oh I’d MUCH rather have a 2-foot receipt to deal with than just Touch-Pay-and-Go </Sarcasm>
While doing a little online research last weekend I came across the Indianapolis Public Art website. Even better they have a Public Art Locator that pinpoints pieces on a Google map. It’s pretty amazing the number of statues and sculptures in the area. I wanted to share the site with the IndyScan visitors since it’s an awesome resource.
What are some of your favorite pieces in Indianapolis? I’m a big fan of the Brick Head on Mass Ave. and the Solders and Sailors monument.
On Aug 31, 2011 a British man named Alwyn Collinson started a 6 year project that uses Twitter to send out messages from World War II. These messages are reports of the war as they happen on the same day and time over 70 years ago. The messages are brief and often have links to related historical images.
@RealTimeWWII has grown in popularity over the months and as of the time of this writing has 160,000 users following the action.
As you can imagine there’s a lot of information to be relayed and the timing of the messages are what makes this so unique. Mr. Collinson uses an online scheduling tool called SocialOomph to keep the entire project moving.
I first learned about this project from an article in the New York Times. They have a great writeup that also talks about other similar projects.
If you’re a WWII fan you should check this out. An RSS feed is also available but requires a Facebook account to access.
After a 3 month reading hiatus I’m one again getting a lot of use out of the Amazon Kindle I purchased last last year. The latest title to be delivered by WhisperSync is “Sh*t My Dad Says” by Justin Halpern.
From the Publisher: After being dumped by his longtime girlfriend, twenty-eight-year-old Justin Halpern found himself living at home with his seventy-three-year-old dad. Sam Halpern, who is “like Socrates, but angrier, and with worse hair,” has never minced words, and when Justin moved back home, he began to record all the ridiculous things his dad said to him…
What started as a Twitter account that posted the various things his father said, Mr. Halpern collected the quotes and stories and turned them into a book. CBS has even picked the concept up and is turning it into a sitcom staring William Shatner! I personally think Jerry Stiller would have been a better choice…
About the Book: Sh*t my Dad Says is a very quick read. With short chapters and pages of one liners it’s a book that’s easy to pickup and read for a few minutes at a time. If you take it on a trip you could finish it in a day. If you are easily offended by profanity (especially the F-Bomb) you will not like this book. If you’re unsure, check out the Twitter feed first.
The star of the book is the dad. The constant stream of one liners that come out of his mouth are priceless, unique and hilarious. You want to keep reading so you’ll keep laughing. Unfortunately the book ends too soon. Amazon is selling the Kindle version for $9.99 & I’ve seen the book in stores for $14.99. This is one of those titles you can buy, read & pass on to friends & family.
If you’re looking for a fun and witty book for the summer, add Sh*t My Dad Says to your list.
I realized the other day that I really was not using Twitter as mush as i used to… I realized that following 250+ people just created to much noise & no matter how hard I tried I just could not keep up with the noise.
So, in a last ditch effort to keep my Twitter activity alive I decided it was time to thin the herd. Reviewing all of the people I was following made me realize i just was not interested in a lot of these people. I started un-following with abandon & managed to trim things down to a more reasonable 100.
I’m going to make it a point to keep the number I’m following on Twitter to 100. if I want to add someone, someone has to go…
Anyone else find twitter to be unusable over a certain number of “friends”?
If you ave enough followers on Twitter you can request assistance for those difficult decisions like, “where are we going to eat?”! Interesting article on the various uses of Twitter for the frequent traveler.