The adorable reason this dad installed a payphone in his house

Originally published at: The adorable reason this dad installed a payphone in his house | Boing Boing


Ok, so this was very adorable.


I have toyed with the idea of buying a payphone over the years, this is really making me want to get one now. Make that sucker VOIP so it can make some real calls though.


This is like the old “cup-and-string” phone kids used to make, but so much cooler.


Father finally follows through with time-honored threat…


Pa Bell. D’aaaw.

I was thinking it was one of those situations like in the movie Funny Farm where Chevy Chase’s character eventually has to get a pay phone installed in his house:

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Honestly this episode was my first thought.


This American Life did a segment back in 2019 where a preschool put a phone in the classroom that kids could use to report unfairness. No one was on the other end but the one-sided “calls” were recorded. It’s a fun listen. No Fair! - This American Life

Get them used to the surveillance state early. /s

Retrocomputing conferences often set up systems like this because it’s fun to demonstrate modems and BBSes in action. You can’t do that without an analog phone infrastructure in place. In most areas, your landline is not analog anymore. It is actually VoIP that the phone company wants you to think is still analog (you aren’t imagining the quality drop that happened). VoIP doesn’t work for modems, though. There are “telnet BBSes” now where telnet is used to bridge the modem over the internet at each end through a Raspberry Pi or similar, but that really muddles the experience and younger folks don’t understand how it is different than the internet. To demonstrate to the public what the technology and experience of BBSing really was, you need analog phone lines. Luckily line simulator systems exist!

A fun project but a cell phone with fixed dialing enabled with only dad’s number enabled would have done the same thing.

I hope the young child also knows it’s not a real phone connected to the outside world and she’ll need to go to a real phone in an emergency.

I get the nostalgia and fun though, I have a very old wall mount phone from the 40s from my grandma’s house that was in use into the 90s that I keep meaning to make work at home. Maybe this winter I’ll get bored enough to play.

Since we don’t get a reliable cell signal where I live, my primary phone is the landline. Sure, the backhaul stuff is VoIP, but the line to the house is POTS. It works when the power is out. It works when our internet service is out. And, in fact, it doubles as our backup internet service, since it comes with 768kbps DSL.

A few weeks ago, I was hiking with a friend and his 18-year old son. At the trail head, we came across a pay phone. The “kid” knew what it was, and wasn’t that interested in the phone itself. But the weird thing hanging below it was a mystery to him. I had fun explaining what a phone book was.

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