Barbed Wire Fences Were An Early DIY Telephone Network

Before Ma Bell came to town, and long before DSL, it was barbed wire, of all things, that brought rural communities together. A Sears telephone hooked up to barbed wire—miles of which were already conveniently strung along fences—connected far-flung ranches in the recently settled American west. Thus an ingenious and… » 1/02/14 2:30pm 1/02/14 2:30pm

"Pocket Telephones" Made for Cheap Calling All the Way Back in 1910

You've almost certainly got a telephone in your pocket (or clutch), but don't think for a second that it makes you any kind of pioneer. People were predicting—and using—pocket telephones more than a century ago, for reasons every bit as lethargic as your own. » 6/18/13 2:17pm 6/18/13 2:17pm

22 Awesome Rotary Phones: Beautiful Relics of a Bygone Era

It's possible that some of you have never seen a rotary phone in real life. It's likely that many of you have never used a rotary phone: heard the pulse take the place of the tone, mustered your patience as the dial rolls back it its reset, cursed a number with so many zeroes in it because it takes so long to call. And … » 1/30/13 11:00am 1/30/13 11:00am

Why Would Someone Spend $3,000 On 100 Phone Numbers?

Phone numbers are intangible, frivolous things. No one in their right mind would collect them, right? Wrong. Meet Dennis Mykytyn, the man who purchased 100 coveted phone numbers with 212 area codes for $30 a pop in 2007. Yes, this guy spent $3,000 on phone numbers. » 8/12/11 11:00pm 8/12/11 11:00pm

Don't Wanna Memorize Numbers? Call Someone's Twitter Handle Instead

I have no idea what my mom's cell phone number is. I don't think I've ever known the phone number of a girlfriend. Why would I? You probably don't either! Contact lists killed them. But web service Go800 wants to skip the whole number thing entirely, letting you hit people via their Twitter handle to connect a call. » 3/04/11 9:40pm 3/04/11 9:40pm

FuChat Concept Phone Detects Then Displays your Emotional State

The FuChat concept phone is pretty, and kind of half-phone, half-Chumby as its surface is a concealed display used to show widgets: from weather displays, to showing a "keep out" sign on your door. But the emotional-sensing aspect got me intrigued. FuChat would be able to analyze your voice and body temp and guess at… » 7/28/08 7:41am 7/28/08 7:41am

FCC Asked to Get Carriers to Hurry Up Local Number Portability Already

With all the advances in technology we've had over the last couple of decades, you'd think that something as simple as changing your land line number into a cellular one would take hours at most. At least Congress does, and its now urging the FCC to put rules in place that will speed up local number portability… » 7/19/08 5:30pm 7/19/08 5:30pm

Landline Wireless Headset, or The Ugliest Gadget Ever

This monstrosity of a device is like the traditional Bluetooth headset, but not Bluetooth and not for cellphones. It operates on 2.4Ghz wireless frequency and can make any Suzy Homemaker hip and trendy with all of her Wisteria Lane friends. Unfortunately, wearing an ugly headset like this will make you no longer… » 8/22/06 10:33am 8/22/06 10:33am