Getting an ancient phone online in 2021.ev

Note: The more I worked on this article, the more I realized that it needed to be split into two separate articles. There was more ground to cover here than I originally thought. This article covers configuring a travel router running OpenWRT as a gateway for an ATA, and a Cisco ATA. The Asterisk configuration stuff will come later.

As seems to happen during the time of the covid-19 plague, it's really easy to clear one's backlog of "wouldn't it be nice if" and household repair projects in a short period of time. I mean, hell, I recabled my server …

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Reconditioning a touch tone dialer.

One of my holiday break hobby projects, a palate cleanser if you will, was reconditioning a classic Radio Shack touch tone dialer I'd picked up on eBay somewhen around Thanksgiving. They're retrotech to be sure, dating back to the days when the touch-tone dialing that we take for granted these days (so much so that we don't even hear them anymore because we use mobile phones) was actually pretty rare.

Note: A lot of the following history of telephony has been edited to reflect only the salient points for this article. Telephony experts out there will probably rankle a bit …

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HOPE XI - This one went to eleven!

It's mostly been radio silence for the past couple of days. If you're reading this you've no doubt noticed that Switchboard (one of my constructs) posted the slides from my talk earlier this week. As sophisticated and helpful as she is, Switchboard can't yet pick thoughts out of my wetware to write blog posts. And so, here I am, my primary organic terminal sitting at Windbringer's console keying in notes, saving them, and then going back to turn them into something approaching prose. I've just now had the time to sit down and start writing stuff about HOPE XI, largely …

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A whirlwind recap of the links that piled up in my blogfodder folder.

Medical doctors at Massachusetts General Hospital have discovered that hydrogen sulfide gas can cause the metabolic processes of mammalian cells to drop drastically, thus approximating a state of suspended animation. By breathing a low concentration of the gas the heart rates of experimental animals plummeted rapidly without a corresponding drop in blood pressure or the need for refrigeration; moreover, the state appears to be reversible. This means that the organism requires less oxygen in the depressed state, which means that cells remain viable much longer. The surgical applications should be obvious.

The Internet Storm Center reported not too long ago …

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Caller ID-spoofing 911 callers busted!

Late in October of 2007, a story hit the news wires about people getting raided by local SWAT teams because someone had called up the local 911 services and claimed that gang wars had broken out, heavily armed people on drugs had killed their families, and stuff like that. Some pretty bad things went down as a result, and as one would expect law enforcement doesn't take kindly to anyone monkeying around with their communications networks, especially when lots of heavily armed cops wearing body armor are called out as a result. A subsequent investigation revealed that a group of …

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Lake Forest, Washington 911 center compromised.

The SWAT team charged with the town of Lake Forest in Washington state was dispatched to the house of a local family after being informed that a heavily armed drug dealer had killed at least one individual and was in possession of a large stock of distributable drugs on the premises. As one would expect, they geared up for a full assault and hit the house like gang busters. There's one important fact which they didn't have at the time, and this fact made all the difference: The original 911 call that alerted police to this house was faked. Computer …

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Joe Engressia - RIP

People who remember the phone phreaking scene of the 1980's will no doubt be saddened to hear of the passing of Joe Engressia, who used the name Joybubbles toward the end of his life. Engressia, who was blind since birth, was famous for his sense of perfect pitch that let him whistle a 2600 Hz tone that was used to denote a usable telephony trunk during the days before electronic telephony switching. Playing this tone into a phone line at the time would allow someone with a blue box to manipulate the telephone switching network manually. Engressia was also known …

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