Sunday, December 19, 2021

This is my Mum's 80th birthday present.

20 Dec 2021

It's a rotary phone from the 1970's. This is the sort of phone we had in the house when I was a kid. For Mum's birthday, I bought this old phone from a second hand store. I pulled it apart and installed a little computer into the phone. I connected the rotary dial to the computer. I connected the speaker in the handset to the computer. I connected the hangup/pickup switch to the computer. I set up a dedicated phone number with voicemail, which emails every voicemail to me. I then asked all Mum's friends and family to leave a special birthday message for her on that phone number. I converted these messages to MP3 files. I uploaded all the MP3 files to the computer in the phone. I then wrote some code in Python which plays a dial tone when the handset is picked up. The Python code listens to the rotary dialler. When the a number is dialled on the rotary phone, the Python code plays back one of the birthday messages. There were over 60 messages, which I assigned to phone numbers 100 to 160. I then ran a USB power cord out of the back of the phone and into the computer inside.
I wanted to add in some of the dial up services from the 1970's like "dial a story", "dial a horoscope", "dial a poem", also some crazy AI generated stories about our family members, but I ran out of time. I put it in a box and mailed it to Mum. This all took ALOT of time but once I get an idea like this I can't get it out of my head until it's done, and Mum's worth it eh?