Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: The other kind of phone tapping

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  • Steve Barnes, in reply to Son of Dad,

    I was always thought of myself as refined rather than wimpy...

    I am so glad to hear that. ;-)
    There was an addendum to that story...
    My Father, being an aspiring middle manager, decided that "It wasn't cricket", fathers beating up children on behalf of there less than manly sons. So... he tracked down the miscreant and confronted him on his doorstep. It was the first time I heard someone tell my father to fuck off. It was also the one and only time I saw him receive a punch on the nose.
    There is no justice where there is unbridled might and thuggish behaviour.

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • Ross Mason, in reply to Anthony851,

    If the person receiving the call was aware that the call was from a PCS the order could me made, bread and milk etc. Then you would push the “B” button and get your coins back.

    That reminded me of the other trick of screaming into the ear piece. This is again without pushing button A. It was quite a laugh watching people watching you yell at the "wrong end".

    Upper Hutt • Since Jun 2007 • 1590 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    The BBC was looking for antique valves, but the ones they want are a bit bigger.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    The BBC was looking for antique valves

    buy valves & other noisy 0i-oi-oisters...
    Great story - and comments!
    all these little microcosms of 'old tech' keeping the heart of 'new tech' going - what could possibly go wrong?

    Heck I don't even think there is a Tricity House equivalent left in Chchch anymore, not one where one could get a basic 6V6 valve for a radio or amp, I had a hell of a job finding one 25 years ago!

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7939 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace,

    Phone box trivia. In the series about Cilla Black currently showing on Sunday nights, Cilla and her boyfriend wait by the local public phone box for a call from Brian Epstein to tell her whether her single has become a hit. No one had phones in their homes and the public phone box was the only way people could ring in with a message for someone in the community. That's only 50 years ago.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3213 posts Report Reply

  • Andrew C, in reply to Angela Hart,

    Many of the tertiary institutions have displays of treasured artefacts like that.

    Auckland Uni has some old telephone switching circuits on open display:

    https://www.cs.auckland.ac.nz/historydisplays/FifthFloor/LogicAndSwitching/LogicAndSwitchingMain.php

    The historical displays in the computer science department are really interesting for anyone who has been involved in the computer and/or tech industry, there's tons of "oh, i remember those..." items all throughout.

    Its open to the public any time the university is open, and I'd say there's more than a good chance that the curator, Bob Doran, would give you a guided tour if you simply asked him nicely.

    Auckland • Since May 2008 • 168 posts Report Reply

  • Alfie, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    The BBC was looking for antique valves...

    While we're discussing BBC trivia, I have to mention something which surprised me when I worked at Lime Grove in the mid-80s. I scored a job as an assistant film editor with their current affairs show Panorama. I'd worked in lots of sound-mixing suites before my spell at the Beeb, and still love that part of the filmmaking process.

    We'd finished editing a story and headed down to the sound suites. They looked pretty familiar, apart from the sound desk. The faders were all upside down. In other words, you push the faders up for off and slide them down to increase the level. Apparently this was a hangover from early broadcast days. The theory was that if a soundman died at the wheel, he'd be more likely to push the faders up than to risk overpeaked audio going to air.

    Only the Beeb would consider allowing their soundies to die so gracefully.

    Dunedin • Since May 2014 • 1427 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz, in reply to Alfie,

    Yes, indeed.

    Also, crashing the pips (as practised daily by every RNZ presenter) and dead air are verboten at the BBC. While the former is regarded as the equivalent of farting in church, dead air of more than (I think) ten seconds results in the Emergency Control Room taking over broadcasts.

    This probably has something to do with continued Radio 4 being used by the British nuclear fleet as a signal that the UK hasn't been nuked by the Russians.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    The BBC was looking for antique valves, but the ones they want are a bit bigger.

    I read that entire article in the Pathe newsreel style, in my head.

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2931 posts Report Reply

  • Richard Grevers,

    Dang, I was going to give you a link to Ed Piskor's webcomic "Boingthump" about Phreaking, which I'm sure you would have appreciated Russell, but his domain is expired and squatted :-(

    New Plymouth • Since Jul 2011 • 143 posts Report Reply

  • Richard Grevers,

    ...although it might be torrentable at archive.org

    New Plymouth • Since Jul 2011 • 143 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Richard Grevers,

    Dang, I was going to give you a link to Ed Piskor’s webcomic “Boingthump”

    double dang - I hadn't realised my links were dead, cos I'd been there years ago - still there's this taster: The Woz n Jobs show...
    http://www.edpiskor.com/steve.html

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7939 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming, in reply to Richard Grevers,

    …although it might be torrentable at archive.org

    It's downloadable as a zipfile (18.4MB) from there, too

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2931 posts Report Reply

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