Posts tagged ‘telephone’

Phone Area Codes Based on Dialing Speed

By Chad Upton | Editor

Telephones have been around in some capacity since the mid to late 19th century, depending on who you credit with the invention.

fisher price phone

Early dialing was accomplished by inserting your finger in the rotary disk adjacent to the number you wanted and rotating the dial to the stopping point, then you would remove your finger and the dial would rotate back to its default position. Each number it passed on its way back would induce a pulse — a short variance in current — on the phone line. This pulse communicated the number to the phone system. (more…)

June 14, 2013 at 11:59 pm 10 comments

Shoes on Power Lines

By Chad Upton

Tying shoes together by their laces and throwing them onto overhead lines is known as “shoefiti” (shoe + graffiti).

Shoefiti started in the United States and spread throughout the world, the photo above was taken in Berlin.

There is no single reason why people do this, there are many reasons.

When sneakers are festooned on power lines in rough neighborhoods, the conclusion for their presence is often crime related. Some believe they mark crack houses where you can get your fix or some free shoes via ladder. Others say they are shoes that belong to (or hang in memory of) a murder victim. Some say they are for marking gang turf, but Tucson Arizona police have denied that and flagged the turf marker idea as myth.

They did mention that many shoes are removed each week, since they are unsightly and can cause damage to the lines.

They also said that the volume of shoes increases during the summer break from school. A couple of stories have been told that may support this. One is that of tradition, shoes are thrown on power lines to celebrate the last day of school or graduation. Teenage boys have also been said to do this when they lose their virginity.

Perhaps the oldest story about the origin of shoefiti claims it was tradition for soldiers to hang their boots on the power lines at base when they completed basic training, went home on leave or left the service entirely.

In some movies, it’s the school bully who steals your shoes and throws them onto the lines. There are also stories of kids retiring their own shoes when they get a new pair.

Chances are good that the people who are doing it now have no idea why their predecessors did it.

Some people may think it’s a harmless tradition, but the shoes can disrupt utility services by adding weight to the lines which causes them to sag and potentially touch other lines or trees, which could also result in fire.

If you want to remove shoes from the lines, because you want your kicks back or you just want to clear the eyesore, you should call the utility company to do it — a few Darwin Award candidates have earned their nomination trying to DIY their shoes back.

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Sources: About.com, Snopes, Straight Dope, Wikipedia

Photo: edkohler

July 15, 2010 at 5:00 am 11 comments

Caller ID Can Be Hacked

If you rely on caller ID to screen calls, you should be aware that the number you see cannot always be trusted.

There are a few services available that let people choose the caller id number that appears when they make a phone call.

Telemarketers and collections agencies are not allowed to change their number, but some still do.

I share this secret because caller id spoofing is becoming popular among fraudsters. You should be weary of any caller asking you for something, especially money or personal information. If a caller claims to be from your financial institution or another company that requires personal information, ask them some information that confirms they are who they say they are. For example, if it’s your cell phone company, ask them which calling plan you’re on.

(more…)

March 8, 2010 at 12:46 am 3 comments

Google Provides Free 411 Searches and Connections

Google has a lot of cool services that most people don’t know about. One of my favorite Google secrets is Google 411.

Just dial: 1-800-GOOG-411

It is just like your local telephone company’s 411 service, except it’s free and it automatically connects you to the number for free. It works from US or Canadian phones and can be used to find US and Canadian business listings.

It also has some cool features. When you find a listing, you can say “text message” and Google will instantly text you the phone number, address and a map link for the address that opens in Google maps on a capable phone.

There are even cordless phones available with a dedicated button for Google 411.

Remember goog-411 the next time you need to make dinner reservations or order takeout — it couldn’t be easier or cheaper.

BrokenSecrets.com [available on kindle]

Photo: morrowplanet (cc) | Source: Google 411

January 8, 2010 at 1:14 am 5 comments


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