rotary-dial web browser

Phone Dial:

"To use it, one dials an IP address rather than typing a URL. Dots are entered by pressing a button, external to the dial."
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27 Responses:

  1. brianenigma says:

    Dots? Why couldn't they have zero-padded each octet to three digits? A fixed-length twelve digit "IP number" would be more consistent with phone numbers.

    • jwz says:

      That was my first thought as well!

      "For IPv6, please dial 0, then 1."

    • cabrius says:

      Most systems will parse a number in an IP address as octal if you put leading zeroes in, though. I'm not sure if this is actually part of a standard or just convention.

      Of course, if you're entering IP addresses manually anyway, you can just consider it part of the challenge...

    • kw34hd1 says:

      the digit that takes the longest amount of time to dial on a rotary telephone is zero.

      now think about zero-padding most octets, many twice, and you'll notice that it will triple or quadruple the amount of time it takes to enter a full ip.


      • jwz says:

        That would completely destroy the efficiency advantage of this input device!

      • dontdothat says:

        Zero could be swapped with any other digit - say, nine, which is dialed most quickly - to optimize for the majority of addresses. Dotted quad IPs can have from eight to zero pad digits, and from four to twelve non-padded digits. That means four pad digits on average, which isn't true since there are more addresses with no padding than with lots of padding - anyway - huh, it's actually not that straightforward. Intuitively, there are more pad digits in the average IP than occurances of the digit '9', or any other given digit.

        • kingfox says:

          Nine is dialed most quickly? No, nine is next to zero. One is dialed most quickly.

          You can tell how important an area was when area codes were first handed out by how low the digits of the area code are. New York City's 212, LA got 213, Chicago got 312. Places like Hawaii got 808. In the middle were the San Franciscos (415) Miamis (305), and New Jerseys (201).

    • avva says:

      Or you could just have the user input the whole 32-bit number in decimal.

      Saves quite a few keystrokesdialrotations too!

    • wy1d says:

      Or, for that matter, used the pound/asterix?

    • sethg_prime says:

      Or they could have built a hexadecimal dial.

      Clever idea, lazy execution. That's the trouble with this younger generation ... no work ethic....

  2. belgand says:

    Hmm... I have been looking for a way to make things harder for myself. Especially if I can use less-adequate technology to do something I could already do in a merely inconvenient way.

    Frankly I'm not going to be happy until I can do the whole thing with a plug board (per digit at least).

    Is there going to be operator-based DNS?

  3. devpreed says:

    HOW L0Ng UN+Il 1T SUPP0rTS T9?!?!?!?!111


  4. leolo says:

    He pulled apart a working phone to get that dial. Desecration!

    Seriously, though, dialing with a rotary dial is a lost skill. I was at a party years ago and wanted to call a friend. The only phone in the apartment was rotary dial. Being out of practice and *cough* intoxicated, I completely failed to make the call.

    So I got my hands on a few rotary phones (including a
    red one) and practice now and then.

    • fo0bar says:

      What is there to practice? It's been a few years since I've used one, but, even intoxicated, I think I could remember these steps:

      1. Place finger in rotary by digit you wish to dial.
      2. Move finger/rotary clockwise until you can't move anymore.
      3. Release rotary with finger. Rotary will begin moving counter-clockwise.
      4. Wait until rotary has stopped moving, then repeat until all digits have been dialed.
      5. Begin talking.

  5. xenogram says:

    Dots are entered by pressing a button, external to the dial.

    The dot button should so be in the middle of the dial. And it should be off-white or the same colour as the case, and made of bakelite.

    Also, this calls for curly-cords coming out of the case.

  6. jerronimo says:

    because, you know, we needed to slow down connecting to the net more....


  7. What happens to the sites that are VHOST'ed at a webserver? Surely entering the numeric address would only allow you access to the default host and not any of the subsites being hosted there???

    Or have I missed something? :)

    • technotronic says:

      You're right. We should get rid of the VHost thing alltogether and go with a unique real-world IP for each site. This, of course, will require IPv6. So now (converted from hex) we enter: 82831:13924:52249:11043:52248:41983:65042:65220 *or* someone makes a rotary dial capable of entering hex! :)

    • ajaxxx says:

      thus making the phonebrowser an HTTP/1.0 device. a pity.

      perhaps we need an RFC for a PBX-like extension for this. "Press one to listen to a list of vhosts at this site. If you know your vhost's extension, you may dial it at any time."

  8. forthdude says:

    Just not retro-computery enough; I'm going to have to hack something up myself.


    • Use a whole, real (read "heavy, black, useful as a weapon in a pinch") rotary phone
    • 12 digit web numbers (zero padded)
    • reads web pages to user
    • plays "web tone" sound when the handset is off hook
    • audible responses to various HTTP status codes:
    • 301 (Permanently moved) - [tri tone] "The web page you dialed, [old ip address] has changed. The new number is [new ip address]. Please make a note of it."
    • 4xx (Dead links, etc.) - [tri tone] "The web page you dialed is no longer in service. If you feel that you reached this recording in error please check the web address and try again."
    • 503 (Service unavailable) - fast busy

  9. Understands WML and XHTML and presents menus that look like this:

    • News
    • Schedule
    • Other BS

    as: "Dial 1 for news, 2 for schedule, ..."

  10. [3-9] as a first digit would be available as a meta value for other functions, like bookmarks, VoIP, iChat/AV, etc.
  11. First version would be tethered, but a future version should use 802.11 and be completely self contained. Bonus points for using bluetooth between the handset and the base for a spooky, completey wireless rotary phone/web browser.