Payphone antics

Incidentally, if you have any suggestions for other behaviors I should add to the payphone, shoot. Right now it just does the calendar info-line and lets you save and play back messages. Plus a few minor easter eggs. What else would be fun to build into the thing (that does not require advanced signal processing)?
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61 Responses:

  1. mhoye says:

    I think I can dig up all the files that went into Barbiephonic if you like.

    • jwz says:

      Oh my.

      Though really I'd only need the first 30 names, right?

      • mhoye says:

        I think I've still got the bits where she tells you to clean your room and help out around the house and whatever, let me see what I can find.

  2. Randomly ring and recite a few words from Harold Finch's book code?

    • jwz says:

      That totally sounds like something that someone standing in a bar who picks up the handset on a payphone because "what is that doing here" will be able to participate in.

      • For that class of patron, I would suggest a large, cyclic, phone tree.

      • Other ideas: Play a game "20 questions" using the number pad. Generate "mad libs" style sentences using celebrity sound clips.

        • jwz says:

          Is there non-shitty Linux-based text-to-speech software that can do it in realtime on a Pi 2, which is essentially a 1999-vintage Pentium III?

          • Joe says:

            I've managed to get both festival and eSpeak running on a Pi.
            eSpeak sounds very robot like but is pleasingly lightweight.
            Festival sounds human-like to me, that said, I'm not especially used to American accents.
            Your definition of non-shitty may differ though.

            • jwz says:

              Well, I'm sorry to report that Festival is not nearly close enough to "realtime", and while Flite is fast enough, mostly, it sounds like complete shit compared to what produces. It's damned near incomprehensible. So I guess I'm stuck with things that I can say using pre-generated MP3 files instead of fully dynamic text.

  3. Dawn says:

    Randomly ring and play recording from a numbers station

    • -dsr- says:

      I was going to suggest putting a motion detector on it and occasionally (but not always) ringing when someone walks by. I didn't have any idea of what to play, though.

  4. Gilbert says:

    Song-appropriate responses for the following numbers:
    * 1-900-759-7243
    * 777-9311
    * 867-5309

  5. OffTheCuff says:

    Is that a LOUD button?

    I'd hook that fucker into the sound system.

    It should play something really loud. Preferably, something that knocks people (plural) over.

    Have it play something short but really huge and/or bizarre over your sound system. Rate-limit it so you never know if or when it will work, or what it would play.

    Secret numeric codes to do similar things... Control video or audio or lights.

    Dialing 911 would play announcement mocking the dialer and shine a spotlight on them.

  6. No Remembering Me says:

    -A voice-enabled SSH client, the triumph of accessibility! Incredibly entertaining in a loud club. So many crashes. So many inadvertent partition wipes.

    -Responses (like a vmb greeting or whatever) for fun numbers from iconic local commercials.

    -Phreaker-phreindly pheedback for old-timey 950-xxxx codes

    -Choose-your-own-adventure/zork/wumpus IVR games. "Press two to go ... NORTH. Press four to go ... WEST. Press POUND for your inventory..."

  7. todbot says:

    Phone keypad acts as game controller for suitably 90s-looking 3d generated landscape that "looks like Unix" projected on the wall.

  8. Photar says:

    Have it ring. When someone picks up it asks a trivia question and if they get it right they get a free drink.

  9. MrBill1234 says:

    Something around this:

    Dial 'morpheus' or 'exit' - and phone says something.

    Right up DNA's alley I would think.

  10. Doug Orleans says:

    Time of day service when someone dials 415-POPCORN? Or, could you actually have it dial that number? It seems to still work. Hook it up to Google Voice or something?

  11. John says:

    How about some quote from The Matrix followed by some vaguely modemesque sound effects? Preferably played really loud for shock value.

  12. Phil R. says:

    Calculator mode! With only multiplication available, and apparently assuming an equals sign is shaped '#'! Possibly reporting any answer above 4 as "a suffusion of yellow", or then again possibly not.

  13. Martin says:

    Put them through to Lenny:

  14. andyjpb says:

    Could you hook the coin slot up to one of the other keys on the USB keyboard?

  15. Amy says:

    I like the suggestion of enabling popcorn, but since everyone carriers a phone these days and they've become a pocket watch replacement... Consider getting more surreal, philosophical, or just plain weird in what time you tell people?

    • Rena says:

      Do like on Digimon Adventure, and have it just report nonsense. "Today's weather is sunny with a chance of ice cream."

  16. Carlos says:

    My suggestion is randomly ring (motion-activated, as someone else suggested, would be cool) and when answered, play a random "Good morning, Mr. Phelps..." mission message -- but I have no idea if there's an archive of those recordings you could easily use. Extracting them from each episode would be way too much work.

  17. UnlikelyLass says:

    Random ringing might be humorous, but I can also imagine it getting pretty old if it happens too often, or in the middle of a performance, or if it goes on too long with nobody picking up, so there's a bit of tweaking (and a killswitch) needed.

    And unless there's a pretty great large selection of amusing things that happen, I can imagine that will get old, too. I suspect you'll want to keep it short.

    That being said -- morse code? R2-D2 beeps and bloops? Modem training noises? Welcome to Nightvale clips?

  18. cyeh says:

    "To listen to 'Funkytown' press 1"

  19. Thomas Lord says:

    Could throw one of these (sound off) on a screen. 1980s phone sex ads:

    When dialed, play the earlier suggested numbers station:

  20. nooj says:

    order pizza

  21. octopodes says:

    Maybe something from The Nixon Tapes?

  22. thielges says:

    Text Adventure as phone tree.

    "You are in a maze of twisty passages, all alike. Press 2 for north, 6 for east, ..."

  23. Jeff Clough says:

    The voicemail message from 12 Monkeys needs to be in there somewhere. Also, the sequence from Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure should do something interesting.

  24. MattyJ says:

    If someone dials 555-FILK it should pick a random movie spoiler and play it. Someone would have to record them, though. You know, like:

    Bruce Willis is a ghost.
    The green place isn't there.
    Christian Bale has a twin.
    Rosebud is the sled.
    The negative was in Walter's wallet the whole time.
    Han Solo ... (I just couldn't do it.)

  25. Call canned numbers from a menu. Our phones call the mayor, the Apology Line, an oracle, a fake admin menu to coordinate local drone coverage, and some other lines, and some puzzles and toys and things. We could give you an incoming line with a menu.

  26. Rena says:

    Have it read out tweets from various automated novelty accounts.

  27. Carlos says:

    This requires doing A/D on the audio input, but how about a function/number that does voice-to-text and tweets the (probably badly captured, hopefully funnilly so) result on a "Tweets from the Drunk at DNA" account?


  28. Grego says:

    M-M-M-M-Max HHHHHHHeadroooooooom!