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Tweeking a little fun at the youngins
Old 01-11-2019, 01:52 PM   #1
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Tweeking a little fun at the youngins

Trying to figure out how to use a rotary phone.

https://www.msn.com/en-us/lifestyle/...all/ar-BBS3IkS
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Old 01-12-2019, 10:34 AM   #2
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Old 01-12-2019, 10:35 AM   #3
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"Youngins" is the term I always use. lol
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Old 01-12-2019, 01:00 PM   #4
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That's funny!

Kinda like some "Youngins" today asking about using an OTA TV antenna: "You mean that is legal?"
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Old 01-12-2019, 01:12 PM   #5
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Try driving a Model T some day. You will be confused.
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Old 01-12-2019, 01:37 PM   #6
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Funny stuff. But, they could easily make fun of us for not quite understanding how all of todayís techno-gizmos work, that are second nature to them.
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Old 01-12-2019, 02:02 PM   #7
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Funny stuff. But, they could easily make fun of us for not quite understanding how all of today’s techno-gizmos work, that are second nature to them.
Yes, the dial phone is not exactly an obvious user interface. But they were limited to what they could do, it's a very clever use of mechanics and a simple switch to get the job done.

In a lab at work, I saw the old electro-mechanical equipment that decoded those dial on/off pulses from the dial phones, to route the connection. It suddenly clicks (hah!) on how it all works, because you can actually see it work. Taking the phone off-hook resets the counter, each of those pulses for each digit advances a wheel with a switch on it to connect to circuits 0-9, and the pause between digits advances it to the next wheel/switch. So by the time you are done dialing 7 digits, you've advanced 7 wheels by the number of clicks of each digit. It was fascinating to watch. Back then an Area Code had a middle 0 or 1, an exchange never did, so the system could tell local versus outside area.

And populated areas like NY, Chicago had low numbers in their area codes, and a 1 for the middle, so that dialing was faster.

I've also read that initial experiments with ringers led to the ON/OFF cycle we have. At first, they just had the phone ring constantly, but people were afraid to pick it up while it was ringing.

Can't really blame the kids for not knowing how to use it, but it was funny to watch. I like how they kept picking up and setting down the receiver, like they were 'resetting' it. Kids that age might know what a 'dial tone' is from a touch tone phone, but any younger and they never would have seen that either.

DW is a secretary in an elementary school. When kids need to call home, they have no idea how to use that desk phone. Cord? Receiver? Physical buttons?

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Old 01-12-2019, 02:05 PM   #8
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Don't add to their confusion by telling them to "hurry up-- it's long distance!"
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Old 01-12-2019, 02:12 PM   #9
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That's funny!

Kinda like some "Youngins" today asking about using an OTA TV antenna: "You mean that is legal?"
My older brother made fun of me for hooking up rabbit ears to our parents' TV. Real cutting edge stuff there, he said. Plenty of folks who remember TV antennas think they are a relic of the past and have no idea you can get such nice HD reception on them
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Old 01-12-2019, 02:18 PM   #10
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OMG, I sent it to all my relatives.
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Old 01-12-2019, 02:24 PM   #11
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...

In a lab at work, I saw the old electro-mechanical equipment that decoded those dial on/off pulses from the dial phones, to route the connection. It suddenly clicks (hah!) on how it all works, because you can actually see it work. ...

-ERD50
Here you go! History.

Demo is from the ~2:00 to ~ 5:00 minute mark.



-ERD50
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Old 01-12-2019, 03:20 PM   #12
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In a lab at work, I saw the old electro-mechanical equipment that decoded those dial on/off pulses from the dial phones, to route the connection. It suddenly clicks (hah!) on how it all works, because you can actually see it work. Taking the phone off-hook resets the counter, each of those pulses for each digit advances a wheel with a switch on it to connect to circuits 0-9, and the pause between digits advances it to the next wheel/switch. So by the time you are done dialing 7 digits, you've advanced 7 wheels by the number of clicks of each digit. It was fascinating to watch. Back then an Area Code had a middle 0 or 1, an exchange never did, so the system could tell local versus outside area.

-ERD50
I remember a buddy of mine living broke in an apartment right after high school. He had ended up with a broken phone where the number dial didnít work. He figured out that he could tap out the number by tapping out each number where you hang up the receiver. It wasnít an easy way to make calls, but he didnít have the money for a new phone.

I was amazed that he had figured out that he could do that, since he wasnít someone I thought of as technically astute.
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Old 01-12-2019, 04:32 PM   #13
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I probably shouldn't admit this, but the statute of limitations has surely run out by now.

When I was a teenager, there were public telephone booths all over (I lived in NYC). But it cost a dime to make a local phone call and that was not an insignificant sum in those days.

However, the cable between the handset and the big phone box attached to the wall of the booth was simply covered with rubber insulation. We learned that you could stick a large sewing needle into that cable and short the wires, and that would signal the phone that you had inserted your dime. Everyone I knew carried one of those big needles in their wallet and we never had to pay for a phone call. When your initial three minutes were up, you just stuck the needle in again to "deposit" more virtual dimes for as long as you needed to talk.

Eventually, all the phone booths in the area had handset cables that were riddled with holes and the phone company started replacing them with armored cables, so that was the end of our little gimmick. But it was great for quite a few years!
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Old 01-12-2019, 05:31 PM   #14
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Did you all know that you can still use a dial phone on a landline? It works, but you can't do any numbers once connected.
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Old 01-12-2019, 05:42 PM   #15
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I remember this in my grandma's house... not in use, but on the wall.
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Old 01-12-2019, 06:55 PM   #16
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The rotary dial actually causes a quick interruption, a "pulse" that is less in length than a fully hung up handset. What a clever way to dial!

DW used to be a wiz at winning dial-in radio contests. Here was her trick: instead of using the rotary dial, she used the handset hook to quickly interrupt the connection for the numbers in the radio phone number. Yes, she would flick the hook in fast succession to dial a number. In this way, she didn't have to wait for the dial to return. She would get in faster than others, at least others who did not have touch tone. Back in the 70s, most didn't since you had to pay for touch tone service.

She demonstrated this skill to me. She could pretty much dial any number, faster than using the dial, simply by pulsing the hook or button!

Guess what, it still works today for backward compatibility. However, with 11 digit dialing pretty much a standard now, very few people have patience for pulse dialing.
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Old 01-12-2019, 09:32 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by 38Chevy454 View Post
Did you all know that you can still use a dial phone on a landline? It works, but you can't do any numbers once connected.
Yes, and that is some tremendous backwards compatibility!


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The rotary dial actually causes a quick interruption, a "pulse" that is less in length than a fully hung up handset. What a clever way to dial!

DW used to be a wiz at winning dial-in radio contests. Here was her trick: instead of using the rotary dial, she used the handset hook to quickly interrupt the connection for the numbers in the radio phone number. Yes, she would flick the hook in fast succession to dial a number. In this way, she didn't have to wait for the dial to return. She would get in faster than others, at least others who did not have touch tone. Back in the 70s, most didn't since you had to pay for touch tone service.

She demonstrated this skill to me. She could pretty much dial any number, faster than using the dial, simply by pulsing the hook or button!

Guess what, it still works today for backward compatibility. However, with 11 digit dialing pretty much a standard now, very few people have patience for pulse dialing.
Holy cow, that's pretty tricky timing. I'd imagine the system would respond much quicker than the standard timing of the dial, but it sure would take practice to get a number w/o error. I guess I'l practice tomorrow for yuks, I don't think I have any dial phones, but I do have some non-electronic ones with a hook switch.

That dial mechanism is interesting. When you rotate back from the chosen digit, you wind a spring, and when released, it spins a mechanical speed governor to keep the timing of the pulses within spec. Sophisticated, but simple.

I worked with some telco interface equipment, and knew people who could accurately whistle many of the different signalling tones. Touch tone are DTMF (Dual Tone Multi Freq) with two non-harmonically related tones, so very difficult to whistle those, but the system signal tones were single freq.

-ERD50
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Old 01-13-2019, 05:46 AM   #18
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Holy cow, that's pretty tricky timing. I'd imagine the system would respond much quicker than the standard timing of the dial, but it sure would take practice to get a number w/o error. I guess I'l practice tomorrow for yuks, I don't think I have any dial phones, but I do have some non-electronic ones with a hook switch.
I think the radio station's numbers were mostly 5 and below. That helps.

It is a pretty neat trick. She practiced.
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Old 01-13-2019, 10:39 AM   #19
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Funny stuff. But, they could easily make fun of us for not quite understanding how all of todayís techno-gizmos work, that are second nature to them.
Hey I accept and revel in my "not knowing". I tell my minions all the time, that is why I continue to feed them, cheap tech support
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Old 01-13-2019, 10:50 AM   #20
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I would guess that very, very few here would know how to start and drive a Model T.

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Peering into the cabin of a Ford Model T can be deceptive. It all looks so simple. A steering wheel, three pedals on the floor, a hand brake...there aren't even any gauges on the wooden dash. At first glance, it seems like this car would be easy to just hop in and drive. But oh, would you be wrong...
Starting and Driving a Ford Model T

Tech 101 Ė How to start and drive a Ford Model T
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