Category: nostalgia

Link: Mount Windows Shares Permanently in Ubuntu Linux

This document describes how to mount CIFS shares permanently. The shares might be hosted on a Windows computer/server, or on a Linux/UNIX server running Samba. This document also applies to SMBFS shares, which are similar to CIFS but are deprecated and should be avoided if possible (link).

(This document does not describe how to host the shares yourself, only how to access shares that are hosted somewhere else. For hosting shares, use Samba.)

Full article here:
MountWindowsSharesPermanently (Ubuntu Wiki)

Link and comment: Slate Reprints Blue-Box Article That Inspired Jobs


This is an edited version of a post that originally appeared on a blog called The Michigan Telephone Blog, which was written by a friend before he decided to stop blogging. It is reposted with his permission. Comments dated before the year 2013 were originally posted to his blog.
Blue Box at the Computer History Museum
Image via Wikipedia
From a post on Slashdot, posted by timothy on Monday October 10, @05:09AM:

Slate has reprinted the piece that Ron Rosenbaum wrote for Esquire in 1971, explaining to the world that there was an underground movement of people hacking the phone system. (Rosenbaum is now a columnist for Slate.) According to the article’s new introduction and followup piece by Rosenbaum reflecting on its impact — and to the New York Times obituary for Steve Jobs — this article inspired Jobs and Wozniak to start building blue boxes themselves, an effort that made them several thousand dollars.

It has been reported (though I can’t recall the source at the moment) that this is the article that caused AT&T to turn its employees into common thieves.  The idea that people might have access to this information frightened them so much that they literally sent their people out to steal the copies of this issue of Esquire from every public library in the country (of course they missed a few).  Although this was long before the days of the Internet and the “Streisand effect“, it did have the result that those who had access to the article had a tendency to photocopy it and pass it around, so AT&T’s ham-fisted attempt at censorship probably gave the article far more exposure than it ever would have had in the first place.

I would daresay that one article probably had a significant effect on our modern way of life.  For one thing, it taught us that “security through obscurity” doesn’t work, and for another it forced AT&T and other phone companies to modernize their phone networks (probably much earlier than they would have otherwise intended) to prevent the type of “toll fraud” made possible by the blue box, and that made it much easier for alternative long distance carriers to offer their services.

Although I never had the technical skills to build a blue box, I definitely wanted to know how they worked.  The copy of Esquire at my local library had already gone missing but I discovered they still had a copy at the Grand Rapids public library.  Apparently the librarians there had apparently been tipped off about AT&T’s attempts to make that issue disappear, so they were keeping it behind the desk and you had to request it from a librarian.  Which I did, and then promptly asked where the photocopy machine was.  The librarian looked me over and said, “You’re not going to copy that article, are you?” and I said, “Oh, yes I am!”  She clearly disapproved, but still pointed me in the direction of the copier (the alternative would have been to attempt to forcibly pry the magazine back out of my hands!).  That copy of the article went back home with me and got shared with a few interested friends, and at least two of them later got jobs in the telecommunications field.

Of course, nowadays it would be a simple task for any modern computer to generate the same multifrequency tomes that blue boxes generated, but the last telephone company in the country to actually use that signaling method dropped it on June 15, 2006.  And now we have computers and the Internet and VoIP, but I have a feeling that much of that might still not be in existence had it not been for that one article, which literally gave birth to an entire community of hackers, many of whom later went on to do great things and to build the networks we have today.  It’s funny how one thing that seems so small at the time — in this case, one magazine article — can create such ripples throughout society.

Hey Lucy! Get the Phone!


This is an edited version of a post that originally appeared on a blog called The Michigan Telephone Blog, which was written by a friend before he decided to stop blogging. It is reposted with his permission. Comments dated before the year 2013 were originally posted to his blog. Please note that any links to in this article are affiliate links, and if you make a purchase through one of those links I will receive a small commission on the sale.

Anyone under the age of 40 may not remember the name, but at one time Crosley was one of the big names in radio receivers and early black-and-white televisions. Even though the original Crosley Corporation no longer exists, the brand name was purchased and is now used by Crosley Radio, a company that makes reproductions of products that are stuck in our collective memories – perhaps from finding them in our grandparents’ attics, or seeing them in old movies and TV shows.

Of course, these are only reproductions, and often not exact reproductions due to advances in technology. Such is the case with their line of telephone reproductions. No matter how much you might desire a perfect reproduction of an older model, the fact is that nowadays it’s not really practical to have a phone without touch tone dialing. But that doesn’t mean you can’t come awfully close.

302 Telephone reproduction

The phones come in a small choice of colors that varies depending on the model – for example, you might want basic black in a wall or desk phone…

300 series wall phone reproduction

… but, it would hardly make sense to offer a black Princess phone.

Princess phone reproduction

I’m sure these reproductions aren’t perfect. For example, a real model 354 wall phone as made by Western Electric (in the USA) or Northern Electric (in Canada) has slots on the sides so that the ringer could be heard a bit more clearly. No slots on the phone in the above photo, but since it probably doesn’t contain a real mechanical ringer anyway, those slots would not serve any purpose and would just catch dust. Also, the phones come with an earpiece volume control, something the originals usually did not have.

Coin Telephone Reproduction

Want to buy one? Check out Amazon’s selection of Crosley phones (Amazon affiliate link).

I don’t know how well these actually work as phones (I’ve never actually used one, just happened across their web site), but I’d assume they work as well as other modern phones, and they sure look nice, especially that red 302 desk set reproduction. Crosley Radio (the new company) also makes reproductions of other nostalgic items, such as cathedral style radios and jukeboxes (which play CD’s, not “stacks of wax”), so you may want to download a catalog. So if you are stuck for a Father’s Day gift, and if Dad is into old stuff, set him up with a VoIP service and then plug one of these beauties into it. Of course, you can still find the real thing on fleabay, but unfortunately those old mechanical dials (besides having a tendency to lock up after all these years) won’t work with modern VoIP service.

Speaking of which, I wonder why no one sells a dial conversion separately – something that would replace the mechanical dials in those old Western/Northern Electric 300 series phones, and similar phones that used the same size dial (and there were many such back in the day). If they can do it in these reproduction phones, why can’t you purchase the dials separately and put them in the genuine item? Or would that be something no one (except me) would consider doing to one of those old phones? I somehow doubt that – for a while, people were making table lamps out of old candlestick phones, so I don’t think that replacing the old rotary dial with a touch tone unit would be that big a deal, unless you were looking for a museum piece. But, that’s just me.

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