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Free Phone at Burning Man
Note: This was the page of instructions pointed to by a URL on the phone itself.
Feel free to use the phone to call (almost) anybody in the world. Dialing is like any other phone, but there are no local "7 digit" calls. (If you have a number to call in Gerlach or anywhere else in the USA or Canada, dial 1 + area code + number.)
Here are some rules we would appreciate you following:
We will get a log of calls made, though we probably won't know who made them. The calls go over unencrypted radio, so in theory people sniffing the local network could listen.
Voice mails left will be put up on the web for all to hear.
Can it receive calls?
In theory the phone can be called at 1-415-692-8453. The phone is not in San Francisco, but the number is. Only call it between Monday, Aug. 30 and Sunday, Sept. 5th, please!
Of course, if people call this, nobody knows who will answer. We won't be answering it. People walking by might, and you can ask them to try to find somebody and leave a message. Or they can take a message to the Black Rock Post Office and those folks will try to deliver it -- if you meet their requirements!
How does this work?
Hidden in the phone is a Voice-over-internet box and a wireless Ethernet interface. This goes over the Black Rock wireless internet to a microwave link to Gerlach and through the Nevada mountains to the internet. In past years a satellite dish was used. Both the dish and microwave link are thanks to John Gilmore. The phone is a standard payphone.
You can also read our page on on the construction of the phone and the rest of its story.
Who did this?
Brad Templeton organized the project and put together the electronics and the graphics, as well as the software and these ewb pages. Brent Chapman provided the physical Pay Phone, testing, assembly and logistics. Brad Templeton provides the long distance service. In 2004-5 it was provided by Broadvoice. Brent and Brad are in Camp Save-the-Man at 8:45 and Esplanade (Camp I Am). You may also know Brad for his giant wall of panoramic photos, located in camp.
Why did the phone move?
We built it because we like the surreal image of an ordinary pay phone sitting in a totally out-of-the-ordinary remote place, exactly where you don't expect to find it, except it works and it's free. As such we like the idea of seeing reactions to it in different settings -- on streets, in open playa, etc.