HXH Day 6: wires
Finally some progress with the red phone, now known as the Piphone ‘cos it’s a 1960s telephone with the innards removed and a Raspberry Pi installed inside it. The phone will now record a soundfile when you lift the receiver. There’s a red LED that lights up on the phone itself when the system is recording. This is based on the problems I encountered last time I built one of these, when I broke the first rule of interactive devices. As there was no indication at all that the phone was ‘doing’ anything, most people felt utterly unconvinced that it was recording despite the big notice right in front of them that you ‘just need to lift the receiver and start speaking’. Now, the phone tells you that it is recording, so hopefully we’ll be getting fewer recordings simply saying ‘is this thing working’ (as if it would answer back).
People’s response to me in the house have been different, too. Because yesterday I had a soldering iron out and a phone in pieces on the desk, people were much more interested than when I’m simply sitting behind a screen typing code. Someone sagely noted yesterday that I ‘had invented the answering machine’. Haha. I was wished luck many times for my endeavours. Finally, something to latch on to other than a man sitting behind a computer causing people to creep out because they think they have come into a private office (or ignore me completely). I’ve been much more open about engaging with visitors, too, so that probably helps.
Tomorrow (Day 7) I should finally finish the phone and get it installed in the study downstairs. It’s still got a few audio problems, and things are a bit stuffed into the phone, but I’m sure I will sort those out now that I’ve sorted out the tricky bit of coding that held me up for frustrating after frustrating day. How I ever did this stuff without the internet I can’t possibly imagine.