802.11/SIP/Satellite free phone booth at Burning Man

One core reason I haven't blogged much in the last while is the flurry of activity regarding my annual trip to Burning Man. I've prepared a page about one of my too-many projects this year, which was to build an incongruous phone kiosk in the middle of the desert which worked and let you call anybody in the world for free. It was battery powered, and used 802.11 and Voice over IP combined with a satellite internet connection.

The reaction was remarkable and I have made a set of pages about phone booth and reaction to it. including pages on the building of it, galleries of photos of people using it (including, of course, naked people) and maps of all the places people called.

(I will probably submit this to slashdot next week to test my server!)

Now my goal was to take some highly familiar technology and put it in a place where it seemed impossible. And indeed, most people refused to believe it was "real" since there are other joke phone booths at Burning Man. Their disbelief and shock were what made it fun, as well as the emotional experiences and gratitude that came when people heard distant voices. It was a taste, in a small way, of what the phone meant when it was new.

I have much more stuff about Burning Man to blog in the days to come.



I apologize to photographer Brad Templeton for inlining his photos from Burning Man 2004. I had every intention of asking his permission to display his photos, but in my haste to post them, I cut corners. I always try to credit sources as you can see from the content of my blog, however due to the often high price demands of intellectual property, I often procrastinate on securing permission. You can view Brad's beautiful portfolio of picutres at http://pic.templetons.com/brad/photo/ .

..:: post by Lapeste | 17:36 | comments ::..



Great Work - your booth was a highlight of the show! I spent about a half hour talking with random people dialing "Burning Man". It was great when I realized that the other phone down the across the street wasn't connected... I was reading the sign (Pac*Hell) when it rang. The girl on the other end kept asking about "burning man" and I just kept explaining that I just answered this phone on the side of the playa. Of course I had to explain the the whole thing and it was really confusing untill I hung up and got another call. It took a few more rings before I realized that it was an outside line and people were calling-in from who knows where. One guy was calling a friend back after he missed the call (caller ID I guess). Any-who... It was kick-ass fun, thanks!

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