As I get older my hearing gets worse, but I can hear the low frequencies
fine. The last time I had a doctor check, he said it was normal for
someone my age.
When my wife tells me to get my hearing rechecked I ask her why I should
pay to find out something I already know. The fact that my low range is
good means everything is basically ok other than having lost some cilia .
Possibly the same reason I never took a MENSA test:
I am smart enough not to pay someone just to tell me I'm dumb!
Back in the day, there was a way to multi-bend a foot-long length of
coat hanger wire which could then be inserted up the open coin return
slot of the old Bell System pay phones-- the ones before they installed
pull-down doors on the coin returns-- that would lodge behind the
holding box and prevent the operator-activated solenoid from tipping it
backward into the money box. A skillful jiggle on the wire would tip the
holding box forward sending the coins back down the coin return slot.
The increasingly widespread use of these "pay phone hooks" back in the
50's and 60's was a contributing factor in Ma Bell's replacing all the
old open-slot coin return slot phones with the pull-down door kind...
If a man speaks in the woods and there is no woman around to hear him,
is he still wrong?
a penny down the nickel slot and bump the coin return button as it was
going down. That would send the penny into the dime slot area and turn
the phone on. Another trick was to flatten out a plastic straw and shove
it down the dime slot and drop a penny down the nickle slot and pull the
straw out as the penny was going down. Had the same effect.
Another old trick I read about was to bring a portable tape recorder
into a deserted phone booth and record the "bong" noises a series of
quarters made as they dropped into the coin slot. From then on, when
making long distance calls and the operator asked you to deposit X
dollars, you just played back the proper number of bongs with the phone
handset's mouthpiece close to the speaker on your recorder.
The only way operators determined how much you deposited was to listen
to the sound a coin made as it hit the bonger under the quarter slot,
the single bing under the nickle slot and the double bing under the dime
slot. She couldn't tell the difference between the real thing and a
recording of it. Remember the old ad slogan "Is it live or is it Memorex"?
The advent of electronic coin sensor/counters ended that little scammy-doo.
Some of the greatest minds in the world are right here in America.
Sadly, they have gone into hiding until the "War On Thinking” is over.
There's also a spot on the "Fortress" where you can drill a little
hole and get similar results.
Ma Bell went to great lengths to protect the cash it had collected;
not so much *future* cash!
Coin mechanisms (and coin handling) suffer from being a relatively
complex task *and* one that you would ideally NOT like to spend
lots of resources ($$) on -- as it adds no direct value (it's
more of an insurance policy).
Early dollar bill validators could be hacked by attaching a length
of clear plastic to the bill (most typically, a long piece of tape
that is then folded back on itself to double its thickness/strength
*and* cover up the exposed adhesive soas not to get caught in the
The coin mechanisms in pin-tables (and other arcade pieces) can almost
always be conned into accepting a penny as "payment" (in lieu of a quarter).
Red boxes can con TPC into thinking you've inserted coins.
Some slot machines could be "confused" to miscount dispensed coins
(on a payout) by flashing a light *inside* the hopper (coin
dispenser) to blind the photoelectric "coin detector".
Etc. The number of vulnerabilities that folks will uncover
"to make/save/steal a buck" is amusingly large: "Why didn't
anyone think of PREVENTING this *obvious* hack?"
Heck, around 1965 or 6, one could call long distance from a pay phone
and just charge it to another phone. I was in college and I used my
mother's phone, in a 3rd state. They might call her to check, but if
no one answered, they did it anyhow. But too many people did this
with people who weren't their parents and didn't know them, so now
none of us have this convenience.
So around 2008, I was coming back from Indiana, running late, and
going to miss a meeting in Baltimore that night, and I'd look bad if I
just didn't show up. So I stopped at a pay phone in West Virginia,
and was going to charge it to my credit card. For some reason I
checked the price in advance, $26 for the first 3 minutes!!! I
ended up borrowing a cell phone from a museum hostess, who got free
long distance. I had to go outside to the curb to get a signal and
even that didn't bother her.
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