Tag Archives: nostalgia

Talking Fisher Price smartphone

via Raspberry Pi

Back in the mid-seventies, when I was even smaller and more adorable than I am today, my parents bought me a Fisher Price Chatter Telephone. I’m sure many of you had one too. Mine was called Bert. I loved him, chewed him, made imaginary phone calls on him, and pretended he was a pet dog. (With a rotary dial and a handset, natch.)

chatter telephone

This year, I was surprised on visiting Lorna, our Trademark Compliance Elf, and her two small children, to discover that the Chatter Telephone is still manufactured, even though no child born in the 21st century recognises things with rotary dials and giant handsets as phones. (Phones are the little black slab things that we use to Skype with distant aunties, and they definitely don’t have wheels.)

Grant Gibson got his hands on a modern Chatter Telephone for his son, who didn’t seem particularly moved by it (probably because little black slab, Skype, etc.) So he decided to hack it into something a bit more interactive, and came up with this. A Chatter Smartphone.

The rotary dial provides the inputs, sound is output through the modern Chatter Telephone’s speakers (the vintage ones didn’t have speakers, but the modern ones play clips from Toy Story), and he’s added a servo motor to control the googly eyes. This particular Chatter Smartphone has been set up to deliver weather information, cinema listings, and more; as well as offering information on demand, it can issue alerts, so Grant’s family knows when he’s left the office and is on his way home, or if the ISS is passing overhead. If you make your own, Grant has provided code so you can adapt yours to your own needs.

chatter phone hack in progress

You’ll find comprehensive build instructions, along with all the electronics help and code you’ll need, at Grant’s blog. Thanks Grant – we love it!

 

MUD Pi

via Raspberry Pi

Readers of a certain age are in for a shot of delicious nostalgia today. Back in the dawn of time (i.e. the 1990s), many of us had our first taste of multiplayer gaming in text mode, playing things called MUDs, or Multi-User Dungeons. MUDs are where games like World of Warcraft and virtual worlds like Second Life have their roots – and they were enormous fun.

Duncan Jauncey wrote something called Alternate Universe MUD ten years ago, and he’s just ported it to the Pi.

If you want to relive some of the text-based fun you had back in the 90s, head over to Duncan’s website, where you’ll find some more information and installation instructions for your Pi.