A website that lets you play with your phone phreak blue box


Blue boxes were devices that generated "hidden" tones that allowed you to do forbidden stuff with telephone networks, like get free long distance calls. They don't work any longer (at least in most parts of the world), but a site called Project MF "lets you blue box telephone calls just like the phone phreaks of yesteryear." The good news is you can use blue boxes on the Project MF site without breaking the law, as Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak did in their pre-Apple days.

My friend Steve Lodefink and his son Harlan, who has become interested in vintage computing and phone phreaking, made the neat-looking, scratch-built all-in-one phone-tone generator pictured above to have fun at Project MF. It's based on Nick Poole's Arduino BlueBox, which he posted on his fringeneering blog.

"Harlan has been having fun boxing on Project MF," Steve told me. "You can use your blue box to unlock and listen to a bunch of old recordings of DTMF music, Interviews with blind phone phreaking pioneer 'Joybubbles' and other oddities and relics.