Today, getting on the Internet is as easy as picking up your phone. For that matter, “getting on” the Internet seems like a bit of a misnomer, as unlike circa 20 years ago, you never really log on or off, you’re mostly just connected with periods where you aren’t actually staring at a screen. This certainly makes things easier, and is (maybe) for the best, but what if you miss the adventure of plugging in arcane commands and numbers for access?
While it won’t bring back the screeching modem tones of old, Jan Derogee’s Rrotary dial phone for your web browser (for your windows computer)” at least brings back some of the confusion and inconvenience. The setup acts as an auxiliary keyboard, but instead of making things more accessible with single button press as you’d normally expect, it forces you to dial a series of numbers on a rotary phone. This, along with a shift button, allows you to either access websites using Firefox, or perform convoluted on-screen calculations via your computer’s calculator app.
In action, the device uses a SparkFun Pro Micro with an ATmega32U4 microcontroller to read pulses from the rotary dial, then convert them to emulated keyboard commands. This means that no special software is needed to run the device, though your computer needs to be set up correctly to properly respond to the issued commands. The phone plugs in via a modified wall-mount phone outlet, which theoretically enables any rotary phone to be plugged in as “needed” for this unnecessary shortcut keyboard.