Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Potato Tone Dialler Schematics

One, two, three, four!
  (+10, -5)
(+10, -5)
  [vote for,

The now-familiar digital telephone keypad...

<attempt at graphical display>

[1] [2] [3]
[4] [5] [6]
[7] [8] [9]
[*] [0] [#]


Each key when pressed delivers a pair of frequencies into your ear and down the line.

Each key has a row and a column, with one frequency assigned for each. Pressing a key plays the appropriate row/column frequencies for each position.

So, for example pressing '4' will produce tones of 770 Hz, and 1209 Hz (something close to an F# and a D#), while pressing '6' will give you tones of 770HZ (same row) and 1633 Hz (F# and G#) etc...

Now a potato, cut in half and carved in such a way as to press only a particular arrangement of keys at one time would be able to reliably reproduce a given chord every time it is introduced (mashed) onto the keypad.

A suitably diverse group of potato halves, labelled according to the tone or chord so produced (and with a suitable "this way up" identifier) would be able to produce one of a vast number of (30) possible musical effects.

Books of stencils could be produced to place over potatoes, allowing for precise musical potato carvery in the home.

People might carve out their own set of potato pressers, and call one another up in order to play one another a nice keypad tune.

An entire industry of re tabulating classical and popular music in terms of potato keypad pressing would inevitably evolve, as would the use of conference calling in order for people to get together in geographically irrelevant telephone philharmonics.

Clever potato 'hackers' might be able to design potato carving techniques that might allow, using a slight rotating tilting motion by the user, arpeggio dialling, and in some cases be able to replace the electronic auto or memory dial functions of traditional phones.

zen_tom, Dec 01 2005

Dual-Tone-Multi-Frequency http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DTMF
Telephone dialling 101 [zen_tom, Dec 01 2005]


       You could also play with your hands? A couple of problems:   

       1) the digits seem reversed above
2) phone designed to only play one touch-tone at a time. Try it.
theircompetitor, Dec 01 2005

       Oh yes, right you are on the reversing thing [tc] (edit/corrected) - but, I distinctly remember being able to dial multiple tones simultaneously on my old BT phone. I'll try and dig out the model.
zen_tom, Dec 01 2005

       is this a sudoku puzzle?   

       gawd, a sudden desire for chips...   

       with vinegar and an onion...
po, Dec 01 2005

       Something is eluding me here.   

       Perhaps because my phones all emit a single monotone when any key is pressed, not allowing for the playing of tunes. But also, I think someone else commented previously that the range of tones in a touch tone phone is too small for any but the crudest of tunes.
DrCurry, Dec 01 2005

       Years ago, I had a phone on which the beeps from "Tainted Love" by Soft Cell could be played. I forget the sequence, but it sounded *exactly* like the song. At the time, very amusing. So, phone tone songs in general, potato chords or otherwise, ok bun.   

       boo bee boop, once I ran to you...
boo bee boop, now I run from you...

       and so forth.
Zuzu, Dec 02 2005

       Nope, these phones keep the actual dialing quiet. But even given the remote possibility of playing a recognizable tune without incidentally dialling a sex line in Uzbekhistan, *potatoes*, wtf?
DrCurry, Dec 02 2005

       Ah, finally, someone else that's gotten onto one of them Uzbekhi sex lines. That's a stiff ride, ain't it, DrCurry?
theircompetitor, Dec 02 2005

       I wish pin pads emitted in monotone. I imagine that it wouldn't take that long to zen in on what sound goes with what number if you felt you had something to gain from it.   

       (being paranoid, I usually place three fingers on different numbers when I enter the pin)   

       Being able to play a snipet of Bach at the ATM would be cool & probably next to impossible to extract the number mentally from the sound using chords.
Zimmy, Dec 02 2005

       //*potatoes*, wtf?//   

       Did you ever make those potato paint stamps as a child? You hack away at a potato, glob it in some paint and then make a line of giraffes or frogs or whatever across the page/wall/fridge.   

       I just wanted something that allowed everyone to be able to benefit from this new technology. Potatoes seemed to fit the bill.
zen_tom, Dec 02 2005

       So, are potatoes the new custard, then?
prufrax, Dec 02 2005

       mmmm, mash
po, Dec 02 2005

       Congratulations, you have achieved infinite surreality. Before in my brain, potatoes, music, and telephones were housed in separate sections, which are now all connected in an entirely useless way through the potato / phone / music synapse network. Bun!
RayfordSteele, May 27 2006

       I have no idea what that means as much as I hate sudoku
crash, Apr 04 2007

       Very nice. The phone I use at work does not emit - so that I can hear at least - any such tone, which would result in a altogether more ambient (or not) and clicky performance, which, of itself, is no bad thing.
calum, Apr 04 2007

       [crash] how much do you hate soduku?   

       Talking of clickyness - I recently acquired a proper old-style telephone with the rotary dial - wonderful - and it means I get to talk to people too, because there's none of that "If you want x, press y" nonsense.   

       It's a good point about the numbers - I'm not sure which, the phone or the keypad (calculator/keyboard) came first - or maybe they arrived at the same time, but there were local conventions that were cemented into the design. e.g. if Swedes made phones and keyboards with the low numbers at the bottom, and Americans made phones and keyboards with the low numbers at the top - but the Swedes ended up getting all the phone contracts, and the Americans got all the keyboard ones - that might describe how such a silly inconsistency (because that's what it is) has come about.
zen_tom, Apr 04 2007

       I would think that the digits on phones are arranged sympathetically to the old dial system, with 1 at the top. This, in itself is interesting in that the numbers are arranged anti-clockwise: most people are right handed, and therefore find it easier to pull the dial down clockwise.   

       The controls of a calculator/numpad are most likely arranged with 1 and 0 at the bottom as they are more commonly used. It is probably easier to have hands resting on the bottom, venturing up every now and then, rather than using the top-line and moving one's hand down (over keys previously obscured by one's own hand).
Jinbish, Apr 04 2007


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