Play with Jobs & Woz phone phreak machines without breaking the law

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A phreaker box on display. Photo: Marcin Wichary/FlickrCC
A phreaker box on display. Photo: Marcin Wichary/FlickrCC

Way back in the day (1972), Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak designed and started selling “blue boxes,” devices that generated specific tones that would game the telephone networks of the day (called “phreaking.” These would allow phone phreaks to make free long distance calls, for instance.

It was illegal then (the two Steve’s inspiration, “Cap’n Crunch” Draper, was sent to prison for five years for his own phreaking attempts), but you can get the same fun minus the jail time now at a new website that emulates the blue boxes of yesteryear.

How to set up a paperless office using your Mac or iPhone

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It's time to go paperless.  Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
It's time to go paperless. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
Photo:

Sick of the mountains of paper stacking up in your inbox? You’ve probably heard about the joys of having a paperless office, maybe even thought about setting one up, but didn’t know how.

Well, here’s how. Not only is it easy to set to do, it can totally change your life.

Here’s how to use your Mac and iPhone to effortlessly set up your own idiot-proof paperless office … the right way.

Turn your iPhone into a microscope for $10

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Surely it can't be too hard to make this. Photo: Kenji Yoshino/MAKE
Surely it can't be too hard to make this. Photo: Kenji Yoshino/Make

Taking macros of your monitor or American Apparel hoodie with your iPhone is so last year.

A Make Magazine tutorial shows you how to make a powerful microscope with up to 375x magnification using just your iPhone, a clear plastic panel, a piece of plywood and some inexpensive hardware.

If you’re a DIY-er that knows how to drill holes and take apart a laser pointer on a keychain, you could be taking super up-close pictures of cricket legs and your cat’s tongue before you know it.

5 hot Raspberry Pi projects for Mac geeks

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Photo: Lucasbosch/CC Wikimedia
The tiny Raspberry Pi computer can power many cool DIY projects. Photo: Lucasbosch/Wikimedia CC

The credit-card-size Raspberry Pi has taken the tech world by storm. Thousands of geeky kids and adults use the tiny, low-cost computer boards to learn about coding and create fun projects like motion detectors, birdhouses that tweet when birds are present, and mini weather stations.

You, too, can use this sweet little nerdy device to reproduce some of the cool things your Mac can do, without dedicating your entire computer to the project. Let’s take a look at what kinds of things might be interesting to an Apple fan with a new $35 Raspberry Pi 2.

This machine uses an iPhone to sort M&M’s by color

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This M&M sorting machine is powered with an iPhone. Photo: Cult of Mac
This M&M's-sorting machine is powered with an iPhone. Photo: Cult of Mac

Let’s face it. Deep in our hearts, we all know some colored M&M’s taste better than others. For me, it’s the red and green ones; for my wife, it’s the brown and orange ones. And Van Halen famously stipulated in all its contracts that the band should never be served any brown M&M’s, requiring some lowly stagehand to pick them all out by hand from a bowl before every show.

These days, things would be easier. Case in point: This simple machine, which was custom-rigged out of just an iPhone and an Arduino to individually sort M&M’s by color, no human intervention required.

Glowing results are possible when building with flawed wood

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Mat Brown mixed glow-in-the-dark pigment with resin to fill in the cracks on this shelf. (Photo by Mat Brown)
Mat Brown mixed glow-in-the-dark pigment with resin to fill in the cracks on this shelf. Photo: Mat Brown

Jewelry maker Mat Brown is getting married, and the romantic in him is hard at work creating wedding rings out of an alloy of silver and gold called electrum.

But on the practical side of sharing a life, Brown recently created space in his kitchen with shelves as unique as his jewelry: Brown used a glow-in-the-dark resin to fill in cracks in the wooden shelves, and happily shared the luminescent process and result on his blog.

Look high, look low: Teleport your head with this weird device

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Deluxe Edition. Photo: EYEteleporter
Deluxe Edition. Photo: EYEteleporter

[avocado-gallery ids=”303769,303766,303768,303767,303770″]

Tired of looking at the world from the same old perspective? Need a fresh take on things? A new point of view?

Well, you have less than two weeks to get your hands on an EYEteleporter, an outlandish, periscope-style device that will give you a unique perspective on the world.