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Okay folks, we are down one phone, so looking at our family strategy for communications. We got to thinking about walkie-talkies...

I like the idea of walkie talkies, especially because the only thing holding our phones in place is emergency communications.

I also bet I could get Clover's homeschooling buddies in on this, which serves as a *much* better device than a so-called "smartphone".

So please now bombard me with information about walkie-talkies and radio stuff for families. ^_^

Tinker @tinker

@maiki - not sure of your budget, but you could get inexpensive android phones (the kind used for prepaid stuff) and not buy minutes.

Instead use it as a wifi device. Download a wifi voice app, such as Signal, and connect to open wifi whereever you are.

@tinker I could pick up a Nextbit Robin for $120 and put LineageOS on it, and it would be awesome. ^_^

But, in this case, we are actually trying to cut back on surveillance boxes in our pockets, tracking our habits and being additional attack vectors.

I have plenty of phones and tablets, but I don't think we need anything like that. Maybe we just need an infrequent way to say, "hey, heading home now, will pick up kale". ^_^

@maiki - Ah, gotcha. Maybe a PiZeroW build with a small 3.5 touchscreen and a wifi voip linux application?

@tinker I would love that! Especially if I could get it wrist/forearm-mounted!

@maiki - Sounds like a project! Need to find an appropriate SIP or VoIP application, but this is doable.

@mareklach @tinker I use Ting, and I have a drawer full of phones. ^_^

We want to step out of that whole game, though. Ting is great, but the industry of "mobile ISPs" is, I don't know, some clever way to describe a cesspool that everyone has to drink from...

@maiki @tinker Can you really disconnect from any operator altogether in today’s day and age? Even things like Signal, or Bitmessage require at least an internet connection/mobile data.

The only way around that would be a series of secret codes between you, like leaving blue phone on the kitchen sink means to pick up Kate at such and such a time, etc.

@tinker @maiki in my country old mobile phones are dirt cheap or even given away (I've literally got 3 here next to me) and so are prepaid SIMS, might be a potential backup although in UK "open" wifi is not that common (or open) and using it often requires coughing up some kind of personal info (which is presumably sold to marketers). I've seen conflicting info as to whether Signal voice calls can be blocked/disrupted (text messages usually eventually get through)

@vfrmedia @tinker @maiki I agree with the 'WiFi + cheap Android device' folks. UHF radio is v. short range, has v. limited use-cases, etc.

If you get devices supported by LineageOS you don't even hafta have Google Play Services (the spyware, bloatware, app store, etc.) on the device. VOIP is easy either way: SIP is an open voice protocol supported by many apps; Telegram's protocol is iffier, but supports both text messages and voice calls..

@ej @vfrmedia @tinker been too busy to answer these suggestions in longer form, but I wanted to say that the cheap android device plan is one we already follow. We pay Ting, but run LineageOS and all FOSS. I maintain my jabber server, our main comms.

But I can't fix phones, and they are made to break. I don't want to use them anymore, unless they are ready to be tricorders.

Hence the experiment in radio. And it isn't that bad or anything. We don't compute when we are not on wifi, we're fine. 😎

@maiki @tinker en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ring_%28
Just making sure. So you can do all the SIP stuff using a server OR do it using a DHT. Sounds pretty good to me!