On Acoustic Couplers: A Kids’ Multiple Choice Mad-Lib

for Barron Trump, who apparently “can do anything with computers” -POTUS

This is an acoustic coupler, circa 1978.

Acoustic couplers were used to

  • communicate telepathically with rodents
  • let modems communicate over telephone lines using a regular phone handset
  • gradually make your toaster into a sentient being

Let’s get creative! Today, if you were an electrical engineering or computer security student and you wanted to make a proof of concept of a contemporary acoustic coupler, what might you easily do that with?

  • a banana and an angle grinder
  • a case of motor oil and a baseball
  • a new, noise-canceling cellular phone and a piezoelectric diode on a laptop motherboard

What do you think that would be able to achieve in terms of data rate?

  • pony express envelope speeds
  • can and string speeds
  • 56k modem speeds or even a bit higher

Now, think about this technology. What if it already existed dormantly in most consumer-level phones and computers?

  • pigs would fly
  • Subway sandwiches would no longer contain chemicals found in yoga mats
  • security services in Western countries might have the balance of power set quite a bit in their favor

What if it was time to sunset this technology, though, because it’s been replaced by something superior, and use its retirement for political gain? Would you:

  • choose a foreign manufacturer that is a major OEM for other brands anyway and won’t care, out their consumer-class hardware as containing unspecified “bloatware”, leave the feature on all the time and threaten lives/jobs/etc of anyone who figures it out,  so that smart-ish people can think they’re making a better choice buying a domestic brand even though this tech exists in basically all devices now, and so that IT people better understand that the major part of their job is shutting the hell up and that acoustic couplers are obsolete anyway
  • forget about it, grab a beer, and catch a Sunday Night Football game
  • both (choose very carefully here)

What else might you do, as one of the security services of a Western country?