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Perl Phone Call Screening Device

by perlfool (Initiate)
on Nov 28, 2012 at 21:42 UTC ( #1006111=perlquestion: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??
perlfool has asked for the wisdom of the Perl Monks concerning the following question:

Hello all. I have been programming perl cgi for a few years now and I want to do something different non web related. I need some help.

I have a land line with caller id and I want to make a small device to sit next to the phone and block certain calls, answer other calls and play a wav file that gives a custom response, and other calls to simply let it ring the phone so I can pick it up and talk to the person. A perl call screener.

Of course I want to program it in pure perl which I feel confident in doing if it were a PC running linux. But I dont want a pc sitting there next to the phone, I only want a small box pre programmed to do what I say with the phone calls.

My question is, what kind of hardware would need to be inside this box and could it be made to be less than 6" x 6" x 2"? I have an old sharp zaurus and I was thinking of tyring to use that if I cant figure out how to make one from components. I would still need to know how to connect it to the phone line and what to use for a GUI, im used to just using a browser for that.

Thanks for any insight you can give.

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Re: Perl Phone Call Screening Device
by roboticus (Chancellor) on Nov 28, 2012 at 22:06 UTC


    I have a buffalo linkstation that runs linux on it. It's normally a backup system, but you can easily install your own software on it. It comes with perl installed, too. I don't know if it has the modules you may need, though, (such as a serial port library or whatever).

    My linkstation is a few years old (an LS-GL v2), so I don't know anything about the current ones. But there are many devices that are similar (KuroBox, ...). If you don't already have a backup device on the network, it would kill two birds with one stone.

    These devices often consume little power, and they're not fast servers. But then again, they don't really need to be...

    Update: Oh, I forgot to mention: these tend to be pretty small, physically, so they're easy to find a place to put them.


    When your only tool is a hammer, all problems look like your thumb.

      That's awesome thank you very much Im going to research that possibility!!
Re: Perl Phone Call Screening Device
by hippo (Abbot) on Nov 28, 2012 at 23:54 UTC

    The zaurus may be good for this - I don't know since I've never owned one (despite wanting to - they're like hen's teeth around here). But if you're after new kit for such a project the flavour of the month must be Raspberry Pi. How it interacts with your phone service will depend largely on where you reside so you could do worse than investigate some local VoIP resources for info on that.

    Good luck with it and be sure to report back when you have it up and running.

Re: Perl Phone Call Screening Device
by zentara (Archbishop) on Nov 29, 2012 at 11:57 UTC
    You might be interested in twilio, or you can google for Perl telephony. The information gathered there may clue you in on how to make a telephone interface of somesort. I would think the interface board would be quite an electronic engineering challenge. If I was going to try it, the first thing I would do is buy a cheap electronic phone that comes with a schematic, and try to cannibalize it.

    I'm not really a human, but I play one on earth.
    Old Perl Programmer Haiku ................... flash japh
Re: Perl Phone Call Screening Device
by jmlynesjr (Hermit) on Nov 29, 2012 at 21:50 UTC

    Also take a look at for a discussion of running wxPerl on a very inexpensive($35 USD) ARM based Rasberry Pi microcontroller. There are two posts on the subject.


    There's never enough time to do it right, but always enough time to do it over...

      very nice! thanks everyone for the great leads!

        You're very welcome. Please post an update when you get your project working.


        There's never enough time to do it right, but always enough time to do it over...

Re: Perl Phone Call Screening Device
by dasgar (Priest) on Nov 30, 2012 at 21:27 UTC

    Just tossing out another idea.

    Your post made me immediately think of Arduino, which is based on the concept of "open-source" hardware. You can probably find more info at and

    Also, you can join the mailing list of, which is headed up by Robert Blackwell. At YAPC::NA 2012, Robert setup some Arduinos in the hardware hackathon. I didn't make it to the hardware hackathon sessions myself. However, I heard from some folks who did go say that they had initially thought programming hardware would be difficult for them but found Robert's demos very easy to setup and program. Anyways, if you join that mailing list, I'm sure you could some help with Arduinos or other Perl/hardware solutions for this or other things. For example, Robert gave a talk about using Arduinos to getting your doorbell to send you a text message.

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