Two years ago, Rod Hosilyk wanted to send a fax from his hotel room in Frankfurt, Germany. He couldn't plug his laptop into the phone, so he improvised: he took out a pair of alligator clips, dismantled the phone jack, and logged on.
The message got delivered — too well. In Germany, it's illegal to send data messages over voice lines. Because of Hosilyk's tinkering, the phone company detected his violation immediately — and dispatched the police to his hotel.
Hosilyk's brush with the law inspired an innovation. He developed the Telecoupler, an "acoustic interface" that connects a modem with virtually any kind of telephone handset.
Today, Hosilyk's creation (now the Telecoupler II) is the centerpiece of a survival kit for mobile executives. Some of the gadgets are prosaic — small screwdrivers and a magnifier/flashlight. There's also a 14-foot telephone cord, a printer cable, and international power-plug adapters. And then there's the Telecoupler.
Coordinates: The Tele-Travel Kit International sells for $299.95. It's part of an entire line of Road Warrior products. For information, call 800-274-4277 or visit the company's home page, "The Road Warrior Outpost."
A version of this article appeared in the November 1995 issue of Fast Company magazine.