Boiledbeans

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September 22, 2007

The fourth E above middle C

srikanth @ 10:31 am, GMT +0000 ( 1190457066 ) Play

This activity was once a very popular pastime of the poor and the nerdy.

Some who did it became famous,

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while some became infamous:
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In fact, it became quite a significant cultural phenomenon, managing to get references in Hollywood:
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What activity is this that became a “classic” pastime? Who’re all these guys? (The pictures are full of clues )

Partially cracked by: Biki , srichand , Goutham , Mighty Anon , jayanth , shivani , Poornima , and Gammafunction. I’m feeling generous again.

The complete answer I was looking for:
1) Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak. They spent their formative years making Blue Boxes (see link).
2) Kevin Mitnick – The infamous “homeless hacker” started his hacking career through Phreaking.
3) Scene from the movie “Sneakers” where the character called Whistler is seen holding a Cap’n crunch box. Toy whistles found in Cap’n crunch boxes were used to generate the 2600 Hz tone (see question title) to phreak Ma bell’s phone networks. No one seemed to identify the movie.

The connect: Phreaking.


20 Responses to “The fourth E above middle C”

  1. Biki
    1

    phreaking..

    jobs and woz were the pioneers … made the call to the pope … n sold the blueboxes to the students in berkeley n Stan … Stan i believe …or would want to believe …


  2. Phreaking! According to Wikipedia Phreaking is a term coined to describe the activity of a subculture of people who study, experiment with, or explore telecommunication systems, like equipment and systems connected to public telephone networks. The term "phreak" is derived from the words "phone" and "freak."


  3. Goutham

    Phreaking
    1.Wozniak and steve jobs. They were phreaks in their student days
    3.Capn Crunch serial boxes were used in phreaking

    No idea about 2nd though.


  4. Mighty Anon

    phreaking


  5. bs

    The first picture is Jobs and Woz with Woz's blue box.
    The second is Kevin Mitnick
    The third shows the Cap'n Crunch cereal box that came with the whistle that gave John Draper his infamous sobriquet.
    I think the connect you are looking for is phreaking although cracking/unethical hacking also connects Mitnick and Cap'n Crunch (Woz is surely exempt from such name-calling?).


  6. ganesh

    phone phreaking? pic 1 wld be jobs and wozniak…and the reference here must be to blue boxes.
    pic 2 john draper AKA captain crunch who is a former phone phreak and cap'n crunch mascot.
    the last pic is a obvious reference to CAP'N' CRUNCH…and thanks to the whistle that came with it..was born "blue boxes".


  7. jayanth
    3

    jobs and wozniac in the first pic, kevin mitnick in the second,and John draper in the third (i think)..  all these boys were phone phreakers.. (though now a days i think a cell phone would do the job of a blue box)


  8. Tathagata Chatterjee
    1

    The activity in question is Phreaking into telephone networks by means of a "Blue Box"- an electronic device that simulate a telephone operator's dialing console and used to make free telephone calls ( hence for the "poor and needy")
    The 2 guys on the top who became famous are Steven Wozniack and Steve Jobs.
    The infamous person depicted is Kevin Mitnick.
    The person holding Captain Crunch box is a phreaker called Joe Engressia aka Joybubbles.
    The hollywood movie Sneakers had a character called Whistler who combined traist of both Joybubbles and John Draper aka Captain Crunch ( another phreaker) who had the ability to create a whistle which could match the tone of 2600 hertz.
    Regards,
    Tathagata Chatterjee


  9. shivani

     John Draper and Joe Engressia discovered a toy whistle that was, at the time, packaged in boxes of the cereal cap'n crunch,could be easily modified to emit a tone at precisely 2600 hertz(middle C) the same frequency that was used by AT&T to indicate that a trunk line was ready and available to route a new call.   blue boxes, electronic devices capable of reproducing other tones used by the phone company was the popular culture.
    1.steve jobs n steve wozniak with the blue box(whistle)
    2.is most probably john draper(or engressia)(draper was sentenced for fraud)


  10. shivani

    the activity was called phone phreaking i guess


  11. shivani

    pic 1.steve jobs n woiznak with the blue box
    2.must be john drapper who modified the whistle to make the blue box(could make the 2600Hz frequency) that used to come in the carton box of cap'n crunch.they could make free telephone calls(cheating AT&T :-) )…later sentenced for fraud


  12. shivani

    in case if u r getting this comment too many times i apologize…(bad net connection here,,my comment was not getting submitted)
    1.steve jobs n woiznak wid blue box
    2.john drapper who invented blue box for phone phreaking
    3.shows the cap'n crunch carton which had the whistle that could be modified as the blue box


  13. Vinod

    Rubik’s Cube?


  14. yaksha
    1
    3

    the favorite pastime activity is *hacking*


  15. Poornima

    Phone phreaking
    1: Steve Jobs and Steve wozniak(invented blue box, phone phreaking tool)
    2: Kevin Mitnick(A phone phreak and a controversial computer cracker and convicted criminal in the United States.)
    3: John Draper(is this the expected answer?), also known as Captain crunch, another phone phreak


  16. Gammafunction
    1

    Phone Phreaking evolving into hacking-the guys are Steve Wozniak-Steve jobs,Kevin Mitnick and a guy who called himself captain crunch-pioneers of hacking.captain crunch was a famous phreaker and Mitnick a criminal computer hacker.Should have got part points for the last question :-(


  17. piezocake

    LSD


  18. Shashank
    2

    Phreaking!

    1. Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs
    2. Kevin Mitnick
    3. From the movie "Sneakers" – A reference to John T. Draper , also known as Captain Crunch, Crunch or Crunchman (after Cap'n Crunch, the mascot of a breakfast cereal) – a former phone phreak.


  19. Shashank
    2

    Not sure if my answer was accepted. so here it goes again…

    Phreaking!

    1. Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs
    2. Kevin Mitnick
    3. From the movie "Sneakers" – A reference to John T. Draper , also known as Captain Crunch, Crunch or Crunchman (after Cap'n Crunch, the mascot of a breakfast cereal) – a former phone phreak.


  20. Shashank
    2

    comeon…. why does your site discriminate against me? WHY???
    this is the third time my answer was not accepted :(
    this is what i tried to post…

    Phreaking!

    1. Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs
    2. Kevin Mitnick
    3. From the movie "Sneakers" – A reference to John T. Draper , also known as Captain Crunch, Crunch or Crunchman (after Cap'n Crunch, the mascot of a breakfast cereal) – a former phone phreak.


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