A check on your faith in the printed word.


Tom Garrett 4 years, 2 months ago

I read an article. Some of it I believed. Some I didn't. Here's the part I believed:

An ex-GI, who shall go unnamed here, had a somewhat questionable background, including helping some of his buddies make free long distance calls through a local switchboard and running at least two pirate radio stations, one from his VW van, a downright difficult location for authorities to track down.

While in his van one day he wanted to test the range of a pirate radio transmitter he had built, so he broadcast a telephone number to listeners. One of his callers said something that got him connected to the dark world of blind (yes blind, as in not able to see) phone phreaking, better know as screwing the phone company.

The poor blind phone phreaks were having problems. They had to go to all the trouble of finding an organ they could use to generate tones which they then recorded on a cassette recorder and used to activate the router on trunk lines to make free long distance calls.

One of the blind hackers mentioned something that intrigued our guy, namely that a small plastic toy whistle given away in Captain Crunch cereal emitted a tone at precisely 2600 hertz—the same frequency that was used by AT&T long lines to indicate that a trunk line was ready.

Well, our guy was intrigued by the possibilities, began using the whistle and in other ways putting it to Ma Bell, was caught, tried, convicted, given a five year sentence, and became known in the computer world as....

Take a guess....

"Captain Crunch."

Okay, stop right there.

So far I believe the source from which I got that information. But as I went on I read these claims:

He hand-wrote the code for the first Apple word processor while serving nights in the Alameda County Jail.

He taught Steve Jobs how to do a number on the phone company.

He sold his jail-written word processing program to IBM, thereby beating Bill Gates out of the bid for the contract.

As I read those last three claims my BS meter went off-scale.

Your opinion? How much of those last three claims is true? And how much is pure fantasy taken from don't ask me where?


frederick franz 4 years, 2 months ago

"As I read those last three claims my BS meter went off-scale. "

I can only suppose that his claims were mostly lies. Yes, hacking the phone company is quite possible. But the illegal calls are soon discovered and blocked.

The rest of his claims sound like ego boosting nonsense.


Tom Garrett 4 years, 2 months ago


Which brings up a good question.

We all go out there on the web to find information. How can we be sure that what we are reading isn't sheer imagination?


Nancy Volz 4 years, 2 months ago

You can't. One has to pay attention to not just the web, but all media outlets, etc. Most of all, one has to use the common sense they were given to be able to sort things out for themselves. It also would help if folks would talk/discuss issues calmly and rationally, and actually listen for a change.


Pat Randall 4 years, 2 months ago

Sometimes you can't believe what you see or hear with your own eyes and ears.

Ever watch a magician?


Tom Garrett 4 years, 2 months ago


You are dead right. The internet has made a lot of information readily available, but it has also created a place where people put up a lot of garbage too.

And man! Do I agree with you on the need for rational discussion!!



Sometimes I can't even believe what I see in the mirror, but then that may be my problem.


Pat Randall 4 years, 2 months ago

Do any of us at our age want to believe what we see in the mirror?


Tom Garrett 4 years, 2 months ago

I refuse to answer on the grounds....

Come to think of it, do you remember that? The mafia investigations in Congress?

Some quotes (almost quotes anyway):

"I refews ta ansa on da grouns dat it'll criminate me."

"I refews ta ansa on da grouns...."

"On da grouns..."

"Da grouns..."


Then there was the one who said.

"I refews ta ansa unda da fith amenment on da grouns dat it'll criminate me."

"I refews ta ansa unda da fith amenment..."

"I refews...da fith..."

"Da fith..."


Poor guys were getting so tired I was expecting them to say:

"Hey! We gonna start shootin yez if yez don quit askin stupud questens." :-)


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