Saturday 5 December 2020

crunch berries or pipe to any meal

After a rather lengthy discursive discussion on the naval officer’s rank inflation and ensuing “stolen valour” accusations lobbied against him, we are treated to a rather interesting anecdote on how the cereal—thanks to a give-away inside—was formative for the landscape of information technology and the invention (see also) of the smart phone.The prize was a plastic bo’sun whistle—a boatswain’s pipe (giving us also the phrase “pipe down,” the call used to dismiss the crew members not on watch), which accidentally introduced a whole cadre of kids to phreaking by producing a tone that matched the US telephony monopoly’s control signals that regulated the lines and sounding the whistle at the right moment hijacked control of the system, allowing sophisticated adolescents the ability to place free calls and avoid tolls. Graduating from this parlour-trick, enterprising pirates began creating kits called “blue boxes” with all sorts of whistles and bells to take control of the phone lines. Two entrepreneurs had their first collaborative venture making such devices were Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs.