Early Hackers Used Whistles From Cap’n Crunch Cereal Boxes

8dd05d80 4e45 4efe 80cb 1c5434ceeaf75f790b8ffbf10f324d 6214100037 b01cd0148a o

Phone phreaks were proto hackers who would play specific sequences to take over phone lines. Turns out the Cap’n Crunch whistle prize from the mid 60’s made the perfect tones. Great bit of history from Atlas Obscura. I remember this being an important part of the movie Hackers:

Draper heard about the whistle from other phreakers. The whistle easily played at 2600Hz, the perfect tone to, in Apple Inc. co-founder Steve Wozniak’s words, “seize a phone line.” Though many phreakers used instruments for the same purpose, the mass-produced whistle became iconic. Draper became known for using it, and gave himself the nickname “Captain Crunch.” He even built devices, called “blue boxes,” to replicate that tone and other useful ones. After a story about blue boxes was published in Esquire in 1971, the then-college student Wozniak and his friend Steve Jobs tracked Draper down to learn all they could. (Though Wozniak admired Draper, he was intimidated by his intense energy, disheveled state, and many missing teeth.) The boxes could also be used for mischief. Wozniak tried to prank-call the pope, while Draper boasted that he once got President Nixon on the horn.

Read more!

Adafruit publishes a wide range of writing and video content, including interviews and reporting on the maker market and the wider technology world. Our standards page is intended as a guide to best practices that Adafruit uses, as well as an outline of the ethical standards Adafruit aspires to. While Adafruit is not an independent journalistic institution, Adafruit strives to be a fair, informative, and positive voice within the community – check it out here: adafruit.com/editorialstandards

Join Adafruit on Mastodon

Adafruit is on Mastodon, join in! adafruit.com/mastodon

Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.

Have an amazing project to share? The Electronics Show and Tell is every Wednesday at 7pm ET! To join, head over to YouTube and check out the show’s live chat – we’ll post the link there.

Join us every Wednesday night at 8pm ET for Ask an Engineer!

Join over 36,000+ makers on Adafruit’s Discord channels and be part of the community! http://adafru.it/discord

CircuitPython – The easiest way to program microcontrollers – CircuitPython.org

Maker Business — “Packaging” chips in the US

Wearables — Enclosures help fight body humidity in costumes

Electronics — Transformers: More than meets the eye!

Python for Microcontrollers — Python on Microcontrollers Newsletter: Silicon Labs introduces CircuitPython support, and more! #CircuitPython #Python #micropython @ThePSF @Raspberry_Pi

Adafruit IoT Monthly — Guardian Robot, Weather-wise Umbrella Stand, and more!

Microsoft MakeCode — MakeCode Thank You!

EYE on NPI — Maxim’s Himalaya uSLIC Step-Down Power Module #EyeOnNPI @maximintegrated @digikey

New Products – Adafruit Industries – Makers, hackers, artists, designers and engineers! — #NewProds 7/19/23 Feat. Adafruit Matrix Portal S3 CircuitPython Powered Internet Display!

Get the only spam-free daily newsletter about wearables, running a "maker business", electronic tips and more! Subscribe at AdafruitDaily.com !

No Comments

No comments yet.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.