Sunday, October 01, 2006

Captin Crunch @ Toorcon 8

Saturday Night at Toorcon 8 there was a "Nostalgia" panel.
"Captain Crunch" was one of the panelists. The panel
was a mix of Crunch talking about phone phreaking and
the others (half is age at best) talking about Apple II
hacking using simulators. There was an ASCII art theme.

Crunch was a presence that could not be equaled.
He is to the hacking community what Richard Stallman
is to free software.

Stories included how he got into phone phreaking...
he was testing a low power FM transmitter he
had designed and asked anyone who heard him to call.
"Some blind kids" who later identified themselves
as "phreakers" called and eventually got Crunch
started on the path to free dial-tone and mapping
the AT&T phone system.

He discovered special testing phone numbers (developers
never put in back doors...), reverse engineered
the touch tones (new in those days) and frequencies
needed to make free calls and built his own tone generator

He talked about mapping the 800 number system,
discovering the CIA's special number to reach the
president (Nixon), being able to listen in to part
of the calls, and then trading that number (warez
anyone ?) to another phreakers for a number he wanted.

Oh, he also had some things to say about Apple II
hacking. He related a story about a disagreement
he had with Woz over hardware design (6 vs 8 bit DACs)
when he was working for Apple designing the hardware.

Been there. Done that. Listen up kiddies.