AN EMPIRE OF ONE

If you don't think everything's really weird, you're not paying attention.

Balzac and Jobs

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Honoré de Balzac

“Mr. Jobs met Mr. Wozniak while attending Homestead High School in neighboring Cupertino. The two took an introductory electronics class there.

“The spark that ignited their partnership was provided by Mr. Wozniak’s mother. Mr. Wozniak had graduated from high school and enrolled at the University of California, Berkeley, when she sent him an article from the October 1971 issue of Esquire magazine. The article, “Secrets of the Little Blue Box,” by Ron Rosenbaum, detailed an underground hobbyist culture of young men known as phone phreaks who were illicitly exploring the nation’s phone system.

“Mr. Wozniak shared the article with Mr. Jobs, and the two set out to track down an elusive figure identified in the article as Captain Crunch. The man had taken the name from his discovery that a whistle that came in boxes of Cap’n Crunch cereal was tuned to a frequency that made it possible to make free long-distance calls simply by blowing the whistle next to a phone handset.

“Captain Crunch was John Draper, a former Air Force electronic technician, and finding him took several weeks. Learning that the two young hobbyists were searching for him, Mr. Draper had arranged to come to Mr. Wozniak’s Berkeley dormitory room. Mr. Jobs, who was still in high school, had traveled to Berkeley for the meeting. When Mr. Draper arrived, he entered the room saying simply, “It is I!”

Based on information they gleaned from Mr. Draper, Mr. Wozniak and Mr. Jobs later collaborated on building and selling blue boxes, devices that were widely used for making free — and illegal — phone calls. They raised a total of $6,000 from the effort.” (my emphasis)

From “Steven P. Jobs, 1955-2011 Apple’s Visionary Redefined Digital Age,” New York Times, October 5, 2011.

According to the Inflation Calculator:

What cost $6000 in 1971 would cost $31,934 in 2010.

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Written by David Kilmer

October 11, 2011 at 1:09 pm

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