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Slate Reprints Blue-Box Article That Inspired Jobs 121

Slate has reprinted the piece that Ron Rosenbaum wrote for Esquire in 1971, explaining to the world that there was an underground movement of people hacking the phone system. (Rosenbaum is now a columnist for Slate.) According to the article's new introduction and followup piece by Rosenbaum reflecting on its impact — and to the New York Times obituary for Steve Jobs — this article inspired Jobs and Wozniak to start building blue boxes themselves, an effort that made them several thousand dollars.
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Slate Reprints Blue-Box Article That Inspired Jobs

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  • not any more (Score:4, Insightful)

    by spokenoise ( 2140056 ) on Monday October 10, 2011 @05:37AM (#37660230)
    They would now be considered a homeland security threat or some such shit and locked up, put on a no fly list and given a free colonoscopy. The several thou would be proceeds of crime and fined in the brazillions or dollars....
  • Re:I hate Jobs (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 10, 2011 @05:55AM (#37660292)

    What if you love to hate?

  • by lucm ( 889690 ) on Monday October 10, 2011 @06:31AM (#37660402)

    > this article inspired Jobs and Wozniak to start building blue boxes themselves, an effort that made them several thousand dollars.

    this [visit] inspired Jobs and Wozniak to start building [a GUI] themselves, an effort that made them several [millions] dollars.

    Now that is a pattern of real innovation.

  • Hahah (Score:4, Insightful)

    by X.25 ( 255792 ) on Monday October 10, 2011 @06:33AM (#37660410)

    It's amazing how fucked up humanity is.

    Day after day, "media" spends time talking about someone who managed to run some businesses that basically produced some eye-candy that naive people can drool over. A hero.

    But chance that you will hear about someone who actually saves peoples' eyes (like this, for example: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sanduk_Ruit [wikipedia.org]) are almost zero.

    Edward Bernays would be proud.

  • Re:yup (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rsmith-mac ( 639075 ) on Monday October 10, 2011 @08:35AM (#37660962)

    Scoff all you want, but it would do all the youngins here good to read the whole Blue Box article from front to back. Not only does it provide a great historical context to modern hacking - and proof that the motivations haven't changed even though the technology has - but it's also an example of an extremely well written article, something the modern blogosphere is incapable of creating. Even if it takes the death of Steve Jobs, it's exactly the kind of article that should be posted on Slashdot.

  • by SlippyToad ( 240532 ) on Monday October 10, 2011 @09:21AM (#37661316)

    I didn't know "grandma" was the problem the iPad was meant to solve.

    Demographic studies [ymobileblog.com] would seem to indicate that the main group using iPads are between 35-44. In other words, perfectly computer literate, probably well into their careers, and wealthy enough to afford the hefty price tag and maintenance (after all, you've got to send it back to change the battery).

    Also, I have used an iPad. It is just as quirky as any Windows computing device. I don't know where this delusion comes from that Apple products are more user-friendly, but from the perspective of someone who had to learn how to hook these damn things into my virtual desktop environment, I have had ample opportunity to experience the Apple user interface, and it is really nothing spectacular. It's just as badly-designed as every other user interface I've ever encountered.

  • Re:Is it just me? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by unimacs ( 597299 ) on Monday October 10, 2011 @09:59AM (#37661892)
    Never watched a Pixar movie? Never owned a device with a firewire port?

    What about MS Windows? Windows up until at least 3.1 licensed some Mac OS technology.

    Downloaded any music using a paid service? Maybe you haven't use an Apple product to do so, but Steve Jobs and company turned the music industry upside down and forever changed the way we buy music.

    First web server? Written on NeXT computer. First spreadsheet? Written for an Apple computer.

    Maybe you have never owned Apple product but my guess is that many of the products you do use have been profoundly influenced by Apple's designs in one way or another.

    What if there was never was a Steve Jobs? What would the computer industry look like today? Would the computer as a personal device be as prevalent as it is? Would there be as many IT jobs as there are today?

    I'm not saying that he was a great humanitarian or anything. But his impact on our lives is undeniable.

    If nothing else, the lesson I wish the world would take from Apple and Steve Jobs is how to weather an economic downturn. Layoff staff? Hunker down? F*&k no. Make stuff people want, - not just cheaper versions of and minor improvements to what's already available. Innovate.

    He had an ability to make stuff that was complicated into things mortals could do on their own. I agree that it is a shame he couldn't have applied this talent to the world's more profound problems.

To be a kind of moral Unix, he touched the hem of Nature's shift. -- Shelley