Exploding the phone : the untold story of the teenagers and outlaws who hacked Ma Bell / Phil Lapsley.
By: Lapsley, Phil.Material type: BookPublisher: New York : [Berkeley, Calif.] : Grove Press ; Distributed by Publishers Group West, c2013Edition: 1st ed.Description: xvi, 431,  p. of plates : ill., map ; 23 cm.ISBN: 080212061X; 9780802120618.Subject(s): American Telephone and Telegraph Company -- History | AT & T (Firm) -- History | Telecommunication systems -- Security measures -- History | Telephone companies -- Security measures -- History | Telephone systems -- Security measures -- History | Computer engineers -- United States -- History | Counterculture -- United States -- HistoryDDC classification: 384.0657/3
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Map on endpapers.
Includes bibliographical references (p. 339-406) and index.
Fine arts 13 -- Birth of a playground -- Cat and canary -- The largest machine in the world -- Blue box -- "Some people collect stamps" -- Headache -- Blue box bookies -- Little Jojo learns to whistle -- Bill Acker learns to play the flute -- The phone freaks of America -- The law of unintended consequences -- Counterculture -- Busted -- Pranks -- The story of a war -- A little bit stupid -- Snitch -- Crunched -- Twilight -- Nightfall.
Describes how "phone phreaks" learned how to make illicit but technologically innovative free phone calls and shared the technique, and places the process in the development of telecommunications and the behavior of the telephone monopoly.
Before smartphones, before the Internet and before the personal computer, a misfit group of technophiles, blind teenagers, hippies, and outlaws figured out how to hack the world's largest machine: the telephone system. Starting with Alexander Graham Bell's revolutionary "harmonic telegraph," by the middle of the twentieth century the phone system had grown into something extraordinary, a web of cutting-edge switching machines and human operators that linked together millions of people like never before. Unfortunately for the telephone company, the network has a billion-dollar flaw. And once people discovered it, things would never the be the same. Phil Lapsley's Exploding the Phone tells this story in full for the first time. It traces the birth of long distance communication and the telephone, the rise of AT&T's monopoly, the creation of the sophisticated machines that made it all work, and the discovery of Ma Bell's Achilles' heel. Lapsley expertly weaves together the clandestine underground of "phone phreaks" who turned the network into the electronic playground, the mobsters who exploited its flaws to avoid the feds, and the counterculture movement that argued you should rip off the phone company to fight against the war in Vietnam...AT&T responded with "Greenstar"...The FBI fought back, too...Phone phreaking exploded into the popular culture, with famous actors, musicians, and investors caught with "blue boxes," many of them built by two young phone phreaks named Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak...The product of extensive original research, including exclusive interviews and declassified government documents, Exploding the Phone is a captivating, ground-breaking work about an important part of our cultural and technological history -- Publisher's description.