There is an underground telephone network in this country. Al Gilbertson, creator of the "blue box", discovered it the very day news of his own arrest hit the papers. That evening his phone began ringing. Phone phreaks from Seattle, from Florida, from New York, from San Jose, and from Los Angeles began calling him and telling him about the phone-phreak network. He'd get a call from a phone phreak who'd say nothing but, "Hang up and call this number".
Often cited as one of the greatest magazine stories ever written, Ron Rosenbaum's singular, Pynchon-esque "The Secrets of the Little Blue Box", about an underground group of hackers who built devices that could crack the telephone companies' networks, has staked its claim in the annals of history as the story that inspired the partnership of Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak and helped create hacker culture.
Features an afterword by the author.
"The Secrets of the Little Blue Box" was originally published in Esquire, October 1971.
I liked the story overall, but ultimately I think I expected there to be some action or for something to actually happen. The story came across in the tone of a biography or short documentary, without really a payoff that could relate it to the reader in the modern day, or any real tension, or any particularly salient part of message. The narration, I thought, was great, and I’d gladly seek out other works read by the same narrator. It was a nice listen for otherwise silent car journeys, but I probably wouldn’t listen to it again.