Confectionery & the history of telecoms
Predicting telecoms' major advances by looking at
Junk food has been associated with computing since the hacker
culture started back in the 60s. In 1990, Software Development started
its annual Jolt
awards, inspired by the high-caffeine drink needed for long
stretches at the keyboard. Cookies
existed before the web and were used as transaction IDs.
Junk food and confectionery in particular has also been an
inspiration for technology innovations especially in telecoms...
- In the 70s, John T Draper, aka Cap'n
Crunch, got his handle when he discovered that the plastic
prize whistle found in Cap'n
Crunch cereal boxes produced a 2600 Hz tone. As it happened,
back then, the phone system used inband signalling and 2600 Hz was the
tone used to access Bell's trunking system. Cap'n Crunch and other
phreakers infamously showed the weaknesses of inband signaling. This
led to out-of-band signaling and to the ITU Signaling System 7 or SS7.
Fast forward to the Pringles
potato chips, and you witness the birth of cheap 802.11b community
networks. Best aerials and a few crisps thanks to a box of Pringles!
(Dog food cans also makes good cantennas.)
of the classic shapes of mobile phones is known as the candy
bar. It has survived healthier shapes such as the banana
and the taco
phones, though the Mars
bar phone has long disappeared. And you need juice to power
all these phones.
If you want to earn a living as a telecoms analyst,
better start keeping up-to-date with the latest confectionery
Document first published: 2002-04-26
Document last modified: 2005-09-30