Just a few days ago at DEFCON, in the middle of my speech, I said “If you think you know hacking history and you don’t know the name “Joybubbles”, then you’re wrong.”
Joybubbles (he legally changed his name from Joe Engressia later in life) was a phone phreak. And not just a phone phreak, a legendary phone phreak; blind since birth, he could whistle 2600hz tone into the telephone, bypassing the need for any trickery to do so. He was a humorous, fun fellow, one of the big names. And now we’ve lost him.
Just a few days after my speech, Joybubbles had a heart attack and died in his apartment in Minneapolis. He was 58.
Unlike a lot of figures in history, we are blessed, in our sudden loss, to have a collection of artifacts and recordings of Joybubbles to remember him or learn about him for the first time. He started recording recollections of childhood on a phone line, and called these recordings “Stories and Stuff”. I’ve been keeping an archive here, which is the work of many others who called and recorded them.
Here’s some links to get to know him:
- An article that mentions Joybubbles in detail.
- A memory of meeting Joybubbles.
- Short documentary filming of Joybubbles in action, circa 1970s.
He was a good one. I hope everyone takes some time to find out who he was, even if it makes them miss him as much as I do.
Categorised as: Uncategorized
Comments are disabled on this post