Jobs was “Oaf Tobark.” They took the device to college dorms and

Following the lead of other phone phreaks such as Captain Crunch,

they gave themselves handles. Wozniak became “Berkeley Blue,”

Jobs was “Oaf Tobark.” They took the device to college dorms and

gave demonstrations by attaching it to a phone and speaker. While the

 

potential customers watched, they would call the Ritz in London or a dial-a-joke service in Australia.

“We made a hundred or so Blue Boxes and sold almost all of them,” Jobs recalled.

 

The fun and profits came to an end at a Sunnyvale pizza parlor. Jobs and Wozniak

were about to drive to Berkeley with a Blue Box they had just finished making. Jobs

needed money and was eager to sell, so he pitched the device to some guys at the next table.

They were interested, so Jobs went to a phone booth and demonstrated it with a call to Chicago.

The prospects said they had to go to their car for money. “So we walk over to the car, Woz and me,

and I’ve got the Blue Box in my hand, and the guy gets in, reaches under the seat, and he pulls out a gun,”

Jobs recounted. He had never been that close to a gun, and he was terrified. “So he’s pointing the gun right at

my stomach, and he says, ‘Hand it over, brother.’ My mind raced. There was the car door here, and I thought

maybe I could slam it on his legs and we could run, but there was this high probability that he would shoot me.

So I slowly handed it to him, very carefully.” It was a weird sort of robbery. The guy who took the Blue

Box actually gave Jobs a phone number and said he would try to pay for it if it worked. When Jobs later called

the number, the guy said he couldn’t figure out how to use it. So Jobs, in his felicitous way, convinced the guy

to meet him and Wozniak at a public place. But they ended up deciding not to have another encounter with

the gunman, even on the off chance they could get their $150.

The partnership paved the way for what would be a bigger adventure together. “If it hadn’t been for the

Blue Boxes, there wouldn’t have been an Apple,” Jobs later reflected. “I’m 100% sure of that. Woz and

I learned how to work together, and we gained the confidence that we could solve technical problems and

partnership that would soon be born. Wozniak would be the gentle wizard coming up with a neat invention

that he would have been happy just to give away, and Jobs would figure out how to

make it user-friendly,

put it together

in a package, market it,

and make a few bucks.

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