A SPEECH AT PHREAKNIC 6 (November 1, 2002)

(Photo by chaph.org)
On November 1st, 2002 I had the pleasure of giving a speech at a hacker convention in Tennessee called PhreakNIC 6.0 about the subject of Phone Phreaking. Entitled "Phreaking 101", I culled together some facts from various print and online sources and delivered it to a group of a few dozen people. I'd been invited by the organizers to come speak and was given an excellent slot after the opening comments. I recorded my own speech and edited (for clarity) versions are below in .mp3 and .ogg formats. NOTE: I pepper the speech with profanity and derision to keep the interest of the audience.

Description of the File
Thumbs.db 8192
dscf0018.jpg 320736
Photograph of Speech at PhreakNIC 6 from Chaph.Org (Original Size)
dscf0018s.jpg 18629
Photograph of Speech at PhreakNIC 6 from Chaph.Org (Small Size)
phreaknicspeech.mp3 14274218
Phreaking 101, Speech at PhreakNIC 6 (November 1, 2002) (MP3 Format)
phreaknicspeech.ogg 24716762
Phreaking 101, Speech at PhreakNIC 6 (November 1, 2002) (OGG Format)
welldriven.mp3 853287
Phreaking 101 Excerpt, Particularly Bizzare (November 1, 2002)

There are 6 files for a total of 40,191,824 bytes.
There are 7 directories.
Corrections, Clarifications and Links

Naturally, I had to pull from a varied set of locations for this speech and some of the sources might have been in error. I tried my best to back everything up with a legitimate citation, but in the heat of the moment some numbers and facts might not have gotten out. I also make reference to various web sites and documents, which I will try and link here.

Notes on What You're Hearing

I am speaking in a conference room in a hotel in downtown Nashville, TN. There are about 50-60 people sitting listening to me. It is the first night of a weekend conference, so folks are drifting in and out of the room, seeing who is where (this is why you hear folks having unrelated discussions in a low tone), and in some cases getting drinks. A few minutes in, someone brings in a drink for his friends and trips and falls (this is the source of the spontaneous applause.)

On a couple occasions during the speech, someone triggered the fire alarm somewhere in the hotel. I eventually incorporate sarcastic comments about pulling alarms in the speech. Some speculation later says that it might not have been someone intentionally pulling the alarm but just opening a door to go outside and setting it off.

I recorded this talk using the microphone of my video camera, aiming the camera at my legs. The quality is pretty good, considering. You can see it in the photo on the table in front of me. One side effect is that you can't easily hear the questions I'm asked towards the end. Some of these questions have been abridged because you couldn't hear them anyway.

My proudest moment is when a gentleman pipes in a commentary about using methods to ground out phone handsets in the 1950's. This puts him in the center of a lot of the history I'm talking about and he didn't find my speech a whitewash or a misrepresentation. That means a lot to me.

Documents, References and Links

The TEXTFILES.COM Collection of Phone Box Plans

The Telephone History Museum

Mark Bernay's Phone Trips

The Youth International Party Line

Cheshire Catalyst's Home Page

Joe Engressia/Joybubbles

PhreakNIC Home Page


I said that the "DrinkorDie" busts had an average of 600gb of data on each seized machine; the actual amount was something like 400gb.

I imply the term "The Last Mile" rises in the 1980's. I've given absolutely no time to actually researching this assumption; a concept like "The Last Mile" could be hundreds of years old and just transferred over to phones at some arbitrary point.

My characterization of the Cult of the Dead Cow was mainly to illustrate that a relatively small group of people could have a very prominent effect on the world; I don't mean to demean or disparage any members of cDc as not having an influence in the group's fame or reputation. The cDc deserve more of a historical perspective/study than a few choice sentences chucked off in the middle of a presentation.

At one point towards the end, someone goes off about attacking Afghanistan and demands to know why phone phreaking isn't going on. He's entirely trashed and keeps showing up to rant further. At the end of the talk, I invited him down and gave him a hug.