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Phreaking out ma bell

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Ralph Barclay was walking through the engineering library at Washington State University, just minding his own business, when it called out to him. He couldn't say why, it just did. It was a booklet, about 18 by 23 centimeters and maybe a centimeter thick, on display in the library's new periodicals section. Its pale blue cover proclaimed it to be the November 1960 issue of something called The Bell System Technical Journal. It had been out for less than a week. Barclay looked at the table of contents printed on its cover. Most of the articles could put even the hardest of hard-core geeks to sleep at 20 paces: "Magnetic Latching Relays Using Glass Sealed Contacts," "Molecular Structure in Crystal Aggregates of Linear Polyethylene," or the ever popular "Ionic Radii, Spin-Orbit Coupling, and the Geometrical Stability of Inorganic Complexes."

Published in:

Spectrum, IEEE  (Volume:50 ,  Issue: 2 )