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The Twilight Years of Cap'n Crunch

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the keeping-it-cranky dept.

Businesses 313

Carl Bialik from WSJ writes "Tech pioneer John Draper, a legendary, eccentric figure in Silicon Valley better known as Cap'n Crunch, has slipped to the margins while his peers became rich, the Wall Street Journal writes in a profile. Draper was a 'phone phreak' and helped develop the technology for word processing and voice-activated telephone menus; meanwhile, he eluded the mainstream by tampering with the phone system, frequenting the rave scene and shouting at anyone smoking anywhere near him. 'Once tolerated, even embraced, for his eccentricities, Mr. Draper now lives on the margins of this affluent world, still striving to carve out a role in the business mainstream,' says the WSJ. More from the article: 'Contemporaries who've gone on to riches and fame say they've tried to help Mr. Draper over the years. Mr. Wozniak says Mr. Draper's problem is that his skills lie in technology rather in making business deals or starting a company. "He didn't come from a business orientation," says Mr. Wozniak.'"

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313 comments

Wow (5, Insightful)

baldass_newbie (136609) | more than 6 years ago | (#17628420)

When Woz is saying you don't have business skillz, that's something.
Seriously, the phrase for this 'Emotional Intelligence' and it's in short supply for most geeks/nerds/etc.

Re:Wow (4, Insightful)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 6 years ago | (#17628616)

Well Woz does have business skills. He is able to keep a job, maintain organizations, work well with people. He just doesn't like the remote aspect of upper management he just wanted to be an engineer. Compared to others like "Cap'n Crunch" and many other geeks they think just because they are smart that people will want to keep them. You can be the smartest person in the world but you will not be able to keep a job if you smell like 2 week old dead fish, and people feel you will at any one time snap.

Re:Wow (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#17630162)

Well Woz does have business skills. He is able to keep a job, maintain organizations, work well with people.


These are basic interpersonal skills, not business skills. Yes, they are very much needed in business, but they are skills that have applicability far beyond the workplace. It's a bit like saying that wearing clothes or tying your shoe are business skills.

Woz needed Jobs (and Jobs needed Woz) because one lacked what the other provided -- Jobs had the marketing and business savvy and Woz had the m4d 3l337 h4rdw4w3 sk1llz.

Re:Wow (3, Informative)

cowscows (103644) | more than 6 years ago | (#17628682)

Well, there are people who like to think that they're smart enough that they don't have to pay any mind to "society's rules", that their extreme brilliance is all that they need. Geeks are notorious for that, although often unfairly stereotyped to the extremes. But in generally, things like "I'm going to wear t-shirts and sandals to business meetings, and they can go ahead and fire me if they don't like it" are basically symptoms of the same thing.

The problem is that in the end, technology is really only useful to the point that it interacts with people. While there are many who will appreciate technology for technology's sake, if you're really going to get anywhere, what you're doing has to satisfy people. And if your attitude pushes people away before they can appreciate what you're trying to do with technology, then you're just going to end up isolating yourself. As smart as you are, there are other people out there just as smart, who are also able and willing to have more normal social contact with others, and they'll get chosen over you.

If you want to make a technology based business, It's not enough just to understand technology. You should also strive to understand people as well. You'll never figure it all out, but the ways that individuals, organizations, and societies work are important, and pretending that it isn't won't make everyone else go away.

Re:Wow (1)

jcr (53032) | more than 6 years ago | (#17629044)

people who like to think that they're smart enough that they don't have to pay any mind to "society's rules",

I wouldn't say that Crunch fits that description. He's really not an in-your-face kind of guy.

-jcr

Re:Wow (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17629142)

do what? Did you even read the summary, let alone the article?!?!

meanwhile, he eluded the mainstream by tampering with the phone system, frequenting the rave scene and shouting at anyone smoking anywhere near him.

Re:Wow (5, Interesting)

jcr (53032) | more than 6 years ago | (#17629354)

Oh, for pete's sake..

If you were as allergic to tobacco as he is, you'd yell too. I remember seeing his hand break out once because an ashtray had been spilled on him. It took a couple of weeks for the blistering and peeling to clear up.

Now, something that you probably don't know, is that when he was in jail, he got beaten severely because he refused to tell the mob how to make blue boxes. He has severe back problems to this day because of it. That's hardly the choice that would be made by someone who thinks none of the rules apply to him.

-jcr

Re:Wow (2, Insightful)

tgibbs (83782) | more than 6 years ago | (#17630128)

Now, something that you probably don't know, is that when he was in jail, he got beaten severely because he refused to tell the mob how to make blue boxes. He has severe back problems to this day because of it. That's hardly the choice that would be made by someone who thinks none of the rules apply to him.

It's the kind of choice that would be made by somebody who believes in principles rather than rules.

Re:Wow (4, Insightful)

JoshJ (1009085) | more than 6 years ago | (#17630342)

If more people believed in principles rather than rules, the world would be a better place.

Re:Wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17629444)

Ummm, RTFA. According to it he is notorious for very bad body odor, shabby/dirty clothes, lost most of his teeth due to lack of care, throws fits over smoking, couldn't keep himself out of jail, didn't pay attention to his best business opportunity (Easy Writer), etc. Maybe not in-your-face but certainly has a hostile attitude.

Re:Wow (1)

jcr (53032) | more than 6 years ago | (#17629642)

Maybe not in-your-face but certainly has a hostile attitude.

I know the guy, and you obviously don't.

-jcr

Re:Wow (1)

greginnj (891863) | more than 6 years ago | (#17630426)

I know the guy, and you obviously don't.
Wow, cool... so, since the theme of TFA seems to be 'sadly neglected tech guru', I was wondering -- how would you help him, if you could? Let's say sufficient money was available, what would you do (that he would accept), that would improve his situation, personally or professionally? (Does he want it improved in any way?)

I bet if there was a reasonable plan in place, you wouldn't be lacking in contributions from the /. crowd, among others... I'd put in some cash, myself.

Re:Wow (1)

GeckoX (259575) | more than 6 years ago | (#17630378)

Superficially, you might be on to something. Thankfully all of us aren't as superficial as you appear to be.

What that you mention there makes him hostile? Hostile to your sense of what is acceptable maybe, but I'd have to suggest that attitudes like this towards other human beings are as a matter of fact hostile in and of themselves.

The guy lives in his head. He didn't choose to become unkempt, he just doesn't think about it. And as someone else mentioned, the man is extremely allergic to cigarette smoke.

Further, he's been treated like crap by people like you all his life. You think you might be a bit crusty if you were treated like shit by people that didn't know the first thing about you for your whole life?

Man, I feel like a teacher lecturing an 8 year old on the playground. You should have listened back then, they weren't lying to you.

Re:Wow (1)

cowscows (103644) | more than 6 years ago | (#17630150)

I don't know him, so I can't comment on him specifically. But being an obnoxious brat isn't the only way that this sort of thing can happen. Just refusing to participate in social activities can be a symptom. Not to say that if you don't go to parties and get drunk and crazy that you're some sort of misanthrope, just that it's not impossible to have a disdain for "normal" people and be fairly quiet about it.

A example that I've seen often enough are techie type people who "hate all sports", and who believe that anyone who's a fan of a team that they don't play for is just being dumb. While you can certainly make an argument that hyper-competitiveness is having bad effects on our society, the blanket opinion that "organized sports are stupid" seems to me to be a byproduct of some sort of elitism.

But I am in no way trying to make judgements about this Crunch guy specifically. Never met him. Just a more general statement that some people choose to ignore/reject/ridicule the majority of the norms of our cultures, which is certainly their decision. But they shouldn't expect everyone else to bend over to integrate them into society.

Re:Wow (4, Interesting)

GeckoX (259575) | more than 6 years ago | (#17630286)

I don't agree.

The guy that shows up wearing a t-shirt and sandals to a business meeting, and is consciously thinking 'screw em if they don't like it', is NOT the kind of geek/nerd we're talking about here.

Your typical geek/nerd may appear a bit unkempt not because of a conscious decision, but because of any related thoughts not even entering into their mind.

We're talking the kind of person that can sit down and code for 2 days straight, never even thinking about eating or whatever. People that live in their head.

There's a BIG difference. Most geeks/nerds today really aren't. It's just fashionable to be seen as such, somewhat. And a lot of these people play up the part. Sad, but true.

Unfortunately, it's usually going to be the true geeks/nerds that get fired, let go, walked over, ignored whatever because they don't fit in with the social aspects at their place of work.

Personally, where I work, I try to be very very conscious about peoples abilities, and completely shut off everything else. I don't care if you're a nice guy or not, doesn't matter at all...unless it impacts your ability to do work or other people's ability to do their work. Stink in a meeting? Whatever, you're doing a great job and don't worry we wouldn't make you meet with our customers directly as we know you wouldn't deal with it well.

I've fired people that I actually liked a lot. I've fired more people that I'd actually hang out with outside of work than people that I wouldn't. On a personal level, I really can't stand some of the people I work with. Bottom line is though, that has just about zero impact on how they do their jobs. It takes all kinds.

Re:Wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17629090)

No kidding, he'll never make Admiral acting like this. In fact, he'll be lucky if he isn't demoted to Ensign Crunch.

Re:Wow (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17629422)

Alas, I think it's much more than just business skillz(!). There's a certain fundmental level of reading people that he lacks - social skills, if you will. I'm sure all us /. readers who live in Los Angeles have met him by now, and most will agree with me that he has some rather eccentric behaviors that make him uncomfortable to be around:

- always insisting on giving his "energy" massages.
- biting the scabs off his hands in public places.
- smoking more weed than needed for medical purposes.

The man needs to take care of himself more. I once took him out to dinner at a really nice steakhouse, and he put more butter on his bread than bread. I've never seen so much salt on a slab of salmon before, either. I felt a heart attack coming on just watching him eat.

I empathize with those who have tried to help him professionally. I tried to put him on a Python contract maintaining some scripts, but Draper's sense of self-entitlement made it really difficult for me to deal with him - I knew it would make it thus difficult for the client to deal with him. I'm sure that Jobs and Mitnick and other industry heavyweights have tried to give him well-paying work, but lacking consistency kills off just about any job. Being able to express gratitude would also be an invaluable social skill.

Re:Wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17630044)

I wonder if draper nailed woz, or jobs. Probably Jobs.

Talk about evil (4, Funny)

szembek (948327) | more than 6 years ago | (#17628426)

"helped develop the technology for word processing and voice-activated telephone menus". Thanks a lot buddy. YES, NO, NO, MAIN MENU, YES, ACCOUNT BALANCE!!

Voice Menus (1)

norminator (784674) | more than 6 years ago | (#17628806)

Hopefully he's not the guy that had the idea to make the voice prompt say:

"For security purposes, please say your account number...."

"For security purposes, please say your PIN..."

Whoever came up with that little "security" gem deserves to spend 8 hours a day for the rest of his life navigating phone menus.

Re:Talk about evil (1)

tarlos25 (1036572) | more than 6 years ago | (#17628832)

So he's the one I can blame when I get voice recognition systems that respond to someone else in the room breathing. "Ok, everyone leave the room, I have to call a voice recognition system."

Much more in Secret History of Hacking documentary (5, Informative)

toby (759) | more than 6 years ago | (#17628432)

For a historical overview, detailed reminiscences of phreaking and interviews with Draper, Wozniak and Mitnick, see The Secret History of Hacking [google.com] (50 minutes). In particular it details how the phreaking story hit national headlines, how Draper and Wozniak met, prank calling the Vatican, and the blind hacker with perfect pitch who can control phone switches around the world by whistling.

Re:Much more in Secret History of Hacking document (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17628492)

Nice karma-whoring, faggot. Too bad even your subscriber status couldn't compensate for your slow intellect when it came to making that abortion of a post.

Re:Much more in Secret History of Hacking document (0, Flamebait)

jcr (53032) | more than 6 years ago | (#17628576)

Why are you working so hard at giving ACs a bad name?

Grow up, kid.

-jcr

Re:Much more in Secret History of Hacking document (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17628674)

Hi JCR. That is your name, right? Oh, of course it is. I'm glad you signed your post at the bottom, because after reading the first couple lines of your inane post I lost so many IQ points that I forgot who made it. Or maybe you just need to remind yourself who you are every few minutes.

Re:Much more in Secret History of Hacking document (-1, Flamebait)

jcr (53032) | more than 6 years ago | (#17628744)

I lost so many IQ points

as if you had any in the first place.

-jcr

Re:Much more in Secret History of Hacking document (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17628870)

as if you had any in the first place.

That's funny, I could say the same thing about you and original, non-cliché comebacks.

Re:Much more in Secret History of Hacking document (0, Offtopic)

jcr (53032) | more than 6 years ago | (#17628986)

If you don't like it, don't toss out such obvious straight lines.

-jcr

Kinda Sad. (4, Insightful)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 6 years ago | (#17628514)

It is kinda sad to see a pioneer live the rest of his life in near poverity. But it also shows that in order to make it in the world you do need some ballance in your life. In order for society to respect you you must respect society. He bairly respected society and now society barly respects him.

Re:Kinda Sad. (5, Insightful)

Peter Cooper (660482) | more than 6 years ago | (#17628596)

That's a nice sentiment, but it's not really true. Look at Steve Jobs. He's not known for his respect to others.

I think I'd rewrite it to say.. in order for society to respect you, you must know how to manipulate society.

Re:Kinda Sad. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17630014)

Yet millions of people hang on his every fucking word. Jesus, it must have escaped your notice that some of the most brilliant business leaders and entrepreneurs are borderline sociopaths?

Re:Kinda Sad. (2, Insightful)

radarsat1 (786772) | more than 6 years ago | (#17628968)

I think its a common and sad misconception to think that people with alternative lifestyles are "disrespecting society". Usually they have alternative lifestyles because "society" doesn't satisfy them.

To put it another way... they don't go out of their way to piss off society, it's just that society is so easily hurt, and they're not going to let that slow them down.

(caveat: sure, some people _do_ go out of their way to piss off society. Also, of course there are limits. And there are those who understand those limits and those who don't. I'm not making excuses here, but I think its a little unfair to say that people who don't choose to wear a tie and work 9-5 are "disrepecting society".)

Re:Kinda Sad. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17629844)

alternative lifestyles

BUTT RAPER DRAPER!

Re:Kinda Sad. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17629196)

Why is it sadder to see "a pioneer live the rest of his life in near poverity" than to see anyone not born with his talents, who may be kind and thoughtful rather than "shouting at anyone smoking anywhere near him" living in abject poverty?

Treat people like shit and they will reciprocate. 1+1=?

Re:Kinda Sad. (2, Insightful)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 6 years ago | (#17629360)

kind of sad but really his choice.
He has had and blown more money than most of us well ever have.
The man made trips to India for fun.
In many ways not that different than rock stars that blow all their money. Lots of good hard working people end up with problems not of their own making. Many of John Drapers problems where of his own making. How many times did he go to jail for freaking?
He wrote a word processing program he didn't cure smallpox or feed the poor.
I feel bad that he made so many bad choices but I am impressed by all the help and chances he gets.
A lot of people seem to really care about him and try to help him. How if he could just make some better choices.

Re:Kinda Sad. (2, Insightful)

boyfaceddog (788041) | more than 6 years ago | (#17630300)

Wow, that is such a load of Ameri-centric crap.

Here are some interesting bits of trivia you might wish to ponder.
1) Not everyone believes that the great Euopean-derived society is either correct 100% of the time or even basically ethical. These people do not care for western society's respect.
2) Contrary to what everyone in America thinks, having money does not prove you are better than other people. Witness Ms. Hilton, President Bush, and Mr. Gates as examples of this.

What is sad is that so many people look down their noses as someone who has contributed so much over the course of his life and ask for so little in return.

Re:Kinda Sad. (1)

GeckoX (259575) | more than 6 years ago | (#17630574)

Is this how we measure someone's worth and success? By how one fits into 'society'?

What is poverty? Have you ever thought about that? Is a homeless person poor because they don't have a car and a wide screen TV? What if those things wouldn't bring them any sort of happiness anyways?

How many hugely successful people that are highly respected by society end up so unhappy that they end it all themselves?

I'd suggest that the kind of attitude that you're presenting is very very dangerous indeed. There are as many different ways to live a life as there are people living it. Try not to judge those that choose a different path than you.

Personally, I have great respect for anyone that chooses to do their own thing, regardless of what others think or do because of it.

Why so much WSJ? (1)

Ninjaesque One (902204) | more than 6 years ago | (#17628524)

I read the WSJ, and it seems that every other day or so, a WSJ tech story comes onto /. Is it just some special, year-long coincidence, or does the WSJ have a godlike tech section in addition to the greatest business section ever?

Re:Why so much WSJ? (1)

iamdrscience (541136) | more than 6 years ago | (#17628786)

Yeah, I read the WSJ pretty regularly too and I don't mind so much that a lot of their articles get posted to slashdot as I do that they get posted waaaay after they're published in the WSJ. I mean, if you read the WSJ it's like you're getting more than half of the interesting posts on slashdot but a week or two in advance.

Re:Why so much WSJ? (1)

joshv (13017) | more than 6 years ago | (#17629220)

Throw in Wired, OSNews, the NY Times, and Arstechnica - you'll get about 95% of slashdot articles, days in advance.

I just come here for the intelligent discussions.

How Strange (3, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 6 years ago | (#17628534)

Mr. Wozniak says Mr. Draper's problem is that his skills lie in technology rather in making business deals or starting a company. "He didn't come from a business orientation," says Mr. Wozniak.
That's funny, "not coming from a business orientation" is pretty desirable when I'm looking for someone to talk to. I think Mr. Draper's real problems were that he picked the wrong friends when he was starting out & incurred legal fees he couldn't afford. If one of my friends was ever living in a vehicle, I'd be certain to lend a hand. Especially if I was some Apple hot shot. I guess my definition of "friend" differs from Mr. Wozniak's. A bright man under utilized in our society. And the article points out all of his problems. Although he made mistakes, I doubt his situation is entirely his fault. Another misunderstood engineer.

Re:How Strange (2, Insightful)

jcr (53032) | more than 6 years ago | (#17628624)

I think Mr. Draper's real problems were that he picked the wrong friends when he was starting out & incurred legal fees he couldn't afford.

Well, getting busted didn't help, either. After he called up Tricky Dick, the FBI didn't waste much time tracking him down.

-jcr

Re:How Strange (1)

Reality Master 101 (179095) | more than 6 years ago | (#17628778)

A bright man under utilized in our society. And the article points out all of his problems. Although he made mistakes, I doubt his situation is entirely his fault. Another misunderstood engineer.

With certain exceptions (e.g., things you can't control, like some forms of cancer, mental illness, etc), someone's problems are ALWAYS their own fault. For example, if your boss screws you, it's YOUR fault for not being careful.

Re:How Strange (1)

thegnu (557446) | more than 6 years ago | (#17629534)

With certain exceptions (e.g., things you can't control, like some forms of cancer, mental illness, etc)

You shouldn't sit in front of the microwave, and you should learn another language. [slashdot.org] ;-)

But yeah. There are plenty of things you can do to avoid cancer. But I'm not going to tell you what they are. Because you won't do them anyway. I don't.

Re:How Strange (3, Informative)

tinkerghost (944862) | more than 6 years ago | (#17629028)

Especially if I was some Apple hot shot. I guess my definition of "friend" differs from Mr. Wozniak's.
I doubt it differs that much, from the article, The Woz has paid for his legal bills.

Re:How Strange (5, Insightful)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 6 years ago | (#17629198)

If one of my friends was ever living in a vehicle, I'd be certain to lend a hand.

Says you. Without personally knowing the people involved, you can't possibly say that. My best friend from childhood - more like a brother, really - has been homeless for well over a decade. I've gotten him three different jobs that he held for a couple weeks before not showing up one day. He's sane, inasmuch as he's acting rationally: he's not willing to invest the responsibility necessary to maintain a fixed living space. What more can I do to help him?

Maybe Woz tried to give Cap'n a hand up a few too many times and got tired of it. Again, without being personally involved in the relationship, you can't know.

So? (2, Informative)

Das Auge (597142) | more than 6 years ago | (#17628566)

Being intelligent doesn't mean that you'll be rich. Becoming rich takes a certain amount of business acumen or just plain luck.

He obviously didn't make smart business decisions and chose to go to a rave instead of a business meeting and now he's paying (or not) for it.

This is no way means that I don't think that he did some great things or wasn't an interesting person. It just seems like the WSJ is trying to go for the easy, tear-jerker, story.

Re:So? (2, Interesting)

Rob the Bold (788862) | more than 6 years ago | (#17629986)

Being intelligent doesn't mean that you'll be rich. Becoming rich takes a certain amount of business acumen or just plain luck.

Ah, good ol' Ecclesiates 9:11.

This is no way means that I don't think that he did some great things or wasn't an interesting person. It just seems like the WSJ is trying to go for the easy, tear-jerker, story.

I guess in the thinking of the WSJ, a skilled and intelligent guy failing to become rich is a tear-jerker. Sure, money does offer a certain degree of freedom, but too much can be just as enslaving -- or so I've heard. If I find out I'll let you know.

money means everything (1)

teh_chrizzle (963897) | more than 6 years ago | (#17630130)

Being intelligent doesn't mean that you'll be rich. Becoming rich takes a certain amount of business acumen or just plain luck.

i object. the purest measure of something is the money that it produces. intelligence, charm, good looks, it can all be measured by money.

look at AOL, the backstreet boys, and donald trump. these are all things that have produced tons of cash and are therefore brilliant!

look at ideas that haven't made any money: mozilla, woodstock, the red cross. these are all terrible ideas. if they were good ideas, they would have made lots of money.

Tag: "buttraperdraper" (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17628574)

nt

Parallels? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17628592)

When I was reading about this guy, I couldn't help but think of the similarities between him and RMS. I couldn't decide if it was amazing how two similar people could end up going in two different directions, or if this was foreshadowing the future for RMS.

Re:Parallels? (4, Informative)

xtracto (837672) | more than 6 years ago | (#17628896)

couldn't help but think of the similarities between him and RMS. I couldn't decide if it was amazing how two similar people could end up going in two different directions, or if this was foreshadowing the future for RMS.

Interesting... I guess the main issue is that although they might share a similarity on the "hippiesque" attitude they are certainly different.

Anyway, I feel really sorry for Mr. Draper, there was a time during my early University years (1998) when I read a lot about the old school hacking/phreaking/cracking scene. I got amazed with them and even tried to reproduce the different circuits (boxes) built just for fun (although they did not worked in the Mexican TELMEX company... well the one with the diode to avoid a call to be charged did kind of worked =o) ...

I would sugest The Hackers Crackdown [chriswaltrip.com] for a really nice read about those times... I remember also reading some interviews made to "Dark Avenger" [wikipedia.org] (a girl made the interview, which made it more interesting)... if you do not know who D.A. was, he was one of the best virus creators back when viruses did not need a user to click "Yes, install this virus on my computer" button...

Ah the old days... to think that some guys made loads of money with movies like Hackers, Sneakers, The Wizard among others commercializing in *some* way what this guy did...

Someone should rise some funds for these guy... I always thought of him as a genius

lCock (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17628652)

the accounting consider tHat right Discussion I'm that has lost just yet, but I'm lost its earlier

Price of an interview (5, Interesting)

jfoust2 (43840) | more than 6 years ago | (#17628698)

Back in the middle 80s, when I was writing for computer magazines, I was amazed that a young pup writer like me could get an interview with someone as famous as Mr. Crunch. I remember reading the Esquire blue-box article when I was a teen.

I met him at a trade show. When I asked for some time to sit down for the interview, he insisted we go back to his hotel and conduct the interview in the gym. I balked, eventually only getting a few quotes and a picture. It took me a while before I figured out what he really wanted. Apparently Mr. Crunch thought I was cute.

Re:Price of an interview (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17628846)

"Butt raper Draper" is the nickname that comes to mind. Apparently a common story.

Re:Price of an interview (1)

Viol8 (599362) | more than 6 years ago | (#17628872)

Well if he's gay and people knew it that probably wouldn't have helped him in the 1970s corporate world much either I imagine.

Re:Price of an interview (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17628978)

if he's gay it wouldn't have helped him

Eh, if he was straight and came on to random much younger females left, right and center it wouldn't have done him any favours either.

Re:Price of an interview (1)

Viol8 (599362) | more than 6 years ago | (#17629074)

Sorry , but it could have made a big difference to his image. He might possibly have been seen as more of "one of the boys" and in corporate circles thats a Big Deal.

Re:Price of an interview (1)

YankeeInExile (577704) | more than 6 years ago | (#17629120)

Nobody but John knows what his motivations were, but I don't think he was gay ... of all the dozens of "oncers" I know of none who engaged in what could be called, by any stretch of the imagination, 'sex'. (e.g. there was no nudity, outside of what would be typical for a gym ... there was no genital contact, no climax, not even any notable tumescence).

If I had to guess, I'd say it was more a power play. John could cajole you into doing something you didn't feel comfortable with, as a gatekeeper to some future benefit. Creepy, no doubt. Sexual, I never saw it that way.

Years later, I had a boyfriend who had very a very similar experience to mine out at that condo in the east bay just out by the Caldecott tunnel ... what was the name of the place?...

Re:Price of an interview (5, Interesting)

YankeeInExile (577704) | more than 6 years ago | (#17628948)

Hacker 1: Did you ever work out with Crunch?
Hacker 2: Once ...

There were a lot of "oncers" running around the bay area in that era. The best thing about meeting crunch wasn't meeting crunch -- it was all the hangers on that you met. Steve S. The guys from Berkeley who did the FatMac hack. Edjik. Perry F. John Perry. The list could go on for pages...

Re:Price of an interview (2, Insightful)

qwijibo (101731) | more than 6 years ago | (#17629160)

He's definitely into young boys. When I met him, it was pretty obvious that he was a big pervert.

Even worse, he seemed like a total fake. He could take credit for things he picked up from other people, but didn't seem to be able to do himself the kinds of things he talked about. The thing that struck me as odd is how he didn't get how I was bouncing between machines at Netcom without using a password since they deleted any .rhosts files they found. I would think the mythical Crunch would realize that a script could create the file and .login could erase it a fraction of a second later.

Re:Price of an interview (0, Troll)

British (51765) | more than 6 years ago | (#17630630)

IIRC he was showing kids how to do "Crunch-ups", and that's where things kind of went downhill.

Re:Price of an interview (3, Interesting)

redwoodtree (136298) | more than 6 years ago | (#17629668)

Actually, not a troll at all. The same thing happened to me.

I was hanging with friends in the Bay Area one night when one of them said "Hey, there's captain crunch". He was just hanging out. So I started talking to him and he offered to show me some things and talk to me more. Being 19 and so excited to meet one of the all-time heroes of phreaking I followed.

Next thing I knew Mr Crunch was on my back (literally) and basically getting himself off. He's an odd, odd, odd odd odd bird. I shook him off and took off as quickly as I could.

interesting (2, Insightful)

nomadic (141991) | more than 6 years ago | (#17628734)

I think the whole situation mirrors, at a larger scale, a common situation that occurred in the 90s. While computer careers opened up big time, just because you had technical skills you didn't necessarily end up in a well-paying job; through poor social skills, lousy geographical location, or just plain bad luck you might have missed the gravy train. I'm sure there are people here who are on one side or the other of a technical income divide; one guy might be making close to minimum wage at radio shack, while his friends, with similar backgrounds and expertise, become IT pros.

Angry Bacon Man (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17628754)

This is like the Ghost of Christmas future for /. nerds. Don't let this happen to you:

The first course arrived. "The bacon's too greasy, I can't accept these," he shouted at the waiter. Mr. Draper sends back his bacon about 70% of the time. He says that since he has no opposing teeth, the bacon needs to be crisp enough to break off in his mouth. He lost most of his teeth from infrequent dental care, which he blames on his lack of health insurance.

After breakfast, Mr. Draper returned to his one-room apartment beside a four-lane expressway. The apartment was in squalor, with open cereal boxes, clothes in trash bags, computers and old newspapers strewn about. Mr. Draper left an angry voice message for a client who hadn't paid for some programming work. He fretted that without the money he would have difficulty covering his electricity bill that month.

Price of an interview (-1, Troll)

jfoust2 (43840) | more than 6 years ago | (#17628760)

Back in the middle 80s, when I was writing for computer magazines, I was amazed that a young pup writer like me could get an interview with someone as famous as Mr. Crunch. I remember reading the Esquire blue-box article when I was a teen.

I met him at a trade show. When I asked for some time to sit down for the interview, he repeatedly insisted we go back to his hotel and conduct the interview in the gym while we worked out. I balked, eventually only getting a few quotes and a picture.

It took me a while before I figured out what he really wanted. The other more experienced journalists laughed and laughed when I explained my puzzlement. Apparently Mr. Crunch thought I was cute.

Re:Price of an interview (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17629000)

Well... he is blind, cut him some slack. :)

Moo (5, Funny)

Chacham (981) | more than 6 years ago | (#17628850)

Woz is amazing.

A genius at electronics, he could not start a business for his life. So, he created an alter-ego, by taking everything that he isn't, and putting it into one new character. He names his new character as any techy would, by its function, and Mr. Jobs came to be. For a first name, he simply chose his own.

Think about it:

1) Can you imagine how two people so opposite can get together so well?
2) Have you ever seen the two of them together?

Apparently, he tried pawning off his DUPED (dual-user personality electronic disorder) to the cap'n, but it a bit of a crunch Drapier refused. Now, Woz is taking his sweet revenge with public humiliation.

Re:Moo (1)

PingSpike (947548) | more than 6 years ago | (#17629154)

Wait, wait, wait...Are you trying to tell me the Woz built Steve Jobs out of used pinball machine parts and apple prototype circuit boards?

Re:Moo (3, Funny)

Hoi Polloi (522990) | more than 6 years ago | (#17629260)

You need physical proof. I think someone should break into Woz's home and search for a hidden stash of black turtlenecks.

Seen in xeroxed mens room posters at the HOPE cons (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17628888)

Captain Crunch is Watching You Poop.

Re:Seen in xeroxed mens room posters at the HOPE c (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17629212)

Hello new tag! captaincrunchiswatchingyoupoop

informative trollk0reTrollkore (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17628992)

VOLUME OF NETBSD Op3nBSD, as the fun to be again. would you like to

Man, woz is out of touch. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17629082)

Draper has no computer technical skills whatsoever, phones != computers. He doesn't understand the basics of modern computer technology, nor does he grasp simple concepts like reading documentation. He's spent some time asking moronic questions (which don't always involve openbsd) on the openbsd mailing list.

http://marc.theaimsgroup.com/?l=openbsd-misc&w=2&r =1&s=draper&q=b [theaimsgroup.com]

Just leave him alone (5, Insightful)

plopez (54068) | more than 6 years ago | (#17629102)

That's probably what he wants. Just because he doesn't have a bazillion dollars doesn't mean he is a failure or pathetic. Just because he doesn't want to, or have the cut throat personality required to, make it in business does n't mean he is worthless. It sounds like Baker *did* have that cut-throat personality, does that make him better because he made more money.

I mean this is the WSJ, where the only thing that matters is money and once you get enough of it you are a demi-god who can do no wrong. Why do we worship the rich like this? It makes no sense.

I love this part:
"He set about preparing the meal -- obtained free from a Whole Foods worker who leaves outdated products near a dumpster at a prearranged time."

Now there's a guy who is smart, why pay for food when you can get it for free *and* keep perfectly good food from spoiling? Anyone paying retail for food is a sucker.

Nice qoute from Woz:
"But, actually, John is one of the happiest guys I know, no matter what his situation seems."

So just leave him alone.

Worshiping the rich (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17629420)

This post will likely but unfortunately be modded as "troll" considering the vast number of athiests on /., but it's intended to provoke thought. If you are not a Christian, please think before modding.

Many so-called "Christians" are in reality heathens, who worship money and the rich. These people sneer at, curse, and often even spit on the homeless, despite the fact that the man they consider their Lord and Savior spent his entire adult life as a homeless person!

Re:Just leave him alone (1)

the_humeister (922869) | more than 6 years ago | (#17629606)

There are several facts that counter what you've said, and they come directly from the article:

1) He was ambitious enough to start his own company, twice

2) He's been in legal trouble and required other people's help

3) He's had multiple employment opportunities that went nowhere

So, maybe he does want to be left alone now, but back then (just several years ago) he sure didn't.

Re:Just leave him alone (1)

SecurityGuy (217807) | more than 6 years ago | (#17630466)

Sure, if he's happy, good for him! If I had to choose between money and happiness, I'd take happiness hands down, every time.

That said, this is also a lesson for all of us who could not find happiness subsisting on the charity of others (eating food left by a dumpster, cooked in a van). It's a story of unmet potential. A brilliant man whose accomplishments are so much less than they could have been. I don't care how much money he does or doesn't have. I'm saddened to think what a difference he could have made, and didn't.

Re:Just leave him alone (2, Interesting)

GeckoX (259575) | more than 6 years ago | (#17630498)

Every big city has the proverbial bag person that everyone knows of, has seen, even talked to whatever. Very often these people are WAY more interesting than they are given credit for. There is a guy in London (Canada) that is a tenured university prof. He has published books. Taking the time to actually talk to him will reveal a couple of things. He's brilliant. He's eccentric. He's not like you and me. He's one of the happiest people you'd ever meet.

Some people are very different, and race has nothing to do with it ;)

Being in the same room with Draper (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17629216)

I don't know if any of you have had the "pleasure" of being in the room with John Draper, but the man's breath is bad enough to gag a maggot. That, coupled with his attraction to young males below the age of consent, and a real lack of social skills make him a less than desirable person to be around. It's no wonder that few people want to have anything to do with him these days. Had he kept his nose clean while he was at Apple, it's likely that his future would have been a lot brighter than it is today. Instead, he was convicted of wire fraud and it's been mostly coasting or downhill for the last 30 years.

WSJ opened up story for Slashdot? (2, Interesting)

xmas2003 (739875) | more than 6 years ago | (#17629448)

Yet another nifty page-1 article by the WSJ. When this first came out, I thought it would make a great Slashdot submission, but they had it behind the pay/subscriber-only wall, so I didn't submit it.

Interesting that a few days later, they have made it readable by the masses (under the "Today's Free Features" section) and Carl from the WSJ then submitted to Slashdot. My guess is the URL may not work tomorrow, but this is smart marketing on the WSJ's part to give people a taste of their excellent.

yeah, no social skills, how surprising (1)

delong (125205) | more than 6 years ago | (#17630094)

Mr. Wozniak says Mr. Draper's problem is that his skills lie in technology rather in making business deals or starting a company. "He didn't come from a business orientation," says Mr. Wozniak.'"

His problem is that he's socially pathological.
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