Aug 15, 2007
People who remember the phone phreaking scene of the 1980's will no doubt be saddened to hear of the passing of Joe Engressia, who used the name Joybubbles toward the end of his life. Engressia, who was blind since birth, was famous for his sense of perfect pitch that let him whistle a 2600 Hz tone that was used to denote a usable telephony trunk during the days before electronic telephony switching. Playing this tone into a phone line at the time would allow someone with a blue box to manipulate the telephone switching network manually. Engressia was also known for figuring out which pairs of notes on the piano which, when recorded and played back at twice normal speed, could be used to generate the other tones necessary for manipulating routing.
It is thought that he died between 3 and 7 August 2007, as he was found in his apartment after going missing for a few days. A coroner's inquest is underway, but it is thought that he died of a heart attack at the age of 58.
Seeya 'round, Whistler... I wish we could have jammed together.
I'm sorry that what happened, happened.