The legendary 'Captain Crunch' - who inspired the young Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak in their 'phone phreak' days - has joined communications company OnInstant.

'Captain Crunch' has a real - and respected - name, John Draper. Draper has a host of notable contributions to the Mac industry under his belt. He was a pioneer of personal computing in the 1970s, emerging as a leading light in the legendary Homebrew Computer Club.

The name 'Captain Crunch' comes from his discovery in 1971 that a small toy whistle given away free with Cap'n Crunch cereal could be used to trick the US phone network into giving free telephone calls, a practice which became known as 'phone phreaking'.

His phreaking activities - which meant he could illegally control the US phone network - was written about in 1971's Esquire Magazine. The article, "Secrets of the Little Blue Box", (which referenced the Draper-developed electronic device which made the tone sounds to control the network), intrigued Jobs and Wozniak so much they tracked Draper down.

Draper's influence on Apple's co-founders

They did so, and he taught them how to make their own boxes, which legend claims they sold door-to-door on the Berkeley campus.

As a leader in the Homebrew collective, Draper also introduced the two Apple Computer founders to computing. Draper eventually joined Apple (as employee number 13), where he designed telephone interface boards and developed hardware and software for the Apple II.

Despite a brief interruption, when convicted in 1972 on phone fraud charges, Draper's plaudits continue: he implemented the first FORTH language on the Apple II, using it to write the world’s first word processor, which was modified for commercial sale and released as Easy Writer.

He then spent 20 minutes porting FORTH to the PC, and 48 hours later was able to deliver Easy Writer to IBM, beating Bill Gates and the early Microsoft team on the project. While working for IBM, Draper created the "Virtual Machine Interface", a screen and keyboard driver.

He continued his work with Computer Aided Design, porting AutoCAD to the Apollo DN-3000, Sun, and Mac. While working with the "Future Group", an elite group of programmers, Draper developed 3D Graphical User Interfaces. This led him to designing visual user interfaces for the Macintosh. These were used to write "Screenplay", a story boarding and scripting program used by movie producers in Hollywood.

Draper's extensive Mac industry experience - going back to before the invention of the first Mac - will be put to good use at OnInstant. He will be directly responsible for bringing OnInstant's presently Windows-only products to the Mac.

He has become director of the FollowMe! development group, which is responsible for cross platform and mobile device compatibility, innovation and development of the OnInstant Internet b2b communications network.

‘FollowMe!’ is a unique patent-pending service that automatically re-routes calls to whatever voice enabled device the user is using.