Computer underground Digest Sun Mar 14 1993 Volume 5 : Issue 20 ISSN 1004-042X Editors: Ji

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Computer underground Digest Sun Mar 14 1993 Volume 5 : Issue 20 ISSN 1004-042X Editors: Jim Thomas and Gordon Meyer (TK0JUT2@NIU.BITNET) Archivist: Brendan Kehoe Shadow-Archivists: Dan Carosone / Paul Southworth Ralph Sims / Jyrki Kuoppala Ian Dickinson Copy Eater: Etaion Shrdlu, Senior CONTENTS, #5.19 (Mar 14 1993) File 1--Steve Jackson Games WINS! (fwd) File 1--On-Line GEnie Interview with Bruce Sterling Cu-Digest is a weekly electronic journal/newsletter. Subscriptions are available at no cost from The editors may be contacted by voice (815-753-6430), fax (815-753-6302) or U.S. mail at: Jim Thomas, Department of Sociology, NIU, DeKalb, IL 60115. Issues of CuD can also be found in the Usenet news group; on CompuServe in DL0 and DL4 of the IBMBBS SIG, DL1 of LAWSIG, and DL0 and DL12 of TELECOM; on GEnie in the PF*NPC RT libraries and in the VIRUS/SECURITY library; from America Online in the PC Telecom forum under "computing newsletters;" On Delphi in the General Discussion database of the Internet SIG; on the PC-EXEC BBS at (414) 789-4210; in Europe from the ComNet in Luxembourg BBS (++352) 466893; ANONYMOUS FTP SITES: UNITED STATES: ( in /pub/cud ( in /cud in /pub/mirror/cud AUSTRALIA: ( in /pub/text/CuD. EUROPE: in pub/doc/cud. (Finland) in pub/cud (United Kingdom) Back issues also may be obtained from the mail server at COMPUTER UNDERGROUND DIGEST is an open forum dedicated to sharing information among computerists and to the presentation and debate of diverse views. CuD material may be reprinted for non-profit as long as the source is cited. Some authors do copyright their material, and they should be contacted for reprint permission. It is assumed that non-personal mail to the moderators may be reprinted unless otherwise specified. Readers are encouraged to submit reasoned articles relating to computer culture and communication. Articles are preferred to short responses. Please avoid quoting previous posts unless absolutely necessary. DISCLAIMER: The views represented herein do not necessarily represent the views of the moderators. Digest contributors assume all responsibility for ensuring that articles submitted do not violate copyright protections. ---------------------------------------------------------------------- Date: Sun, 14 Mar 1993 23:25:44 GMT From: (Christopher Davis) Subject: File 1--Steve Jackson Games WINS! (fwd) ((MODERATORS' NOTE: THIS JUST IN: Steve Jackson Games has won it's suit. There is no word yet on whether there will be an appeal. Details will follow.)) +++++++ Start of forwarded message +++++++ Organization--Texas Internet Consulting We won. Pete Kennedy, our attorney at George, Donaldson & Ford, called me with the news about 3:30 today. Apparently the decision came in late Friday while Pete was at the CFP. The judge ruled for us on both the PPA and ECPA, though he says that taking the computer out the door was not an "interception." (I have not read the decision yet, so no quotes here.) He awarded damages of $1,000 per plaintiff under the ECPA. Under the PPA, he awarded SJ Games $42,259 for lost profits in 1990, and out of pocket costs of $8,781. Our attorneys are also entitled to submit a request for their costs. No word on appeal yet. Look for a more complete and coherent account after we all read the decision. Please copy this announcement to all electronic and other media. Thanks for your support through all this! ------------------------------ Date: 07 Mar 93 18:00:55 EST From: Gordon Meyer <72307.1502@COMPUSERVE.COM> Subject: File 2--On-Line GEnie Interview with Bruce Sterling GEnie talks with Bruce Sterling: This file comes from the Science Fiction and Fantasy RoundTable (SFRT, page 470) on GEnie, and is Copyright (c) 1992 by GEnie. *** To sign up on GEnie, follow these simple steps: 1. Set your communications software for half-duplex (local echo), at 300, 1200 or 2400 baud. 2. Dial toll free: 1-800-638-8369 (or in Canada, 1-800-387- 8330). Upon connection, enter HHH 3. At the U#= prompt, enter XTX99381,SFRT then press . 4. Have a major credit card ready. In the U.S., you may also use your checking account number. For more information in the United States or Canada, call 1-800-638-9636 or write: GEnie, c/o GE Information Services, P.O. Box 6403, Rockville, MD 20850-1785. *** 21:30EST 11/09/92 <[Host] THE.HAMMER> The GEnie clock says that it's 9:30 ET, so we'll start now. ** <[Host] THE.HAMMER> Room is now listen-only. Room is now in listen-only mode. <[Host] THE.HAMMER> Our RTC guest tonight is Bruce Sterling, author of the <[Host] THE.HAMMER> novels INVOLUTION OCEAN, THE ARTIFICIAL KID, <[Host] THE.HAMMER> SCHISMATRIX, and ISLANDS IN THE NET, editor of the <[Host] THE.HAMMER> cyberpunk anthology MIRRORSHADES, co-author with <[Host] THE.HAMMER> William "NEUROMANCER" Gibson of THE DIFFERENCE ENGINE, <[Host] THE.HAMMER> and now the author of the non-fiction work THE HACKER <[Host] THE.HAMMER> CRACKDOWN. Welcome, Bruce. <[Guest] BRUCES> What a pleasure to see all those titles spelled correctly *8-) <[Host] THE.HAMMER> Bruce's new book is concerned with questions about the new electronic frontier. <[Guest] BRUCES> Now if we could only PRONOUNCE them *8-/ <[Host] THE.HAMMER> Do a /rai if you have a question for Bruce, and I will call on you. <[Host] THE.HAMMER> Bruce, I'll lead off. Your book is called THE HACKER CRACKDOWN. How do you define "hacker"? <[Guest] BRUCES> Whoops.. oh dear, my fingertips have fallen off... no, false alarm. Do ask anything, people, don't be shy. <[Guest] BRUCES> How do I define hacker. Well, there was the good ol' 60s definition, and then there's the rather more sinister 90s definition. <[Host] THE.HAMMER> What are they? <[Guest] BRUCES> Generally I go with the cop definition, since it's the one in greater public usage, meaning a computer trespasser. <[Guest] BRUCES> When you see 'hacker' in headlines it invariably means somebody who's committed sillicitly. <[Guest] BRUCES> Wow! I mean someone who'se committed computer abuse and invaded <[Guest] BRUCES> a system illicitly. <[Host] THE.HAMMER> Okay, we have a question from DANTECH... <[Katie] DANTECH> I wonder if you think there's any way we can reclaim the term? <[Katie] DANTECH> I was a programmer, and to me it was a term of praise, a gonzo programmer who could get into the code and really make it sit up and beg... <[Katie] DANTECH> I get upset with the other definition. it takes a hacker to be a hacker in the new sense, but not all hackers do that sort of thing. if you follow me. ;-> anyway, does your book emphasize the difference? <[Guest] BRUCES> Reclaim the term "hacker?" Sure. About the same time that I reclaim the term "cyberpunk." Ha ha ha ha! <[Guest] BRUCES> My book does make the distinction between "hacker" in its better sense and the system-cracking hacker, but I'm afraid it's a losing battle. <[Host] THE.HAMMER> Katie, a followup? <[Katie] DANTECH> I'm hoping we get to GURPS later, but that's it for now. <[Host] THE.HAMMER> Okay. <[Host] THE.HAMMER> P.RETZBACH is next... <[Pete] P.RETZBACH> hi ... I want to ask about this stuff I hear about al gore and the "network america" ... can you comment?? <[Guest] BRUCES> Comment on Al? Sure! Let me state publicly that I'm taking complete gloating glee at the prospect of Souther Yuppie Reptiles in Power! <[Guest] BRUCES> But more seriously -- yes, NREN is clearly a very big deal and I for one have high hopes for it. <[Guest] BRUCES> I think it's very encouraging that we now have a highly placed federal official with a firm grasp on modern telecommunications. <[Host] THE.HAMMER> Follow-up, Pete? <[Pete] P.RETZBACH> yes ... <[Pete] P.RETZBACH> so you really believe it's not too early or ambitious?? <[Guest] BRUCES> What if it is? I don't see what we have to lose. A few billion? So what? <[Guest] BRUCES> "Information superhighways" sounds like a swell notion to me. <[Host] THE.HAMMER> Next up is B.LUHMAN. <[King Arthur] B.LUHMAN> What if any is the difference between Hackers and Phreakers? (not sure spelling) <[Guest] BRUCES> Well, "phreaks" are mostly into telephone manipulation while "hackers' crack systems, but that is a harder distinction to make now <[Guest] BRUCES> that the telphone system is becoming digitalized. <[Guest] BRUCES> "Phreaks" tend to be into petty theft-of-service more than hackers, too. <[Host] THE.HAMMER> Follow-up? <[King Arthur] B.LUHMAN> yes.. which is easier to get caught? <[Host] THE.HAMMER> Can you repeat that? It was garbled. <[King Arthur] B.LUHMAN> yes.. which is easier to get caught? <[Guest] BRUCES> Oh.... Well, that depends on what kind of crime you're committing and how openly you brag about it. <[King Arthur] B.LUHMAN> ic thnx! <[Guest] BRUCES> It also depends on who the local cops are and if they're hip to telecomm <[Host] THE.HAMMER> Next up is Martha Soukup, SFRT assistant sysop.... <[Martha] SFWA-SOUKUP> I think you should introduce "sillicitly" into the language. Noun. Anyway.... <[Martha] SFWA-SOUKUP> Of the people you met researching the book, who was, or were, the most fun <[Martha] SFWA-SOUKUP> to hang out with? <[Guest] BRUCES> Oh, Kapor and Barlow, no question. <[Host] THE.HAMMER> Follow-up? <[Martha] SFWA-SOUKUP> Howcum? <[Guest] BRUCES> John Perry Barlow is the heaviest dude I know! <[Host] THE.HAMMER> Second follow-up, Martha? <[Martha] SFWA-SOUKUP> Maybe you could elaborate? (Or does everyone need to buy the book? ) <[Guest] BRUCES> Cops are always a bit menacing; hackers hard to trust. <[Guest] BRUCES> But millionaires and Grateful Dead lyricists have their own odd kind of charm, believe me, <[Guest] BRUCES> It's a little hard to describe charisma. <[Host] THE.HAMMER> Next up is Mike Whalen.... <[MIKE] M.WHALEN5> Hi, Bruce. <[Guest] BRUCES> Yo. <[MIKE] M.WHALEN5> I finished you book just this weekend.. great read. I wanted to ask you... <[MIKE] M.WHALEN5> I have been on BBSs here in New Orleans since 1984 and I can remember a prominent Hacker/Cracker/Phreaker scene.. but this seems to have died in recent years.. would you feel this is true of the whole scene? <[Guest] BRUCES> Well, I think the scene has changed its character. But the digital underground definitely exists, believe me. <[Guest] BRUCES> I could upload some proof if you're interested. <[Host] THE.HAMMER> Follow-up? <[MIKE] M.WHALEN5> Oh.. I do know it exists. Proof? What do you mean by Proof? ;) <[Guest] BRUCES> There's a big hacker convention coming up in Houston nemy hard disk. <[MIKE] M.WHALEN5> I am not doubting you. Btw, I could not finish the 911 document. Thanks, Bruce. <[Guest] BRUCES> I gotta learn to stop doing that *8-( <[Guest] BRUCES> Anyway, there were a lot of Norleans people at this hacker con last year. <[Host] THE.HAMMER> A brief announcement: <[Host] THE.HAMMER> There is a contest in this RTC tonight, sponsored by <[Host] THE.HAMMER> Bantam Books and GEnie. The first three people to <[Host] THE.HAMMER> correctly answer a trivia question later in the RTC <[Host] THE.HAMMER> will win free autographed copies of THE HACKER <[Host] THE.HAMMER> CRACKDOWN. <[Host] THE.HAMMER> Next up is Pete Retzbach again... <[Guest] BRUCES> Unless my wrists fall off *8-( <[Pete] P.RETZBACH> did the feds REALLY believe Steve Jackson was publishing a hacker manual?? <[Guest] BRUCES> I don't think they did, but I think they were anxious for a convenient excuse. <[Guest] BRUCES> I think the USSS realized immediately that they'd blown it, but they hoped the whole thing would remain completely obscure. <[Host] THE.HAMMER> Follow-up? <[Pete] P.RETZBACH> thank you <[Host] THE.HAMMER> Next up is Kate Daniel again... <[Katie] DANTECH> How do you mean, "an excuse"? what else did they want to nail him for? <[Katie] DANTECH> And, my main question, how is Kapor's group doing? <[Guest] BRUCES> I think they had his gaming bulletin-board, "Illuminati," figured for a very serious Legion of Doom hangout. <[Guest] BRUCES> They thought it would be full of hot passwords and such. <[Katie] DANTECH> government paranoia? <[Guest] BRUCES> Kapor's group is "an insurrection trying to become an institution." <[Guest] BRUCES> Not paranoia. Just a mistake. The problem came in trying to brazen out their blunder. If they'd just handed it back and apologized... <[Guest] BRUCES> Jackson would not have beat the drums so loudly. <[Host] THE.HAMMER> Follow-ups? <[Katie] DANTECH> the question on paranoia was all. <[Host] THE.HAMMER> Next up is Gary Frazier... <[GaryF] G.FRAZIER3> Bruce, do you think that the law enforcement community has the technical skills to deal with hacking's negative aspects? <[Guest] BRUCES> No, they don't; but then again, neither does anybody else! <[Host] THE.HAMMER> Follow-up? <[GaryF] G.FRAZIER3> Are they flailing around, trying to give the impression that they're DOING SOMETHING? <[Guest] BRUCES> Things have been quiet for some months. However now that the Presidential campaigns are over... <[Guest] BRUCES> I very much expect to see the US Secret Service get into the electronic <[Guest] BRUCES> fray once again and with renewed vigor. <[Host] THE.HAMMER> Any follow-up, Gary? <[GaryF] G.FRAZIER3> Nope. Thanks, Bruce! <[Host] THE.HAMMER> Next up is Tom Weber <[Tom] T.WEBER7> Is the "any unlocked door is an invitation" morality prevalent among the young hackers you've encountered, or has that been exaggerated by the media? Is most hacking politically motivated, or just for kicks and personal gain? <[Guest] BRUCES> Kicks. Prurience. Ego-tripping. Role-playing. Neurosis. Intellectual curiosity. Lack of other outlets. Teenage high spirits... <[Guest] BRUCES> The "unlocked door" rap still gets a lot of play in hacker circles, but I've always found it kind of hard to take seriously. <[Host] THE.HAMMER> Follow-up, Tom? <[Tom] T.WEBER7> Are there any serious politically subversive groups hacking around? <[Guest] BRUCES> Well, that depends on what you mean by "serious," Tom. I think EFF is pretty "serious," and so are CPSR and ACLU, but they're not teenagers <[Guest] BRUCES> and they're not generally perceived as "hackers." <[Guest] BRUCES> Or as "subversive," for that matter -- which is probably their greatest strength. <[Host] THE.HAMMER> Next up is Susan Shwartz... <[Susan] S.SHWARTZ> As I understand it, Kapor's group is designed to protect people like Steve Jackson. What sort of success is it having? How would it answer (possible) charges that it's soft on the wrong sort of hacking--or would it? <[Guest] BRUCES> Well, anybody can make the "hacksymp" charge. It doesn't seem to carry much oomph though. I'm surprised at the public support for <[Guest] BRUCES> computer intrusion kids. The populace is very cynical these days. Big telephone companies and groups like FBI, Umuch of a sympathetic hearing. <[Host] THE.HAMMER> Follow-up? <[Susan] S.SHWARTZ> Yes, please. I have a subversive fondness for this sort of thing, too. But what's the group's basis in law? First Amendment? Unfair search and seizure? Privacy? <[Guest] BRUCES> Fourth Amendment, First Amendment, <[Guest] BRUCES> privacy legislation, anti wiretapping legislation. <[Guest] BRUCES> Electronic Communications Privacy Act, too. <[Host] THE.HAMMER> Next up is Mike Whalen again. <[Guest] BRUCES> And let's not underestimate $$$$$$$$$$ <[MIKE] M.WHALEN5> Hey, again. What do you feel the public's CURRENT perception of CyberSpace is. Is it becoming MORE friendly? Or has the term Cyberspace and renewed Hacker media scared more people away? <[Guest] BRUCES> I think people are less terrified of "hacking" these days and more and more frightened by "viruses." Viruses probably ARE a worse threat. <[Host] THE.HAMMER> Follow-up? <[MIKE] M.WHALEN5> I guess the more hackers there are .. the more viruses? That is the current.. misnomer? At least I feel it is. <[Guest] BRUCES> The networks are growing steadily, especially the Internet, so people aren't frightened by modems per se or cyberspace as an idea... <[Guest] BRUCES> The thing that drives people nuts is the idea of having their hard-disks wiped by some idiot from Bulgaria and his PC virus. <[Guest] BRUCES> There's a pretty good book coming out from England called "Approaching Zero" that has a lot of material on Bulgarian virus-writing crowd. <[Host] THE.HAMMER> Next up is Kate Daniel again.... <[Katie] DANTECH> this is a complex one. obvious lawbreakers, the ones who hack into corporate databases.... <[Katie] DANTECH> and mess up financial records and plant viruses, they are obviously of interest to the g'vment. But do you think... <[Katie] DANTECH> some areas of g'ment are afraid of the non-illegal areas of cyberspace, like GEnie? think it's monitored? and what effect do you think .... <[Katie] DANTECH> the new administration's interest will have on it? ga <[Guest] BRUCES> Well, there are plenty of things you can do on a "legal" BBS or network that will catch a cop's attention.... <[Guest] BRUCES> fencing stolen property, planning crimes (conspiracy), pornography (especially CHILD pornography)... <[Guest] BRUCES> swindles, thefts, libel, slander... <[Guest] BRUCES> exchanging hot credit card numbers, exchanging stolen phone access numbers... <[Guest] BRUCES> pirating and selling illicitly copied software... <[Guest] BRUCES> giving advice on demolitions, brewing poisons, how to kill with a single blow of a blunt object... <[Guest] BRUCES> advice on how to commit all manner of crimes and disguise your activities afterward. And so on. <[Host] THE.HAMMER> Follow-up? <[Katie] DANTECH> I'm more interested in open communications, consensus forming, and direct feedback to government. do you think some officials find this form of open, fast communications threatening? <[Guest] BRUCES> Did I forget plagiarism and theft of intellectual property? <[Katie] DANTECH> I was going to say we don't do those things on GEnie, but I *have* taken part in discussions on killing people. but I write murders. <[Guest] BRUCES> You'll be grinning out of the other side of your modem if you ever become involved in an actual murder investigation, DANTECH. <[Katie] DANTECH> seriously? <[Guest] BRUCES> Depends on how CLOSELY involved you are. <[Guest] BRUCES> And if somebody examines your hard-disk. <[Host] THE.HAMMER> Next up is Martha Soukup again.... <[Martha] SFWA-SOUKUP> In your (very funny) story, "Are You for 86?", you have a religious pro-life group using computer hacking as one of their strategies. Do you think that, in real life, the radical right will catch up to the radical left in that area? And are radical political groups getting anywhere with hackery? (hacking, whatever) <[Guest] BRUCES> Well, there have been Nazi bulletin boards in the US for a long time, and when it comes to satellite comm have been into it for a long time. <[Guest] BRUCES> I don't think the radical right has much "catching up" to do. <[Host] THE.HAMMER> Follow-up? <[Martha] SFWA-SOUKUP> How annoying are these groups, really, to the government? <[Guest] BRUCES> If they've got guns, they're plenty bothersome. And if they ever threaten the life of the President... <[Guest] BRUCES> You can bet that the USSS will be taking a prolonged and detailed interest in them and their activities. <[Host] THE.HAMMER> Second follow-up? <[Martha] SFWA-SOUKUP> And if they're just cracking &c? <[Guest] BRUCES> Mostly they're riddled with federal informants, though... <[Guest] BRUCES> So their chances of getting anywhere militarily are pretty limited... <[Guest] BRUCES> and the informant business goes in spades for the little teenage hacker groups... <[Guest] BRUCES> They just spill their guts immediately when apprehended. <[Host] THE.HAMMER> Next up is Denny again.... <[Denny] DENNYA> Bruce, as technology gets more and more advanced, do you think hacking will become more difficult? Or more devastating? (Will more powerful computers and algorithms benefit the hacker or hackee?) <[Guest] BRUCES> I don't think hacking amounts to much. I'd worry more about the effects <[Guest] BRUCES> of these new and more powerful technologies for those who own them. <[Guest] BRUCES> Those who use them all day every day. Corporations and governments. <[Guest] BRUCES> It's silly to worry too much about teenagers. <[Host] THE.HAMMER> Follow-up? <[Denny] DENNYA> ga <[Host] THE.HAMMER> Next up is Cathy Hampton.... I'd like to follow up on Gary Frazier's question. Assuming that no one has the technical skill to enforce the law on-line, and assuming the Feds asked you to come up with a means to develop and teach this, how would you accomplish this? (Assuming you didn't run for dear life, that is. :> ) <[Guest] BRUCES> Change the law so as to make it more easily enforceable. <[Host] THE.HAMMER> Follow-up? Absolutely. What changes would you make, then? One or two examples would be fine -- I know you don't have enough time before Christmas to answer it all. :> <[Guest] BRUCES> I think I'd make computer-intrusion a misdemeanor at worst and I' <[Guest] BRUCES> d devote my efforts.. <[Guest] BRUCES> to tracking down people who commit telecommunications fraud and other.. <[Guest] BRUCES> activities that can earn a criminal a dishonest living... <[Guest] BRUCES> crime won't really flourish until somebody can make plenty of folding money out of it... <[Guest] BRUCES> If you see that ethos come into hacking it will be the equivalent of <[Guest] BRUCES> crack cocaine entering the drug scene... <[Guest] BRUCES> in which case you will start seeing a lot more violence and a lot more open greed... <[Guest] BRUCES> and the situation may deteriorate pretty badly. <[Host] THE.HAMMER> Next up is Sarah Collier.... Going back a bit, isn't there a proposed amendment to extend the 1st and 4th to electronic media? <[Guest] BRUCES> Yeah, that;s the Laurence Tribe proposal... word says Professor Tribe <[Guest] BRUCES> may have a shot at a Clinton/Gore Supreme Court post. <[Host] THE.HAMMER> Follow-up? What do you figure its chances of passage are? <[Guest] BRUCES> It's not a bill in Congress, it's just a suggestion for a Constitutional amendment, which nobody has formally attempted to pass. <[Guest] BRUCES> The EFF offers the text of the speech in which Prof Tribe floats this idea of his. <[Host] THE.HAMMER> Next up is Gary Frazier.... <[GaryF] G.FRAZIER3> Recently, DATELINE NBC did one of the standard media scare stories about hacking that one often sees. Is the media just ignorant of the technology, or so lazy as to simply echo the hysteria of law enforcement? <[Guest] BRUCES> I saw that. One of those hacker kids on NBC was "Urvile," one of my najor informants for the book. <[Guest] BRUCES> "Urvile" is a scary customer in a lot of ways. <[Host] THE.HAMMER> Follow-up? <[GaryF] G.FRAZIER3> Why is he so scary? Can you tell us more about him? <[Guest] BRUCES> Well, I don't want to libel the young gentleman or anything, but <[Guest] BRUCES> frankly he didn't seem to me to have much of anything in the way of qualms. <[Guest] BRUCES> When that's combined with considerable technical skill it tends to be a bit disquieting. The guy shows a little too much rigidity of the eyeball. No offense, Adam *8-/ <[Host] THE.HAMMER> Second follow-up? <[GaryF] G.FRAZIER3> That is pretty frightening. Do you think the media sensationalizes hacking out <[GaryF] G.FRAZIER3> of ignorance of the technology? Do they really understand what's going on? <[Guest] BRUCES> I think they sensationalize it because sensation gets ratings, dude. <[Guest] BRUCES> No, they don't understand, but they know good press when they see it. <[Guest] BRUCES> NOBODY understands "what's going on." <[Host] THE.HAMMER> Next up is Susan Shwartz again.... <[Susan] S.SHWARTZ> I'm interested in the genesis of your thought on these subjects. How'd you become interested in the entire cyber-areas--and how'd your fiction segue into this nonfiction book? Did the fiction affect your sources, including Urvile? <[Guest] BRUCES> I got involved because federal police raided a publisher in my home town and blamed him for writing a book called "Cyberpunk." <[Guest] BRUCES> I didn't think I needed to wait for an engraved invitation to take an interest. <[Host] THE.HAMMER> Follow-up, Susan? <[Susan] S.SHWARTZ> Yes. Would that have preceded your fiction? Specifically, I was interested in the evolution of your thought as it related to your fiction? Did you find it gave you credibility among your sources? <[Guest] BRUCES> Oh. That. Yeah. Yes, they all knew who I was. So did a lot of the cops *8-( <[Host] THE.HAMMER> Second follow-up? <[Susan] S.SHWARTZ> Last bit of one. In the litcritters' world, it's easy to see certain books as seminal. Still, when Robert Morris's father gives him SHOCKWAVE RIDER to read, it's hard to dismiss it. Do you consider that book important at all -- in your work, the development of cybernetic communities, hackers, etc.? <[Guest] BRUCES> Well, yeah, but nowhere near so "important" as the movie WAR GAMES in 1983. <[Host] THE.HAMMER> Ready for the trivia contest? <[Host] THE.HAMMER> Get ready on the /sen keys then. <[Host] THE.HAMMER> Here comes the trivia contest question with three <[Host] THE.HAMMER> autographed copies of THE HACKER CRACKDOWN as the <[Host] THE.HAMMER> prize. The first three correct answers to the trivia <[Host] THE.HAMMER> question that are /sent to me will win! (No public <[Host] THE.HAMMER> answers, please!) <[Host] THE.HAMMER> <[Host] THE.HAMMER> Ready? <[Host] THE.HAMMER> <[Host] THE.HAMMER> The trivia question is: What is the name of the second <[Host] THE.HAMMER> novel by the man who co-authored THE DIFFERENCE ENGINE <[Host] THE.HAMMER> with Bruce? <[Guest] BRUCES> The Miracle Worker!!! <[Host] THE.HAMMER> We have ONE winner. <[Guest] BRUCES> Oh sorry that was the other WG <[Host] THE.HAMMER> The question was the name of the second novel by Bruce's co-author, not the name of the co-author. <[Host] THE.HAMMER> TWO winners. <[Host] THE.HAMMER> THREE WINNERS! <[Host] THE.HAMMER> The winners are Tom Weber, who knew it instantly, Martha Soukup, and Kate Daniel. <[Host] THE.HAMMER> Congratulations. E-mail me your address, please. <[Host] THE.HAMMER> Next up is Mike Whalen again.... <[MIKE] M.WHALEN5> I want to ask you about the future of CyberSpace. MY vision is something like the Apple Newton which is affordable.. and constantly hooked up through satellite link to a network (much like InterNet). What is your vision? <[Guest] BRUCES> I just fielded a phone call from Katie Hafner, co-author of CYBERPUNKS OUTLAWS AND HACKERS ON THE COMPUTER FRONTIER! <[Guest] BRUCES> Good booK! <[Guest] BRUCES> Oh, my vision, eh? COMPUTER AS FUROSHIKI <[Guest] BRUCES> <[Guest] BRUCES> "Computer as furoshiki" is a highly speculative vision of the personal computer as it might evolve if freed from certain current material constraints. <[Guest] BRUCES> The furoshiki is an intimate and ubiquitous accessory to Japanese daily life. It's nothing more than a large square of tough, well-made cloth, usually with a handsome pattern. The furoshiki is used, among other purposes, as a grocery bag, a book-tote, and a decorative wrapper for ceremonial gifts. In its simplicity and multiple uses it is little different from a cowboy's bandanna, except that the skill in wrapping and knotting furoshikis is more arcane. <[Guest] BRUCES> The computer-as-furoshiki is the computer as a large square of lightweight, flexible cloth. It is not, however, "cloth" as that material is currently understood. <[Guest] BRUCES> The furoshiki's display screen is formed by thin bands of color-emitting optical fibers, which are wide enough and bright enough to mimic the scan-lines of a video display terminal. These display-fibers are interwoven with other fiber-optics carrying data. <[Guest] BRUCES> A second kind of fiber is densely interwoven; it consists of room-temperature superconductive wire, possibly a novel form of buckminsterfullerene for strength and flexibility. This highly-charged net of superconductors serves as a literal power-grid. <[Guest] BRUCES> The third fiber is some currently-unknown form of piezoelectric filament that can contract, relax, and therefore warp and knot itself in response to precise electrical charges deployed along its length. <[Guest] BRUCES> A fourth form of fiber serves as a radio antenna and communications grid. <[Guest] BRUCES> One section of the cloth can be radically stiffened to serve as the diaphragm for an audio speaker. <[Guest] BRUCES> Computation, memory, and movement are carried out by photonic, photoelectronic, and electronic chips composed of custom-built artificial diamond for low cost and strength. If the tensile fibers are composed of organic proteins (which would seem likely), then the computer-as-furoshiki consists mostly of carbon. <[Guest] BRUCES> The device is operated with voice commands and touch, and possibly gesture, through a similarly woven linked glove. <[Guest] BRUCES> The computer-as-furoshiki is capable of limited movement. Early versions might fold themselves up like a gentleman's handkerchief; later models would resemble aluminum foil or Saran Wrap. Advanced versions can fly. <[Guest] BRUCES> Although this computer lacks direct video input, it might be capable of optical character recognition if placed on a page, or of image-scanning if placed on a graphic. <[Guest] BRUCES> When placed on light-sensitive paper, or film, it generates hard-copies. This computer might displace paper as a medium by usurping not merely the information of paper but the physical properties of paper as well. <[Guest] BRUCES> When one's head is wrapped completely in the furoshiki, it becomes a virtual-reality rig. <[Guest] BRUCES> When not in use, the furoshiki is worn, as a scarf, tie, turban, or, or course, the Console Cowboy's bandanna. Mainframes can be used as pup-tents, supercomputers as Big Tops, for a late twenty-first-century multimedia circus. <[Guest] BRUCES> Boy, that was hard typing! Gotta wait for my knuckles to stop smoking... *8-) <[Guest] BRUCES> GA <[Host] THE.HAMMER> Follow-up? <[MIKE] M.WHALEN5> More or less, everyone would have their own personal mailbox. They can read/send mail.. subscribe to newsgroups.. get news through things LIKE ClariNet. What do you think? <[Guest] BRUCES> *I* think you need a lot of good editors *8-) <[Guest] BRUCES> Otherwise you'll drown like rats in the data firehose. <[Host] THE.HAMMER> LOL. Next up is Kate Daniel again... <[Katie] DANTECH> Could you give us a thumbnail profile of the typical "hacker", in the media sense, today? somehow I'm not sure it's still over-bright teens... <[Katie] DANTECH> and which types of targets are they after? <[Guest] BRUCES> Male 15-22, unmarried, time on his hands, may be mathematically gifted. Parents commonly divorced. Usually white. Commonly has no othecriminal record, though that's changing. <[Host] THE.HAMMER> Follow-up? <[Katie] DANTECH> why teens, primarily? <[Guest] BRUCES> Targets are the easy ones first: universities and hospitals. May work his way up to Internet sites and telephone switching stations. <[Guest] BRUCES> Same profile as other kinds of trespassing and voyeurism offenders. <[Host] THE.HAMMER> Next up is Martha Soukup again.... <[Martha] SFWA-SOUKUP> Bruce, are you working on any fiction projects now? <[Martha] SFWA-SOUKUP> And would you like to plug your collection GLOBALHEAD (a Mark Ziesing book)? <[Guest] BRUCES> I wish, Martha. At the moment, as you can see, I'm blowing yet more time hanging out on computer networks *8-/ <[Host] THE.HAMMER> Follow-up? <[Martha] SFWA-SOUKUP> When will GLOBALHEAD be out in mass-market? <[Martha] SFWA-SOUKUP> (Not that it's not worth buying in hardcover, as I did, of course.) <[Guest] BRUCES> Oh, quite some time. they want to do the paperback of my next novel first. Which is unwritten. <[Guest] BRUCES> Maybe I'll talk 'em into changing their minds. <[Host] THE.HAMMER> And our last question comes from Mike Whalen once again... <[MIKE] M.WHALEN5> Could you talk a bit more about this "tour" you are on? Someone mentioned that you are going to be traversing BBSs and such. How are you going to do this? Where are you going? <[Guest] BRUCES> Oh, I've been on CompuServe, Delphi... actually, my home system is <[Guest] BRUCES> the WELL ( where I hang out in the MONDO 2000 <[Guest] BRUCES> conference with all the other cyberpunk wierdos among whom I feel <[Guest] BRUCES> most at home. <[Guest] BRUCES> I also give away text on Macintosh floppy disks. Sneakernet! <[Host] THE.HAMMER> Follow-up? <[MIKE] M.WHALEN5> The Well is one of those Pay-pay-pay systems, eh? <[Guest] BRUCES> Well, you can telnet in and get stuff off it, pretty soon. <[Guest] BRUCES> I don't mind paying because it's such a pleasure to see hippies making their own way in the world for once *8-/ <[Host] THE.HAMMER> And Bruce's AGITPROP disk is also available in IBM format. (I know; I have one.) Bruce, care to make some parting comments about the AGITPROP diskette? <[Guest] BRUCES> This removes the primary legitimation for co,mputer intrusion. <[Host] THE.HAMMER> How so? <[Guest] BRUCES> Yeah. If you had to PAY for that disk, you got RIPPED OFF!! <[Guest] BRUCES> "I had to break in to learn." <[Host] THE.HAMMER> Any parting comments about the book? <[Guest] BRUCES> Yeah. The book will also be released electronically for free reproduction, in about a year. INFORMATION WANTS TO BE FREE!! <[Guest] BRUCES> But information will settle for being $1.75. *8-) <[Host] THE.HAMMER> I may upload it to the SFRT library on GEnie. Is that okay? <[Host] THE.HAMMER> People would have to pay a small time charge to download it. <[Guest] BRUCES> That's okay. Time charge is grudgingly accepted. <[Host] THE.HAMMER> Thank you, Bruce. <[Host] THE.HAMMER> THE HACKER CRACKDOWN, Bantam Books, ISBN 0-533-08058-X. <[Host] THE.HAMMER> Available at bookstores everywhere. <[Host] THE.HAMMER> Recommended. <[Host] THE.HAMMER> Buy a few for Christmas presents... <[Host] THE.HAMMER> The formal part of this conference is now over. <[Host] THE.HAMMER> Thank you all for attending, and thank you, Bruce. ** <[Host] THE.HAMMER> Room is now in the talk mode. END ------------------------------ End of Computer Underground Digest #5.20 ************************************


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