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Der Weltanschauung Magazine (The WorldView) %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%% % % % Editor: The Desert Fox D E R % % Co-Editor: Rev. Scott Free % % % % W E L T A N S C H A U U N G % % % %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%% June 15, 1991 Vol. 1, Issue 4. (*)(*)(*)(*)(*)(*)(*)(*)(*)(*)(*)(*)(*)(*)(*)(*)(*)(*)(*)(*)(*)(*)(*)(*)(*) DDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDD Material Written By Computer And Telecommunications Hobbyists World Wide Promoting the publication of Features, Editorials, and Anything Else.... To submit material, or to subscribe to the magazine contact one of the following systems... NOTICE: THE NEW Weltanschauung Distribution Site: The Dickinson Nightlight ********************************* (713)337-1452 * OFFICIAL Distribution Sites: * 3/12/2400 Bps *24 Hours/7Days * * Fido: The Desert Fox@1:106/995 * The Dickinson Nightlight * InterNet * (713)337-1452 FIDO: 1:106/995 * * * Send Net Subscriptions to 1:106/995 * PC Nowhere BBS * Your copy will be mailed upon release! * (713)242-9766 * * * * Ringworld BBS ********************************** * (713)681-6634 The USS Enterprise * * (713)466-0778 FIDO: 1:106/1701 * * The Apocalyptic Funhouse * * (Note New #) (713)242-8453 The Enigma * * (713)852-7121 * * The Circuit Board * * (713)664-9955 * ****************************************************************** "Let us arise, let us arise against the oppressors of humanity; all kings, emperors, presidents of republics, priests of all religions are the true enemies of the people; let us destroy along with them all juridical, political, civil and religious institutions." -Manifesto of anarchists in the Romagna, 1878 @-==-@-==-@-==-@-==-@-==-@-==-@-==-@-==-@-==-@-==-@-==-@-==-@-==-@-==-@-==-@ The World View Staff: The Desert Fox [Editor] Rev. Scott Free [CoEditor] The Sorcerer (REV) Modok Tarleton Bryan O' Blivion Der Grosste Ein @-==-@-==-@-==-@-==-@-==-@-==-@-==-@-==-@-==-@-==-@-==-@-==-@-==-@-==-@-==-@ Table Of Contents (A> Editor's Note....................................The Desert Fox (1> Revenge Of The Thought Police....................Bryan O' Blivion (2> Preface To The Retirement Of Sector Seventeen....The Sorcerer (REV) (3> The Letter Of Retirement From Sector Seventeen...Sector 17 (4> What Ever Happened To The 'Real' BBS'............The Sorcerer (REV)* (5> Words Of Caution: A First Person Perspective.....Modok Tarleton -Articles Marked With An '*' Were Contributed And Not Authored By (REV) @-==-@-==-@-==-@-==-@-==-@-==-@-==-@-==-@-==-@-==-@-==-@-==-@-==-@-==-@-==-@ Editor's Note: This issue is devoted to the history of 'modeming' in the greater Houston area. Many of us have been around since circa 1985. We just had the tremendous urge to put our thoughts on disk and share them with the 'new-comers' to our infamous society. Granted there are many 'good' users out there today, there will never be another time like 1985-1987. So, those of you who are new to the cult of (personality) modeming world, sit back and enjoy. Those who have been around for what seems like forever, sink your teeth into this. You can relate. To those new guys/girls...don't feel too bad. We still rule the world. And you are the Untermenschen of the community...(Look that word up!) Also, I am sorry to say that I have taken Rivendell BBS down because I have to do some projects for work. I felt kinda bad about it, but then I just remembered that 95% of the users were 14 year old file sponges. I am still in contact with the few great users that were on. This magazine will not stop though. Please note the new main site... The Dickinson Nightlight BBS. Have a nice day. The Desert Fox [Editor] @-==-@-==-@-==-@-==-@-==-@-==-@-==-@-==-@-==-@-==-@-==-@-==-@-==-@-==-@-==-@ REVENGE OF THE THOUGHT POLICE: THE ASSAULT ON OUR CONSTITUTIONAL FREEDOMS By: Bryan O'Blivion please copy and distribute freely without legal restriction (*=----( Written For THE WORLD VIEW Magazine )----=*) " I have sworn upon the altar of God eternal enmity against every form of tyranny over the mind of man." -----Thomas Jefferson "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." -----THE FIRST AMENDMENT TO THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized." -----THE FOURTH AMENDMENT TO THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES Your floppies and hard drive are not covered by any interpretation of the above. That's right, friend, you are going bare of ANY constitutional protection if you commit your thoughts to media instead of paper. The Burger/Rehnquist Supreme Court, the enduring legacy of the Nixon-Reagan years, has made a series of policy decisions whose effect is to completely vitiate any reasonable expectation of privacy as to person and effects. In a series of decisions over the last two decades, the Justices have decided that police may search any part of anyone's person (Terry v. Ohio) on a rationale that the officer must protect his safety. Gradually the protection granted to us all by the 4th Amendment has been gutted. Nixon's justices have ruled that police may search and obtain evidence from any vehicle, even a motor home, without a warrant. The rationale for this abrogation of the Constitution is that vehicles move quickly, and it is often unexpedient to obtain a warrant through the normally legally necessary procedure. Now their latest gift of wisdom is Supreme Court approval of the routine police practice of coercing confessions by any means that occurs to them. Evidence obtained illegally, in violation of Constitutional right, is now legally admissible in Court against an accused. They rationalize this fascist travesty of the Constitution under a number of wimpy doctrines, like a "good-faith belief" on the part of the police that their actions are legal, or an availability of corroborating evidence from other sources (once the confession is in their hands, extracted by beatings and other well-known methods of physical and mental torture, this part is easy). The point of all this is that if you rely on Constitutional protection from police abuses in the 1990's, you are whistling in the dark. Ask Rodney King how much "good-faith belief" he got from the LAPD as they administered their historic videotaped nightstick lesson. The police don't carry those things just to play with in their copshop locker rooms. William Rehnquist, currently the Chief Justice of the United States, is a pathetic Constitutional scholar, and is a rather dimwitted, frighteningly dangerous ideologue of a man. Doubters of this harsh characterization are urged to read his dissenting opinion in Carey vs. Population Services, a 1974 case that decided the Constitutionality and legality of allowing clinics to make available sex education and contraception to teenagers. Against the then junior-Justice Rehnquist's wishes, the Court voted that privacy rights of the individual did not allow the Government to meddle in this sphere of a person's life. Rehnquist always knows what he wants to do, but is often at a loss to explain why in writing, backed up by some semblance of legal scholarship. In the Carey case, he confined himself to observing in his written opinion that the American revolutionaries who died at the battle of Bunker Hill would have been displeased had they known that their noble sacrifice only enabled youngsters to obtain condoms freely. What an idiot. At my law school, we used to tell Rehnquist jokes instead of Aggie jokes. This is the man charged with leading the US Supreme Court and with safeguarding the Bill of Rights. May God have mercy on us all, because Rehnquist won't. Now that the Court is fully packed with carefully selected Republican ideologues like Sandra O'Connor and David Souter, I really don't see much hope for the defense of historic Constitutional freedoms in the near future. Which brings me to the point of this essay. If you are active in cyberspace, or are otherwise on-line, you have no doubt heard of Operation Sundevil and the atrocities committed under its name. Liberties unguarded are soon lost, and the jackboot is now crashing at the door of computer users like Steve Jackson, a science-fiction gamer in Austin. Mitch Kapor, the founder of the Lotus Corporation, received in the mail a strange diskette from an unknown source, and later found himself explaining his possession of the disk to agents of the FBI. The Secret Service, accompanied by local mounties and the ex- FBI raincoat men of the Bell security companies, are breaking down doors and leveling pistols at those whose only offense is to possess and publish information. This is the First Amendment under siege as well, your right to speak, write, and print what you think. Ask Steve Jackson, whose million-dollar company almost went under because the federal agents seized, without a valid warrant, his computers containing months of work on a gaming project. The Secret Service came in and stole his property under an unsigned warrant, which any lawyer will tell you is no warrant at all. These individuals, acting under color of law to deny Mr. Jackson his civil rights and right to due process, took every bit of hardware and media available, down to answering-machine cassettes. Fascist? Thought police? A violation of the spirit and letter of the Constitution? You bet. Illegal? Not really, not right now. Had the material seized been papers, presses, personal written mail, instead of hard drives and BBS systems, caselaw developed through the centuries interpreting the First Amendment would have judged the actions of these lawmen grossly illegal. But the cops are now behaving as if the First and Fourth don't apply, that anyone smart enough to use and have a computer loses that "privilege" by being suspected of some activity frowned on by the Republican federal thought police. They seize all drives and floppies, all computers and media, all tapes. In Sundevil, some of these citizen's property has been kept by the authorities for months without any charges being filed. Entire BBS's and collections of E-mail are now in Federal hands: agents leisurely page through thousands of legitimate, private communications with the purpose of finding something to use against someone. Seizure of unpublished documents used to be called "prior restraint" of a publication, used only under the most extraordinary circumstances. Even more appalling is the sentence meted out to BellSouth crackers Riggs, Darden, and Grant by the much more primitive crackers of Atlanta, Georgia. Although they only strolled the system and did no damage, they were imprisoned and even sentenced to avoid all computers for longer than the duration of prison sentence. The government prosecuted these young men for wire and computer fraud, and the terms of the sentence, if not cruel to a devoted computer user, are certainly unusual. And unconstitutional. Or consider poor Craig Neidorf, whose crime was to possess valueless information on a Bell Operating Co. system. The case against him had to be dropped when his attorneys proved that the document was freely available and valueless. But Craig has a bill for $100,000.00 for that acquittal. Meanwhile, the President's son receives an administrative slap on the wrist for defrauding depositors and taxpayers out of $1 billion. I understand, Mr. Reagan. Thank you, Mr. Bush. We are beginning to get the point. But it's 1991, the Repubs have been in power for decades now. If it's on magnetic media, the national Gestapo can smash in your door and seize it, S.O.P., no problem. All in the name of protecting society against the dreaded "hacker". America, we have a problem here. Check those words at the top of this article. A few of us aren't resigned to this situation. We recognize the enormous threat that these governmental abuses pose. We hope that this injustice can be stamped out through the normal judicial process, and freedom of thought can be preserved. Try writing to yourself on your word processor, or to a friend, and pretend that each and every word you write will become legal courtroom evidence in the hands of a malicious prosecutor intent on proving that you are an evil person who deserves punishment. Kinda kills your idea for that novel, doesn't it? That is what the Founding Fathers were afraid of. Professor Laurence Tribe, the eminent Constitutional scholar, considers this threat to American liberty so manifest that he has called for the passage of a 27th Amendment to the US Constitution, guaranteeing than no Constitutional freedoms will ever be abridged by the government, even if these freedoms are practiced electronically. The Electronic Frontier Foundation, founded by some of the most brilliant people in modern computing, has been formed in response to these threats against traditional, Constitutionally guaranteed freedoms. The battle lines are drawn. But Gail Thackeray, the Arizona prosecutor who put together the Sundevil operation, is unrepentant. Her bleating justifications for these crimes against the Constitution may be found in The Well, a BBS set up so those who find themselves on opposite sides of this controversy may exchange viewpoints. (Odd, isn't it, how electronic digital media continue to offer assistance in helping people communicate their ideas, even in these dark days...) The anonymous sedans continue to pull up at the doors of computer users, some as young as thirteen, and Ms. Thackeray's pets toughs, in the name of the almighty Bell System, continue to level loaded pistols at the heads of defenseless children and seize the private documents and property of US citizens. WHAT CAN WE DO? Unfortunately, this current situation cannot be reversed overnight. Even the Sundevil defendants will not have the opportunity to defend themselves in an open Constitutional forum until charges are filed and trial is had, which will apparently not occur anytime soon. As of this writing in May 1991, none have even been officially charged with wrongdoing. The authoritarians are apparently still too busy "analyzing" and "investigating" the illegally seized media to specify exactly, under existing law, what is criminal about their contents. It appears that the thought police are having a hard time even understanding what is on those disks, judging by the delay in coming up with any evidence of crime. Thackeray claims the delay is due to the time needed to analyze the dozens of harddrives and thousands of diskettes confiscated. We're waiting, Gail. While we wait I will note that the police organizations of this country have never been accused of being intellectual giants in any field, let alone that of digital communications..... BE COOL: No one can defend vandalistic hacking that damages data, or fraud by wire that illegally enriches someone. But there is a big difference in trespass law between walking across someone's vacant lot and burglarizing a building in the night. Likewise there should be a differentiation made in computer law between system strolling, harmless phreaking, and getting into ARPANET for the KGB. The courts and laws are not yet sophisticated enough to differentiate these activities since they do not understand computers well. Mitch Kapor and the EFF are changing that, though, in that they have assisted the Massachusetts legislature in drafting a model computer crime bill. At least 36 states at this writing have state computer crime laws, and most are like Texas': there is no distinction between harmless unauthorized access, looking thru an open door, and serious wire fraud like trafficking in stolen credit card numbers. The EFF bill recognizes the classes of computer activity, and does not punish those who do no harm. Hopefully we will see something like this law become more widely adopted. BE AWARE: if you use a digital computer as outlet for your thoughts or other intellectual product, conditions are such in this country today that Federal police, acting under color of law but without a warrant or other legal process, may kick in your door, hold members of your family, including children, at gunpoint, may physically abuse, interrogate, and threaten them, and will certainly remove all electronics and magnetic media from your home. So much for security of your person, papers, and effects, eh? All computer users, whether or not they may be unfairly tarred with the semantic brush of "hacker", or "phreak", face this threat. Spread the word, the Constitution doesn't apply to us PC people anymore. The taxes we pay are going to buy the guns the Gestapo brandishes in our children's faces. BE CAREFUL: Since the Feds have no qualms about reading innocent people's mail, do not post any E-mail you would not want read aloud in a court of law by a prosecutor intent on sending you to jail. Warn others. Use data encryption technology to protect sensitive private information. The government has enormous quantities of information protected by this technology, which they carefully guard from disclosure to the courts and to Congress. No encryption method is perfect, but since the Feds seem to have such a hard time even reading the ASCII files seized from the Sundevil victims, it would probably take them until the end of time to crack a protected file. Use programs like Norton's WIPEDISK to remove sensitive material from media used for temporary storage. Some users have even written "doomsday" programs, activated by a few unusual keystrokes, that fill hard drives with zeros or otherwise overwrite their files irretrievably, to be used as the door of their home goes down under the jackboots. Learn to think and act as if you are a Jew in occupied Europe, organizing secret resistance against Nazi terror, with the penalty for discovery being instant Gestapo punishment without trial, hearing, or other legal procedure. Hide your information, keep it in your grandmother's basement, away from your house. RESIST NONVIOLENTLY: Our greatest hope for the future is the fact that Constitutional abuses of this enormity usually bring about their own counterbalancing reaction in time. The formation of the Electronic Frontier Foundation is an example of this. Remember how many years the treasonous criminal Nixon was allowed to degrade the White House with his criminal activities, use the CIA to torment Democratic political opponents, and massively violate the Constitutional rights of others before the system acted to remove him from power. Our Constitutional system does work, but it takes a lot of time. In the meantime, you can: Educate others about the nature of the threat. Join the EFF. (see appendix) Read, write, and E-publish what you write. This is still the best weapon against tyranny. Form networks of concerned users. Note: One of the lessons of Sundevil is that the Feds will characterize as a "conspiracy" what we users know is just a loose electronic association of people sharing information. Names and handles ordinarily used to identify these informal associations of computer-literate citizens WILL be characterized as massive, illegal, conspiracies. People's ordinary privacy-protecting online handles will be used as evidence "proving" that the user is operating under an 'alias' to mislead police investigators. Remember that the cry of "conspiracy" was one of the Nixon regime's principal weapons against those who fought for freedom of expression and who resisted unconstitutional activity on the part of the government. WHEN YOUR DOOR IS KICKED IN: The instant this occurs, you should monotonously repeat one sentence, and no other: "I want to consult a lawyer." Give no consents. Give no information, even in the face of open threats and cajolery. The SS and other police will use any means possible to get you to waive what remains of your Constitutional rights. An individual who has had the experience of being personally interrogated at length by agents of the Secret Service reports: "They threatened to take my girlfriend, who suffers from severe rheumatoid arthritis, to a separate interrogation room to be worked over unless I signed a written consent authorizing them to obtain all legally protected private records about myself, including confidential medical and employment records. These bastards do not hesitate to use mental, physical, and emotional duress to achieve their ends. They locked another person I know in a small room, alone, and took secret videos of him through the ceiling. He frustrated them by snapping off the room light so that the camera recorded nothing, which really pissed the SS agents off. They stormed back into the room, turned the lights back on, and warned him to sit still." God only knows what they were expecting him to do. These guys do amazingly crazed things, like holding children at gunpoint, and judicially sentencing people not to use computers. (Maybe they will soon start sentencing people not to read books or write anything down.) Remember, if you give voluntary statements OF ANY KIND, they will be used as proof that you voluntarily waived your rights, and will be twisted and distorted and used against you and your friends. Tell them nothing. Do not help these fascists make any case against you or your friends, no matter if you are promised leniency or favorable treatment if you "cooperate". Do not cooperate with illegal and unconstitutional activity on the part of the SS, the Bell System companies, or the local cops. If they ask you to give them information, this in itself is proof that they do not have a legally prosecutable case against anyone yet. Remember, they are trying to prosecute you, not "help" you. Whatever statements you make will be distorted and used against you personally in every way possible. OBTAIN LEGAL COUNSEL AS SOON AS POSSIBLE IF YOU ARE INVESTIGATED: Ms Thackeray's thought police rely very much on the fact that justice is a salable commodity here in America, and mounting a legal defense against unjust accusation still costs thousands for the victim. But a growing number of attorneys are waking up to the magnitude of this threat, and are responding by making free or low- cost representation available to those who are swept up by the SS. In a proper case, I would recommend the filing of civil suit and criminal complaint personally against those agents of the government who break the law, who harass and oppress and steal property without the warrants required by law. By suing these people personally, we can put them in the same position of having to hire a lawyer and demonstrate in court that what they did is in fact lawful. I want to see how they like being forced to prove their innocence in a court of law, at great personal expense. Statutes prohibiting official oppression and abuse of civil rights are available to prosecute these criminals with badges. I have no realistic hope that the system will prosecute them criminally, but a civil suit is another matter. Those who break down my client's doors and seize their computers better have their paperwork in order, or they will definitely face a civil jury. And I will do my level best to see that these badge-carrying criminals are held personally financially liable for the injuries and damage they cause. The State courts are not yet under the total control of the Republicans, and many State constitutions have been judicially held to grant more protection to individual constitutional freedoms than the US Constitution. There is some hope, but it'll take work. America is a great place to live. But meanwhile, the King's troops are among the printshops, smashing the trays of type, seizing the presses, the manuscripts; sentencing to prison the intellectuals of our modern society. I cannot sit still. There is too much work to do in rectifying this abasement of our American principles. And rectify it we will. Join us? APPENDIX: JOIN THE ELECTRONIC FRONTIER FOUNDATION! Electronic Frontier Foundation 155 Second St. Cambridge, MA 02141 (617) (864-0665) voice (617) (864-0866) fax Net: Contributions tax-deductible Recommended reading: any William Gibson or Philip K. Dick novel MONDO 2000 magazine EFF Newsletter at your local BBS The Moon is a Harsh Mistress -- Robert Heinlein Farnham's Freehold --- " " G.U.R.P.S. - CYBERPUNK Steve Jackson Games ABOUT THE AUTHOR: BRYAN O'BLIVION is the Net handle of a Texas attorney who has practiced law for more than 11 years in private law firms and in governmental practice. He is a published (print) author, and a computer user and programmer since 1968. He is not a Republican, and takes his attorney's oath to preserve and protect the Constitution of the State of Texas and The United States very seriously. Disseminate this document freely @-==-@-==-@-==-@-==-@-==-@-==-@-==-@-==-@-==-@-==-@-==-@-==-@-==-@-==-@-==-@ Preface: The Retirement Of Sector Seventeen By: The Sorcerer (REV) Greetings & Salutations, If you are like me, you sometimes like hold onto all sorts of seemingly useless stuff just to bring back a memory or two of "how things used to be." Well, this file is one of those things. Written around the time of the death of boards like Wizzardry and The Hall of Records (later returned for a little while as Miskatonic University), or the slow disintegration of Mines of Moria -- I was surprised to find I still had the following file. This was about the time I dropped out of the modeming community "for good" and purged many of my collected text files. Having come back "for good" I thought I would present a little blast-from-the-past to the present day community in the form of this, one of my now favorite, text file. To those of you who were around to remember when Judy's list was only 1 & 1/2 pages, here is your chance to reflect back on the "good ol' days". To those of you who are new ( relatively speaking ); here is a chance to contemplate the state of the modeming community today and how it could be better or how it could be worse. By the by, if any of you ol' timers have any of the more interesting text files from way-back-when, drop me a line. I would love to get a copy of some of them. But, enough nannering, on to the file. -\!/- -=*)> The Sorcerer (Rev) <(*=- -/!\- @-==-@-==-@-==-@-==-@-==-@-==-@-==-@-==-@-==-@-==-@-==-@-==-@-==-@-==-@-==-@ [=][=][=][=][=][=][=][=][=][=][=][=][=][=][=][=][=][=][=][=][=][=][=][=][=][=] [=] [=] [=] AN OPEN LETTER TO THE PIRATE COMMUNITY, 1985 [=] [=] (*NOTE: THIS IS ALSO MY RETIREMENT NOTICE) [=] [=] [=] [=] FROM: SECTOR SEVENTEEN [=] [=] [=] [=][=][=][=][=][=][=][=][=][=][=][=][=][=][=][=][=][=][=][=][=][=][=][=][=][=] An open letter to the Pirates of today: You're probably wondering just what this text file is about, and why someone would bother to type something like this up, right? Perhaps. Well, it's mainly to say: I retire. Yup, you heard it, I'm done for. Why? Because, Pirating isn't fun anymore. Most people don't make a big deal out of retiring, I guess, but I'm going to...not because I want attention, or anything like that, but because, before I go, I'm going to get a few things off my chest. Before I begin, let me tell you about the "Good ol' Days" of pirating...a time alot of you were never around to know. Some of you might possibly say that I'm an old-timer. True-I've been around since we all had Micro-modems and traded with Apple-Link. Anyone out there remember that? I have my doubts. Yeah, we were all pretty happy when DFX came out! I remember when someone first told me about this neat new thing called a Bulletin Board System. Wow! That sounded pretty neat to me! I'll never forget how neat it was when I logged on to my first board. (In case some of you out there don't know what a board is, ask someone you know who's been around awhile. They used to be alot of fun.) Back in the days of Bulletin Boards, we used to have alot of fun trading. Sure, it took awhile at 300 Baud, but we didn't was fun. We got to be pretty good friends that way, too. That was what most of the fun was... making friends an meeting people with the same interests. But now the boards are all gone. Well, that's not true...but what is true is that all the *real* boards are gone. A real board was a board that didn't charge money, didn't voice validate (because they didn't have to...), didn't get crashed, etc... But then something strange started happening...a few people started crashing boards. Nobody gave a shit about all the work a sysop put into his system anymore...our little world of pirating, formerly inhabited by a group mature enough not to do things like crash boards, was now being invaded by a bunch of little kids with big boys' toys. (Sorry, but if the shoe fits, wear it.) Well, we found away around it, and we were able to deal with those first, initial problems. People found ways to make Net-works uncrashable, and later, Apple-net came along, and it was uncrashable already. That solved that aspect, and to solve the other problem, all the people who were basically elite got Apple-Cats, and someone (namely the Red-Headed Phreak) wrote a 1200 Baud, Half-Duplex transfer program. How many people reading this can even tell me the name of it? Few, I would guess. Well, anyway, it was Disk-fer, and it had to be about the greatest thing to come along in a long time! We were all pretty excited with our new toy...the 1200 Baud modem. Disk-fer was it for awhile...if you didn't have a cat and 1200 baud, no self-respecting pirate would trade with you! Why waste all that time? Yeah, we were pretty cool...we had solved more little kids to bug us. (When I say "little", I mean as in Maturity, not neccesarily age.) Times change, and so do people. Our little pirating world was all happy again...these were the days of The 1200 Club and MPG. (Anyone ever heard of Apple Bandit?) Yeah, things were all right then, until, that is, everyone, and I mean everyone, started to get Apple-cats. There was nothing left to do. Catsend lines started popping up...there was no more eliteness to pirating. Anyone who had $250 could by a Cat and get all the new wares. Course, Catsend was a nice program, but Catfur really did it...Catfur lines work, Catsend lines didn't always work. Now there are Catfur lines that anyone can call up and get all the nice new k-kool, rrrrrrad wares! I'm afraid that this world is beyond's outgrown me, perhaps. I'm part of a generation that most of you people never knew. The fun in pirating was to call up a friend and say "Hey, you got Print Shop yet?" and if they didn't, you could send it to them, knowing full well that they'd return the favor. Setting Megaterm to autodial a Catfur line isn't fun. Watching it dial isn't fun. Waiting for it to dial and get through isn't fun. It isn't fun to get something and not chat with anyone. It's no fun!! There is is just something missing. It took me awhile, but I finally figured it out. It's just no fun anymore. It's no fun to call a board where half your mail is from some asshole who doesn't even know who you are, and probably doesn't care, sits there and rags on you for "posting on the wrong sub-board." OH YEAH? Well, I'm retiring as soon as I finish this damn textfile, so I don't have anything to lose by saying this. FUCK YOU!!! (That's "F","U","C","K" (new word) "Y","O","U"!!) For those of you who are too young to understand what that means, ask your big brother or mommy. (If she slaps you, you said it right.)) If you didn't have 30,000 some sub-boards on your stupid board, I wouldn't post in the wrong place. Why do you even *have* a public board? You have such diverse sub-boards that there is no such thing as a miscellaneous message anymore!!! Each one of them gets about 1 new message per month! Yeah, and not only that, I wouldn't pay $20 to get high access on your damn board anyway!! It's not worth it! Back when I was around, people didn't run boards to make money. They ran them for the fun of it!! I've been on boards 100x better than yours that ran on 2 disk drives! So Just because you think you have to run your stupid board that only uses 2 megs on a 45 meg Hard Drive doesn't mean that I'm going to pay for the stupid thing! And, finally...a board is not good because of just the board...just as important is the people on it...and your board happens to be about 90% losers! So...Take your stupid board and shove it! @-==-@-==-@-==-@-==-@-==-@-==-@-==-@-==-@-==-@-==-@-==-@-==-@-==-@-==-@-==-@ Contributed By: The Sorcerer (REV) What ever happened to real bulletin-board systems? First off, I'd like to make it perfectly clear that I cannot be objective in these notes. These are observations, but they are from 1) a Sysop 2) a user of 8BBS, the greatest BBS ever evolved 3) a boy ... who's become a boyish programmer 4) an old timer....1977 was when I first started using BBS systems. 5) the author of a BBS system If you're expecting objectivity, then don't bother reading on. I have a rather unique perspective on the entire BBS scene. I've been around since close to the beginning, and I'm wondering what has happened. Have BBS's gone the way of CB? the entire system in a slump? Is there anything wrong at all? I'm going to try to present these questions and show how things have changed...for the better, and for the worst. HISTORY: A long time ago, in a city far-far away, two men had an insight. Ward Christensen and Randy Suess wanted a way to leave notes and messages to their programmer/engineer friends. Back then, modems were used by field-engineers and some high-level executives to talk to their companies computers. A 300 baud modem was extremely fast, as most people were using 110 baud TeleTypes. Ward and Randy developed the concept of the BBS. They called it CBBS, for "Computer Bulletin Board System." CBBS was the first of its kind. It was an enormous program written in 8080 assembly language. By our standards today, it was kludgy and bug-ridden, but back then it was heavenly. Users could enter messages and read messages... that was about it. CBBS was a wonderful concept, but it was localized to the Chicago area. Ward and Randy were the only ones who were running the program. Then Bill Blue came along and wrote ABBS, which was designed to "emulate" the CBBS system. I feel it was ABBS, rather than CBBS which made the real breakthrough. While ABBS was much less powerful, and more difficult to use, it could be run on a "universal" machine: --The Apple ][-- Anyone with an Apple ][ and a D.C. Hayes MM][ modem could run ABBS. This program could be installed in a matter of minutes, and anyone could have their own bulletin board system. Soon after the release of ABBS, several other BBS programs (for various computers) soon followed. ABBS was the king for many years, just because there were more ABBS systems than any other BBS program available. It is this time that I would like to refer to as the "Golden age of the BBS." It wasn't as golden as you might think. Most Sysops would come home every evening from work to find that their BBS had crashed because of yet another bug. Even back then, user's logged in under false names and left obscene messages. The one point that made that age golden was the users. Without users, a BBS is just a program. With users, it gains a personality, and if I may be metaphysical, a soul. The users MAKE the BBS. A Sysop may have the greatest BBS program in the world, but without active users, he just has a computer wasting line-current. LIFE IN THE "GOLDEN AGE" A user would think nothing of spending his Saturday helping "The Sysop" find an intermittent bug in the BBS program. A user would not only answer his or HER mail, but also butt into other people's conversations and throw in his/her two cents worth. A user would suggest improvements to make the system easier to use. A Sysop would care for his BBS like a baby. He'd spend 2 hours each night writing messages and playing with modifications to the program. A Sysop would NOT restrict conversation to one particular topic...such as CP/M software. A Sysop would tolerate kids who were just learning how to use modems. He'd even give them a hand getting things working. A Sysop would [on his own preference] diligently weed out obscene or "pseudo-illegal" messages, -- or -- promote them as he saw fit. Users would start clubs, such as the well known "Gabber Gang" and later the infamous "Phone Phreakers" who figured so prominently into BBS history. The government didn't try to restrict BBS users. It was just "us" against tyranny (at that time "Ma Bell"). Although most users did not approve of "Phone Phreaking", everyone talked about it, and was interested in it for curiosity sake if nothing else. [Hard to believe, but true.] Uploading and downloading of programs did not exist. BBS's were few and far between. When I wrote the OxGate, the two closest other CP/M based machines were Kelly Smith in Simi Valley (375 miles away), and "Jim C" in Larkspur (100 miles away). People tended to congregate on the local system. WHAT HAS KILLED BBS SYSTEMS: 1) Program uploading and downloading. People just get their programs and leave. 2) The technical clique's retaliation against "gabbers" who just used the systems for personal communication. 3) Too many BBS systems in one area. BBS's are still alive and healthy in low-density areas. 4) The loss of "anonymity" among BBS users. The BBS used to be the place to escape. Where no one had to be "themselves." Users such as "James Bond" and "Captain Scarlet" were given free reign to vent their fantasies. Today, most systems do not allow false names so they can keep track of users. 5) The anti-hacker movement. More and more people today think the word "hacker" means "phone phreak/computer crasher." All it ever meant was "great programmer." You would feel proud if someone labeled you a "hacker." 6) The press' ignorance of the BBS community. By trying to make a scandal out of all of it, they ruined a great form of communication. In particular, the magazine "InfoWorld" has done more harm to the BBS community than other press organization. While they actively TRIED to HELP the community, they have caused more harm in their mis-reporting of info. 7) Sysop's ignorance. Quite frankly, the average quality of "Sysop" has dropped. Sysop's are (on the whole) less active and less responsive than 5 years ago. More and more of them are technically incompetent, they couldn't fix a bug if it bit them in the nose. All of these problems are inter-related. We can't solve any of them until all of them are solved. From my descriptions it should be obvious that the "golden age" certainly wasn't all gold. People like "James Bond" and "Sam Daniels" had to be stopped, but the pendulum has swung too far to the opposite side. These observations are very general. I've noticed this swing, and it has taken place on 95% of all of the system's I've called across America. It's sad that these problems have stabbed us in the back, but it's not too late to try and bring about a change. I don't have the answers, but maybe these observations will prompt thought into this death of a virtual "art form" of communication. There is one possible solution to this problem... the acceptance of children again. For too long we've been kicking off kids (both physical and "kids at heart"). They've been disruptive, and caused fights galore. Many have even tried to crash the systems they used. "If there's any hope, it lies with the proles." -- George Orwell, _1984_ Perhaps the thing to do is call a few local Commodore and Apple boards and let the users know that they're just as welcome on your super-fancy 100mb 2400 baud RCP/M system as any of your so-called "serious users" . . . "serious users" who can't even bring themselves to answer their own mail. Saddening. @-==-@-==-@-==-@-==-@-==-@-==-@-==-@-==-@-==-@-==-@-==-@-==-@-==-@-==-@-==-@ Words Of Caution: A First Person Perspective By: Modok Tarleton As far as any general impressions that I have about telecommunications, they are mostly negative. It seems that the only really interesting things that ever happen are the illegal and potentially illegal ones. If one considers that the bulk of present-day bulletin boards carry public domain software and host conversations that literally consist of two people arguing over the phone, this point can be easily understood. There are plenty of bulletin boards operating but over the past 7 to 8 years, most of the interesting ones have gone under. Instead there is an overabundance of fee-charging systems. Even more frightening is the ever-expanding influence of major corporations on the telecommunications world. Now one can purchase anything from flowers to automobiles on services such as Prodigy and Compuserve. A service like Prodigy, which is a Sears business, isn't their to help you or inform you. Its basically there to take your money! The same goes for fee-charging boards. Although they might provide some service, it seems somewhat inane to pay an outrageous fee to use someone else's system after spending thousands of dollars on one's own computer equipment. Telecommunications has turned into some kind of business men's wet dream. What is worse is that what is left is barely worth bothering with. Many of the non-commercial bulletin board systems are characterized by a few non-spectacular characteristics; uninteresting conversation and infected software. The experience is never complete without looking through the file directories and finding old, infected copies of "lh113.exe" just waiting for suckers to download and run. One may ask the popular question, "What about the underground?" The most valuable aspect of the underground has been that one can access tons of interesting and controversial information for very little money. Many of the best boards have been and are like a computerized combination of Soldier of Fortune Magazine, Byte and the Anarchist Cookbook. This is what I consider to be truly radical and "underground." Many of you remember Phrack, the Legion of Doom and that whole contingent of very intelligent people. Those where organizations that typified the kind of free spirit and resourcefulness that made the underground great. The bad side of the underground is that much of what is called the underground now is nothing more than a social club for non-interesting people with vegetable like personalities. These are often people whose sole existence seems to center around 9600 baud modems and the latest, consumer electronic trends. What intelligent person hasn't been pissed off by jerks who insist on blabbing about their "neat-o" equipment. The so-called underground often represents capitalism and materialism at some of its worst. One can also see this wanton consumerism in the "cyberpunk" trend. I can safely say that science fiction authors who wrote about the hi-tech/low-life never envisioned that their often cautionary tales would be turned into trendy consumer product. Super computers, artificial intelligence, and virtual reality are all the rage amongst todays "hip" people. It all equals one thing: money, money, money. It is all bullshit. In a few years, the trend-seeking vampires will latch on to another consumer rage and hopefully, the stuff with real value will be left behind for those who actually care to use. Until then however, we must deal with the constant threats of corporate invasion of our lives and the general mediocrity that characterizes much of the modern world. If you value your mind, you will avoid all such directions in telecommunications and life in general.


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