Smut was more like magic-eye pictures in those days - you had to stare for a few minutes trying to work out what it was.....
Bid a fond farewell to the weekend and buckle up for the new week with a slightly NSFW example of the breed we like to call Who, Me? Today's tale comes from "Trent" (which is most certainly not his name) and takes us back in time to his university days. Entering higher education in the period between the late 1980s and early …
Went to a school open day once when I was a kid. Some parents had brought in interesting things from the "world of work", including one father with punched tape and telex printer. All went well, churning out animals rendered in typewriter characters, until said father loaded the wrong tape. From a distance it was quite a convincing picture of a lady performing on the pink oboe...
Curious Marc's youtube channel may interest you. Not seen any of the smutty stuff but he restores antique teleprinters in excruciating detail... and a demo of 'yep the bugs are fixed' was some AWESOME baudot based artwork. (he also restores apollo guidance computers as a sideline)
I shall look at that channel.
In my student days I bought a surplus BT baudot teleprinter for a fiver (or maybe a tenner). TI took two people to lift the thing. IT still had the hotel code for where it was originally stationed wired on, so would print this.
I connected it up as a printer to my TRS-80. Wish I still had it but it was huge and was binned at some point.
Never printed smut on it!
"Smut was more like magic-eye pictures in those days - you had to stare for a few minutes trying to work out what it was....."
The good stuff was at the proper BBS's. (late 80s/early 90s we're talking about here?).
Soon after 1987 and the birth of VGA and GIF format in the same year (co-incidence?) the modems started to get faster and hard drives more common... There were practically no common video formats, but I recall a few insteresting Grasp videos from the era...
Fire up a Dosbox and download some! old skool stuff, thanks to Internet Archive.
The follies which a man regrets most, in his life, are those which he didn't commit when he had the opportunity.
- Helen Rowland
"Regret for the things we did can be tempered by time; it is regret for the things we did not do that is inconsolable."
- Sidney J. Harris
'The funny thing about regret is....It's better to regret something you have done, as to regret something you haven't done...'(You must be 18 to view the end of this sig.)~ Mgmt.
I know someone who did just that. He used petrol (well, gasoline, since we're over here, not over there) to get heavy grease out of some overalls, then tried to use a washer to get the gasoline out.
He heard a funny noise during the spin cycle, and opened the lid to investigate. The result was "Johnny Cash... Ring of Fire!" (Washer was old enough to not have a safety lock during the spin cycle).
He slammed the lid down, pondered the situation, and opened the lid to confirm this strange phenomenon was really happening. After observing a second tornado of fire, he opted to try extinguishing the fire by pouring sufficient water on the (now closed) lid to effectively seal the unit, allowing the fire to starve for air and burn out.
The real danger was if his wife found out about the incident. Not sure how he dodged that part.
The IT dept of a place I once worked seeded a file on the network with a filename intended to make it look like an illicit game. (I think it was the work of a particularly noxious admin guy we had the misfortune to employ for a while)
The snag was that the file size wasn't huge enough for it to be a Windows executable and not even large enough to be a DOS game.
So I investigated.
It turned out to be a (very) crude honeypot: you ran the executable and it created a log file that contained the time, date and login of the person who'd run it, all trivially encrypted.
Once we'd broken the encryption (simple letter swap) we started seeding numerous log files with suitably rude encrypted messages.
When I ran a BBS many moons ago it allowed folk to drop into the o/s which looked and felt like CP/M but was in fact the multi-user Turbodos. There were no built in commands, everything being executables. I made all the dangerous CP/M commands like format, fdisk, del etc as just hidden bat files that logged their use and user for public display and disabled their accounts.
it just showed how many bastards existed.
Hmmm, Please make sure that you have an ample supply of mind bleach fior this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z0rlYSJQkyw cover of the Divinyls.
Dixons in the 90s. The Goatse boot floppy. A store full of Packard Bells with boot from floppy as first option.
We weren't absolute bastards. We only booted from the floppy. _We_ didn't overwrite the drives.
Or She Bop. Or Turning Japanese.
People give the "BBC Censors" a bad name that was probably earned in the 1960s after the "J'T'aime, Mois Non Plus" nonsense. I even heard some American tell me I couldn't have heard The Kinks sing Apeman on the BBC (Alan Freeman's Top 40 show to be precise) because "the BBC banned it because the line sounded like 'the air polution is fucking up my eyes' over old radios".
I love young people who weren't there telling me wotswot powered by internet knowledge.
And while I'm ramblin' with the brothers Davis, "Cherry Cola" scans better IMO.
While it was maybe not the case for those songs, they did have to stop things being too overt, there were the Mary Whitehouses to be placated, or at least not overly agitated.
It's fairly accepted the radio programmes like Round the Horne got away with what they did at least partly by the use of slang like polari, sometimes it's not innuendo, it just sounds like it, sometimes it really is innuendo, and sometimes it doesn't sound like innuendo but very much is. How much the censors knew about and were letting slide, and how much just flew over their heads, is an open question (even the cast had varying levels of familiarity with it).
The people who went through WWII couldn't possibly understand a reference made in a song that begins with a graphic description of someone trans-sexing, that reference being the fourth line in a scenario about Holly who "in the back room she was everybody's darlin'".
Jeepers. Pull it together, zygotes.
Many, many years ago I worked during my uni holidays for a company. They were looking to get some new computers in, and a sales woman from some distributor came in to demo a rather nice (in the day) Amiga with a full windowing GUI (very new at the time - well before the first versions of Windows were out).
At the end of the demo she said she would leave the machine with us for a few days to evaluate and, as she left, she popped a floppy on the desk with a "have a look at that after I've gone - I think you'll like it".
We were expecting some marketing junk, but it was lots and lots of high-res p0rn images linked into a slide show.
Distracted us so much we never did get round to evaluating the system...
... indicate how unsuitable MS/PC DOS was as a network operating system, something that persisted into the Windows era until the advent of NT.
But it trained several generations of system admins. and developers to be extremely lax with how they treated the security of the systems they worked on.
Even now, it seems that many organizations do not even take the basic steps to enforce decent limited user access on their Windows shares. I was looking at one of the shares I have to use the other day where I work (at ostensibly an IT company) and saw that by default all shares were open for write access for everybody, even those that were specific for users and teams. No wonder ransomware can de so devastating in these environments!
Windows can do it properly. Why don't people use these protections?
Share permissions often seem to be left at full permissions for everyone but NTFS folder permissions are usually set correctly (not always though). That does mean the files are properly protected but anyone could remove the share (or change it's permissions) and thereby block access.
That is how you do up to a specific company size where you apply basic share permissions as well (i.e. admin yes, the user group of that subsidiary yes, others no).
To me he sounds like the NTFS permissions were f-ed up as well since he could enter them all and write on them.
Would Peter Gathercole please enlighten us upon that detail whether he tested creating files?
It was the other way around. Someone went into one of my folders and moved files around.
Ouch! I should have checked myself, so I guess I'm part of the problem.
But that could not happen by default on systems with NFS mounted filesystems that I administer (nor, in the past on AT&T RFS (look it up) or DFS and AFS filesystems whose ACL system are more like Windows). Directories are created as 0755 or 0750 (depending on which environment I'm working on) by default.
But I wonder how many of the people who rely on setting permissions at 0777 have come from a Windows background, and do not know of any other way to make their applications work (I have come across numerous people across the years who say something like "Why do all these security restrictions exist. It makes my job so much harder...")
I complain bitterly to anybody who sets something like this up on a system that I have some responsibility for. Does not always stop it, however, as JFDI appears to apply in the management eyes, and I do value working.
Too many people think that *they* are the only people working on a multi-user system.
The whole point of the hacking ethos is to prove you can do it. If you go for a week of meditation in the woods to find your inner self or spiritual roots that's absolutely fine, but tell somebody so that you don't have rescue teams and helicopters looking for you. Inconsiderate hacking is arrogant oafishness. Even when your super-hacking-powers have been used to save the day, management's skin and a drowning kitten, modesty is more becoming. Also more awesome for the mere mortal spectators.
Even as school kids in the late 60s we used to try to hide a nasty repeating routine in the piles of punch cards that we submitted to the University Computer Centre that kindly ran them for us. Aim being to try to bring the machine there to a halt by putting it into a permanent and increasingly large loop.
Weren't you ever 18?
And I speak as someone who would have been cleaning up student labs in the 1990s - no we never had a lab full of porn. Perhaps because most of the students around the labs in my neck of the woods were history/sociology students; the look of bemused horror as they came out of their first computational statistics workshop were hilarious.
One employer neatly "de-fanged" a friend and I, but deputizing us as "Junior admins", with knowledge of the passwords. This served two purposes:
1) Spared them some calls from users when the real admins were not at work
2) Removed one (big) incentive to "experiment", as "It doesn't count if you have root already.
The only time I got a "stern warning" was when I mass-emailed an ASCII Art Xmas from "Santa" one December, then deleted that email account. The Powers claimed that my stunt had gotten them a bunch of complaints from folks who replied and got "Santa: Now Such User". How DARE I?
In college, noticed that the lab computers had no security on them for remote login and devices. We (a group of us) wrote a small program to play audio files of farm animals to //dev/audio, cows, sheep that sort of thing. We waited until there was a lab and then set in in motion. Admin knew it was us as we had login's to the terminals. We did similar to the green screens with the Glade mushroom advert song.
I got called in once for editing all the MS-DOS error messages with childish swear words after using a hex editor to edit the strings in command.com. That one offended some elderly evening class students.
My friend managed to make a perfect green screen login page. He was remarking on how accurate to the real thing it was. The SysAdmin needed to quickly check something though and chose his terminal to login. His password didn't work - but he was suspicious so went off to the main cell. He came back in the room and told my friend he was banned from the college Internet for a few weeks for that stunt.
cat "ezekial25.au" > /dev/audio in a lab full of Sun Sparcstations with a 3 second delay per workstation with a slow increase in volume.
Wait till there is one student in there at 3 am while the rest of you are in another lab with a view in. Wait and hear the gunshots. See the jump scare.
Wait till the sysadmin reviews the CCTV after the complaint, finds out the miscreants logins, changes their login scripts so the next time they use the Suns, they get the same treatment.
"Indeed he should be (ashamed). Youth and beer do not excuse the pushing of pixelly pr0n onto the unsuspecting."
Actually, since it was in university, largely, everyone was 18+ years old, so while I'm not advocating pushing pron to anyone unsuspecting, it's not that bad. They've been exposed and doing the thing already :)
Back in the Noughties I had a genuine scientific research reason to do an online search for ‘Muscle Anatomy’. I clicked on one link and my screen filled with rapidly reproducing browser windows (remember them?) all showing pr0n. In an office shared with 3 female colleagues (all out in the lab fortunately). I hurriedly hit the kill switch and shut the computer down. Then opened it back up cautiously.
I never did find the info I was searching for. I had it from an ancient copy of Grey’s Anatomy (the book not the TV series) but wanted up to date figures.
Possibly someone will recognise this story and work out the poster, but embarrassing enough to try anon...
Not long after starting a job I had a screensaver incident. We were using slackware machines (an interesting and, even then, somewhat maverick choice), and they had the classic XScreensaver on them, which I typically left on random because I have a nostalgia for winamp visualisations. One day as I got up to head out for a coffee and locked the desktop, I noticed it put a picture up. Didn't really think about it, I mean, I knew what webcollage was, but surely this was the 'safe' version and it's not by default actually getting things from the web, right? That's the one I'd had on redhat and, after all, it's installed on all the machines...
Came back maybe fifteen minutes later, my monitor was off and my manager takes me aside for a quiet word. Two things have stuck with me; the re-enactment of a colleagues' jaw dropping as he happened to glance over his shoulder and noticed what had started to appear on the screen, and the moment after we turned my monitor back on to find lots of pictures of women in bikinis in which I just about started the sentence, "Oh, that's not too bad..." as a picture came up that was... too bad, and we both lunged for the mouse.
Fortunately for me it turned out this had happened to someone else before I arrived, so I wasn't suspected of accessing this stuff and the former IT administrator had moved country at about the same time, leaving nobody in particular to have to justify leaving the option on. After that I stopped using the random option, and then we moved to ubuntu which just had a blank screen. I slightly miss the classic Xscreensavers, I don't miss walking cheerfully back into an awkwardly silent office.
That reminds me of a story from about 20 years ago. Someone rather naive to the naughtier parts of the interwebs had a genuine reason to use his work computer to investigate the practice of plugging in tech kit while it was all powered up.
His search for "Hot insertion" proved to be quite the education, in NSFW ways he wasn't originally expecting. Even worse, it was an open plan office with computers overlooked by colleagues every which way so everyone got a good laugh.
I got disciplined at college for copying the paper tape bootstrap of the Colleges Interdata Mini-Computer onto a roll of Western Omnibus bus tickets, which I had acquired from the clippies cubby hole at the back of the bus, as they were exactly the same size but not quite as durable as the proper paper tape. The lecturer handling the disciplinary was trying not to lose it as he found the whole episode hilarious but the head of department wanted me to suffer.
I was hitting on a fellow lady researcher back at the start of the century, and we enjoyed a pretty kinky relationship. I had set up NIS+ on a small network of Debian workstations, with roaming profiles. We enjoyed exchanging dirty messages over the internal messagig system, and I occasionally threw some of them on the console session she was using just for the giggles. One day, I picked up a particularly smut image and used jp2a to turn into ASCII "art". Then, I proceeded to plaster it on the console she was using via SSH. What I didn't anticipate, being at the basement of the lab, was our Director borrowing her session on the first floor of the building "to peek out at some of her data"...
Posting AC because... well, you name it.
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When I joined the Schools' Psychological Service in the 80s the EPs had a new admin that they weren't too happy with. Partly because they had been really happy with the previous temporary one, but mostly because she was useless.. The temp'd been with them over a year. The job became open for a permanent post but there had to be an application.
She just wrote that she'd been doing the job successfully for over a year.
Another applicant went through the job description and pretty much ticked boxes. She got the job. She hadn't a clue. Been wary of "equal opportunities" interviews ever since.
Better example. I was the union rep on some interviews for reallocation following some Local Education Authority change round or other. It was run by HR not the educationalists. Two seriously good senior teachers were applying for a pair of posts . One for an out-reach worker then one for centre manager ( same grade). I have no idea why they did it this way, or why they did it in that order, or anything. The equal opps interview offered the first job, centre manager, to the "best" candidate of the two (maybe because it had "manager" in the title?) - who was the one who wanted to be the ourtreach worker. She was ideal for that role. She had a good relationship with the schools, bags of experience with that kind of work etc. but not a great one for the paperwork. She had to accept the centre manager job as offered or lose her job altogether. The other senior teacher was well suited to being a centre manager (organisational skills, admin skills etc) but not a great lover of outreach work in host schools, but had to accept the role of outreach worker in host schools.
After that I wrote to the LEA and the union and said that I could no longer, in conscience, remain part of the process.
Back when I were but a young lad....
In a class full of people with only one BBC Model B with a printer ROM. There were a couple of systems at the back that had sideways RAM boards. So I copied the printer ROM, loaded it into sideways RAM and started printing off what I wanted. The deputy head (who was in the room) decided to wander around and took interest in what I was doing. So I got into trouble.....
What was funny is that he fancied himself as a bit of an IT man. He wanted to make sure I deleted the copy of the ROM I'd made. I just put the floppy in upside-down and he never noticed - just saw the floppy read failure!
Then there was the old trick where you could reset the BBC and get it to run a program - usually a sleep before continuously beeping half way through the next lesson.
Oh, and the time I used a disk editor to change the available space on a friend's 40Mb floppy to 4Mb so he couldn't save anything.
Since PC networks consisted of sneakernet back in well-spent youth, the closest we got to distributed disturbance was when I was in Army signal school. The barracks had a 70V speaker system wired in every room. Well, somebody had the "bright" idea of hooking up their car stereo up to it, and playing (badly) a bit of Jimi Hendrix. Of course, I and my fellow barracks rats decided that we had to do better, so my rather decent amp was hooked up. Yes, with full fidelity, out came The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy radio show, the last episode featuring the Man in the Shack.
We were never caught, and I regret nothing!
(Yes, on Monday our sergeant gave us a collective verbal drubbing, and told us never do it again.)
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I did my fair share of prank programs back in the pre-windows college days. I guess they might be called viruses as they did copy themselves to people's floppy disks and auto boot and then sit waiting for while before they activated, but were otherwise harmless.
I had one that would turn the users screen upside down and another that would make all the text on the screen appear to melt.
They were all easy enough to quit if you knew what keys to press, but most people would panic and just turn they computers off, which caused them to lose their work.
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