1. Editorial..................................................... 2
2. Articles...................................................... 2
Fido - the international connection......................... 2
BUILDING THE BETTER BEAST................................... 4
NOW IS NOT THE TIME......................................... 8
Who owns that message, anyway?.............................. 9
THE LAW..................................................... 11
New Network in Town......................................... 12
The Nodelist - Quality is *NOT* job one..................... 14
"An Open Letter to Steven Winter"........................... 19
Steve Winter is misguided................................... 21
THE HACKER CRACKDOWN........................................ 23
3. Fidonews Information.......................................... 31
FidoNews 11-02 Page: 2 09 Jan 1994
It is a large issue this week, so we are going to play down
the editorial and just give you the articles. There are hardly
any quotes at all <S>.
Civility is the ability to halucinate with synchronicity, ie.,
a bunch of people all have the same dream. If you have any other
dreams, then you're deviant, or merely crazy.
Fido - the international connection
By Daniel Finger
My dear friends,
as I am looking forward to becoming a german Fido-node soon,
I would very much like to express some thoughts about Fido
as a very special net, which's existence can not be praised
I wonder how many of us really have an idea how wonderful
a network Fido is to have access to. In the latest issue
of Fido-news somebody elaborated on the adventages of
usenet. It may well be that usenet is a network that is
much less complicated to deal with for individual users. I
strongly doubt that the interaction in the conferences are
of a generally more social attitude though. But there is
one advantage to Fidonet that no other net I know of gives
FIDO IS A LARGE INTERNATIONAL PUBLIC NETWORK RUN BY
INDIVIDUALS AS A NON-PROFIT PROJECT.
Now, what does this actually mean? First of all it means a
lot of work and quite some equipment for the nodes and
especially the hubs, but (fortunately) moderate or no costs
for Fido's users and points. How can a lot of time and
money spent by the nodes and hubs possibly be an advantage? As
I understand it, usenet and internet are largely kept up by
organisations as universities, companies and governments.
Now those organisations have not interfered much with what
is routed through the nets and sub-nets YET. But I can
imagine that this will not go on indefinitely.
When financial issues arise and there will be people in
positions who decide what will be paid for and what won't
who are accustomed to structures and contents of the nets
they will simply cut down on the costs. I know of course
FidoNews 11-02 Page: 3 09 Jan 1994
that most of the data is send through fixed lines anyhow,
but the argument might be that these are not financed to
be used for conversations on sex, drugs and rock'n roll
anyway. This might well happen over here in germany since
we constantly have to deal with enormous budget cuts for
our universities (almost all of them are exclussively
financed by our government).
Furthermore there may come a time when political reasons
could suggest having a stronger influence on what is routed
and to whom. Although times seem rough regarding the latest
Fidonews issues, people in the net have always had a strong
committence to freadom of speach, freadom of information and
freadom of expression. This attitude is by no means popular
with all influential individuals or organisations, national
So if there will be official net-trouble it will be quite
easy to greatly damage the structures of nets like the
internet. Sites can be disconnected, access can easily be
regulated or controlled, things like that. Repressing acts
like these do not have to be feared in FIDO. Since indivi-
duals run Fidonet and since they pay for it and keep up it's
infrastructure by themselves, even hubs could be raided
without leaving heavy wounds in the net-organism. But it
would leave a very angry and determined Fidonet behind. And
since every node is listed and every sysop of a node knows
of his points personally (at least this should be the case
with the majority), the net's organisation could be shifted
a little to once again establish unhindered mail-transfer.
If the global village is in site within the next millenium
and it sure seems to me it is, I want it to be populated by
free individuals and I want it to be open to almost anyone
and controllable only by the people who participate in it
and spend their time and concern for it. Fido is the only
network I have ever heard of to supply this potential even
Let us consider a different aspect of the net now, it's
international componant. Fortunately, Fido has nodes on
almost every continent in many countries and cities.
Fortunately, international routing works quite fine and
last but not least, fortunately, the costs for all this
international routing are acceptable.
Unfortunately, international echos are scarce. I don't know
why this is the case, but it has been bothering me since I
became a Fido-point almost two years ago. Most Fido-users
are able of writing a fair english no matter where they live
and even in national echomail-conferences most of the mode-
rators allow english as a conference language. Why is it,
that there are so little international areas?
I know of areas like USA_EURLINK and ASIAN_LINK, but these
are multi-national areas at best and they are not related
FidoNews 11-02 Page: 4 09 Jan 1994
to topics, but simply cover all topics for the sake of any
intercontinental mail-transfer at all. I believe that it is
time for a change. There should at least be echomail-
conferences tending to topics like
international contacts (for people to coordinate vistis
in foreign countries and the like)
Now, maybe I am all wrong and these echos exist, all or at
least some of them. I stand corrected. Drop me a net-mail and
I will try to get connected. But if this lack of internatio-
nal echomail-traffic is indeed a fact, then I would love
to here from all of you who feel the same about it and
would like to spend some time working out the possibilities.
I am sorry that this article has gotten a bit long, but at
least it didn't mention any *Cs, bible verses, archiver-
comparisons or strange stories ;-)
With my best wishes for a happy, healthy and productive 1994
brought to you courtesy of TIM MADISON and
the PIGDOG MAILING LIST DIGEST #2:
The Ballad of Johhny 5090
(This is more drivel I wrote about copy machines during a stretch where I
worked 11 out of 12 days. I don't know why I bothered. I mean...copy
machines? Another REJECT from Pigdog #3)
BUILDING THE BETTER BEAST
(Our Expert Rates the New Crop of High Volume Duplicating Machines)
Deep in the belly of every Xerox 5090 Photocopier hides a tiny, powerful
mini-brain known as an ElectroMobe. This small, but utterly efficient,
microchip is the nerve center of the machine that many call the greatest
copier ever made. A vast network of recessed sensors deployed inside the
copier relay the slightest aberration to the 'Mobe, which then, aping the
human mind that conceived of it, sends a termination signal to the main
processing unit. A piece of paper gone even 2 degrees askance will shut
the machine down instantly, thanks to the ever-vigilant work of the
ElectroMobe Brain. There is, quite simply, nothing else like it at work
anywhere in the world.
Which brings us to the state of copying technology at the present time.
After a long stasis, which saw companies like Canon and Kodak bringing
belching monsters to the fore time and time again to forge a lead in the
FidoNews 11-02 Page: 5 09 Jan 1994
stagnant marketplace, Xerox introduced in 1991 the 5090, and has not
looked back since. Quite literally, its competitors have been left far
behind. The 5090 is the Anvil on which the plain paper revolution of the
1990's is being forged.
The 5090's specs are truly terrifying. 170 copies per minute. A reliable
duplex tray which can hold up to 200 sheets at a time. A dual
finisher/stacker, which can contain up to four "sets" in progress while
collating and finishing to send to an automatic stacker tray. An
ingenious hot glue binding system that does in one versatile package,
almost as an afterthought, what messy, inconvenient machines costing many
thousands of dollars once were required for. An ultra-sensitive Automatic
Document Handler (ADH) that can hold nearly 300 sheets at once, and can
run both extremely heavy (cardstock) and light (thermal) weights of
paper. Add to that impressive array a complex-though-simple terminal
touch screen, a 3.5 floppy disk drive, and three colossal paper trays
with a combined sheet storage capacity of just under 5000, and you have
what can only be called the Lamborghini of copiers, the Best of the Best.
Many have tried, but few have succeeded, in duplicating Xerox's success
with this machine. Late 1992 and so far this year have seen an influx of
supposedly "high-volume" competitors from companies such as Konica and
Minolta, with impressive national ad campaigns to boost sales. The astute
reader will note that Xerox has yet to air an ad for the 5090; it does
not need one.
So, in the spirit of fairness, this space has been provided to review
what the other's have to offer. It is not as a shuck for Xerox that we
attempt to portray ourselves, yet the fact remains that Xerox has created
something bigger, possibly then themselves; a machine so blindingly
perfect that all others are become without value.
Kodak's Ektaprint line was a reliable, workhorse copier, for both
high-volume "full-service" work and also for the most menial of small
jobs. In it's time which lasted most of the previous decade the
Ektaprint 235 stood up to all comers, including Xerox's own 5010 and
5060. Then came the 90's, and the 5090 (and, to a lesser extent, the
5100) have put this fine beast out to a well-deserved pasture.
In truth, the Ektaprint line produced only barely passable solids,
possessed an ADH constructed like a Polish tank, and had only a paltry
array of "special features" for jobs which required extra handling. The
method to switch trays was clunky, and few key operators to this date
have been able to decipher the secret method to get the 235 to switch
from letter to legal stapling. Also, the duplex tray was notoriously
unreliable. The "Suicide Run" was a staple of 235 activity.
On the other hand, the machine rarely required servicing. In fact, it
would run until it ran out of ink, and sometimes not then (the only
method to tell if ink was required was a small red switch inside the
door, which turned on a tiny light behind the toner container. If you
could see the light behind the container, then it was time to replace it.)
Still, some thrifty shops still insist on using this machine even today.
This is roughly equivalent to choosing an Apple IIe over a Macintosh
Quadra solely on the basis of cost.
FidoNews 11-02 Page: 6 09 Jan 1994
Early last year Kodak introduced a "competitor" to the 5090 in the form
of the 535. While still comparitively slow (90 cpm), the 535 does rival
the 5090 in terms of sheer size. Kodak seems to have adopted a "bigger is
better" philosophy here. With the full finisher installed, the machine is
a mammoth 19 feet long, and weighs approximately 17 tons. The controls
are still basic, and the copies produced retain the Kodak "grainy" feel,
though the solids are a bit more dependable.
While it's tempting to call the 535 an enormous failure from start to
finish (in that it exceeds the 5090 in no areas at all), there remains a
niche for Kodak and it's "pay-for-play" leasing policy. The 635 might be
worth watching for, if they can learn their lessons well. (Though a quick
scan through the history of Eastman belies this possibility from
Ektaprint 90 through 535, they have simply taken a mediocre machine and
made it bigger and louder, without actually improving it.)
I have never trusted Canon or their machines, color copiers excepted.
They are the antithesis of Kodak. Where Eastman machines are solid and
armor-plated, Canon's entries have always seemed fragile...high-impact
plastic in a world which demands flexibility.
Their latest entries are more of the same, and they don't even really try
to compete with the 5090, despite their ads' claims. These cheap machines
average around 75-90 impressions per minute, and their imaging technology
is below even Kodak's par. They are unpopular with service bureaus and
offices requiring high-volume work (except in Japan, where even this is
changing rapidly; in fact, the 5090 may do there what Ford and GM could
not in turning the trade balance around). They seem best suited to a
medium office market requiring a few thousand impressions per day.
Any idea of Canon challenging Xerox for the high-volume throne is
laughable at this time.
MINOLTA, KONICA, RICOH
See Canon entry, above.
There is no substitute. After a long, woeful string of popular failures
(the 5010 was so hated by key operators it became common practice to
attach pictures of lemons to their frames), Xerox wised up and unleashed
the aforementioned Better Machine upon an unsuspecting public. Actually,
the public had some clues to its arrival, namely an extremely heavy and
expensive internal publicity blitz. Within three days of its release, all
5090s in existence were booked up for sale or leasing, with a nine-month
waiting list). Simply put, here was a machine that did what it promised.
But not without problems. The early release models were full of bugs.
Software problems were so prevalent in the early days that Xerox
retrofitted all 5090s with an extra internal RAM card to prevent this
touchy maintenance issue from reoccurring. Even now, shops with 5090s can
expect to see their area tech an average of once every 1.7 days. This is
not to fault the machine. Most, of not all, of the service problems stem
from the amazing productivity of the machine itself. In the store I work
FidoNews 11-02 Page: 7 09 Jan 1994
in, our two 5090s can expect to see an average of 600,000 impressions
each, every month. This exceeds the average count on our Kodak machine by
a 10:1 ratio. That works our to something near 7.2 million copies a year,
quite impressive indeed. And since Xerox offers total technical support
during business hours at no charge, the service issue is a small one when
compared to the benefits of the machine.
Not long after the introduction of the 5090 came the 5100, smaller, more
compact machine not intended as a direct antecedent of the 5090. It can
supply apprx. 90cpm, and it's main claim to fame lies in its ability to
do internal 11x17 duplexing, through the ADH. It is not an entirely
wonderful machine, however, and many shops have abandoned it in favor of
the far superior 5090.
Then there is the Docutech. This machine carries the 5090 chassis and
engine, features four paper trays, and contains a full-powered 486
microprocessor in its brain stem. The most notable feature is its ability
to scan in documents and store them to a 230Mb hard drive for later
retrieval. The keyop merely punches in the filename and the machine calls
up the document and begins printing from the specified tray(s), without
the need for lens flash. This can be useful for large corporations which
need to print 100,000 copies of the same document each week, or each day,
but is almost entirely unnecessary for most shops. In fact, the basic
Docutech does not come with an ADH. Collating a 97-page document would
require individually hand placing and scanning each page, then setting
the page order through the terminal.
More evil by far are the goons Xerox has hired to promote this machine.
They know little or nothing about the working of the 5090 gut, yet can
expound mightily on the hard drive.
There are several options currently available to refine the 5090. An
11x17 document handler, for instance, and a booklet maker are among
these. With all options installed, the 5090 would stretch some 26 feet long.
You already have discerned it. When in doubt, go with the 5090. It's got
a hefty price ($5000/month or so on a fixed 24- or 36-month lease), but
it's productivity is unrivaled by anything on the planet.
If Spock wanted a copier, he would pick the 5090.
Tim Madison <tja...@netcom.com>
FidoNews 11-02 Page: 8 09 Jan 1994
NOW IS NOT THE TIME
by Ray Kaliss
SDN Project Manager
Now is NOT the time to lose your connection to SDN!
SDN has changed all it's TIC AreaTags. It has divided into two
The First Tier consists of the familiar SDN areas of
Author-Direct Shareware distribution you have been used to.
Mainly DOS based areas.
The Second Tier is new. It is comprised of, Author-Direct
Shareware that SDN has been refusing to distribute for a few
years. With the advent of the satellite feed now central to
FidoNet's flow of files and echo.. duplication does not cost
satellite sites. This allows FDN's to expand and offer it's
users based off satellite feeds - many more areas. Real
duplication will probable be rare.
What's does this mean for Fido BBS systems? That now.. if you
are near a satellite site.. you can pick and choose what FDN
services you and your users want.
What does SDN have to offer? It's usual.. that is, authorized
distributions. Distribution of shareware files that the author
himself has submitted. In the condition hat the author
desires. Twice security sealed for your and the authors
How are author's verified? SDN International(sm) goes through
steps to make sure that the software it distributes is
verifiably from the author himself. The SDN Project (where
authors submit) must be certain that the authors submission
meets a criteria of quality and share-ability.
Fidonet sites which may have found themselves orphaned from SDN
by thier feed site not keeping up with changes (changes were of
course announced in SDN_SYSOP echo weeks in advance) should ask
thier past feeds to reconnect with SDN by being aware of the
SDN AreaTag changes.
SDN has also gone down to only one echo, SDN_CONF. Gone are
SDN_SYSOP and SDN_PUBLIC. Be sure to link into this echo..
all SDN information comes down it addressed TO: Sysop.
SDN is open. Anyone, anywhere can link in and know that the
software you get for posting is legal to post according to the
shareware copyright, and legal for anyone to get according to
copyright and Governmental restrictions. _That_ is SDN
criteria.. legal to post and make available. No pornography,
no restricted encryption, no shareware that is retail in other
countries.. only quality share-able software.
FidoNews 11-02 Page: 9 09 Jan 1994
It's all in the new SDN-KIT9.EXE for authors, sysops and users.
It includes a document for posting called SDN-USER.DOC that
answers new users questions on .SDN files. A document named
SYSOP.DOC answers sysop's questions on how to make the most out
of SDN.. what are the areas, the new format of the SDA, how to
make announcement posts of new arrivals.
SDN-KIT9.EXE is available for File Requesting from 1:141/840
Authorized - Author Direct - Secured - Postable - Quality
Be sure you have room on your hard drive, SDN is bigger than
Now .. is _not_ the time to be disconnected from SDN.
SDN Project Manager
Who owns that message, anyway?
Strawberry Fields, 1:116/5.0
Copyright 1994, All Rights Reserved
The question posed by the title of this article should be obvious to
anyone who has read _Syslaw_ by Lance Rose & Jonathan Wallace. For
those of you don't know, or haven't read the book, the answer is: the
person who composed the message.
When the United States signed the Berne Convention and enacted the
Berne Convention Implementation Act in 1988, the requirement that a
copyright notice (eg, Copyright 1994) be placed on a work was removed.
Also under the law, a person has a copyright on a work as soon as the
work has been created. From 17 U.S.C. 102(a):
Copyright protection subsists . . . in original works of authorship
fixed in any tangible medium of expression, now known or later
developed, from which they can be perceived, reproduced, or
otherwise communicated, either directly or with the aid of a
machine or device.
Well, then, does a message on a BBS meet that criteria? From 17
A work is "fixed" in a tangible medium of expression when its
embodiment in a copy or phonorecord, by or under the authority of
the author, is sufficiently permanent or stable to permit it to be
perceived, reproduced, or otherwise communicated for a period of
more than transitory duration.
FidoNews 11-02 Page: 10 09 Jan 1994
Well, when I write a message on a BBS, I and others can certainly
perceive it, reproduce it, and it's communicated to others. And, I
certainly need "the aid of a machine or other device" to enable me to
express the ideas. So, yes, as soon as you hit the Save command on
that message editor, you've got a copyrighted piece of work. And
here's the important part: it doesn't matter whether or not you put a
copyright notice in it or not. The ONLY way you can NOT copyright a
message you write is to specifically state that the message is
released to the public domain.
So, what's this mean to the average Joe Sysop in FidoNetLand? Well,
probably not much, with the following exception: crossposting echomail
messages from one echo to another. If I, as Joe User, enter a message
in an echomail area, I'm aware (or should be aware) that the message
will be reproduced on any number of other BBS's around the world.
(There's an "implied" license involved that permits the BBS's carrying
the conference to display and distribute the message). Say Joe Sysop
sees that message and crossposts it to another area. Since Joe User
didn't put it there to begin with, he didn't give the implied license
to anyone to copy it to any other area. So, if the sysop wants to
crosspost the message, it'd be a good idea (and the polite thing to
do) to ask the author for his permission. Take this article as an
example... I'm submitting it to FidoNews for publication. I certainly
don't expect to see it posted in a message or as a bulletin or in a
book someone publishes. If I wanted to distribute it that way, I'd do
Recently here in Net 116, some moderators of local echoes have
"banned" copyrighted messages. This raises some interesting
o Are they banning messages containing the words "Copyright
1994 by Joe Message Author?"
The copyright notice is really not needed to begin with, since every
message is owned by the author as soon as he creates it. So what's the
purpose banning that particular sequence of letters?
o Are they banning any copyrighted messages?
If this is the case, they're banning EVERY message in an echo, since,
again, each message is automatically copyrighted.
o Are they saying that any messages you enter into that echo
are automatically considered public domain? Or considered the
property of the moderator?
This has more serious effects to ponder. Consider the person who's
concocted a great new recipe and posts it in the RECIPES echo. If the
moderator of the RECIPES echo has made a rule that all messages are
the property of the moderator, then the author would lose all rights
to that recipe, and could not include it in a cookbook later. This is
especially disturbing if the author of the recipe was not aware of the
FidoNews 11-02 Page: 11 09 Jan 1994
In addition to some of the local moderators overreacting, the "sysop"
of at least one board that I'm aware of has made the statement that
"this system owns the messages that are posted from here." I wonder
if that's true for files? How many shareware authors would send a
file to a system when one of the conditions was that they gave up all
rights to the software by uploading it? Probably not too many. The
question is, are the callers to this system made aware of that before
they are granted access? And if not, what does that say for the
scruples of the "sysop" who made the statement? Isn't that tantamount
to intellectual property theft (ie, piracy)?
I guess the whole point of this article is that we, as sysops, and
even more so, the callers who call our boards, are generally ignorant
of our legal rights and responsibilities. And what's even sadder is
that we have quite a few people who ARE aware of their rights and
responsibilities, at least as far as carrying copyrighted _programs_
is concerned, who continue to give the rest of us a bad name by
allowing pirated software to be stored and downloaded from their
Find out what your rights as a sysop are. Find out what your
responsibilities are. Yes, there's still a lot of grey area out there,
but get as much information as you can and make an honest effort.
Note: I'm not an attorney. This is not legal advice. If you want to
make sure of what the law says, see a lawyer (I'd recommend finding
one who knows the difference between a BBS and a briefcase).
by Jeremy Browne (Shaking Hands BBS 2:252/160)
> F I D O N E W S -- Vol.10 No.52 (26-Dec-1993)
> Shawn McMahon
> Fidonews is predominantly by and for adults; and you cannot
> restrict the freedom of speech of adults just because an
> occasional child might read words to which *YOU* object.
> This isn't just my opinion; it's the LAW.
Well, you may be right in that, but just a moment, Shawn.
Excuse me if I take you up on a point, on behalf of all not in
Zone 1 of FidoNet. You made the typical (?) American assumption
that FidoNet (& hence Fidonews) is an All-American toy.
No sir, it is NOT! Yes, it was devised in USA, by people to
whom I offer my heartfelt thanks. But it has become an
INTERNATIONAL medium, and the fact that there are more
FidoNews 11-02 Page: 12 09 Jan 1994
Americans using it than other nationalities does NOT mean
that you can totally ignore us minorities. We WILL be counted.
So, please, when you - or anyone else - quotes THE LAW, or THE
GOVERNMENT, or similar institutions, please qualify your facts,
because, unless you have researched them in ALL countries,
you may well find that what seems blindingly obvious in your
country is not so in others.
> From: Jeremy Bulmer (1:140/156)
> I DON'T KNOW ABOUT ANYWHERE ELSE, BUT HERE IN REGINA,
> SASKATCHEWAN, CANADA ...
> (for all you don't know, it's above the United States) :- )
> ... it's illegal to drink and drive!
Hooray for you, Jeremy, my very point above.
Have a good 1994, one & all.
New Network in Town
by John Creamer
New Network in Town
Join One Of The Fastest Growing Networks Of The 90's METALNET!
MetalNet Zone 75 is now Based In Orlando, Florida and Is Currently
Looking For Region Coordinators, Hosts, Hub And Nodes Across The
Globe!!!! No Individual Will Be Refused! For More Information
Please FREQ METALNET From The Following Network Address:
NO ONE WILL BE REFUSED!
Here Is A Listing Of Conferences Currently Offered!
MetalNet Echomail Conference Listing Updated January 1, 1994
New Echos & Suggestions Are Always Welcome And Are Encouraged!!
Conference Name Description
MN_4SALE Online Yard-Sale for Computer Users
MN_ADULT Adult talk, must be 18+ for access
MN_ALTER Alternative Music
MN_AMIGA Amiga discussion area
MN_B&B Discuss Beavis & Butt-Head topics
MN_BBS Tech support for all BBS Software
MN_BBSADS BBS advertisement area
FidoNews 11-02 Page: 13 09 Jan 1994
MN_BRE Barren Relms Elite dicusssion area
MN_CBOOKS Comic Books discussions
MN_CDROM CD ROM discussions
MN_CHAT General Chat area
MN_CLASSIC Discuss Classic Rock
MN_CLASSICL Discuss Classical Music
MN_CONCERTS Discuss upcoming concerts
MN_COUNTRY Discuss Country Music
MN_CPRO Discuss C & C++ Programing
MN_DEBATE Place for Heated Debates
MN_DOORS Discuss BBS Door Programs
MN_DRDOS Discussion on DR Dos
MN_ECHO Additions, deletions, changes to conference list
MN_ENETS Discuss other Echomail Networks
MN_FILESRCH File Search area for hard to find programs
MN_HMETAL Discussion on Heavy Metal
MN_HOSTS Discussion for Net Coordinators Only
MN_HSM Discussions on High Speed Modems
MN_HTECH Discussions on hardware problems
MN_MAILER Discussions on Mailers, tossers, scanners
MN_MOVIES New Movie Review area
MN_MTLNWS For posting of MetalNet Newsletter
MN_MUSICIAN Musicians discussion area
MN_NET407 Discussion in Net407 Only
MN_NEWBBS Discussion area for new BBS users
MN_NODELIST Additions, deletions, changes to Nodelist
MN_OS2 OS/2 Discussion area
MN_PASCAL Discussion on programing in Pascal
MN_POL Politics debating area
MN_RAP Discussions on RAP Music
MN_REGION400 Discussions in Region400 Only
MN_REGIONS Discussions for Region Coordinators Only
MN_RIP Discussions on RIP Graphics
MN_RPG Role Playing Discussion area
MN_SCARDS Sports Cards collectors discussion area
MN_STECH Software technical discussion area
MN_SYSOP Discussions by MetalNet Sysops Only
MN_TEEN Discussion area for Teens
MN_TOP40 Top 40 Music discussion area
MN_UNIX Discussions on Unix Systems
MN_VIRTUAL Virtual Realty Discussion area
MN_WEAPONS Weapons & Guns Discussion area
MN_WINDOWS MicroSoft Windows discussion area
MN_WRITERS Discussion area for writers
This Network Has Just Started As Of September 1993.
INTER-BBS BARREN REALMS ELITE,
Is Offered To Any Member Wishing Its Involvement. If You
Have Any Questions, Please Netmail Or Reply To This Advertisement...
FidoNews 11-02 Page: 14 09 Jan 1994
Fido # 1:363/198
Randy DeVaux - 1:141/701 The Brookfield Community Internet BBS
The Nodelist - Quality is *NOT* job one
Well, we're in week five of the NFL (Nodelist Fidonet League?) and it
appears there are a lot of injured players on the monitored list here
in the Region 16 Conference! Only kidding, well maybe not
.....seriously though, have any of you though about something that is
affecting each of you? The nodelist? The maintainence of the nodelist
and the pursuit of it's accuracy is probably the most fundemental job
of any Coordinator in the fidonet structure. It is were the actions of
a single person has ramifications on almost 23,000 distinct users here
in Fidoland. Having been on board for almost nine years, I suddenly
noticed this fall, that the nodelist was beginning to rapidly fall into
a state of disrepair. No, I can't single handedly look at the entire
nodelist, but in my net, and upon further review, my region, had
somehow begun to fail to take seriously the "glue that binds us all
together", none other than, The Nodelist. Now while I am not the
coordinator for the region, I did feel it in my purview to create a
scorecard on which to monitor our progress here in increasing the
quality of the entires contained in the nodelist and complying with the
points of Policy 4 that spoke on downed and private nodes. I have even
pointed these out to the Regional Coordinator, who took time out of his
busy day to thank me and then tell me I had a bad attitude.
I was surprised in that it appears that in Region 16, a downed node is
considered an MIA, and as such would never be forgotten, but forever
etched in the nodelist in granite. Worse, to mention it brings up 1001
reasons, some of which are highly original, but not germain. I guess
it's believed that the Quantity of a Regional portion of a nodelist is
more important than the Quality (You know...the famous mine is bigger
than your senerio). I wanted to share these reasons with you, the
grunt sysops in fidonet, and have been questioning (so pointedly I'm
managed to get myself suspended from the Regional Coordinators echo for
30 days) our region in an effort to seek out what it is that causes
this. Let me share with you, the scorecard of nodelists as of
Nodelist Getaway Scoreboard
Andre Normandin - Regional Coordinator 1:16/0
1993 1993 1993 1993 1994
N/L# N/L# N/L# N/L# N/L#
bytes .344 .351 .358 .365 .007
---- ---- ---- ---- ----
FidoNews 11-02 Page: 15 09 Jan 1994
Stephen McRae - Network Coordinator 1:101/0
101/185 87 Down Down Down Down Down
101/630 68 Down Down Down Down Down
Chuck Kirby - Network Coordinator 1:132/0
132/177 75 Private Private Private Private Private
132/253 89 Private Private Private Private Private
132/230 83 Private Private Private Private Private
132/288 89 Private Private Private Private Private
132/227 81 Private Private
132/308 90 Private
Phil Palumbo - Network Coordinator 1:141/0
141/42 71 Private Private Private Private Private
141/68 81 Down Down Down Down Down
141/1280 92 Down Down Down Down Down
141/396 Down Down Down Down
141/620 Down Down Down Down
141/1001 80 Private Private Private Private Private
141/535 86 Down Down Down Down Down
141/1156 83 Down Down Down Down Down
Jerry Schwartz - Network Coordinator 1:142/0
142/470 92 Down Down Down Down Down
142/515 89 Down Down Down Down Down
142/650 95 Down
142/1778 Down Down Down Down
Dave WIlliams - Network Coordinator 1:320/0
320/22 67 Private Private Private Private Private
320/888 90 Private Private Private Private Private
320/266 86 Private Private Private Private Private
320/131 81 Hold Hold Hold Hold Hold
320/20 92 Down Down
Morton Sterheim - Network Coordinator 1:321/0
321 0 - No Nodes Private or Down!
Don Eklund - Network Coordinator 1:322/0
322/583 93 Down Down Down Down Down
322/729 84 Down Down Down Down Down
322/592 78 Down Down Down Down Down
322/594 93 Down Down Down Down Down
322/546 83 Down Down Down Down Down
322/601 77 Down Down Down Down Down
322/514 85 Down Down Down Down Down
FidoNews 11-02 Page: 16 09 Jan 1994
Mike Bilow - Network Coordinator 1:323/0
323/2 77 Private Private Private Private Private
323/3 Private Private Private
323/4 83 Private Private
323/116 77 Private Private Private Private Private
323/145 Down Down Down Down
322/202 100 Down Down Down Down Down
323/204 97 Private Private Private Private Private
Dave Layte - Network Coordinator 1:101/0
324/133 81 Down Down Down Down Down
324/137 84 Down Down Down Down Down
Bill Bond - Network Coordinator 1:325/0
325/203 89 Down Down Down Down Down
Wayne Price - Network Coordinator 1:326/0
326 0 - No Nodes Private or Down!
Larry Kolada - Network Coordinator 1:327/0
327/475 74 Down Down Down Down Down
327/485 89 Down Down Down Down Down
323/1000 75 Private Private Private Private Private
Mark Goodwin - Network Coordinator 1:328/0
328/865 77 Down Down Down Down Down
Mike Girard - Network Coordinator 1:329/0
329 0 - No Nodes Private or Down!
Jim Marrs - Network Coordinator 1:330/0
330 0 - No Nodes Private or Down!
Andrew Wyatt - Network Coordinator 1:331/0
331/103 81 Down Down Down Down Down
331/114 76 Down Down Down Down Down
331/115 87 Private Private
William Lowell - Network Coordinator 1:332/0
332 0 - No Nodes Private or Down!
Perry Lowell - Network Coordinator 1:333/0
333 0 - No Nodes Private or Down!
FidoNews 11-02 Page: 17 09 Jan 1994
The following Network Coordinators should receive plaudits from all the
grunt sysops of fidonet for their diligence in the conservation of our
disk space and our ability to connect when calling their Net. These
outstanding Network Coordinators have quietly worked to assure the
quality of our nodelists remains as high as possible. They deserve our
thanks. Send then a netmail message and let them know your
appreciation and thanks for a job well done and deserving of respect!
Mort Sternheim - 321/0
Wayne Price - 326/0
Mike Girard - 329/0
Jim Marrs - 330/0
Willam Lowell - 332/0
Perry Lowell - 333/0
The following network coordinators should be called to task for a
failure to fulfill their responsibilities under Policy 4. They affect
each and every one of us in fidonet with their lacksidasical attitude
towards the nodelist. They affect our ability to communicate with each
other, waste our disk space unnecessarily, and apparently don't care
about the one key thing that binds us all together in Fidonet......
The Nodelist. They should be counseled by the Regional Coordinator.
Unfortunately, the Regional Coordinator for Region 16 also has a
similar problem in that up until now, he has done nothing to help
correct this situation and is as wrong as the Network Coordinators.
Perhaps the Zone Coordinator could help us along on this issue as it is
one that affects each and every sysop in Zone 1. Heck, he's probably
waiting for the new International Coordinator.
Bob Satti - 1/0 Only he knows how many bytes.
Andre Normandin - 16/0 He has taken as much action as a dead rock.
Stephen McRae - 101/0 155 bytes
Chuck Kirby - 132/0 507 bytes
Phil Palumbo - 141/0 493 bytes
Jerry Schwartz - 142/0 276 bytes
Dave Williams - 320/0 416 bytes
Don Elkund - 322/0 593 bytes
Mike Bilow - 323/0 434 bytes
Dave Layte - 324/0 165 bytes
Bill Bond - 325/0 89 bytes
Larry Kolada - 327/0 238 bytes
Mark Goodwin - 328/0 77 bytes
Andrew Wyatt - 331/0 244 bytes
3,687 bytes per sysop used for
----- no good reason
Perhaps you, as a *grunt sysop*, could send them a netmail message and
let them know that as long as they want to hold the position, you'd
appreciate it if they would do their jobs and give you the quality
nodelist you are entitled to in Policy 4! There's no need for each
sysop to carry almost 4K just because of the slovenly attitude of one
FidoNews 11-02 Page: 18 09 Jan 1994
region out of 71. But wait, if the ZC is doing this, could there be
other regions out their in Zone 1 with similar statistics? Send us a
netmail message, we'd like to know. Maybe even you could make up a
scorecard to share with us here in Fidonews.
Policy 4 spells out:
4.4 Maintaining the Nodelist
You should implement name changes, phone number changes, and so forth
in your segment of the nodelist as soon as possible after the
information is received from the affected node. You should also on
occasion send a message to every node in your network to ensure that
they are operational. If a node turns out to be "off the air" with no
prior warning, you can either mark the node down or remove it from the
nodelist. (Nodes are to be marked DOWN for a maximum of two weeks,
after which the line should be removed from the nodelist.)
The following is a list of excuses that are commonly used in defense of
a Coordinators lack of fulfillment of his/her obligations. These can
be refered to by number (in Region 16 they're memorized!) and a survey
of these responses has been compiled. To remain impartial the results
will be revealed in a future fidonet news article so as not to taint
the results you will get when you ask them. These are actual quotes,
removed from context, but linked directed to the topic of nodelist
1) It's only a hobby.
2) It doesn't spell it out clearly enough in Policy 4.
3) It's negotiable.....isn't everything?
4) Rules were meant to be broken.
5) What's your problem?
6) Mind your own business.
7) Make me.
8) Get lost.
9) Why are you doing this?
10) Why do you care?
11) Don't rock the boat, you could drown.
12) Who cares.
13) It isn't a problem until it's a problem.
14) It's unreasonable.
15) Don't be a trouble maker.
16) What does that have to do with echomail?
17) Why don't you like me?
18) What did I ever do to you?
19) You're only doing this because you're mad about _____ (fill in blank).
(There are too many of these to list here)
20) Why can't you leave well enough alone.
21) The nodelist is excessively annoying.
22) I though we were friends.
23) I'm not a babysitter.
24) So file a policy complaint and see if it does anything.
FidoNews 11-02 Page: 19 09 Jan 1994
25) So what?
There are more but let's cut it off at the Top 25. What's important to
see here is the attitude imparted into the responses. These are
attitudes condoned by the * Cordinator structure here in Region 16 and
by the Zone 1 Coordinator due to his selection of the Regional
Coordinator for Region 16. These people should be accountable under
Policy 4 to you, the grunt sysop in fidonet. Instead, they've chosen,
like politicans everywhere, to not do the job they were put into place
to do. So what else is new........
Help make a difference. Send then a netmail message letting them know
how you feel about how they're affecting you. And stay tuned for one
of the 25 listed most popular saying of a Coordinator in your reply if
you receive one.
Ask the coordinator for the reason why a node is marked private and
what benefit it is to fidonet. You have a right to know, and left
unquestioned, they'll continue to bloom (at least here in Region 16).
Until the next article, when we reveal a survey that shows 20% of
Region 16's nodes as *unanswering* during ZMH at 1200 baud using
"An Open Letter to Steven Winter"
From: Chris Faubert, NEC Net 330
1:330/1 1:330/300 1:330/305 (formerly 1:330/206)
The Centre for Naturist Studies BBS, Salem, Mass. 508.745.1144
Dear Mr. Winter,
This is the ninth netmail letter I have created, and as the other
eight hit your system and you failed, or were unable, or chose not to
- take your pick - respond, I am sending you this letter via
FidoNews, which I _know_ you read religiously. I regret having to
take this step, however I am happier to do it this way than to
initiate a Policy 4 Complaint against your system, which is what I
should be doing. I am not, because I believe that every one, even
you, Mr. Winter, deserves the benefit of the doubt.
As you may have forgotten the details, please be patient while I
refresh your memory, Steve. A "new" system came up in Net 330, at
address 1:330/209, and the Sysop, Don Christian, began polling for
your echo. Mr. Christian posted a message in your echo which
mentioned some views that did not completely agree with your
INTERPRETATION of the Bible, and you flamed him. He replied to you
that your anger and posturing were "a bunch of crap" and suddenly,
Mr. Winter, I had three Netmail mesages originating from you telling
me to bring Mr. Christian in line, to order him not to post, and the
third telling me that as NEC I was "REQUIRDE (sic) to cut that false
FidoNews 11-02 Page: 20 09 Jan 1994
christians (sic) feed or face a policy4 (sic) complaint..."
I was flabergasted, Sir, that you would send those threads to me. I
am the NEC. I am not the NC, nor am I the RC. I am not his father,
brother, or even his friend, and I sit in no position of authority
over him regarding his posting in an echo, carrying that echo, or for
that matter reading that echo! Yet you did, with little humility, and
great rudeness, tell me how to do my "job". Well, Sir, I politely
replied to all three messages and have heard nothing back from you.
Not one bit, nor byte. Why, you have not even _flammed_ me, and I am
beginning to feel left out.
As you approached me with familiarity that I do not believe you have
a right to use, I am assuming that you would like to know a little
about me. I am a 27 year-old Australian living in sin with a
beautiful, blonde American girl who picked me up on a train in
Colorado in July of 1992. She is very religious, and was raised a
Catholic, as was I. We both believe in the right to worship as you
see fit, and we both never condemn the belief of others because we
are honest enough with ourselves to admit that there is a distinct
possibility that we may not personally know everything that there is
to know about God. We both believe in the honesty of Natural Magic
and in the Creation of the World and of Man, how ever, we also
concede that it is very much a possibility that the stories we were
told were just that - stories - and that other religions just might
be correct. We are content to worship God in our own way, through a
loving and kind treatment of all around us, and with respect for
their choices in life. For surely you are familiar with "the most
important commandment" that being Love thy God with all thy heart,
and "second unto it," Love thy neighbor as you love yourself. It has
been my experience that people that go around and, in the name of
God, condemn the belief and actions of others, generally do not like
themselves, or have misunderstood what the Christian faith is all
I enjoy my life, and I feel that if God didn't like it, he'd let me
know. I am a Naturist, which to you would sound like Nudist, and I
regularly meet my dozens of friends at the club we attend, where we
picnic, sun, swim, and play volleyball - nude - and where I have not
been corrupted nor had any relations of the "knowing" sort. I LIKE
myself. I even LOVE myself. And I love you, Steve. Very much. My
heart aches to council you in the ways of Christian Love. Could you
say the same to me?
Any way, after the disturbing experience of receiving your hate mail,
I had one of those "hmmmmm." thoughts so I called a few people to
make _certain_ you were incorrect in thinking that this "mess" as you
called it was my problem. I first called Ivan Schaefel, at
1:141/390. Ivan is an old Fido hand and one of the most honest men I
know. His response was "what the hell is he sending that to you
for?! You're the NEC!" Another "hmmm" as I found the same reaction
from five other NEC's and two NC's I called. It was their collective
opinion that this was not my probelm, so I forwarded the threads on
to my NC as per Policy and I expected it to end right there. I also
sent you netmail (twice) explaining my official actions to which you
FidoNews 11-02 Page: 21 09 Jan 1994
did not answer.
A week later, I received a Netmail from you that in no way referenced
the previous five letters I had crashed to you. This new one warned
me that while you were "not now considering a Policy4 (sic) complaint
against that false christian, if [his posting] does not stop I will."
I was hoping you meant you would stop complaining but upon reviewing
that thread I realised that you meant you would file a Policy 4
complaint against Don Christian, so I sat down at the keyboard and
composed a letter to you that asked what you wanted me to do. I
asked if you wanted me to block importation of your echo to this net,
and whether you would like me to personally talk to your NC about
this. No reply. I re-sent that letter two times. No reply. Just
in case your mailer isn't working, and you didn't "get" my messages,
nudge, nudge, wink, wink, I decided to send this to you via the
Thank you for your time and all the consideration you have shown me
both personally and officially as NEC, and if I can ever be of any
further assistance to you in my capacity of NEC or as a concerned
person, please hesitate to write.
Christopher M. Faubert
Net 330 NEC
From: Michael Johnson (1:106/3323)
To: Editors (1:1/23)
Subject: Steve Winter and his idiocy
Steve Winter is misguided
By Michael Johnson 1:106/3323
I have seen many messages and advertisments by the
well-known Mr. Steve Winter as of late in the PuppyPages(TM) as
well as some rather opinionated replies to Mr. Steve. I was
interested on his rather extreme stances in general, and his
rather unorthodox approach was the focus. The possibility that a
real live lip-flapping, hellfire-damning, bible-pounding,
goosestepping lunatic funamentalist fringe-runner even EXISTED
(c'mon...really, it is 1994) was enough for me to run up
excessive telephone bills calling to Mr. Steve's node.
Since I am pretty well-known as an "extremist" or
"troublemaker" or <insert derogatory comment here> whatever, I
felt a kindred spirit was floundering in the net and wished to
offer some tips to Steve (who apparantly is misguided) on how to
really get extreme. Frankly, I find Mr. Steve to be only mildly
irritating, with much room to improve....unfortunately, you have
to swear allegiance to the United Brotherhood of the Steve to
post from his BBS and as such was only able to read a small
portion of what must be a truly remarkable compilation of the
FidoNews 11-02 Page: 22 09 Jan 1994
Writings and Holy Opinions of Steve(TM) during my complimentary
3.725 minutes given to new users on his BBS. I would say Steve
is about a 5.7 on a weird scale of 10. Bonus points to Steve.
Suggestions to Steve: Stop pussyfooting around and start
condemning entire geographical areas to hellfire and damnation,
instead of trying to do the job one person at a time. Life is
short and if you want to maximize your damning-n-hellfiring work
you will have to think V-O-L-U-M-E.
Give up trying to stomp out the homos. Trust me on this one,
everytime you stomp one to bits, each bit then grows a new and
more powerful homosexual. We've been trying it for years down
here in Houston and now we are almost hip-deep in em. The only
effective treatment is to offer free one-way tickets to San
Francisco for a great big fag convention where they all manage
to show up....and drop a nuke on em.......but then all of the
bits would grow and we would be in worse shape than when we
started. So forget it..... Maybe they would like it so much they
wouldn't come back though.
Lay off the poor catholics, fer cryin out loud! They have
enough problems with all the guilt trips their priests, nuns,
mothers, relatives and friends put on them. You wouldn't believe
the crap those folks have to put up with to keep goin back to
church each week. I married one, so I know. The less crap they
get the better off they are....especially if it is self-serving
dogmatic techno-doublespeak. For all practical purposes, they
are the lost jews.
While I agree that the jews are going to hell, we differ on
reasoning. I have first-hand info on a Texas Jewboy who has,
apparantly, a concession agreement for parking, hot dogs and
soft drinks. Face it, those guys never make a move if it doesn't
mean some money in their pocket. They wouldn't go to a place
like hell unless there was per diem and big$$$'s involved.
Knowing what this guy's mark-up is, you might be able to swing
some weight with the penny-pinching crowd as far as
non-hellbound (if any) non-Winterites.
To REALLY get the point across at that next big pup-tent
revival, try this: substitute the word "Oklahoma" for the word
"hell"...substitute the words "organized demonspawn from hell"
for any use of the words "liberal" or "democrat".
Other big hits could be a puppetshow showing how
homosexuality leads to impacted hemmoroids, and of course the
old US Army standard VD from hell movie (circa 1940's?) is a
great way to urge abstention from pubescent nubians.
Of course, there will always be that one or two heathens
that will resist such subtle measures. For those, I suggest the
usual hanging from the thumbs and pee-pee whacking....if they
continue, beat them until their attitude improves. Some of them
just need a stronger hand.
FidoNews 11-02 Page: 23 09 Jan 1994
I honestly think that with practice, Mr. Steve could make a
fine addition to The Network Hall of Idiots(TM), if he could
just find a way to be more offensive, irritating and weird.
Mikey the Terrible's Idiot meter gives Steve Winter:
Offensiveness - 5.12
Rudeness - 7.00
Irritation Q- 4.30
Stupidity - 8.95 <----highest recorded!
One sidedness - 9.96 <----highest recorded!
High Weirdness - 5.70
Stealth ability -2.00 <----lowest recorded!
Weenieisms - 6.65
Unpopularity - 5.00
If he can get learn to be more irritating, and increase his
weirdness say 50%, he won't need to worry about not being able
to sneak around. Naturally, if he improves in the noted areas,
his unpopularity should soar as well. Maybe even enough to be
elected to a *C position.
Naturally, my opinions are my own as well as all
mispelling, lost nuance, irritating drivel and pointed opinions.
I am not a Baptist, nor do I condone, speak for, represent or
have an interest in the Baptist church. My thoughts are my own,
not yours and I can do anything I want to with them,including
send them to the FIDOnews. Flames, berations, arguments,
complaints, derogatory comments, sexual solicitations and other
notable social interchanges via netmail to 1:106/3323 will get a
similar reply in return.
Thank you for your ever decreasing time......
Literary Freeware: Not for Commercial Use
THE HACKER CRACKDOWN
Law and Disorder on the Electronic Frontier
Afterword: The Hacker Crackdown Three Years Later
Three years in cyberspace is like thirty years anyplace
real. It feels as if a generation has passed since I wrote
this book. In terms of the generations of computing machinery
involved, that's pretty much the case.
The basic shape of cyberspace has changed drastically
since 1990. A new U.S. Administration is in power whose
personnel are, if anything, only too aware of the nature and
potential of electronic networks. It's now clear to all
players concerned that the status quo is dead-and-gone in American
media and telecommunications, and almost any territory on
FidoNews 11-02 Page: 24 09 Jan 1994
the electronic frontier is up for grabs. Interactive
multimedia, cable-phone alliances, the Information Superhighway, fiber-
to-the-curb, laptops and palmtops, the explosive growth of
cellular and the Internet -- the earth trembles visibly.
The year 1990 was not a pleasant one for AT&T. By
1993, however, AT&T had successfully devoured the computer
company NCR in an unfriendly takeover, finally giving the
pole-climbers a major piece of the digital action. AT&T
managed to rid itself of ownership of the troublesome UNIX
operating system, selling it to Novell, a netware company,
which was itself preparing for a savage market dust-up with
operating-system titan Microsoft. Furthermore, AT&T
acquired McCaw Cellular in a gigantic merger, giving AT&T a
potential wireless whip-hand over its former progeny, the
RBOCs. The RBOCs themselves were now AT&T's clearest
potential rivals, as the Chinese firewalls between regulated
monopoly and frenzied digital entrepreneurism began to melt
and collapse headlong.
AT&T, mocked by industry analysts in 1990, was reaping
awestruck praise by commentators in 1993. AT&T had
managed to avoid any more major software crashes in its
switching stations. AT&T's newfound reputation as "the
nimble giant" was all the sweeter, since AT&T's traditional
rival giant in the world of multinational computing, IBM,
was almost prostrate by 1993. IBM's vision of the commercial
computer-network of the future, "Prodigy," had managed to
spend $900 million without a whole heck of a lot to show for
it, while AT&T, by contrast, was boldly speculating on the
possibilities of personal communicators and hedging its bets
with investments in handwritten interfaces. In 1990 AT&T
had looked bad; but in 1993 AT&T looked like the future.
At least, AT&T's *advertising* looked like the future.
Similar public attention was riveted on the massive $22
billion megamerger between RBOC Bell Atlantic and cable-TV giant
Tele-Communications Inc. Nynex was buying into cable
company Viacom International. BellSouth was buying stock in
Prime Management, Southwestern Bell acquiring a cable
company in Washington DC, and so forth. By stark contrast,
the Internet, a noncommercial entity which officially did
not even exist, had no advertising budget at all. And yet,
almost below the level of governmental and corporate awareness,
the Internet was stealthily devouring everything in its path,
growing at a rate that defied comprehension. Kids who might
have been eager computer-intruders a mere five years earlier
were now surfing the Internet, where their natural urge to
explore led them into cyberspace landscapes of such
mindboggling vastness that the very idea of hacking
passwords seemed rather a waste of time.
By 1993, there had not been a solid, knock 'em down,
panic-striking, teenage-hacker computer-intrusion scandal
in many long months. There had, of course, been some striking
FidoNews 11-02 Page: 25 09 Jan 1994
and well-publicized acts of illicit computer access, but
they had been committed by adult white-collar industry insiders in
clear pursuit of personal or commercial advantage. The kids, by
contrast, all seemed to be on IRC, Internet Relay Chat.
Or, perhaps, frolicking out in the endless glass-roots
network of personal bulletin board systems. In 1993, there
were an estimated 60,000 boards in America; the population
of boards had fully doubled since Operation Sundevil in 1990.
The hobby was transmuting fitfully into a genuine industry. The
board community were no longer obscure hobbyists; many
were still hobbyists and proud of it, but board sysops and
advanced board users had become a far more cohesive and
politically aware community, no longer allowing themselves
to be obscure.
The specter of cyberspace in the late 1980s, of
outwitted authorities trembling in fear before teenage hacker whiz-
kids, seemed downright antiquated by 1993. Law enforcement
emphasis had changed, and the favorite electronic villain of
1993 was not the vandal child, but the victimizer of
children, the digital child pornographer. "Operation Longarm," a
child-pornography computer raid carried out by the previously
little-known cyberspace rangers of the U.S. Customs Service, was
almost the size of Operation Sundevil, but received very
little notice by comparison.
The huge and well-organized "Operation Disconnect,"
an FBI strike against telephone rip-off con-artists, was
actually larger than Sundevil. "Operation Disconnect" had
its brief moment in the sun of publicity, and then vanished
utterly. It was unfortunate that a law-enforcement affair as
apparently well-conducted as Operation Disconnect, which
pursued telecom adult career criminals a hundred times more
morally repugnant than teenage hackers, should have received
so little attention and fanfare, especially compared to the
abortive Sundevil and the basically disastrous efforts of
the Chicago Computer Fraud and Abuse Task Force. But the life
of an electronic policeman is seldom easy.
If any law enforcement event truly deserved full-scale
press coverage (while somehow managing to escape it), it was
the amazing saga of New York State Police Senior
Investigator Don Delaney Versus the Orchard Street Finger-
Hackers. This story probably represents the real future of
professional telecommunications crime in America. The
finger-hackers sold, and still sell, stolen long-distance phone
service to a captive clientele of illegal aliens in New York City.
This clientele is desperate to call home, yet as a group, illegal
aliens have few legal means of obtaining standard phone service,
since their very presence in the United States is against
the law. The finger-hackers of Orchard Street were very unusual
"hackers," with an astonishing lack of any kind of genuine
technological knowledge. And yet these New York call-sell
thieves showed a street-level ingenuity appalling in its
FidoNews 11-02 Page: 26 09 Jan 1994
single-minded sense of larceny.
There was no dissident-hacker rhetoric about freedom-
of-information among the finger-hackers. Most of them came
out of the cocaine-dealing fraternity, and they retailed
stolen calls with the same street-crime techniques of lookouts and
bagholders that a crack gang would employ. This was down-
and-dirty, urban, ethnic, organized crime, carried out by
crime families every day, for cash on the barrelhead, in the harsh
world of the streets. The finger-hackers dominated certain
payphones in certain strikingly unsavory neighborhoods.
They provided a service no one else would give to a clientele
with little to lose.
With such a vast supply of electronic crime at hand,
Don Delaney rocketed from a background in homicide to teaching
telecom crime at FLETC in less than three years. Few can
rival Delaney's hands-on, street-level experience in phone fraud.
Anyone in 1993 who still believes telecommunications crime
to be something rare and arcane should have a few words with
Mr Delaney. Don Delaney has also written two fine essays,
on telecom fraud and computer crime, in Joseph Grau's *Criminal
and Civil Investigations Handbook* (McGraw Hill 1993).
*Phrack* was still publishing in 1993, now under the
able editorship of Erik Bloodaxe. Bloodaxe made a determined
attempt to get law enforcement and corporate security to pay
real money for their electronic copies of *Phrack,* but, as
usual, these stalwart defenders of intellectual property
preferred to pirate the magazine. Bloodaxe has still not
gotten back any of his property from the seizure raids of March 1,
1990. Neither has the Mentor, who is still the managing
editor of Steve Jackson Games.
Nor has Robert Izenberg, who has suspended his court
struggle to get his machinery back. Mr Izenberg has
calculated that his $20,000 of equipment seized in 1990 is, in 1993,
worth $4,000 at most. The missing software, also gone out his
door, was long ago replaced. He might, he says, sue for the sake
of principle, but he feels that the people who seized his
machinery have already been discredited, and won't be doing any more
seizures. And even if his machinery were returned -- and in
good repair, which is doubtful -- it will be essentially
worthless by 1995. Robert Izenberg no longer works for IBM, but has a
job programming for a major telecommunications company in
Steve Jackson won his case against the Secret Service
on March 12, 1993, just over three years after the federal raid
on his enterprise. Thanks to the delaying tactics available
through the legal doctrine of "qualified immunity," Jackson
was tactically forced to drop his suit against the individuals
William Cook, Tim Foley, Barbara Golden and Henry Kluepfel. (Cook,
Foley, Golden and Kluepfel did, however, testify during the
FidoNews 11-02 Page: 27 09 Jan 1994
The Secret Service fought vigorously in the case,
battling Jackson's lawyers right down the line, on the (mostly
previously untried) legal turf of the Electronic
Communications Privacy Act and the Privacy Protection Act of 1980. The
Secret Service denied they were legally or morally responsible for
seizing the work of a publisher. They claimed that (1)
Jackson's gaming "books" weren't real books anyhow, and (2)
the Secret Service didn't realize SJG Inc was a "publisher"
when they raided his offices, and (3) the books only
vanished by accident because they merely happened to be inside the
computers the agents were appropriating.
The Secret Service also denied any wrongdoing in
reading and erasing all the supposedly "private" e-mail
inside Jackson's seized board, Illuminati. The USSS attorneys
claimed the seizure did not violate the Electronic
Communications Privacy Act, because they weren't actually
"intercepting" electronic mail that was moving on a wire,
but only electronic mail that was quietly sitting on a disk
inside Jackson's computer. They also claimed that USSS agents
hadn't read any of the private mail on Illuminati; and
anyway, even supposing that they had, they were allowed to do that
by the subpoena.
The Jackson case became even more peculiar when the
Secret Service attorneys went so far as to allege that the
federal raid against the gaming company had actually
*improved Jackson's business* thanks to the ensuing
It was a long and rather involved trial. The judge
seemed most perturbed, not by the arcane matters of
electronic law, but by the fact that the Secret Service could have
avoided almost all the consequent trouble simply by giving Jackson
his computers back in short order. The Secret Service easily
could have looked at everything in Jackson's computers, recorded
everything, and given the machinery back, and there would
have been no major scandal or federal court suit. On the
contrary, everybody simply would have had a good laugh.
Unfortunately, it appeared that this idea had never entered
the heads of the Chicago-based investigators. They seemed to
have concluded unilaterally, and without due course of law,
that the world would be better off if Steve Jackson didn't
have computers. Golden and Foley claimed that they had both
never even heard of the Privacy Protection Act. Cook had heard of
the Act, but he'd decided on his own that the Privacy
Protection Act had nothing to do with Steve Jackson.
The Jackson case was also a very politicized trial,
both sides deliberately angling for a long-term legal precedent
that would stake-out big claims for their interests in
cyberspace. Jackson and his EFF advisors tried hard to establish that
the least e-mail remark of the lonely electronic pamphleteer
deserves the same somber civil-rights protection as that
FidoNews 11-02 Page: 28 09 Jan 1994
afforded *The New York Times.* By stark contrast, the
Secret Service's attorneys argued boldly that the contents of an
electronic bulletin board have no more expectation of
privacy than a heap of postcards. In the final analysis, very
little was firmly nailed down. Formally, the legal rulings in the
Jackson case apply only in the federal Western District of Texas.
It was, however, established that these were real civil-
liberties issues that powerful people were prepared to go to the
courthouse over; the seizure of bulletin board systems,
though it still goes on, can be a perilous act for the seizer.
The Secret Service owes Steve Jackson $50,000 in damages, and a
thousand dollars each to three of Jackson's angry and offended
board users. And Steve Jackson, rather than owning the
single-line bulletin board system "Illuminati" seized in
1990, now rejoices in possession of a huge privately-owned
Internet node, "io.com," with dozens of phone-lines on its own T-1
Jackson has made the entire blow-by-blow narrative of
his case available electronically, for interested parties.
And yet, the Jackson case may still not be over; a Secret Service appeal
seems likely and the EFF is also gravely dissatisfied with the
ruling on electronic interception.
The WELL, home of the American electronic civil
libertarian movement, added two thousand more users and
dropped its aging Sequent computer in favor of a snappy new
Sun Sparcstation. Search-and-seizure dicussions on the WELL
are now taking a decided back-seat to the current hot topic
in digital civil liberties, unbreakable public-key encryption
for private citizens.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation left its modest home
in Boston to move inside the Washington Beltway of the
Clinton Administration. Its new executive director, ECPA
pioneer and longtime ACLU activist Jerry Berman, gained a
reputation of a man adept as dining with tigers, as the EFF
devoted its attention to networking at the highest levels of
the computer and telecommunications industry. EFF's pro-
encryption lobby and anti-wiretapping initiative were
especially impressive, successfully assembling a herd of
highly variegated industry camels under the same EFF tent, in open
and powerful opposition to the electronic ambitions of the
FBI and the NSA.
EFF had transmuted at light-speed from an insurrection
to an institution. EFF Co-Founder Mitch Kapor once again
sidestepped the bureaucratic consequences of his own
success, by remaining in Boston and adapting the role of EFF guru and
gray eminence. John Perry Barlow, for his part, left
Wyoming, quit the Republican Party, and moved to New York City,
accompanied by his swarm of cellular phones. Mike Godwin
left Boston for Washington as EFF's official legal adviser
to the electronically afflicted.
FidoNews 11-02 Page: 29 09 Jan 1994
After the Neidorf trial, Dorothy Denning further proved
her firm scholastic independence-of-mind by speaking up
boldly on the usefulness and social value of federal
wiretapping. Many civil libertarians, who regarded the
practice of wiretapping with deep occult horror, were
crestfallen to the point of comedy when nationally known
"hacker sympathizer" Dorothy Denning sternly defended
police and public interests in official eavesdropping.
However, no amount of public uproar seemed to swerve the "quaint" Dr.
Denning in the slightest. She not only made up her own
mind, she made it up in public and then stuck to her guns.
In 1993, the stalwarts of the Masters of Deception,
Phiber Optik, Acid Phreak and Scorpion, finally fell afoul of the
machineries of legal prosecution. Acid Phreak and Scorpion
were sent to prison for six months, six months of home
detention, 750 hours of community service, and, oddly, a $50
fine for conspiracy to commit computer crime. Phiber Optik,
the computer intruder with perhaps the highest public
profile in the entire world, took the longest to plead guilty, but,
facing the possibility of ten years in jail, he finally did so. He
was sentenced to a year and a day in prison.
As for the Atlanta wing of the Legion of Doom, Prophet,
Leftist and Urvile... Urvile now works for a software
company in Atlanta. He is still on probation and still
repaying his enormous fine. In fifteen months, he will once again be
allowed to own a personal computer. He is still a convicted
federal felon, but has not had any legal difficulties since
leaving prison. He has lost contact with Prophet and Leftist.
Unfortunately, so have I, though not through lack of honest
Knight Lightning, now 24, is a technical writer for
the federal government in Washington DC. He has still not
been accepted into law school, but having spent more than
his share of time in the company of attorneys, he's come to
think that maybe an MBA would be more to the point. He still
owes his attorneys $30,000, but the sum is dwindling steadily
since he is manfully working two jobs. Knight Lightning customarily
wears a suit and tie and carries a valise. He has a federal
Unindicted *Phrack* co-editor Taran King is also a
technical writer in Washington DC, and recently got
Terminus did his time, got out of prison, and currently
lives in Silicon Valley where he is running a full-scale
Internet node, "netsys.com." He programs professionally for a
company specializing in satellite links for the Internet.
Carlton Fitzpatrick still teaches at the Federal Law
Enforcement Training Center, but FLETC found that the issues
involved in sponsoring and running a bulletin board system
FidoNews 11-02 Page: 30 09 Jan 1994
are rather more complex than they at first appear to be.
Gail Thackeray briefly considered going into private
security, but then changed tack, and joined the Maricopa
County District Attorney's Office (with a salary). She is
still vigorously prosecuting electronic racketeering in Phoenix,
The fourth consecutive Computers, Freedom and Privacy
Conference will take place in March 1994 in Chicago.
As for Bruce Sterling... well *8-). I thankfully
abandoned my brief career as a true-crime journalist and wrote a new
science fiction novel, *Heavy Weather,* and assembled a new
collection of short stories, *Globalhead.* I also write
nonfiction regularly, for the popular-science column in
*The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction.*
I like life better on the far side of the boundary
between fantasy and reality; but I've come to recognize that
reality has an unfortunate way of annexing fantasy for its own
purposes. That's why I'm on the Police Liaison Committee for EFF-
Austin, a local electronic civil liberties group (eff-
aus...@tic.com). I don't think I will ever get over my
experience of the Hacker Crackdown, and I expect to be
involved in electronic civil liberties activism for the rest
of my life.
It wouldn't be hard to find material for another book
on computer crime and civil liberties issues. I truly believe
that I could write another book much like this one, every year.
Cyberspace is very big. There's a lot going on out there,
far more than can be adequately covered by the tiny, though
growing, cadre of network-literate reporters. I do wish I
could do more work on this topic, because the various people of
cyberspace are an element of our society that definitely
requires sustained study and attention.
But there's only one of me, and I have a lot on my
mind, and, like most science fiction writers, I have a lot more
imagination than discipline. Having done my stint as an
electronic-frontier reporter, my hat is off to those
stalwart few who do it every day. I may return to this topic some day,
but I have no real plans to do so. However, I didn't have any
real plans to write "Hacker Crackdown," either. Things happen,
nowadays. There are landslides in cyberspace. I'll just
have to try and stay alert and on my feet.
The electronic landscape changes with astounding speed.
We are living through the fastest technological transformation
in human history. I was glad to have a chance to document
cyberspace during one moment in its long mutation; a kind of
strobe-flash of the maelstrom. This book is already out-of-
date, though, and it will be quite obsolete in another five
years. It seems a pity.
FidoNews 11-02 Page: 31 09 Jan 1994
However, in about fifty years, I think this book might
seem quite interesting. And in a hundred years, this book
should seem mind-bogglingly archaic and bizarre, and will
probably seem far weirder to an audience in 2092 than it
ever seemed to the contemporary readership.
Keeping up in cyberspace requires a great deal of
sustained attention. Personally, I keep tabs with the
milieu by reading the invaluable electronic magazine Computer
underground Digest (tk0...@mvs.cso.niu.edu with the
subject header: SUB CuD and a message that says: SUB CuD your
name your.full.internet@address). I also read Jack
Rickard's bracingly iconoclastic *Boardwatch Magazine* for print news
of the BBS and online community. And, needless to say, I
read *Wired,* the first magazine of the 1990s that actually looks
and acts like it really belongs in this decade. There are other
ways to learn, of course, but these three outlets will guide your
efforts very well.
When I myself want to publish something electronically,
which I'm doing with increasing frequency, I generally put
it on the gopher at Texas Internet Consulting, who are my, well,
Texan Internet consultants (tic.com). This book can be
found there. I think it is a worthwhile act to let this work go
From thence, one's bread floats out onto the dark
waters of cyberspace, only to return someday, tenfold. And of
course, thoroughly soggy, and riddled with an entire amazing
ecosystem of bizarre and gnawingly hungry cybermarine life-
forms. For this author at least, that's all that really
Thanks for your attention *8-)
Bruce Sterling bru...@well.sf.ca.us -- New Years' Day
1994, Austin Texas
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