As I’m preparing to head out to the Blockparty @ Notacon event, I try to clear out my e-mail, because I’ll be away from my home office and working on stuff on a stunted pace. It’s always a kind of grab-bag situation, finally giving an e-mail that’s been tenaciously sitting around waiting for me to act on it, sometimes for months. In this case, I’m caught up to March, so things aren’t too bad.
One nice one that came in recently was a bloke from Australia who sent along a collection of diskmags. He was wondering where I’d find a place for them, and as it turns out, I already have a place with disk magazines in artscene.textfiles.com, in a directory called emags. Notably, it was a crappily-put-together, completely ignored directory… but it was a directory!
I’ve since run a few of my scripts in it, and while it’s still not in great shape, it’s in a lot better shape than it was. The year that this Australian diskmag came out, 1996, looks good and is properly formatted and described. Others not so much.
The zine in question, SHADE, is mostly a textfile zine that happened to come wrapped inside a executable. It was described to me as an “Anarchist” zine, which means that each “issue” was a single textfile talking about how to commit destruction in some fashion, headed up with a massive disclaimer that you should never do anything with it and don’t come after the author and so on. The first few files are written or spelled well at all, but the later ones have nice ANSI color and proper layout; I can’t verify from here if they’re lifted from other sources or all written “in-house”, as it were. I was told there were 19 issues completed, with a 20th one on the drawing board but never quite put out. The lifespan is basically the end of 1995 to the beginning of 1997, not a bad run.
With it just being an “executable text file”, an enterprising young lad could probably extract the ANSI text inside and not really ruin/mess up the full experience of SHADE. I like to maintain the ZIP files, though, because they have both dates of creation (important in determining history, though not 100% dependable) and ancillary files added by various BBSes over the years to say “Hey, now that you’re done reading that, come check out our board!!!”. Here’s the one included with SHADE Issue #2:
This file was uploaded on the 12-09-1996 at 11:27pm to node 1 of... ________________ ___________ ___ _____________/\_______ Ã€ \_ ____ Â¬/ Â¬/___\_ ____/ Â¬\ _/ Â¬/\_ ____ Â¬/__Â¬\ Â¬/ Â¿ :: / \_/ _ / __/__ \/ / \_ / \_/ _/ \__ /_ ::: ::: ____ / / /____ / \_ /____ /__\ / \_ :: :::: \ /____/ / \ / \/__ / / \ / \ / ___ / :: ::::::.. \/ /___/ \/ __/ \/ \/ \/ \ / ::: :::::: .:. Chemical Genocide Australia .:. \/ :::: ::::: _________________________________________ _______________ ::::: :::: Â¬ _____\_ Â¬_________ Â¬\_ _Â¬\_ ____ Â¬/ \_ _Â¬\_ ____ :::: :: _/ / \_/ __/__ / / / / / \_/ \_/ / / __/__ :: . _____ /____ /__/ /_____/ ____ /\ /____/____ Â¬/ . ! Â«Â¸Â«Â¸Â«Â¸\ /Â«Â¸Â«Â¸Â«\ /Â¸Â«/ /Â¸Â«Â¸Â«Â¸Â«Â¸Â«Â¸Â«Â¸Â«\ /Â¸/ /Â«Â¸Â«Â¸Â«Â¸Â«Â¸Â«Â¸\Â«Â¸Â«Â¸Â«Â¸Â«Â¸Â«Â¸ Â¬ \/ \/ /___/ \/ \/ \/ ))\ __/\__ __/\__ /(( ! ! (O o) \ oO / Â¸ running ami/x Â¸ oblivion/2 Â¸ \ Oo / (O o) ( ^ ) / \/ \ zyz's Â¸ pulse / \/ \ ( ^ ) . . ~^~^~~ ~~\/~~ messiah.kickass.obv/2.setup.dude ~~\/~~ ~~^~^~ . running on an p100 with 32 gig of spam Â¬ . Â Â¸ 25oo ounces on-line Â¸ flower sniff'n power Â¸ Â Â¦ . running at 288oo hydroponically grown bps . Â¦ ? reality check network dist site - shade & nfc member board ? \/
I could probably draw an entire discussion out of the combination of drug references, braggable system information, modem speed, pirate groups (NFC and SHADE) and so on. In trying to get some credentials and name for their board, these sysops unwittingly left a little postcard to the future, and 11 years on we get to peek in.
The problem with these executables, of course, is that very attribute: they’re programs. And programs start to lose relevance a lot quicker than text, and as the world becomes more and more paranoid about executing transferred programs, they become treated like contraband a little more as well.
I’m delighted to play a little part in bringing this stuff back; there’s so much still floating out there on hard drives and floppies, and once in a while a little time machine shows up.
This whole new collection of SHADE, some group of kids’ hard work from a decade ago, was a mere 700k e-mail attachment, transferred to me in seconds from across the world. Who knows what tomorrow’s e-mail will bring.
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