ASCII by Jason Scott

Jason Scott's Weblog

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I got a mail just this week:

“So, I have a collection of a few hundred megs of MP3s of voice mailboxes run by hackers in 1990. Do you have any suggestions on who I should give them to or what to do with them?”

Why yes, I said. yes I do.

Only one or two directories are properly described right now, but I’m sure I’ll get to them all, and fix mistakes as they go. I try to get the proper nouns and handles in there, so that it shows up on search engines. That way original people who might be mentioned in the recordings can tell me they’re in there (if they want) and give more context.

These are basically hacked voice mailboxes from a week in early 1990, where the contributor called a bunch of them and recorded what came out. Some recordings are fuzzy, others distorted, and yet others utterly devoid of content, but they represent primary source material; here’s what voice mailbox hackers, kids trading codes and offering information sounded like. There’s a bunch of handles in there: Crowfly, AK-47, Phoneman, Scandal. A bunch of kids (you can hear the slang being used) just looking for the next free box, the next open system to leave a mark on.

This was all sixteen years ago. If these kids were 15 back then, they’re 31 now. I hope that some 30-something office worker idly types his old handle into Google, sees a green screen full of files, and then says those words that are music to my ears:

“Oh, shit!”

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One Comment

  1. sclozza says:

    Brilliant! Thank you.

    Although with these assignments looming, probably not the best thing to be listening to!