At the end of the Eighties, sneaking right into the new decade, I just started working in the field of Convention Services. It was my job at trade shows being staged throughout the country, to set up booths, provide electrical connections, and generally oversee that the vendors’ booths are operational come opening bell.
I would soon graduate to be in charge of Internet Connections. I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. I didn’t own a computer. I didn’t believe in computing as a way life, yet. Suffice to say, T-1’s, cold rooms, and learning how to punch a line down in hub were still years away for me.
But the clients, the vendors knew what they needed. An outside connection was desirable in order to access the Internet that could handle massive bandwidth to drive the various devices that ran the bells and whistles that was new in ’94. At this time booths had banners advertising “Fat 32” as the future, you could luxuriate in the spacious CompuServe lounge, and there was a small section showing the future with a thing called “Windows 95.”
Much of the computer-based trade shows happen in Las Vegas. That is where I received my computer education and then some.
It was the night before the opening day of Comdex. Comdex was if not Las Vegas’ largest convention, in the Top Three. It was the trade show of all trade shows when it came to the latest advancements in the computing industry. Some broadband was to be installed through the telephone lines, actually the punch block at a Strip hotel where Comdex was being held. I needed to have an open line or channel for the phone guy to install the temporary outside line that was going to handle all the needs of the vendors for the convention. I had no idea what he needed, where to drop the line, and then what to do with that line in order to get it to the people who needed it.
There’s this kid there working for another vendor. He just happens to be in a day early. This kid, Josh, was 17 years old. He’d been working for the telecommunications industry and had invented the cable box with the keypad on the top. I don’t why that was such a big deal, but it made a millionaire out of Josh.
Josh took over for me when he saw I knew nothing yet was in charge. He did more than assist the phone guy; he basically did most of the work, to make sure it was done correctly.
That would go on every year for the next five or so. Not to say I didn’t learn, but with Josh as a mentor, I learned more than just how to punch done phone cord and set a router.
I learned how to hack.
More about that later…
What is reality? A question that has plagued thinking men and women for centuries with a variety of answers provided. The earliest most basic answer is, I’m thinking right now, so this must be reality.
The Hindis and the holy, and the people such as myself, not holy but in agreement with those who are, believe the real reality is inside. What is living on in your head and heart concurrently to either form an unconscious value system or mode of operation that directs your beliefs, thus filtering what you see, and in turn, believing what you’re seeing is real.
This means you can either accept that the world is not the Matrix and it is real or perhaps, you’re in some form of a prison, yet in your mind, you are free.
As much as that reality is true for me, the world is entirely has a different point of view.
I believe in the world, at least in the United States, there is only one reality: The one you can prove in a court of law. Everything else falls by the wayside by comparison. You can argue or debate any point you want to. Unless it is math or provable science, (and then you may still have challenges) the solution could be moot. Not so in a court of law. There is evidence that permissible and evidence not. The truth may not apply in a court of law, only what you can prove.
This seems to be to be almost the ultimate reality. You could then squabble about who has the best access to justice, the rich unfairly? But then you may never get an answer that is final and concrete like in a trial or by a judge’s final verdict.
In terms of ambiguity, a court of law, for right or wrong, determines what is right and wrong with as many as the facts at hand that can be assembled and permissible.
In a court of law, this is the one place where the truth isn’t served conditionally but what you can prove comprehensively. That is a pretty harsh definition of reality, but one that comes the closest to the veracity of the purpose it is supposed to provide.
Between a court of law and what we believe in our heads, our realities bounce off what we want to believe and what sometimes we’re called upon to have to prove.
And now I believe there’s a third reality at play, hackers.
The more I read about the group or person called “Anonymous,” the more I respect what they are doing.
When I was working Comdex in Las Vegas, I learned about the inbred flaws of computing. I could go on and on about this, but it the very reason computers can be hacked. They were released with bugs and holes but in order not to lose money and units to the ever-present competition, computers are sold with gaping holes that allow even the most novice user to hack, something.
Correct me if I’m wrong my fellow Geeks, but the reason you kids can only tweet 147 characters, or whatever that is, is because the limitations of hexadecimal system. And it goes on from there with many weaknesses that are inherent when using Windows, Linux and more.
I love what Anonymous is doing. No one is safe. As technology steps up, so do the cheats and modifiers provided by a subculture of hackers.
My friend, Josh would later turn me on to Def-Com, the hackers’ convention that took place yearly in Vegas. Def-Com by far is the wildest affair that I had ever witness and that’s saying a lot when it comes to putting on shows in Sin City.
These guys and few gals would take over a hotel, paying big money just like any other convention or trade show, just like anyone else, and then it was organize mayhem. They had a game like ‘Capture the Flag,’ only it was two teams trying to hack each other’s firewall to capture the other team’s hard drive. There was a fun endeavor named, “Spot the Fed.” Because most of the country’s computer geniuses were in attendance, the Feds wanted to know who the players were, plus they were there for recruitment. Def-Com was the MIT and Harvard of hackers. These were people who were hacking for the love of it. For the sport of it! Only a few were doing bad things.
If you are an average person who doesn’t do bad or evil things, and only use your computer for email, porn, and Facebook, y’know, your average American, you don’t get hacked by hackers. They’re only using your computer as a front. Going through a lot of IP addresses and a bunch of metrics only to end up at your computer so if one tries to find the hacker, they only are led back to you.
Pretty harmless stuff when compared to how Disney, Nickelodeon, and other websites legally hack you by recording keystrokes and web history. That’s a discussion for another day.
I cannot possible recap the last twenty years of my apprenticeship on the steps of 2600 Hacker Place, just to say, I’ve had to stop everything because I got too close to being an outlaw exposed. And as we all know, to live outside the law, you must be honest.
I discovered from my experiences at Def-Com that a whole world operated without my knowledge, and more importantly, to the straight world’s familiarity.
Guys like Priest, Morlock, and Josh taught me protocols and etiquette that one must know to move in the hacker world without getting fucked.
You have to understand that there is a gauntlet you have to go through to enter. And you will be hacked. You will be hacked because their Ju-Ju is stronger than yours. Until you realized that, bad thing s will happen to any device you have connected to the digital world.
I couldn’t hang. I couldn’t be part of that network because not only was it so competitive but you’re expected to rise with the tide of the newest hacks. Because if you don’t, that’s right: you’re hacked.
I sailed solo, onto the shores of file sharing and pirating. Arhhhh! But I quit that too once I realized that there are never enough gigs out there for storage once you set sail for those sandy, free shores. Plus, you can get too deep once you understand the technology.
Why pay when you can get it for free? Take music. You can’t, I mean, you can. You can take it for free, if you want. And it is very easy to do, especially when websites almost beckon you. But always remember, the more free something is, the more hacked your computer is going to be.
I had to stop downloading because I lost the line between honesty and stupidity. The price of manufacturing music was going down, yet the retail price continued to climb. Why pay for something when they could be fairer and charge you a discounted price because of their lowered expense? They’re being greedy, why shouldn’t I?
Because they have the law and on some level, I know that it is wrong. That is why I gave it up and had only done it for about an hour one day while high an Ambient and Vicks Night Blend.
Anonymous works above the law, above our courts, if done correctly, the hacker holds the highest position that we have. The Keeper of the Keys.
The Pentagon has the most severe firewall there is and they are afraid of hackers. Bill Gates can’t stop them. Hackers or Anonymous, not to say they are one and the same, can go anywhere they want. And if they can’t, it is just a matter of time until they do. The only defense there is, is to rotate codes or passwords so fast that it is virtually impossible to keep up. There is no defense if a hacker wants in or you.
I am a Jungian. I believe in the Inner World. I also respect the Court of Law as a place that I do not understand but know they have the final say.
Up and beyond that are Anonymous and the people like that. They can shine a light in where few can go or gain access to. Sometimes I believe they are our only hope against richer and stronger powers that are unscrupulous and corrupt.
Every day we lose more rights as humans and libertarians. Just the fact that Sarah Palin introduced the concept of “Death Panels” and they’re now becoming true through the overseer of our life expectancies, the Health Care Industry.
Who’s looking out for our welfare?
The lawyer that I can afford or provided by the courts? Those thoughts in my heads or a person I confide in that’s out of a book?
Thank you, Anonymous, and the people who make you up and fill in that mask. Thank you hackers for having our backs and teaching manufactures that if you’re going to send to market a product that can be exploited, you’ll take advantage of those openings.