I decided to sit outside in the cold to work for a few minutes today. There's something nostalgic about typing with cold fingers.

There was a strange physicality to hacking in the brief window of time between laptops and wifi pcmcia cards, when physical Network Interface Devices bolted on the sides of buildings in alleys at night were watering-holes of sorts, feeding the anonymity of the young, connection starved hacker.

The cold seeped through your skin, slowing your fingers to a crawl. Even the various gloves always left the tips of your fingers feeling bruised from the exposed rapping against the cold keys.

Always waiting for some scan to end, hopefully with a map to some exciting new x.25 PAD treasure.

Anyway, I guess it's time to go back inside. Thought I'd share.

@voltur You remember the excitement when you'd notice a RJ45 just out in the open somewhere?

good times... good times...

@voltur College campus lobbies...

hotel lobbies...

walmart lawn and garden...

@thegibson lol I used to bring Krispy Kreme as a peace offering for folks that were always baby sitting the overnight computer labs at the local university.

Fried carbs will open so many doors

@presgas @thegibson so like this is a whole story

Most of my younger friends used to work at the local theater while most of my musician friends, who were a bit older than me, used to work at some of the local bars and a small venue that hosted regional acts. So I worked out a trade for comp movie tickets and guest list passes, so it was a big happy family.

I always had a few extra that I'd drag to the Krispy Kreme and pick up a box in exchange for a couple of passes/tickets.

The benefit of being in both worlds for sure!

@voltur @thegibson I have fond memories of these labs... I made a couple good friends over Unix Talk in the early 90s starting with "ok, it's Friday night... Why are you here?"

@naugeleh @thegibson those labs were kind of life savers on more than one occasion.

They really were watering-holes for a specific type of person. I had always just kind of assumed it was me having a weird life.

@voltur @naugeleh I was usually sitting in my dorm messing with people in the labs...

as one does on a massive wide and flat LAN that is very prone to ARP Storms...

@thegibson @naugeleh lmao i imagine you in your dorm laughing until you cry, smurfing rando's in the lab

@voltur @thegibson Hospitals, too. I brought really nice chocolates to the nurse's station when my mom was in the hospital.

@TheGibson @voltur

I've beige boxed analogue circuits from within buildings to get online in the late 90s, but never found a whole active LAN connection outside anywhere (and by that time any place which could afford this amount of wiring was very likely to have a live CCTV scheme active so it wasn't a good idea to hang around in the alleyways)

@vfrmedia @voltur

They weren't entirely uncommon in the US back then... but not exactly common either...

I just remember when you saw them your mind just kind of catalogued the location for later reference. :)

@TheGibson @voltur

even with beige boxing if you were lucky enough to find an active circuit in somewhere like a disused building you had to be careful - due to UK not having "unmetered" calls until well into the 2000s, a general shortage of telephone circuits and British Telecom being forced to allow competitors to use its network, quite some effort was put into checking for unusual traffic and ensuring every telephone call was billed for /somewhere/...

@vfrmedia @thegibson yeah there were definitely a number of no-go places.

@thegibson @voltur Almost as good as noticing two RJ45s and plugging one into another to see if they had spanning tree turned on, and how long it took the network to go sideways so you don't have to finish your class.

Or something. Hypothetically.

@voltur as a SCADA guy I still have to venture out in the cold outdoors to type on laptops connected to 9600 baud serial lines from time to time, when a cellular/radio modem stops working or an RTU loses its mind, but that is increasingly rare these days for me, and doesn't exactly have a "hacker mystique" since I've basically done the opposite of sneaky to gain access to any given location.

That said if you are a SCADA *hacker* and can put in some war-driving miles there are still (too many) live, open serial and ethernet ports just hanging out in panels out in the middle of nowhere. Part of my job is to find and close up those connections.

@msh lol that actually sounds fun, if not obnoxious for the folks that rely on it

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