Twisted history

ADVERTISEMENT : Apparently we may perform on radio station FBI on the 28th April around 9pm or so AEST. This is not confirmed. If so, they have a live stream on their web site. While I have your attention, can I just clarify that we will NOT PLAY AGAIN AFTER THE DATES ANNOUNCED. Anyone asks me about this I will be cross.

It was good to catch up with an old friend the other night, now with wife and 4 year old son. The man (nameless for reasons you’ll soon understand) is living in the USA deeply embedded in the infrastructure of finance, networks and databases that know more about you than you probably know yourself.

But we were talking about cowboy days, late 80s; the BBS scene, hackers and crackers and the other side. We’d met on Twisted Pair, the BBS that spawned Twister, Twister 2, and all the daughters up to the ill fated Twister 5, the collapse of which led to this one way blog. I don’t think it’ll hurt to tell that Twisted Pair had a secret area, in which select people had their fun. Back then it was all Amiga, and I was a lamer HEX hacker, somebody who searched through the hexadecimal of software looking for combinations of numbers that did some thing useful.

The most useful hack I did was the very first version of Lightwave 3D running in PAL. It was part of the video toaster which was NTSC only and so I guess NewTek thought it pointless making it work in European countries. But they coded it so all I did was find the sections that addressed the display memory, redid the maths, and fired it up until all the bits worked. Like I said, nothing fancy, but much appreciated at the time. If you were around you might have seen a ‘booped’ version. Yes, like:

Actually just now I remember I did the same thing for the first Photon Paint but Deluxe Paint was beyond me. Bloody EA had hard wired it all.

We talked about where people had gone and their conversion to honesty. Most of them I only knew by their screen names. Watching his son playing games on a phone we were worried about what our generation had done – our children are looking through a screen at everything, although I think they will rebel and as teenagers go about smashing computers and shaking real hands. Good for them.

I had to tell him what happened to Twister; a mailing list which was rather good, but eventually a phpBBS which sucked rather badly. I told him there was even a splinter called ‘Exiles’ and he thought that was hilarious. BBS community was dead by then, and the forces that broke it are still getting worse; anonymity, envy, celebrity, “friend” counts and the sale of privacy. It probably has to hit bottom before it bounces back.

Nostalgia is anti-historical, it denies events to make a privileged viewpoint. That night we talked about chiggers the way others talk about vinyl, with just as much surety. Everyone thinks they are recalling something authentic when the exact opposite is true.

Right now, I can’t wait to get away from music. Much more interested in chiggers.

3 thoughts on “Twisted history

  1. I totally agree with this post but the one thing is if, and I do not mean to prejudge what will happen, his son has children will there be something that he and his childhood friend will be talking about in 40 years time?

    History repeats, we merely add to it. Look at Lady Ga Ga, she is much like a student of Madonna, much the same way an academic merely adds to a body of knowledge, just some of them are more well known than others. That is why I find Nova FM a turn off but stop and think, hang on in the 80’s and 90’s people did not like 4ZZZ, 3RRR, JJJ, B105, Triple M etc, so it is merely just a replication Nova just with different songs which the majority use machines more than some of your songs (well some).

    The one salient point I always fear is we know people by screen names. This was happening in the 90’s but generally our online presence is just as valid to many, if not more so, than offline. I have met people in many places I met online first but it is often once, or twice, they keep the relationship going but mostly virtual. That is a norm these days and as sad as that may be, it is so accepted now.

    The Ant Does Not Have Legs

  2. Oh and Tom I’m sorry but as cross as you will be I really can’t see you never doing a SH show after 2012. Its your project always has been, but, we all say its the end but, well, never say never.

  3. Oh and to be even more annoying see you next week on the Gary shows – but won’t tell you which ones they will be 🙂 but Sydney isn’t one of them.

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