The CyberPunk Movement

There’s been a lot of talk lately about the CyberPunk Movement – maybe a little too much talk (please, Mr. Hewson, don’t sue me for plagiarism! 🙂 ).

It seems every BBS I call around here has a “CyberPunk” sub board. Now, that’s all fine and good, but a lot of these BBS’s I’m talking about are PD BBS’S!!! Public Domain cretins and the CyberPunk Movement DO NOT MIX. The idea that piracy/hacking/phreaking is bad does not compute for a true CyberPunk. Not in a million years. I mean, come on, guys the one place all these people are getting their CyberPunk hard-ons from is of course the William Gibson books. Now, believe me, I’m NOT ripping on Gibson – he’s a great author, and I love his books. But the idea of someone going out and reading Mona Lisa Overdrive then all of a sudden deciding “Wow – I’m a CYBERPUNK!!!” makes me sick. There’s this guy that lives on my street who heard me playing Ultima VI one day liked the music, and knocked on my door. I let him and let him check out the game. When he saw it was on a computer, he said “Oh well, I could never figure out how to use one of those things!”

“Well, this is only a game. It’s not like you’re actually using the computer. You’re just playing the game.” I replied

“Well, it’s a computer, and computers are hard to use.” he insisted

“Whatever, dude.” I said.

Then he noticed the first-edition hardcover Mona Lisa Overdrive I have displayed on my bookcase. “Wow! That book looks cool!” he said “Can I borrow it?”

“Not a chance in hell!” I said “That’s a first edition hardcover, and it’s never even been opened. You can HAVE my paperback of it though” I told him

“Ok, cool, thanks dude!” he said

I gave him my paperback Mona Lisa. I always keep one handy, along with a copy of Interview With The Vampire, in case I need to convert someone quick 🙂 .

So, like three or four weeks went by, and I saw neither hide nor hair of this guy until one day I was riding home on my motorcycle, and saw him and his dad pull up to their house in their car. I stopped to say hi, and lo and behold, they opened up their trunk and pulled out a brand new IBM PS/1.

“That book you gave me sure made a computer guy out of me!” the cretin said.

“Yeah, sure, whatever, guy.” I replied.

Of course this idiot can’t use his computer without Windows, and even has plenty of trouble figuring THAT out. My point is that one can’t BECOME a CyberPunk, one just IS a CyberPunk (or ISN’T in his case). I mean, I was a “CyberPunk” before I even heard of William Gibson, though I never termed it “CyberPunk” because I hadn’t heard of that term yet. I was using computers 12 years ago when I was only ten. I instantly figured stuff out, without needing any of these ridiculous power-robbing GUI’s. Most everyone I know who I consider CyberPunks are the same way. The guy who makes 1,000 posts saying “HoW d0 y0u UsE w0rD f0r WiNd0wS???????????” is NOT a CyberPunk. The guy who posts “I tried to run 180 copies of Word for Windows, and my system crashed. MICROSOFT SUCKS!!!” IS a CyberPunk.

“God, UNIX is soooo hard to figure out” – NOT

“UNIX is the most powerful O/S ever” – IS

“Long Distance is so expensive” – NOT

“Long Distance is free! Death to AT&T and their EViL DeathStar Logo” – IS

“Copying software is illegal and morally wrong!” – NOT

“Software is a random string of 1’s and 0’s. How can you sell that?” – IS

“Programming should be made easy for all.” – NOT

“Programming is a lost art, and should be reserved for the GODS!” – IS

You get the point. Another big thing is loyalty. All this back-stabbing just to advance one’s status has got to be stopped. A true CyberPunk wants to help out new people, and advance the state of the Underground to keep it alive and flowing. A true CyberPunk is always loyal to his friends, but will just as easily annihilate his enemies. Case in point: There was a guy, who shall remain nameless (besides, he’s dead, which should tell you right away who he was…), who I got started in real modeming about, oh, 3 or 4 years ago. When I found him he was a PD idiot running stock Telegard. I helped him out and soon he was a site for a major warez group. He then started calling me a r0d3nt and posting my info out over public networks. He did this only to make himself look cool. A true CyberPunk would never do that – especially not to the one person who gave them their start.

Another thing that’s got to be stopped is this whole warez fanaticism. I mean, don’t get me wrong, software SHOULD be free, but come on people HOW MUCH SKILL AND KNOWLEDGE DOES IT REALLY TAKE TO CALL UP A BBS AND DOWNLOAD SOME NEW WARE THEN UPLOAD IT TO ANOTHER BBS? That’s right, NOT MUCH! Now, the people who are actually cracking the wares, they are CyberPunks because they’re actually doing something that takes skill. But these fools who say that I am a r0d3nt because I have no 0 day warez should be shot dead. It takes NO SKILL, NO BRAINS to download a ware. Call bbs. Log on. Go into transfer area. Press D. Type NEWWARE.ZIP. Press Enter. Press Z. Wait for Transfer to finish. Press ALT-H. Done. Now, how much skill did that take? Not much. Here’s a comparison of a one day’s worth of computing activity for a warez fool and a true CyberPunk.

Warez Fool

~~~~~~~~~~

Call BBS A. Scan for new warez. Download the ones I don’t have.

Call BBS B. Scan for new warez. Download the ones I don’t have.

Figure out which warez BBS A has that BBS B doesn’t have yet, and vice versa.

Upload to BBS A.

Upload to BBS B.

Play new warez.

If ware is hard, call BBS A or BBS B and post questions.

CyberPunk

~~~~~~~~~

Call BBS A. Scan message bases. Continue/Start Conversations.

Scan new files. Download any that look cool. Upload if desired.

Call BBS B. Scan message bases. Continue/Start Conversations.

Scan new files. Download any that look cool. Upload if desired.

Call LD BBS’s, using codes.

Scan message bases. Continue/Start Conversations.

Scan new files. Download any that look cool. Upload if desired.

Call SYSTEM A.

Attempt to gain entry.

Call SYSTEM B.

Attempt to gain entry.

Work on/Improve/Debug PROGRAM A.

Work on/Improve/Debug PROGRAM B.

Develop/Design PROGRAM C.

And so on… You see, the CyberPunk’s activities are far more varied, and also require an IQ higher than that of a ground squirrel, unlike the warez fool. The Underground should be about learning new things, expanding the mind, and of course beating the system – not about seeing who can get a |<-3l1t3 gNu g4m3 f1rst. A true CyberPunk also has a “reading impairment”. It seems to others that he’s constantly hallucinating. When others see “login incorrect” or “access denied”, the CyberPunk sees “Please try harder!” or “Please hack me!”. When others see or hear “Well, that’s the way it’s ALWAYS been done” or “That’s the way you’re supposed to do it”, the CyberPunk thinks “That means I should do it a different way”. The true CyberPunk is always looking for new, faster, different, and better ways to do everything. Also, a CyberPunk believes that access to all information should be free and open. He is always trying to get into whatever computer he can find, just to see what’s there. The media portrait of the evil hacker who’s always out to format everyone’s hard disk just for fun does not apply to true CyberPunks, just malicious scum. Of course, any enemy of the hacker should be quite wary. It is perfectly permissable to destroy an enemy’s system, be never an innocent system. There is a line in “Chemical Youth (We Are Rebellion)” be Queensryche that says “Our Religion is Technology”. This couldn’t be more true for the CyberPunk. He is always out to find out what’s new and hot on the technology front. Always going to computer shows to see what’s new and if possible, buying (or acquiring) the items and trying them for himself at home. This brings me to the subject of high-speed modems. I’ve got quite a bit of flack from both ends of the “elite” spectrum for the part in my BBS ad where it says “0.3 – 14.4 kilobits per second”. On one end I get “w0w, m4n, y0u’r3 4 re41 r0d3nt f0r 4cc3pt1ng 3oo b4ud3rz!!!” and on the other end “A true hacker or phreaker needs no high-speed modem”. Well, here and now, I shall answer both of these rips… First, to the people who believe the I should not accept 300-1200 bps callers: One does not need a 14400 bits per second modem to read and post messages. Reading and posting messages is what I want in a user, and if a guy’s calling at 300bps, and posts 20 messages a day, and a guy at 14400 just calls and uploads w4rezzZZZzz, I’m going to kill the 14.4 guy. Now, to the people who say I shouldn’t have a 14.4 for phreak/hack stuff: As I said, a true CyberPunk is always intersted in technology. A high speed modem is an interesting piece of high technology, therefore I have one. I am not a high-speed bigot like the warez set, I don’t care. There is a much better BBS than mine running on a 2400 up in 514. I simply have this modem because it was cheap, and it works great. Besides, I am also a programmer, and I do download & upload quite a bit of programming material, which tends to be on the large side. Before my closing remarks, I’m going to make a very unpopular statement, and I’m sure I’ll receive tons of flack for it, but I really don’t give a rat’s ass.. Here it is: ANSI GROUPS ARE NOT IN ANY WAY SHAPE OR FORM ELITE! Now, I say this with much respect for the ANSI groups themselves. I greatly enjoy the ANSIs that people are producing today. These ANSI artists ARE true artists in every sense of the word. Taking nothing but the characters available in the IBM extended character set, and making excellent pictures out of them takes a great deal of skill, and I applaud this artistry. However, when people start to call these ANSI groups elite, I lose my temper. They’re artists, not “eliters”. They’re not doing anything underground, they’re just creating art. Call them what they are: ARTISTS, not 3L1T3 D00DZ. In closing, I would like to say that I’m sure I’ll receive tons of hate mail, death threats, crash attempts on my board, etc, for various parts of this text, but I don’t much care. Despite what everyone says, Telegard, when administered by a knowledgable SysOp, is just as secure as anything else, and Intermail has none of FroDo’s back doors. Death threats don’t scare me much. Last summer, I had gang bangers shooting at me, yelling “die white fag!”, and I wasn’t much scared, having a nice Ruger 9mil in my hand at the time. My hope is that some – maybe even only one – warez fool out there will realize that being a warez rat is not as elite as he once thought, and will turn to the true Underground. If this happens, then I have done good. If not, then I’m wasting a great deal of time trying to revive the Underground.

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The CyberPunk Movement