Here is a fantastic talk from last summer’s DEF CON by the always awesome Jason Scott entitled You’re Stealing it Wrong: 30 Years of Inter-Pirate Battles. He is not only a historian but is also the director of a couple awesome documentaries that every card carrying geek over the age of 30 should watch. His first film BBS: The Documentary chronicles those crazy years before the Internet boom when lots of people ran and frequented computer bulletin boards. More recently he has released Get Lamp which chronicles the rise and fall of one of my favorite game genres from those early years, the text adventure. Both are awesome, and if you enjoy this talk you’ll love the films.
This entire talk is fascinating, but I especially loved hearing all the stories about the Apple II cracker scene in the 80s. As a teenager with a Commodore 64 I would get many cracked games from friends at school. I remember looking at those crack screens with wide eyed fascination and wondered who these people with the cool names and flashy graphics were. Of course many of these cracked games included phone numbers to BBSes where you could download more games. But thanks to my brother’s foray into 1-900 numbers at an early age my parents were too freaked to allow me to hook the computer to the phone line. It was probably for the best anyway. Enjoy!