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                    Southern California Sysops 
                    Pull the Plug on Tcimpidis
                           David Brown

The tide of public opinion seems to be turning against Southern California Bulletin Board operator Tom Tcimpidis, following revelation that the pilfered credit card number found on his system was that of Tcimpidis' former employer.

Even though most regard John Dvorak a "Smug Twit," his discovery has prompted many Southern California Bulletin Board System operators – some of whom shut down or altered their own systems in support of Tcimpidis' defense – to change their minds about this matter.

They find highly suspicious the coincidence that the number belonged to Tcimpidis' former employer. More incriminating, they say, is the fact that Tcimpidis never mentioned it to anyone in the local BBS community.

Tcimpidis claims the number was placed on his board by a caller using an assumed name. He also claims he did not know the number in question belonged to a former employer. …And we all thought Tom was a pretty smart guy.

Dvorak, who says he employed the cunning investigative reporter's technique of ACTUALLY CALLING THE TELEPHONE NUMBER, revealed in a copyrighted article in the Sunday, Oct. 7, San Francisco Examiner that the credit card was owned by a television producer who once employed Tcimpidis.

Now we all know that Dvorak was tipped to this by an attorney from the phone company. But I guess we've all got to try to preserve a little credibility, John.

Although local Sysops had stuck up for Tcimpidis from the beginning, their dedication was at least in part based on a feeling that "any of us could be next." As one Sysop told me: "All some turkey has to do is stick a bogus credit card number on your system and you're up shit creek!" But operators now feel this latest revelation indicates that Pacific Bell's intentions in pressing the case against Tcimpidis are not an effort to intimidate local bulletin board operators. "This shows they're not going after Sysops," one operator said, "they're going after crooks!"

But even before the recent discovery, local Sysops had confided to this writer that Tcimpidis was, at least, "very careless."

One operator described Tcimpidis' system as the "Pimple Butt BBS." "There wasn't one worthwhile P.D. (Public Domain) program on that system," he said, "just a bunch of adolescents passing dirty notes…."

In all fairness, I HAVE downloaded some worthwhile programs from his massive Heath system. But I also have seen plenty of inane ramblings from local Pimple-Poppers who have nothing better to do with their computers.

By the way, Smug John, all agree with you that the ultimate solution to this problem is "a sincere effort at self-policing these boards by the people who run them." But you are DEAD WRONG when you say "Unfortunately, there has been NO real movement in that direction." Local Sysops would like to know why the hell YOU haven't talked with them?

To sum up, Southern California Sysops are ready to pull the plug on their support of Tcimpidis and let the telephone company have its way with him. Hope he doesn't lose his mouse!

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