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submit to you:
Mr. Pez's Rambling about Textfiles which naturally leads to a discussion about Leeching.
by: Mr. Pez ~~~ ~~~
Written: 13 March 1987 10:55pm
i. opening rambling/background
Well, here I am again. All the boards I feel like calling are busy, and I felt this needed to be done. I just realized that I now have roughly 1400 textfiles, which puts me as the person with the second-largest collection of textfiles in our nation. The person with the most textfiles is one Jason Scott, and he's responsible for at least half of my textfiles. He runs a board called the Works!, whose number will be posted at the end of this exercise in creative rambling. So sit back, and enjoy this file, if it turns out to be the kind of thing you dig.
I'd like to point out that this is what I listened to while writing this textfile. "Duty Now For The Future" Devo "Celebrate The Bullet" The Selecter "Say Yes To Another Excess" Yello "Abraxas" Santana
ii. textfiles and related discussions
I think the textfile is on the rise. While Anarchy inc. may have disbanded, their legacy of fine and humorous files lives on, especially on Jason Scott's board (whose number, as previously stated, will be at the end of this file. So hold yer horses!), where there is an entire section devoted to them. (Devoted...reminds me of last year in school, when I wrote "I am devoted to darkness" on all the desks that I sat at. You'd be surprised at how many people have a great aversion to Satanic stuff, especially when the writing is accompanied by evil drawings. "Satan is my pal" was another fave of mine. Someone wrote, "Well, God's mine!" after that, which gave me many rich laffs. I was a sick freshmen. But I digress...) Now, who remains? The Neon Knights aren't seen around too much anymore, either. But without a doubt, the most well-known of all textfiles is the Phrack. Started by Taran King, it's just grown incredibly. The next issue will be number 12. I was very annoyed to get Phrack 11 quite soon after it came out, and was all set to start u/ling it everywhere, when I noticed Thomas Covenant did the same. So he stole any recognition I might get from u/ling the latest Phrack. Another thing that proves my point about the textfile world. There's a mad race, when something new comes out, to distribute it. Much like the "new warez" of a couple of years ago. Only, it's looked upon in rather poor taste to add your board number and stuff to the end of a Phrack, or an LOD/H Technical Journal, like you could once do with games you cracked or distributed. (Speaking of the LOD/H TJ - I was very early in getting it, and began uploading it to places quickly. This one I beat both Thomas Covenant and Jason Scott to, since it was only out in 'packed' format for Apples. This thrills the hell out of you, I'm sure.) Anyway, the textfiles world is pretty tough. I do think, however, that the quality of the work coming out is improving. Take a look at "Sex Change" from Thomas Covenant of Phido Phreaks - now THAT is some excellent work. Let's not forget Tristan Farnon, either. Anything from him can be expected to be of a very high quality. The fact that he's the only member of his group, Starry Night Productions, could serve as evidence that even groups like my two (which I did make up, although there is one other person in it), which are made up by the only member can produce high quality stuff. I'm not sure this stuff I'm coming out with is of any great quality. There are some who think I'm funny, and others who find me to be like a pesky parasite, what with 50-line paragraphs like this one I'm currently writing. Personally, if you don't like this file, I wish I could say I didn't care, but it really will bother me a little if you, the reader, vote this a bomb. You'll notice that while I write this, I use big words, and write like a textbook. That's just the way I write, especially on essays, but sometimes on textfiles and occasionally messages. Right now, it's 11:26, and I still haven't really said anything of value. That's why I get such great grades in English, since the requirements for a 450 word essay can be met in just the opening paragraph sometimes. I think I'll start another paragraph now, just to break the monotony. (And if you don't think this is monotonous, bless you!)
Three groups to watch are Phido Phreaks, OctoThorpe Productions, and this one (if I may be so immodest). They're all new (well, Octothorpe just started doing stuff), and have some good writers in them. Phido Phreaks has Thomas Covenant as well as the Silver Ghost, who has to be mentioned for the sheer volume of stuff he puts out. Pretty good stuff, too, unlike this file which I'm starting to realize is getting more and more disjointed. That's entropy, you know. The natural tendency for things to drift towards randomness and chaos. An idea which I think will replace anarchy in a matter of months. I was going to change my group(s) to Entropy Associates (which was on a dump truck in this filmstrip I saw in Chemistry supposed to illustrate the concept of entropy. That name really had an effect on me.), but I thought it'd be pretty lame, since you might have already seen RM/MM on that other file I wrote (which I won't name, since I'm not Captain Goodnight). Although, when I write 10 files, if such an event happens, and am met with some success, I might change the name to Entropy Associates (e.a.) if I actually get some members besides my friend Zack. OctoThorpe is the group started by Jason Scott (the Slipped Disk) when he started his board up. It sat there, in file directory 1, for at least 10 months, until Jason's friend, The Mathematician, discovered modeming and textfiles and writing textfiles. Some of his stuff is pretty good, too. And Jason's stuff, with the backing of having read all 1500 textfiles of his, is good, too. Then The Cruiser started writing for Jason's group, and it began to get some members. The Cruiser has written some fairly good stories, but also some unabashed edits of existing files. On The Works! (home of Octothorpe, Jason's board. But you know that by now, right, genius?), my file (um, what was that called?) was distibuted under the Octothorpe banner as "Uncut, Unedited, and Unwanted". Which afforded me a couple of laffs. Lastly, my group, of which it's too soon to tell. See if this file helps you.
Shit, my word processor just asked me if I wanted to save the file. And upon doing so, it wrote 8,400 bytes. Which is a fucking lot. My last file was 15,000 bytes, though...let's see how long this one turns out to be. Actually, I should probably be doing my social studies, which is a report on Aztec History, which I could frankly give a flying fuck about. But it's only 11:50, the night is still young...
The thing I hate are "anarchy" textfiles that are formulas for how to make drugs and stuff. I really could not care less about how to make DMT from banana peels or whatever. I also don't like countless typed-in portions of the book "The Poor Man's James Bond" by Kurt Saxon. The anarchy files that I like are the kind that make me laugh. The ever-present (at least in this discussion) Anarchy inc. wrote good stuff like that. And I was laughing my ass off (if such a thing is, in fact, possible) at the file "Random Senseless Violence" by Count Nibble (his board, Terrapin Station, will be included at the end of this file), which was great. I also like his file "Spray Paint" (or whatever...I can't remember the exact title, ok?), which had me a'chucklin'. I also like 'l00zer' files to a point, but then they start repeating themselves, as the Silver Ghost succinctly satirized in his file "Parodies". It's 12:05, and I'm getting kind of tired, so I'll get some sleep and start a fresh new part tomorrow. Part III. Look for it. But not too hard. (Note about parts: I have not written three files called "Ramblings", I've just separated this file into several parts just to be interesting.)
iii. 9:57 am on the 14th and time to talk about text graphics
I think they're making a comeback, personally. I dig them. Take a look at the cover of this file. (Unless you're V)iewing it on some AE, in which the text graphics won't look very nice. (Due to the fact that the pseudo-Xmodem adds linefeeds, so the whole file is double-spaced.) But let me assure you that they look pretty cool, especially the "Red Menace" one.) I like that sort of stuff. In fact, I basically like text graphics. For instance: ||||||||||| / \ ||| ||||||||| ||||||||| | o o | ||| ||| //||| ||| //||| | | | ||||||||| ||| /// ||| ||| /// ||| ||||||| | / \ | ||| ||| ||| /// ||| ||| /// ||| ||| ||| | ||||||||| | ||| ||| ||| /// ||| ||| /// ||| ||| ||| \ ~~~~~~~ / ||| ||| |||/// ||| |||/// ||| ||| ||| \_________/ ||| ||| |||/ ||| |||/ ||| ||| ||| m r . l i d d y |||||| ||||||||| ||||||||| |||||||||| ||| |||||||| Well, that was damn fulfilling. I'm sure it looks really spiffy on the ol' AE, too. Um, anyway, maybe text PICTURES aren't that great. But I really like those graphics I put in the beginning of my textfiles. For some reason. Anyway, it's now 10:45 exactly, and I still haven't said anything of merit. So, what should I talk about? Perhaps another section is in order? Yeah, that'll work. One on leeching, which is how I got all my textfiles.
iv. mr. pez and leeching
Leeching. It still exists, trust me. It will always exist. There are just some boards which are destined to be leeched from. The Works! is one. I have sysop access there, so I get to read the callers log. I see: BRUCE GOLDMAN downloads about 50 files or so, until his time (99 minutes a day) is up. I look at bulletin 5. He's downloaded 532 files, uploaded 8. Which is damn bad. But then again, I downloaded 350 from the Works!. But my difference is that I contributed with messages, so I wasn't just clogging the board, leeching. (I was contributing to the message base and leeching.) Similarly, AE's will ALWAYS be leeched from. I mean, if you don't have to give a name, why upload? Or, if sysops can't see what you're doing, who knows what you download? (They do know what you upload.) On AE's, since I can't get programs since I have a veryfine IBM, I V)iew a lot of stuff. That, in itself, is sort of leeching. It assures me of a supply of AT LEAST three new textfiles a day. I have to edit them, but that's no problem. A scary new kind of AE is something called "TransPhor", which is in itself, an AE. I mean, the guy who wrote it, Brew Associates, wrote his own AE program. Anyway, this thing takes note of what you download, upload, and (get this) V)iew. Is that a riot or what? That's how I get my AE textfiles, through V)iewing! Oh well.
Of course, when you leech, you have to think about disk space. I don't, though. Well, I'm starting to, since my hard disk slowly grows smaller... less and less space free every day. (Since I get a couple new files a day.) You know, on a PD board I'm on, I just got my access lowered because my ratio fell below 5 downloads to one upload. And the damn sysop has a 20 to 1 ratio on The Works!, which is kind of funny. I pointed this out to him. Haven't seen his reply yet. I posted it at 12:30 (pm - yes, I am starting this at night again because all the boards are busy.), and it's only 1:00 (exactly) now. (The 12:30 was an approximation, it is now exactly 1:00. Wow, this must really pump yer 'nads.) Still, what's the limit for sysops? I mean, you have to be somewhat tolerant of leeching (see, look what I've grown to be by leeching!), but what's the limit? Jason Scott is awful lenient about his board, but the sysop of that PD board was too tough about it. There's at least three boards better than his in the area. (spiteful, vindictive.. isn't it fascinating, the leeching mentality?) Anyway, I just cleaned up my hard drive some. I have the things that must stay on the drive, which take up about 5 megs. That includes Procomm (my communications program), DOS, the Norton Utilities, the ARC programs and other file utilities in \DOWNLOAD, my father's stuff like Lotus 1-2-3 and the programs he's working on (he paid for the drive, I have to put up with his stuff. Only takes about a meg, anyway.). But I have the ARCs of all Jason's textfiles on the drive, which take up about 5 megs (which I haven't put on disk for a very simple reason - I don't have any disks.), and I have a few games on disk, too. Also, I have two BBS systems online, ARCed in suspended animation, until I get around to testing them. [Editor's note - This has gone on long enough. What ARC is is a utility that will allow you to take a bunch of files and put it into one. It also compresses files, and textfiles crunch to about 50% of what they were - another reason why textfiles are so great!] I have a code hacker program (Brew Associate's CodeThief v2.2) in \DOWNLOAD\UPLOAD [ed's note - \ is a path.] and three word processors, one in its own directory. Well, now that I've given you my whole fucking hard drive map, I might as well start talking more about leeching. My communications program, Procomm, has a command file language which'll let you program it to do stuff like log on to BBS's, and download stuff (which is the relevance of this line of thought). That's why I can have passwords like "f#duq!53" and not have to write them down. Also, I have a different password for nearly every BBS I'm on. Pretty safe, eh? The other great thing about command files is their effects on leeching (and uploading, when it is advisable). I don't want to bother doing it on AE's (where I'd have to open a log for everything, and then WAITFOR "(>" to close the log. (WAITFOR is a command which does almost exactly what you think.) But PCBoard software, which is what The Works! runs on, is very easy to leech from. Just WAITFOR the line "Main Board Command?" and send "d;" plus the file you wish to download, then waitfor whatever it prints when it's ready to send, and download it. (Shit. Just had to save this file again. It's 17k already.) And then onto the next line. Of course, I haven't figured out how to allow for errors, like the file isn't there, or line noise obliterates the words, so Procomm doesn't recieve them as they should. But I have trouble programming in BASIC, even. Boo. Anyway, I've leeched about 100 files from The Works! that way. But my leeching from The Works! is irrelevent now, since Jason came over to my house when I had my going-away party (which wasn't too radical, as can be imagined, because Andrew Swartz was acting really hyper because there were X-rated movies and he had never seen one. I was listening to The DataMaster talking about phreaking, and didn't spend too much time watching "Looking Good" or "A Cry For Cindy". Andrew bothered me about it, but I'll just bet he took the words of the Michael Jackson song and "Beat It" after seeing the movies. I'll just bet.) in hopes of trading his textfiles for my guitar (bet you had to look back to the beginning of the parentheses!) along with some dough. My guitar is a "Harmony" and worth about $50. Jason wanted to give it to a girl named Donna who he feels something hormonal for. (If I may be so bold.) He was copying the files onto my hard drive while trying to cajole me into giving him my guitar. It was a gift, so I never did. But I still have the textfiles, and read a few every day. It's harder than you think. DOS's default white-on-black starts jittering around (on the CGA) and your eyes start doing the funky chicken. (Who knows where I got that phrase.) But they're mostly pretty good. There's a 44k file of taped conversations between this guy and important people he met at TAP meetings. Sounds like something I would do. I occasionally tape my conversations, if they sound like they're going to be interesting. (Now it's 1:33, and my word processor just saved the file...it was 19k. Bloated. Plus, you must be going crazy from staring at this huge paragraph.) But I never type them in. Another file is a 220k file about D&D. w0w. Another is a 70k file of a Howard the Duck comic book script. Which doesn't really interest me. But could interest someone. Anyway, I have more than enough textfiles to set up a board, but I don't think I have the disk space, if I still want to use programs on my hard disk. I was going to set it up at my own line (yes, I have my own line, and pay the bills, which are not that much.), but never got around to it. Too late now, eh? (I'm moving to Michigan in about 5 days.) I can still leech there, I'm sure. Should be even better, since that house is really cool. Maybe the other line (my family's line) will be even closer, so I can talk to people while calling boards. The other (family) line was in the other room, but my father disconnected it, because I made a few calls on it, when I "have [my] own line and should use THAT, fer crissakes!" or something to that effect. Now, I can only make calls by going into the kitchen or upstairs, which is not good for short files. But long files, like Phracks, or the LOD/H Technical Journal, can be uploaded while carrying on a fairly lengthy conversation.
v. is it the end? at last?
The preceding paragraph is 87 lines long - more than a printed page. This leads me to end this file, and soon. Well, if you're not asleep, tell me what you think about it. I mean, don't you have to wonder about someone who can ramble on for 8 fucking pages? (That's how long this file is.) Well, these boards below earn the official "PEZ" stamp o' approval. W0W, fer sure.
N_a_m_e _N_u_m_b_e_r Software _S_y_s_o_p_ _Baudrate_
The Works! ! -238-8195 ! PCBoard ! Jason Scott ! 300/1200 !
The Darque Side ! -245-SPAM ! WaffleNET ! DS^3 Club !3/12/2400 !
Thieve's World ! -344-2718 ! FIDO ! Thomas Covenant ! 300/1200 !
Terrapin Station ! -865-0883 ! AE:TAC ! Count Nibble ! 300/1200 !
The Brewery ! -394-8259 ! WWIV/Forum ! Beer Wolf ! 300/1200 !
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~
vi. info author: mr. pez date: 13 march '87 10:55pm to 15 march '87 2:09am size: 22,227 bytes for: red menace, mephisto madware, octothorpe, phido phreaks system: IBM PC, PC-Write WP software (perhaps) music: see beginning (what a stupid category)
"look for more, but not too hard."