[ 80 COLUMNS; LOWERCASE ]
_______________________________ | | | The Ramsacker's | | Textfile Primer | | | | A Pieces of Eight Production! | | | | July 27, 1989 | |_______________________________|
I have always been intrigued by the textfile as a medium for the
exchange of useful information ranging from hacking to kracking, phreaking to anarchy, and humor to distaste. The abundance of information that can be obtained from textfiles used to be widely understaged by the many people who saw them merely as "g-philes", using that term in a slightly negative connotation. As of late, I have seen a movement towards the acceptance of textfiles as a viable form of trade through the proliferation of groups such as cDc who's main contribution to the modeming society has been their release of many fine textfiles ranging from tutorials to interesting stories.
What has been bothering me as of late in my ongoing collection of
textfiles is the lack of quality of some of the files that I receive. It is annoying to download a file that looks like some stupid fuck wrote it by slamming his fist down on the keyboard; the spelling being atrocious and the format being unbearable. I realize that not all of us are scholars, but it only takes a few more minutes to check up on your spelling and format the text a bit. What disgusts me further is that some people DO take the time to make their files look pretty, only to have some complete looze fuck it up by viewing it over shitty phone lines and then upload it to another system, thus causing a perpetuation of a corrupted file. In most cases, some of the important data gets lost or the effect of the file is shattered because you come upon a string of line noise right in the middle of an interesting section. If people would just take the time to handle the files with care, there wouldn't be many crap files around. Unless you're an asshole, you don't check a book out of a library and destroy it. Let's face it, fucked files are just that: fucked! And nobody likes a copy of a fucked file no matter how little they care. Everyone would rather have the file in it's original format.
Since I predict the exchange of textfiles to be a popular pasttime (much
like the collection of "wares" in the earlier days of Apple pirating), I have written this file in hopes to set a guideline for file writing and trading. You wouldn't put out a "bad" crack, or a patch that didn't work or even fucked up what you were trying to patch. The same goes for textfiles, in the same sense.
Here are some guidelines to keep in mind when dealing with the trade or
writing of textfiles:
o If possible, try to download the file using a protocol so that if any line noise is present during your session it won't affect the file.
o If you must V)iew files, and if you are planning to upload it to another system, then when you buffer it, at least try to remove any garbage that may have infiltrated the text, and PLEASE remove all transfer prompts (i.e. "[ Volume 10 #1-11 ]" and "(>"). I find those most annoying, especially after they have accumulated after many transfers between different systems.
o Don't try to do the general modem public a favor by "editing" files. Let sleeping dogs lie. If the author intended the file to be in all uppercase then that's how it should stay. The same goes for 40 column textfiles. They don't need to be stretched out to 80 columns. They still read the same either way.
o Never add your say to a file or modify the original authors work just because you feel strongly about the subject. You wouldn't change Shakespear's words around in any of his works (unless you were in school and had nothing better to do). Modifying other peoples work is the sign of a true loser. I saw this done to "The Real Pirates Guide" and it totally disgusted me (you're a fucken loser for that, Dak)!
o When writing files, don't neglect to include the date (and maybe even the time) somewhere in the file. You're writing history of sorts, and people who read your file in the future might be interested to know when you wrote it (especially if the material stands a chance of being outdated in the future and will not apply, such as some phreak info).
o Write your files on a word processor that will add carriage returns to all the lines or at least has word wrap. That usually solves the problem of extra carriage returns between lines which screws up the text somewhat.
Remember, as an author, you should be proud of your work. So take the
time and effort to format and proofread it before you put it out. Even if it is just a quickie file, spend a few extra seconds rounding out the rough edges to make it at least look respectable. And you wouldn't want some asshole fucking with your files after you put them out, so don't do it to other peoples files.
I hope some of my ideas catch on. Even if they don't, I figure that I
at least put forth the effort.
No additions, deletions, or
modifications may be made to this file AT ALL. Also, this file is to be transferred in its original format and any corrupted copies should be put out of their misery by being deleted. ---------------------------------
A Semi-Useless File from Pieces of Eight Kracking
The Ramsacker July 27, 1989 11:17 PM