Welcome to the 8 Bit Underground blog system – web based radio clash on pirate satellite.
This blog, along with the accompanying forum, have been two things that I have pondered placing online for quite some time. Now, after a few false starts, I have finally found the right software, themes, and attitude to go forth and make my ideas a reality.
A few things led to this, but one of the main ones was this blog on vintage computing. I found it last week and spent the better part of a day reading through all that the author had to post. As always, I was taken back to the 80’s where my computing life began and I made a promise to myself to move forward on both the blog and the forums and that enough people would be interested in my sites even though they are even more focused than the wide ranging topic of “vintage computing”.
So what am I going to offer the web that hasn’t already been done multiple times over?
In answer, I will be focusing on how 8-bit and 16-bit computers of the 1980’s and early 1990’s were used for underground purposes such as hacking, phreaking, BBS’ing and the 80’s non-pc/mac warez scene.
I grew up using 8 and 16-bit computers such as the Atari 400/800 and Commdore 64 as a lot of people did. I gamed, learned how to write code, and used them for all of the “normal” tasks that many families used them for.
In addition to the mundane tasks though, I also quickly found myself in the middle of the online underground that communicated using phone lines and 300 baud modems rather than TCP/IP and home FIOS connections that are faster than a lot of business Internet connections today.
The entire experience was very surreal and I look back upon the things I learned, things I did, places I explored, and people I met with a fondness that most people reserve for things like first girlfriends, weddings, and the birth of their children.
Today when I see a Atari 1200XL sitting in a dumpster or at a flea market, I do not see a piece of plastic that has yellowed with age thats worthless and “junk”. I see a machine that provided a window to a world that was absolutely teaming with activity in the 80’s and that provided me with several different foundations that would come in very handy later in life.
This “underground” that I speak of consisted of community, software applications such as BBS programs, wardialers, code scanners, and tone programs for doing things such as red boxing and blue boxing. It consisted of groups who came together to share information and trade software. It consisted of hardware that did amazing things even by today’s standards such as the Novation Apple Cat modem.
With all of that said – 8Bit Underground is about revisiting the 80’s online and underground scene. You will find product ad scans for software, hardware and services, text files from groups of the day, BBS lists from the 80’s and early 90’s, links and direct downloads to software such as BBS programs, terminal software, and the various underground appliations that were used on the different computer platforms that were common in the 80’s and early 90’s along with many screenshots from these same programs.
Along with those things you will find commentary by me as the author of these articles and by those who choose to join in and post comments. Ever present will also be a link to our forums where discussion is held in a much more open landscape with some additional topics being included there as opposed to the blog.
While it wasn’t always the case back when the 80’s were the “Now”, this blog will contain only information that is 100 percent legal. There will be no current day information here either “white hat” or “black hat”. There are hundreds of other sites that provide that type of information. 8Bit Underground is instead a time machine where you can ALT-TAB from your spreadsheet or IDE and remember a time when you were young, noone was going to tell you “No”, and you were doing something that nobody older than 16 or 17 had a clue about.
This is not your son’s Internet.
This is the 8 Bit Underground.