8 Bit Underground

Tag: OldsCool

.: when a stranger calls

by on Jan.25, 2010, under OldsCool, Telco

So I was trolling around on a message board (binrev) the other day and I stumbled across this picture and thought it was pretty neat.

Obviously this was placed in print around the same time that the phone company began using digital switches and gained the ability to (easily) establish caller ID of those troubled souls who did things such as make profane and prank type calls.

The thing that I really enjoy about the ad is how the phone company really tries to give the reader a sense of “we can get you”. I think it was somewhat a sign of the times; the digital age was beginning and the phone company knew that there were all kinds of ways that it was going to benefit them and they wanted the public to know about them.

This type of attitude though probably helped a lot of people continue to think that the phone company was nothing more than a money sucking, “big brother” type entity and made them fear and loathe it even more than they already did.

Something else that I find somewhat funny is that while my friends and I certainly made plenty of joke calls back in the day, I never once remember getting or hearing about anyone else getting any type of obscene phone call. I’m sure it still happens even today, but this was the kind of stuff that happened in movies, not in real life – and I grew up around a very large city.

Taking this ad even further into the context of this site, I have to ask myself – were there more people in 1970 making obscene phone calls, or more people defrauding the phone company by exposing and using loopholes that they found such as blue box control tones?

I have to answer that question and imagine that there had to have been more people abusing the phone system in ways other than prank/obscene calls that their advertising dollars would have been better spent trying to ward off those who were stealing from them rather than the 1 in 1000 people who got off by making calls to old women at midnight.

The ad then goes on and dangles some futuristic term “voice print” in front of us. As if they were taking a sample of the human voice and somehow matching that to our identity – something that not even the current day phone company could do for every customer.

Finally the reader is told that if they aren’t scared enough that they should be “because we haven’t told you everything”.

I don’t know about you, but I’m sure glad that we get to deal with the happy, sunny phone company of today rather than the “voice print” agency of 1970.

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.: review number one: phoneman for the c64/128 :.

by on Dec.30, 2009, under Apps, OldsCool, OldWarez, Telco

Well I put this blog up to be a site for those of us who are melancholy over the old school underground with an emphasis on the applications we used on 8/16 bit computers but so far I’ve not placed any of the promised reviews of those apps online.

Today that all changes, and I figured I would start things off with what I consider to be one of the best of the best of this breed of utility, Phone Man for the Commodore 64/128.

So without further delay, lets get on with review number one on 8bit underground. Please note that the actual download of this application for emulation will be provided on this sites forums which are located here.

Click here to read the review…

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.: a 300 baud Christmas :.

by on Dec.24, 2009, under BBS, OldsCool, Other

At his age, there wasn’t a whole lot going on the night before Christmas. His brothers had both gone out to hang out with friends and discuss what they would be getting for Christmas and drinking rum and cokes. In their eyes, a fine Christmas morning would be to find a new Stratocaster, or Holley Double Pumper carburetor under the tree.

But not him. No, he sat in his bedroom, the dull glow of the nineteen inch TV screen casting long shadows as he took another gulp from his two liter bottle of Coke.

But it wasn’t Max Headroom or Back to the Future cast across the screen – it was the user interface to TUFF Hacker by The Underground Fone Federation, and it was running on his Atari 800XL computer complete with disk drive. TUFF Hacker was a code scanner – a program that would dial a long distance carrier number, wait for a dial tone and then enter a code followed by a known carrier number. If the program detected carrier then it knew that the code was good and it would log it to file to be (ab)used later.

The only problem was that he had no modem.

Click here to read more…

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