8 Bit Underground

.: big bang theory

by on Jun.25, 2018, under Other

as we approach the month of extreme sunburn, fireworks and hangovers, i will be approaching all of you with something new. at this point the most i am going to say is that there will be a new/parallel domain name, push to get the forums more active and a reveal of the hard work i have been doing research wise on many fronts. the past few months have been relatively bountiful, but it has also been about me being a bit more focused on this project than i have been in quite some time. i don’t really see much communication from people showing interest in 8bu directly, but there are signs in many places that lead me to believe that my words and efforts truly are getting to the hearts and minds of a few people.

regardless of interest from others – visible or not – its way past that now. this has become bigger than me needing to see that others are interested. if nothing else this site and its resources have become my personal notebook. a way to keep a past that i treasure alive and kicking.

as time progresses, we get further and further away from dial tone and in-band signalling…. as time does progress, I will regress.

light fuse and get far, far away.

.: 8bitunderground (elite)

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.: 5/25/2018

by on May.25, 2018, under Other

Welcome to May, 2018…

While the blog has (somehow) remained up without any maintenance or updates I have slowly but surely continued to collect items to share with my millions of fans who share my interest in all things underground as they relate to old school computing and the 80’s and 90’s in general. I’ve found several vintage telephone Facebook groups as well as web sites that cater to our interest. I will be updating the forums this very evening and before the end of the weekend intend on launching an advertising campaign for the blog and forums/file archive. That being said, I am pondering putting everything I’ve got up on FTP for possible public consumption. Not positive on that yet but most certainly will be making everything available to those who have forum accounts and contribute (post/call ratio, you see?) :).

I will also promise that the blog will get a weekly update from this point forward. I’ve dropped off some baggage in my personal life and this hobby doesn’t compete with so many others now so there is a bit more time to enjoy and contribute.

As always thanks for visiting and please continue to do so as well as spread the word that The Dark Side of Yesterday has returned..

.: 8bitunderground (elite)

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.: 2017

by on Jul.27, 2017, under Other

Welcome to the future..

We haven’t died.. We’ve just been on life support for a while. We’re on the thaw and things will soon be at 98 degrees again.

Xenforo forums will be replacing the blog you have grown used to very soon.


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.: bulk user deletion

by on May.14, 2016, under Other

2341E24000000578-0-image-3_1416293066850My apologies to the few users who were legitimate – but I had 6000 users and I’m pretty sure about 2 or 3 were legit so I bulk deleted.. Please re-create your user and make sure you post at least one item so I can filter you out if this occurs again…

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.: when pigs fly…

by on May.11, 2016, under Other

Things ha:flying pigppen in life. Mine has been a roller coaster of ups and downs and mostly self-inflicted damages that have often been difficult to recover from. Recover we do though (or we die – and that may happen later..) and this post is evidence of a bit of recovery.

8bitunderground is once again back.. I have been collecting hardware again and have new plans for some of the plans I already had… Plans within plans as they say.

Not really sure I want to run any forums this time.. I think the niche of this blog is such that full blown forums will always be overkill. I will be a bit more chatty this time though and I’m not sure I want to litter the blog with random blabbering or not. So we shall see in the coming days/weeks if there is a go between that I could connect to the blog and allow for a bit more 2way discussion than the blog allows for now – and also without cluttering the important stuff.

That’s all for now – but not for long.


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.: still here

by on Feb.16, 2012, under Other

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I will have some things to share shortly – as always life has gotten busy.. Hang in there if you are going through the same stresses I am. Hopefully it will get better, or maybe I will meet you at the ledge and we can talk each other down to have a beer?

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.: jobs

by on Oct.13, 2011, under Non-Fiction

So its been a week or so since Steve Jobs passed away and I’ve gone through quite a few emotions during that period. I was lying in bed reading pulse news when I saw the news initially on the day of his passing, and of course initially I just lay there without really doing anything other than reading the bold headline and feeling my heart sink a little.

As anyone who still visits this blog knows, I am a geek and I am a geek since the true first generation of computers (i.e. home computers). So for me, the Jobs/Wozniak saga has been one that I grew up with and lived with as an adult for some time.

There were no tears, but I was close. Beyond just the fact that someone who I hold incredible respect for died – there was also the fact that he died pretty young.

So the week trudges on and I make the mistake of reading some of the blog posts and comment sections of places that posted the news of Steve’s death (now that he’s gone, I can call him by his first name right?) and it was pretty disheartening seeing the negative reactions towards those who feel as I do – sad that the guy is gone.

A lot of my family is gone too, and I miss them just as much – granted Steve Jobs was simply a human, but he was by no means a simple human. To a large part of the world consumer products are important, and while Apple might not be right for everyone, they are right for a good percentage of people. I would be willing to bet that its those people who do not care for Apple and the way they sell somewhat of a “closed box” in the ipad/ipod line.

Everyone is entitled to your opinion but to me it is sort of like believing in God.. A lot of people don’t and that is fine for them, but I’ve always wondered what it could possibly hurt to believe in something good.

Steve Jobs holds no comparison to God in my eyes, but he was definitely something good to believe in.

Rest in Peace Steve, it will be interesting to see what the company you co-founded does in the next 10 years.

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.: phonelosers of america: book

by on Apr.09, 2011, under BBS, Non-Fiction, OldsCool, Telco

So I really didn’t intend this to be a book/movie review site, and it won’t be – but here is another book mention that  I think is relevant.

I have been a fan of phonelosers of america since the extremely early days – though I must admit that when I first saw them I assumed it was just a joke and since my sense of humor is extremely dry and doesn’t normally cross into my geek interests, I didn’t pay a ton of attention immediately.

They persisted though and I quickly realized that the take wasn’t just a comedy, but did involve some actual hacking and phreaking along with some anarchy (which has never interested me in the least – though I would think some people today would consider hacking and phreaking anarchy in themselves). They also eventually broke through my dry sense of humor barriers. I mean how can you read the “Dino” pranks and not absolutely be rolling on the ground laughing?? That story is priceless and worth the cost of the book in itself, even if I have read the story 100’s of times online for free.

Anyway – so I was browsing the shelves at amazon and stumbled across the book and decided I had to have it. Yes the book is basically all of their stories put into hardcopy (or ebook) format, and I will also admit that the way the stories are presented is a little bit odd as they don’t really follow any chronological order – but I have to wonder if this isn’t just more zaniness that makes the PLA so funny to begin with transcending itself into the structure of the book.

So for the uninitiated, the PLA basically consists of tricks suck as prank calls that they record and also persist at for extraordinary lengths of time, fairly basic hacking/phreaking stunts, anarchy type things such as cursing over the PA system at a store similar to Wal-Mart, and changing signs at McDonald’s so everyone who goes through the drive through gets to read them. At first those things might not seem terribly interesting for the type of people who might visit this blog – but unless you already know that you don’t dig the PLA stuff, I would at least recommend you visit their site and check it out or read some excerpts from the book. I say that because I feel like those who enjoy the dedication to the old school that this blog promotes will see some of the same dedication to more primitive pranks and stunts in the PLA – even if it isn’t *quite* as old school as what we normally talk about here. The PLA began formally in the early 90’s, and still exist today.

One other thing about PLA that has always been somewhat interesting to me is that they have never really considered themselves a “group”. I remember throughout my online history that this has always been somewhat of a source of frustration for lamers as they are always asking “can I be part of the PLA”, to which the core founders generally respond “sure, start a bbs or site for your area and tell us what you do..”. The core “group” has always been fairly small – RBCP and several friends. Everything else is simply community – not really anything organized by group activities.

I will once again caution though to not go into this book thinking you are going to read Mitnick/Poulsen level exploits of VMS or HP3000’s. Go into it understanding that voicemail hacking, prank calls, and code abuse are the order of the day. The PLA made being a k0d3z kid cool again.. 🙂

Finally – and I did not know this until I read the book; RBCP is quite the nomad. I knew he spent some time in Illinois, which I believe is where he “grew up”, but he also left home at 17 and moved to Galveston, lived in Austin, OH, OR, FL, and I believe SC as well. The thing that was even more interesting and actually raised my eyebrows was the fact that he spent a lot of time homeless – very young – and seemed to enjoy it due to the fact that his responsibilities other than finding enough food to eat and somewhere safe and hopefully warm to sleep, were none.

This takes serious balls, street smarts and maybe even a bit of insanity – which goes a long way to back some of the absolutely insane stuff that this book covers.

I have no association with PLA whatsoever other than enjoying what it represents for a long time now, and also being someone who purchased the book, but I will recommend it to anyone who has enjoyed what this blog has been put together for. I do not think you will regret the purchase.

For an excellent “one-two punch”, I suggest not only purchasing this book, but also purchasing Commodork by Rob Ohara as well – a book about growing up with a C64, bbs’s, long distance codes, and one again – a pretty big set of balls. Both books are pretty well written, easy reads, and if nothing else I applaud the authors for taking that big step and releasing novels about stuff they are passionate about.. Something I’ve been pondering and would really love to do some day.

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.: talk hard

by on Mar.05, 2011, under Fiction, OldsCool

So it was 1990 or so and I hadn’t been out of high school too terribly long. I was definitely still a “kid” in my own mind and was also still very much infected with the bbs/h/p/warez bug.

I don’t really remember if I saw it immediately after it came out or if a little time passed, but I remember seeing the commercial for Pump Up The Volume and absolutely FREAKING.

First of all, I thought Christian Slater was a pretty good actor – but I remember the commercial showing him in his room, it was all dark and he had radios and gadgets and stuff all around. I really “got” that because that was sort of the way I always tried to keep my own room set up.

So we watch the movie and we see that its something a little different than most movies of teenage angst. As a matter of fact, the take on the movie was quite a bit different an approach than I have seen since either. We have an outcast who is new town.. Not just new in town but new in the environment as well as he came from “back east” and was now living in Arizona. Talk about a huge shock to the system right there if nothing else.

So our character Mark had been a ham radio guy “back east”. Unfortunately his setup wont reach his friends, so through a little hacker motivation, Mark figures out that he can create a pirate radio station and begins broadcasting music, as well as commentary and even takes phone calls from others and reads letters that get sent to his PO Box.

He is a loner, and while they didn’t really portray him to be much of a geek in the movie, he obviously had some geek skillz right? What to be running a pirate radio station and all.

Suddenly once people start hearing his show, he starts getting some more serious phone calls (which he was routing through his neighbors yard shed heheh!!) one ends up being a suicide and now Mark (our character) is somewhat involved indirectly with this suicide.

So from there he meets the “eat me beat me” lady which is a fairly hot dark haired actress who we are eventually treated to without her shirt on and the dialogue from that point forward mainly revolves around Mark thinking that “this has gotten too big.. I gotta quit..” and “Nora” telling him that it is his responsibility NOT to quit now – that too many people were counting on the show and that it had become something bigger than just a hobby in a  new town.

It is at this point that we go from a pretty cool movie to something a little more silly. Even at my young age in 1990 it was a bit silly.

So Mark and Nora decide that they’re going to do one last broadcast while the FCC is out searching for Mark to shut his show down for good and (we assume) take him to jail.

So they steal his mom’s jeep and mobilize the radio station and off they go with helicopters and FCC triangulation vans all trying to “catch” them. They even go off road a little bit – but all of this is in vain.

In the end, Nora holds a broken connection in her hands – stating she can “fix this” as she sort of presses the ends together. But Mark knows that there is no need anymore as he stands up – looking over the valley of high school students, police, FCC commissioner, etc..

He has a mic, and begins rolling with some banter about the airwaves are free and whatever you feel you should take them and share your feelings on the air.

I think the thing about this movie that touches me more than the sort of “identifying” I could use to compare my own high school years with Mark’s in some ways is the fact that we were just on the cusp of entering into a new age. An age where not only geeks like me and so many of you engaged in online communication – but where grandmothers, dog catchers, harley riders, and whoever else wanted to have an online presence to “express themselves” could absolutely do so – and as it turns out, eventually do so quite easily.

And now, as we have debate of net neutrality, the whole thought of big brother comes knocking at the door once again, and we may have a total “comes around again” situation on our hands very soon.

So yes indeed.. Talk Hard, Steal the Air… And lets wait and see what the next evolution in the ever continuing saga of communications will bring us.

For anyone who cares – I would rate the movie probably 6.5 or 7 on a 10 scale.. Acting was actually pretty decent mostly – but as I mentioned the story seemed to disintegrate about 3/4 of the way through. I have been meaning to see if this was ever done as a novel. If so I will post about it once read.

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.: 8-bit underground forums are back!

by on Mar.04, 2011, under OldsCool

Yes, you read that correctly. I have decided to reopen and restructure the forums. They will contain fewer sections in the actual underground topics, and maybe a few more sections in the general areas.

As I believe I mentioned in the last post, I will be coming up with a new way to update and link the software that I am cataloging. Still trying to figure out the best way to do this.

Anyways – I should be adding another relevant post to the blog later this weekend so keep your eyes peeled.

Finally, I am offering a bounty for several OLD pieces of software. If you have them, let me know and you can make some coin.

  • CodeSuck – Atari 8-bit Codehacker
  • TransPhor – by Brew Associates and Phortune 500 (AE Style BBS software)
  • Fone Conspiracy BBS Software
  • Genesis PC and Genesis Deluxe BBS Software (and code if possible)
  • Happy Hacker – Atari phone tone program

There are likely more – but those come to mind first. Really just about any hacker or phreaker type apps for either the Atari 8-bit or the Atari ST would generate a bounty – though I will be honest that its TransPhor that I want more than anything else..

Check back later for a newer post.

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