[ale] OT: Pranks are out

Brian MacLeod nym.bnm at gmail.com
Mon Jan 9 09:54:00 EST 2006

At one of the colleges where I was a student, we had an lab of RS6000 thin
clients connected to an application server.  In this case xhost was
irrelevant -- anyone could effectively do anything on the displays on any of
the stations if they knew the correct incantations.

I never did this to anyone doing legitimate work (which since this was a
public lab, it was always busy), but many people who were playing games on
the stations or viewing questionable materials began to wonder why their
windows were closing, or in some cases when they clicked on the root window,
why they were being logged out.

My groups of friends had a hell of a time getting into each other's
accounts.  One of us was quite proficient in Unix environments at the time
(the rest of us were not), but we managed to get him to leave his computer
for just moments without him locking it first.  We were able to have a
little fun, but he quickly resolved any issues.  We also did this to another
guy who wasn't even in computers, and we seriously messed up his web page so
that he actually stopped fighting it, and let it go to see what kind of
horrible spectacle it could become. It wouldn't meet any standards of PC
nowadays, and would have been immediately removed if such standards existed

My aunt and I programmed one of her kids' computers to say "You're really
making progress now" everytime the backspace key was pressed.

Ah, I miss having that kind of fun...
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