[ale] OT: Pranks are out

Scott Castaline hscast at charter.net
Mon Jan 9 12:24:31 EST 2006

Brian MacLeod wrote:

> 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 then.
> 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...
>Ale mailing list
>Ale at ale.org
This reminds me of when I was working for Quotron Systems, based in LA, 
CA. Back around 1984 QSI and AT&T had formed a joint venture to develop 
a system for the Wall Street community, based on UNIX. All field 
employees were brought into LA HQ for training on UNIX and the new 
system. While in class, I started poking around the different buffer 
tables and crossed my input buffer (kybd) with the instructor's output 
buffer (video). This caused what the instructor was typing on his 
keyboard to show up on my CRT and what I typed was on his CRT, which was 
behind him facing the class. Therefore, he did not see that when he was 
typing "By viewing my output buffer table, you can see exactly what I'm 
typing!", did not show up on his 23" CRT, but instead what everyone saw 
was "He really doesn't know what he is talking about!". It took a while 
for him to realize why everyone was laughing, a while longer to realize 
where it was comming from, and a shorter time in assinging a password to 

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