Losing control — 12 Comments

  1. whereas computers can only react to whatever has been programmed in.

    Back when I was, oh, 13 or so and thought a ‘computer’ was a Sinclair ZX81 and ‘pc’ meant the Peelers; my Uncle was one of the leading ‘Computer experts’ in the UK (ie he was earning serious money doing it). He even had all the kit at home, his own BBC Micro and a “modem” (oh wondrous wonder), access to PRESTEL  and all sorts of ‘interfaces’. Chances are you and I are both using software he had a part in creating (which explains a lot about why software never quite does what it says on the tin).

    Anyways he gave me some advice , which he described as -even back then- having been handed down to him from the sage Lords Of Hacking, the cyber mages of yore, from a time when having a computer at home meant literally building a home to house it and it having more magnetic tape than BASF:

    G I G O

    Hold fast to that primary LAW, print it off, colourize it in gold and get down on your hands and knees every morning and kiss it.


    …and yes I am stupid enough to use windows, I laugh at RansomWarez for I have Rat-onna-stick or ‘Mint’ as it is known. Which replaced even Puppy as my ‘get out of shit free’ option.

    • Ah, the old Sinclair!  The ZX81 literally changed my life [long, boring story].

      G.I.G.O indeed.  Also don’t forget that the most unreliable part of a computer is that bit between the keyboard and the chair.

      Good luck with Windows.  Just remember to back up everything every five minutes, or whatever time is allowed between updates [that probably introduce more vulnerabilities].

      • The ZX81 literally changed my life [long, boring story].

        Well assuming Ireland is also covered in a layer of the sweetest liquid sunshine at the moment, what better use of your afternoon than to write up that long boring story for tomorrow’s article?

        My uncle used to refer to the ZX81 fondly as a ‘Frisbee’ or a ‘door stop’.

        For me it was the DAWN OF A NEW AGE. Oh how i coveted a Sinclair thermal ’till roll’ printer with all my teenage heart. I think I might have had my first ejaculation when I heard there was a 16K RAM pack coming out! SIXTEEN WHOLE KILOBYTES?!?! Oh hang on, no that wasn’t my first orgasm but no one wants to hear about that school lunch break when Wendy or Mandy or Sandy or whatever the hell her name was got tipsy on home made wine someone brought in a thermos from home….not when compared to inserting that sleek black cube of RAM packed plastic into the slot at the back of the ZX81…ahhh memories.

        I think I shall GOTO a cold shower (ie in the omnipresent Norfolk rain) and CLS  before cooking dinner.

        As Henry Jay would have said: “PRINT that”.

        • Are you taking about the ZX80?  If memory serves, that came with 1K of memory with a 16K ‘backpack’?  The ZX81 came in two models – the 16K and the 48K.  I was posh and had the latter.  Just imagine – a massive 48 kilobytes of memory to play around with.

          10 CLS

          20 GOSUB 40

          30 STOP

          40 PRINT “Yeah! Right!”

          50 RETURN

          • You’re getting confused in your dotage I fear Old Man. The ZX81 originally shipped in the UK with a powerful 1k of RAM (Eire might have been different, did you have elecktrickery back then? :P) . The later ZXspectrum came with 16 or 48K.

            • Dammit, you’re right!  The ZX80 morphed into the ZX81 while the Spectrum came a bit later.  And yes – we got the electric back in the 70s….

  2. “Just crate a read-only file called perfc and stick it into C:\windows\ folder.  That’ll protect your machine from the latest attack at least.”

    How will that help?

    Yes, I’m another one of the dafties using Windows.

  3. Thankfully, the only things in the house connected to the Internet are our two (old) desktop computers and our two (old) Thinkpad laptops and that’s only when they’re powered on. Even when we finally graduated from the dark ages and replaced our ancient 27″ CRT television with an actual multi-component, 40″ LCD TV HET system (Home Entertainment System) we make sure the wireless capabilities are thoroughly tied and gagged.

    And we certainly don’t own any “smart” phone. Personally, I’m a bit wary of anything that can be turned on without my permission by persons unknown.

    • I confess to the smartphone, but 99% of the time it’s just a phone and nothing else.  I rarely connect it to the Net and then only via my own network.  The television is connected all right [via another box on the network] but it’s only for downloading the odd film.  And take it from me – modern films are very odd.

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