Social Media, Platforms, Government, and the New Frontier

The Beginning

In the beginning the Internet was full of promise. With the advent of the Internet, Humanity began connecting and communicating in ways that were never available before. Individuals from across the globe with various backgrounds and casts, were able to meet each other, share ideas, and get exposed to things that inspired us to reach for the stars. 

Innovation exploded. Open Source projects that allowed practically anonymous contributions from millions around the world and accepted based on quality, escalated our technology to levels only dreamed about in science fiction novels. 

A new frontier was discovered and every generation that followed jumped head first into the future. 

The Challenge

Over time, it became apparent that the greatest value this new technology provided was communication and the ability to share ideas and content. Developers built platforms that enabled them to communicate quickly and efficiently in order to make changes to their source code as fast as possible. However, the rest of the world was still operating outside of these systems and needed to communicate more subjectively.

There was no formula yet for how the average person would communicate with the rest of the world, and many platforms were created to solve this problem. MySpace started out as a place for musicians to share their music. VampireFreaks began as a place for alternative culture to connect and share interests specific to them. Forums for everything from body-building, to photography popped up on the internet. Still, it took a while for a platform to be created that could be a place for people from the entire spectrum of personalities and interests to be created. Even in its beginning, Facebook targeted university students. 

Eventually Twitter allowed people to connect with each other using keywords known as hashtags. This became the first place where individuals could show up en-mass and self-organize and communicate about what was important to them. The end result was a demonstration of it’s power and the world witnessed its catalytic powers during the Arab Spring.

Following Twitter, Facebook allowed the use of hashtags as well, and create user-groups that could promote and speak for themselves. 

This newfound technology, now known as Social Media, became so popular that it is now the primary method of human communication for everything from news, to business, to keeping in touch with family and friends. 

The Problem

To deliver this technology to the people all over the world, these technologies needed corporate sponsorship. 

Companies were created that could satisfy humanities demand for the instant, global social network that would catapult social issues and injustices into the forefront of business, politics, and local & federal governments globally.

These companies still operated within a traditional economy and were required to generate a profit. Even the most benevolent of organizations can’t operate with their books in the red forever. 

To corporations the caveat was that the market was already used to the experimental nature of internet engineers, and the Open Source philosophy. Even though users never stopped to think why they could access these platforms for free, while every other service in the traditional economy had charged a minimum, they never questioned what they were signing up for. Corporations couldn’t begin to ask for payment for using their platforms, and instead asked for ownership of the data users generated on their platforms. 

Often these demands were buried in long, complicated, and cryptic legal Terms of Service & Privacy Policies. The details are the subject of a complex, evolving debate in current times. However, to the general public it’s assumed that essentially every piece of information created on these platforms, unless explicitly stated, are property of the platform owner and they can do with it whatever they please.

This gave the corporations owning these platforms a business model. They could now essentially sell either the data itself, or access and insights into what the data says about their users. With ownership of the data, platforms began adjusting strategies to compete for users by providing them the most personalized and addicting experience possible.

Users were no longer aware of how their data was being used as they became more and more intimate with their choice of platforms.

The insights gleaned from hundreds of millions of individuals and their intimate lives were powerful. Demand for these insights grew exponentially outside the realm of the basic goods & services economy. Over time other stakeholders became interested in the power of these insights. Governments and stock markets readily paid for access to individuals in their most intimate moments.

The individual was powerless and had absolutely no rights to say how their data was used once it was created on the platform. This created a situation where a digital form of feudalism became the norm. Serfs (the lowest class of a feudal society) had no way of operating outside these platforms and had no rights to the value they generated. That value (information) was now the most coveted commodity on the planet.

The Response

While the economy and supply chains were going digital, innovation was now being funded by large corporations and financial institutions. The most desired commodity on the planet shifted from food and energy, to information and the users that create it. 

The new market demanded for individuals to contribute globally, by generating information as value instead of goods and services. Ultimately, this created a social and economic rift between the resourceful and the general public who’s only method of sustenance was a traditional economy. 

Job creation slowed as automation creeped into every part of the human supply chain. Investments shifted from traditional businesses to technology first businesses. Very few new jobs replaced the old ones. Platforms that were supposed to distribute global audiences, instead funneled them to a few particular platforms where content was created and shared. 

Diversity slowly gave way to algorithms that suggested what the majority of people would consume, instead of letting the individual explore on their own. These algorithms were created using the data generated by the users they fed suggestions to. The end result was a feedback loop that resembled an exponential echo chamber. 

The individuals who felt the most pain and suffering were the ones prevented from interacting in this new world. Instead their rhetoric devolved into extremist ideals that were nurtured by organizations that depended on the sensationalism to further their own agendas. 

The rise of populism began prior to 2016, but was cemented with social shifts in governments around the world.

Out of fear, the individuals and corporations that controlled the platforms began to censor their users. This reaction resulted in ostracizing half or more of humanity against itself. Both sides refused to allow any healing to be accomplished on unselfish terms. 

The ideals of democracy, free speech, and other civil liberties gave way to the desire to absolutely destroy anything that didn’t resemble one’s self, experienced and expressed within that exponential echo chamber.

Ideas like Privacy, which were once discussed as a common knowledge, have become all but synonymous with heresy. Fundamental truths about nature and how the world works are targets for identifying one’s enemy and providing all the excuse needed to continue to enforce global ostracization. 

Without access to the platforms needed to continue to progress as a species, essential organs of the larger body are completely incapable of functioning.

With the platforms controlled by a central authority, it’s impossible to make the right decision for the whole. 

The greatest gift of communication humanity has ever been given, has become the source of it’s most critical illness. A new balance must be discovered if it is to survive. 

The Solution

Even though the political and societal issues of the day are daunting and infect everything an individual does, the communities that began this innovative wildfire still exist today and continue to produce valuable, quality products that augment and improve upon the solutions in production. 

Today, technologies exist that allow platforms humanity depend on to be decentralized. Democracies can be re-established in the digital landscape, with new borders that enable users to be heard louder and clearer than ever before. 

We don’t need to submit indefinitely to the kings of the current platforms. We can build our own, or shift the architectures of the current to allow for individuals to own their data and take back their rights. Also, users can dictate how, where, and when their data is used on the platform. 

A decentralized platform can serve the people better than any centralized one ever could. Resources to produce and provide the platform can easily be generated by the users simply using it. 

These new decentralized platforms could not only become self-governing, member-owned organizations, but complete digital sovereignties that can serve the larger body of humanity by informing and acting on the behalf of its members. 

The Dream

To start, the first member-owned, decentralized platforms will provide its users with everything they need to communicate as normal. This will include the privacy, security, and stability of their corporate, centralized counterparts. 

These platforms will evolve over time to provide the fundamental framework for others to create their own platforms and groups to connect and establish identities that align with the desires of the whole. 

They will govern themselves, and exist as long as they are relevant. Empowered individuals will come and go as they please, generating value where they see fit, to satisfy their own demands and therefore the demands of others. 

These platforms will become the modern form of human organization and governance, superseding states and corporations in the long run.

Run Your Own VPN using Google Cloud & OpenVPN

Securing your connection to the internet is no longer something that is reserved for hobbyists who fit the paranoid, tin-foil hatted stereotype. Today, with the majority of our interactions involving some form of digital support, the opportunities for simple, pick-pocket level hacks that take advantage of unsuspecting victims are immeasurable.

While most services that individuals use are natively encrypted, its no longer necessary to see that user’s traffic in order to know what they’re doing. Simply knowing the destination of the traffic is enough to profile a target and increase the attack vector. If you know the target is going to facebook or twitter or similar platforms, its easy to find even more information.

On top of that, the websites we all visit today are selling our information to whomever asks for it. There are entire organizations dedicated to modeling our behavior online and identifying us as targets for all sorts of reasons. Those models could also be available to the highest bidder.

The reality is such that a number of companies are making a lot of money selling VPN services, currently for ~$100 per year. The value goes beyond security. Users are capable of masking or changing their geolocation, essentially deciding to enter the Internet from any location where the VPN service has a server.

I’m here to argue that VPN services are simple enough to setup nowadays, especially with the advent of cloud computing, that almost any level of hobbyist can do it. Especially if the hobbyist already has a presence on the internet.

Setting Up the Server

I chose Google Cloud to host my VPN server and have other things setup that make this overall process easier (like DNS and SSH), and there are a ton of articles that explain how to do this. The most important callout on Google Cloud is that the VM must be created with Port Forwarding enabled on the network interface. This option can’t be changed after the VM has been built. This took me a while to figure out and I owe my knowledge to the following article: https://medium.com/teendevs/setting-up-an-openvpn-server-on-google-compute-engine-9ff760d775d9

I used Ubuntu on my VM and followed this guide to set up OpenVPN as a server. https://www.digitalocean.com/community/tutorials/how-to-set-up-an-openvpn-server-on-ubuntu-18-04

By the end of that article you should understand how OpenVPN authenticates its clients, how to generate a Certificate Authority and sign certificate requests to create new client keys.

My server.conf ended up looking like the following:

port 1194
proto udp
dev tun

ca skylaski/ca.crt
cert skylaski/skylaski.crt
key skylaski/skylaski.key  # This file should be kept secret
dh skylaski/dh.pem

topology subnet
server 10.8.0.0 255.255.255.0
ifconfig-pool-persist /var/log/openvpn/ipp.txt

client-config-dir ccd
route 192.168.1.0 255.255.255.0

push "redirect-gateway def1 bypass-dhcp"
push "dhcp-option DNS 8.8.8.8"
push "dhcp-option DNS 8.8.4.4"

client-to-client
keepalive 10 120

tls-auth skylaski/ta.key 0 # This file is secret
max-clients 10

user nobody
group nogroup

persist-key
persist-tun

status /var/log/openvpn/openvpn-status.log
log-append  /var/log/openvpn/openvpn.log
verb 4

explicit-exit-notify 1

Setting Up the Client

The client will be unique to the device connecting to the VPN. Most of the value-add for VPN providers is their client. However, basic networking knowledge is all thats needed to get an OpenVPN client working. One thing that helps is to create a single ‘.ovpn’ file with all the authentication information inside that file.

On Android I used the official OpenVPN client and created my ‘.ovpn’ to look like the following…

client
dev tun
remote YOURVPNIPORDOMAIN
resolv-retry infinite
nobind
persist-key
persist-tun
key-direction 1
verb 1
keepalive 10 120
port 1194
proto udp
remote-cert-tls server

<ca>
----INSERT YOUR CA HERE----
</ca>

<key>
----INSERT YOUR CLIENT KEY HERE----
</key>

<cert>
----INSERT YOUR CLIENT CERT HERE----
</cert>

<tls-auth>
----INSERT YOUR TLS AUTH KEY HERE----
</tls-auth>

These are some of the simplest configuration files I’ve ever seen in my life. I’ve tested this client configuration on the OpenVPN Client for Android AND Windows 10.

This is just one example. There are a number of ways to do this today and hosting in general is relatively inexpensive. DigitalOcean has a 1-click deploy option for an OpenVPN access server for relatively cheap as well. https://marketplace.digitalocean.com/apps/openvpn-access-server

Gentoo Laptop

Razer 15 mid-2019 Advanced :: RZ09-03017EM8

We’ve made it far enough. I’ve lost the ability to count the number of times I’ve installed Gentoo in the last month.

For some reason when I first began my journey down the Open Source Rabbit Hole, I started with Gentoo. I was obsessed at the idea of efficiency. Something about being able to make a decision at every step in the process of setting up a Gentoo system meant power to me. The idea that I could “tune” the code, pre-compilation to harmonize as much as possible with the tools I was working with, was important to me at the time. Harmony was and always will be important.

However, this was my personal harmony. Not exactly harmony with the rest of the internet which was standardizing and promoting mass adoption. That wasn’t a problem for me at that time either. During highschool from 2000-2005 the internet was still a very democratic place.

I digress…

Recently I required a new personal laptop. I had not owned one for some time. My 2 in 1 Asus Transformer had served its purpose getting me through school and I am still using an Intel NUC connected to my TV for everything else (watching hockey mostly).

We’re back and getting it on with a Razer 15 Mid-2019 Advanced.

It was a trip just getting my hands on this hardware.

WINDOWS

In order to get the correct drivers for installing from scratch say;

https://support.razer.com/gaming-laptops/razer-blade-15-mid-2019-advanced

I’d say setting up pro and moving about Windows 10 is a walk in the park these days. Had to install without internet, but that wasn’t a big deal with the link above.

GENTOO

Never skip the handbook: https://wiki.gentoo.org/wiki/Handbook:AMD64

Major props to the initial author of: https://wiki.gentoo.org/wiki/Razer_Blade_Pro_(2019)

The kernel configuration alone is invaluable.

I had to perform the following to get a Gentoo Kernel I could load the proper Wireless drivers on.

Kernel (Gentoo-Sources)

I needed a Linux 5.x kernel to get the wireless to work

echo "sys-kernel/gentoo-sources ~amd64" >> /etc/portage/package.keywords/gentoo-sources

Once the kernel was setup with ‘iwlwifi’ I still had to force build the right driver from ‘sys-kernel/linux-firmware’.

CONFIG_EXTRA_FIRMWARE="iwlwifi-cc-a0-48.ucode"
CONFIG_IWLWIFI=y
CONFIG_IWLWIFI_LEDS=y
CONFIG_IWLWIFI_BCAST_FILTERING=y
CONFIG_IWLWIFI_DEVICE_TRACING=y

Webcam

CONFIG_USB_MDC800=y

Graphics

Nvidia card is working. Offloading is still a bit messy, so I’m making the GPU run the display manager (lightdm) and desktop environment (cinnamon/fluxbox).

Learned a lot from here: https://wiki.gentoo.org/wiki/NVIDIA/Optimus

# /etc/X11/xorg.conf
#

Section "ServerLayout"
	Identifier     "Layout"
	Option		"AllowNVIDIAGPUScreens"
	Screen      0  "nvidia"
	Inactive	"intel"
EndSection

Section "Device"
	Identifier	"intel"
	Driver		"modesetting"
	BusID		"PCI:0:2:0"
	Option		"DRI" "3"
EndSection

Section "DRI"
	Group		"video"
	Mode		0666
EndSection

Section "Extensions"
	Option "Composite" "Enable"
	Option "RENDER" "Enable"
EndSection

Section "Screen"
	Identifier	"intel"
	Device		"intel"
EndSection

Section "Device"
	Identifier	"nvidia"
	Driver		"nvidia"
	BusID		"PCI:1:0:0"
EndSection

Section "Screen"
	Identifier	"nvidia"
	Device		"nvidia"
	Option		"AllowEmptyInitialConfiguration" "Yes"
EndSection

Sound & Bluetooth

Followed the ALSA & Pulseaudio guides for sound.

Alsa: https://wiki.gentoo.org/wiki/ALSA

PulseAudio: https://wiki.gentoo.org/wiki/PulseAudio

Installed ‘pavucontrol’ for managing sound levels.

Using Bluez & Blueberry for Bluetooth.

Bluez: https://wiki.gentoo.org/wiki/Bluetooth

Bluetooth Headset: https://wiki.gentoo.org/wiki/Bluetooth_headset

Gentoo Specifics:

/etc/portage/make.conf

# make.conf
#

USE="lm-sensors theora native-headset abi_x86_32 client networkmanager xkb dhcpcd bluetooth bluetooth-audio png jpeg ffmpeg gtk3 gtk introspection gnome-keyring pulseaudio elogind mount cairo python cups dbus opengl text ssl icu minizip inspector sqlite secure-delete postproc apng xorg udev X alsa"
MAKEOPTS="-j13"
CHOST="x86_64-pc-linux-gnu"

COMMON_FLAGS="-march=core2 -O2 -pipe"
CFLAGS="${COMMON_FLAGS}"
CXXFLAGS="${COMMON_FLAGS}"
FCFLAGS="${COMMON_FLAGS}"
FFLAGS="${COMMON_FLAGS}"

# NOTE: This stage was built with the bindist Use flag enabled
PORTDIR="/var/db/repos/gentoo"
DISTDIR="/var/cache/distfiles"
PKGDIR="/var/cache/binpkgs"

# This sets the language of build output to English.
# Please keep this setting intact when reporting bugs.
LC_MESSAGES=C

GRUB_PLATFORMS="efi-64"
INPUT_DEVICES="libinput synaptics"
VIDEO_CARDS="nvidia"

NOTES:

I am running elogind, which has forced me to mask a lot of packages with USE=”-consolekit”. So far this hasn’t been a problem, even though I also run consolekit for PulseAudio.

Additional Props:

Discord – Linux Blade: https://discord.gg/T8pJbz

The Tao of Internet Relay Chat

Found here: http://www.irc.org/history_docs/tao.html

 The Tao of Internet Relay Chat 
Something is formed by the electrons, born in the silent cable. Shaping and growing and ungrowing. It is there yet not there. It is the source of Internet Relay Chat. I do not know the name, thus I will call it the Tao of Internet Relay Chat.
If the Tao is great, then the IRC is running ceaselessly. If the IRC is great then the server is running without ever stoping. If the server is great then the client will always be the server. The luser is then pleased and there is Chat in the world.
The Tao of IRC squits far away and connects on returning.
-
The genetic potential of birth, a lot to know, yet unknown.
In the begining there was nothing.
Out of nothing the Tao gave birth to tolsun.oulu.fi. tolsun gave birth to OuluBox.
OuluBox gave birth to rmsg.
rmsg was not Tao, so MUT gave birth to IRC.
No one knows when IRC came into existance, the mighty master WiZ have it to be at the end of the eight month in the year of the Dragon.
-
Each channel has its purpose, however humble. Each channel is the Yin and Yang of IRC. Each channels has it's place within the IRC.
In the beginning there was only channel 0, thus channel 0 is the soil of IRC.
Channel 1 to channel 10 then was open as the sea. Channel 11 to 999 was the trees and forests of IRC. Channels above 999 should not be mentioned, and channels below 0 were unborn and contained many secrets.
This was not the right Tao, so IRC gave birth to +channels.
+channels had the yin and yang. Mode does not.
This was not the right Tao still, so IRC gave birth to #channels.
#channels have the yin and yang.
Only channel 0 is the right path to Tao, but avoid speaking on channel 0.
-
There was a great dispute among the Broom-Walkers of the Relay. Some of them wanted neither yin nor yang. Out of this Eris came into existance. Some of the Broom-Walkers then created Eris Free-net.
This was the right Tao.
Kind Gentle and Boring Net was another wrong path to the Tao of Internet Relay Chat.
Some time later there was a quantity of some lusers who wanted to be Broom-Walkers also. The Eris Free Broom-Walkers did not agree with them, thus a new IRC was born. This IRC is called the Undernet.
But this is not the right Tao, either.
-
There will always be disputes among the Broom-Walkers of Internet Relay Chat.
This is the very nature of the IRC.
-
Lusers that do not understand the Tao is always using the yang of Mode on their channels. Lusers that do understand the Tao are always using Ignore on their channels.
How could this not be so ?
-
The wise sage luser is told about the Chat and uses it. The luser is told about the IRC and is looking for it. The flock are told about the Tao and make a fool of the IRC.
If there was no laughter, there would be no Tao.
-
The master says: "Without the Tao of Internet Relay Chat, life becomes meaningless."
The Relay of the old time was mysterious and sacred. We can neither imagine its thoughts nor path; we are left but to describe.
-
The sage luser must be aware like a frog crossing the highway.
-
The great master Wumpus once dreamed that he was an automaton. When he awoke he exclaimed: "I don't know whether I am Wumpus dreaming that I am a client, or a client dreaming that I am Wumpus!"
So was the first Automata born.
The master Nap then said: "Any automata should not speak unless spoken to. Any automata shall only whisper when spoken to."

Many lusers have fallen into the clutches of ethernal damnation. They where not following the Tao.
-
There once was a luser who went to #BotSex. Each day he saw the automatons. The luser decided that he also would have such a automata. He asked another luser for his automata. The other luser gave his automata away.
The luser was not within the Tao, so he just started the automata. The automata had only Yang inside so all the lusers files where deleted.
Some moons laither the same luser then had become a sage luser, and did create his automata from the very grounds with materials found inside the IRC. The luser was now within the Tao and his automata lived happily ever after.
-
There once was a master who wrote automatons without the help of master Phone. A novice luser, seeking to imitate him, began with the help of master Phone. When the novice luser asked the master to evaluate his automata the master replied: "What is a working automata for the master is not for the luser. You must must BE the IRC before automating."
-
Master BigCheese gave birth to master Troy; his duty clear. Master Troy gave birth to master Phone, for the Tao of Irc must be eternal and must flow as the ceaseless river of Time itself.
-
Master Phone once said about the ircII client: "public_msg is for a message from someone NOT on the channel public_other is for a message on a channel that doesn't belong to a window. public is for a message on a channel that belongs to a window!"
Out of this raised the mighty chaos.
-
The sage luser came to the master who wrote automata without the help of master Phone. The sage luser asked the master who wrote automata: "Which is easiest to make. A automata with the help of master Phone or an automata made with the help of a language ?"
The master who wrote automata then replied: "With the help of a language."
The sage luser was disapointed and exclaimed: "But, with master Phone you do not need to know anything about the soil of IRC. Is not that the easiet way ?"
"Not really" said the master who wrote automata, "when using master Phone you are closed inside a box. For sure, it is a great box for the lusers, but the master will need more power, thus a language is the only path to go. With the language the master will never have to limit himself. When using such a language the master will seek the best between the need and the availibility."
"I see", said the sage luser.
This is the essence of Tao of IRC automatas.
-
A client should be light and be used for communication. The spirit of a good client is that it should be very convinient for the luser to use, but hard for the luser who want to create automata. There should never ever be too many functions or too few functions.
There should always be a ignore.
Without ignore the client is not within the Tao of Chating.
The client should always respond the luser with messages that will not astnonish him too much. The server likewise. If the server does not, then it is the clients job to explain what the server says.
A client which fails this, will be useless and cause confusion for the lusers. The only way to correct this is to use another client or to write a new one.
-
A luser asked the masters on #IrcHelp: "My client does not work". The masters replied: "Upgrade your client". The luser then wondered why the master knew. The master then told him about the Protocol.
"Your client does not work beaucse it does not understand the server. Why should it always work ? Only a fool would expect such. But, clients are made by humans, and humans are not perfect. Only Tao is.

-
The luser came to the masters of #IrcHelp, asking about the Tao of IRC within the client. The masters then said that the Tao of IRC always lies inside the client regardless of how the client connects to the server.

The master then was quiet for a long time and said. "Please leave, such questions are not within the Tao of IRC".
-
The master says: "Without the Protocol of TCP the messages will not travel. Without the client, the server is useless."
-
There once was a luser who used the ircII client. "ircII can do anything I ever need for using IRC" said the emacs client user, "I have /ON's, I have assignments, I have aliasing. Why don't you use this instead of the huge emacs client, which also has a messy screen?" The emacs client user then replied by saying that "it is better to have a scripting language that is the client instead of have a client that has a scripting language." Upon hearing this, the ircII client luser fell silent.
-
The master Wumpus said: "Time for you to leave. I did, now I'm happy." The master Gnarfer replied: "Use, but never overuse IRC, then you will also be happy within IRC"
-
A luser came unto the masters of #EU-Opers and asked, "How can I be, yet not be, a [email protected] within the IRC?" The masters of #EU-Opers replied: "To be Tao is to be ones true self. To hide ones self is not Tao, and is not IRC, you have much to learn before you shall be at rest within the Flow of Irc. Please leave"
Ove Ruben R Olsen 

The Hacker’s Manifesto

Found here: http://phrack.org/issues/7/3.html

                               ==Phrack Inc.==

                    Volume One, Issue 7, Phile 3 of 10

=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
The following was written shortly after my arrest...

                       \/\The Conscience of a Hacker/\/

                                      by

                               +++The Mentor+++

                          Written on January 8, 1986
=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

        Another one got caught today, it's all over the papers.  "Teenager
Arrested in Computer Crime Scandal", "Hacker Arrested after Bank Tampering"...
        Damn kids.  They're all alike.

        But did you, in your three-piece psychology and 1950's technobrain,
ever take a look behind the eyes of the hacker?  Did you ever wonder what
made him tick, what forces shaped him, what may have molded him?
        I am a hacker, enter my world...
        Mine is a world that begins with school... I'm smarter than most of
the other kids, this crap they teach us bores me...
        Damn underachiever.  They're all alike.

        I'm in junior high or high school.  I've listened to teachers explain
for the fifteenth time how to reduce a fraction.  I understand it.  "No, Ms.
Smith, I didn't show my work.  I did it in my head..."
        Damn kid.  Probably copied it.  They're all alike.

        I made a discovery today.  I found a computer.  Wait a second, this is
cool.  It does what I want it to.  If it makes a mistake, it's because I
screwed it up.  Not because it doesn't like me...
                Or feels threatened by me...
                Or thinks I'm a smart ass...
                Or doesn't like teaching and shouldn't be here...
        Damn kid.  All he does is play games.  They're all alike.

        And then it happened... a door opened to a world... rushing through
the phone line like heroin through an addict's veins, an electronic pulse is
sent out, a refuge from the day-to-day incompetencies is sought... a board is
found.
        "This is it... this is where I belong..."
        I know everyone here... even if I've never met them, never talked to
them, may never hear from them again... I know you all...
        Damn kid.  Tying up the phone line again.  They're all alike...

        You bet your ass we're all alike... we've been spoon-fed baby food at
school when we hungered for steak... the bits of meat that you did let slip
through were pre-chewed and tasteless.  We've been dominated by sadists, or
ignored by the apathetic.  The few that had something to teach found us will-
ing pupils, but those few are like drops of water in the desert.

        This is our world now... the world of the electron and the switch, the
beauty of the baud.  We make use of a service already existing without paying
for what could be dirt-cheap if it wasn't run by profiteering gluttons, and
you call us criminals.  We explore... and you call us criminals.  We seek
after knowledge... and you call us criminals.  We exist without skin color,
without nationality, without religious bias... and you call us criminals.
You build atomic bombs, you wage wars, you murder, cheat, and lie to us
and try to make us believe it's for our own good, yet we're the criminals.

        Yes, I am a criminal.  My crime is that of curiosity.  My crime is
that of judging people by what they say and think, not what they look like.
My crime is that of outsmarting you, something that you will never forgive me
for.

        I am a hacker, and this is my manifesto.  You may stop this individual,
but you can't stop us all... after all, we're all alike.

                               +++The Mentor+++
_______________________________________________________________________________