Modempunk: Part 7

We're starting to move away from the territory of the everyday and into where things start to get a bit strange. I can't promise it'll be entirely accurate, but I'm making attempts so that what follows will sound at least somewhat plausible.

Edit: Changed a line near the end since I'd honestly forgot Microsoft didn't get Huge till the 90's.

Because it was requested: Links to all the blog posts for this story.
Intro and Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4
Part 5 Part 6 Part 7 Part 8 Part 8.2
Part 9 Part 10 Part 10.2 Part 11 Part 12 and Coda

Since the final doc will have changes here and about I'm including a Google Doc link too. Yes I'm going to go through the links and add a table of contents to each in case people want to go through.


Head hurts but I guess that's normal. Weekend went well, better than expected to be honest. Miss Stone promised she'd try making sure Steve gets looked after instead of just booted out and or bounced to some other school. I'd write the guy but I don' know where he lives and some things need to be said face to face. Right now i don't trust me to not hurt him if he isn't bowing down apologizing.

Today was my first time at a swap meet. Blackbird wanted me to go so she'd have an extra pair of hands carrying things and I think she wanted me out of the house. OK fine, I had more money than she does so that was likely part of it too. She said she saw it in QST and was supposed to have more than just old radio stuff there.

At first I didn't think much of it. Not really in my interest area. Granted It does interest me a little since grandad's let me use his radio under supervision and some of the conversations I've heard him have are thought provoking. Others not so much.

Finally got to meet at least some of the faces that went with the voices I've heard so often through those ratty old headphones. A few asked me where 'Old Joe' was. I don't know where Granddad goes when he's out of town but it was nice actually to hear a few of the familiar voices that don't actually live around here.

Now that I think about it the whole thing felt like when I first started meeting the rest of the BBS's population.

While I was busy playing catchup with a couple oldsters who'd actually been around since before granddad got licensed Blackbird was snooping around. I dunno which of us told them we were into BBSing but that sparked something. Turns out these old hams had been messing with computers too.

Still having to let that one sink in. These guys have been messing with trying to get radios and computers talking for the past few years. I'd known about teletype and messed with it a bit, but I didn't know they were trying to get boards hooked up through radio. Technical challenges aside there's this part of me that just can't grasp the generally friendly well-mannered group that kindof police themselves on a BBS.

I'd always figured boards turn anyone into a hooting screaming lunatic. Could be the community at large makes sure those problems don't happen. Have to look into that I guess.

Ended up leaving with a commodore 128 with a busted case Blackbird says is in good enough shape she can make work again if she can dive for a case that's got a dead board. Also got a TNC so when she gets licensed she can plug radio into computer and see what's out there. Thing's a kit that'd have to be soldered together but if she's confident she can bring a flea market dead commodore back to life I'd say putting together a pile of good parts isn't beyond her.

Oh and I got a new set of speakers Jim had built. They look nice and when he plugged them in it was pure ear candy. Don't think dad'll like it, but whenever he's out next I'm going to see how loud they can go. Cost a bit but quality costs, and I"m pretty sure I would've had to pay three times as much from a store.


Blackbird's off making phone calls while I try processing this bit of news.

> Post Author: Copper
> Subject: AVS STOLEN
> A couple guys showed up this morning. Showed some kind of ID then started going
> through my stuff. Plain black suit. No ID. I'd understand, but still be pissed,
> If it was some goons Nintendo sent out to pick up a prototype that shouldn't
> have left the compound but somehow got out but that's not the case here, not at
> all.
> Emergency meeting at Jon's. Spread the word around so the non-computer users 
> know to show up. Dad's calling the police and we've got the plate number of the
> car they were in, but at least one of these guys had a gun and showed it to me
> when I tried getting them away from my things.
> Some major-heavy stuff going on. Jon's. two hours from now. Everyone that can
> get down there. Dad managed to snap a couple pictures while they were too busy
> getting me out of the way.
> - Can't Stop the Coppertop! -

When I showed Dad the printout he just went still then left. No words. No advice or warnings. He just got up, left. Something is seriously not right here.


Most of this is being taken down at Jon's. Might add commentary later.

Place's packed so we're kinda filed in wherever since we can't be sure others won't show. Will disperse later, but Aku's here and he's one of the people Copper wanted to see. When Aku got a look at the pictures he went still. Said those were the guys that bought his dad's apple. Not just looked like the guys. Those were the guys.

Copper said his dad got approached last week about the AVS Kinda surprised he didn't sell to them since the amount offered would have set Copper for college and then some.

What are we dealing with, a collector that's willing to pay stupid huge money for things, then send muscle out to grab these things if the owner doesn't want to sell? I suggested hiring a private investigator. Copper asked with what.

I've got some money. So does Aku, Sif, Thor, Sero, and a bunch of others. Might buy us a few hours. Might not since none of us are eighteen yet. Still it's a start, and we can try getting more money from the people that didn't show.

Blackbird made a real good point. Why not just wait for the police to do all this? Only counter I have goes back around to Money. Whoever's doing this apparently has lots, enough to set up college funds for kinda interesting hardware that really isn't worth /that/ much if you stop and consider it. So he's probably got enough money to either buy people off or outright stop anything the cops would do.

Bad Idea? Youbetcha. We're doing it anyway. Sero's going with Copper tomorrow to try finding somebody.

Blackbird made an offhand comment it's too bad we can't make a fake system and lure these people in with. She claims she could with some help on cosmetics, but someone with money would probably be able to find out from the makers if it's real or not.

From there someone suggested a hypothetical using either apple or possibly tandy doing a case redesign/cost reduction, or something else to one of their failed lines and remaining unused parts to try making a quick buck. We all laughed at the idea but then we all looked around. Lots of hardware nuts in the club and more than a few junk collections full of working parts. We've also got programmers, people that can do the metal work on a 'rough' case, and it wouldn't be too hard to put up some fake ads.

If nothing else it'd give us something to do while we wait. C'mon. We might even make something that could do something useful. The Altair was a kit system, and people made all sorts of stuff for it. Why not?

[note=MGS] The Machine-Gaming Station ended up being one of Copper's babies. I wasn't involved in the hardware but it had a couple different processors stuffed in there and at the time an overkil amount of ram (256k of ram. My jaw hit the floor. I didn't know the tinkerers had that many spare chips between 'em.) I'm going to spend a good chunk of the next bit going into the MGS since I was one of the people they wanted to do the fake reviews 'from an end-user's perspective' since the pitch they came up with was 'when you want a machine that Just Works.' That and I was deemed one of the better writers they had on hand. [/note]

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