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posted by LaminatorX on Wednesday October 29 2014, @07:43PM   Printer-friendly
from the out-of-band dept.

Nicolas Niarchos has a profile of 2600 in The New Yorker that is well worth reading. Some excerpts:

2600—named for the frequency that allowed early hackers and “phreakers” to gain control of land-line phones—is the photocopier to Snowden’s microprocessor. Its articles aren’t pasted up on a flashy Web site but, rather, come out in print. The magazine—which started as a three-page leaflet sent out in the mail, and became a digest-sized publication in the late nineteen-eighties—just celebrated its thirtieth anniversary. It still arrives with the turning of the seasons, in brown envelopes just a bit smaller than a 401k mailer.

“There’s been now, by any stretch of the imagination, three generations of hackers who have read 2600 magazine,” Jason Scott, a historian and Web archivist who recently reorganized a set of 2600’s legal files, said. Referring to Goldstein, whose real name is Eric Corley, he continued: “Eric really believes in the power of print, words on paper. It’s obvious for him that his heart is in the paper.”

2600 provides an important forum for hackers to discuss the most pressing issues of the day—whether it be surveillance, Internet freedom, or the security of the nation’s nuclear weapons—while sharing new code in languages like Python and C.* For example, the most recent issue of the magazine addresses how the hacking community can approach Snowden’s disclosures. After lampooning one of the leaked N.S.A. PowerPoint slides (“whoever wrote this clearly didn’t know that there are no zombies in ‘1984’ ”) and discussing how U.S. government is eroding civil rights, the piece points out the contradictions that everyone in the hacking community currently faces. “Hackers are the ones who reveal the inconvenient truths, point out security holes, and offer solutions,” it concludes. “And this is why hackers are the enemy in a world where surveillance and the status quo are the keys to power.”

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  • (Score: 2) by AnonTechie on Wednesday October 29 2014, @08:23PM

    by AnonTechie (2275) on Wednesday October 29 2014, @08:23PM (#111336) Journal

    The contributors to 2600 seemed to be aware of where the governments were heading and in their own way contributed to the hacker culture. They provided a means for hackers to come together and that I think is a valuable service to all of us.

    Albert Einstein - "Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former."
  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by VLM on Wednesday October 29 2014, @09:06PM

    by VLM (445) on Wednesday October 29 2014, @09:06PM (#111349)

    HOPE cons are pretty awesome and they're much like ham radio, if you think you know everything thats going on, that proves you're just uninformed. Lots of crazy/cool stuff goes on there. Drinking from a firehose, 20 people could attend and have Completely non-overlapping experiences. It really is that big.

    I like meeting up with old friends and ex coworkers. Also I like the displays. Retrocomputing land, the PDP-11 install was epic. Chillout TV room is strangely appealing after you've been awake 36 or so hours. The vendors are interesting to talk to.

    Local 2600 meetings never seem to go anywhere, which means no one goes. Chicken and egg.

    Three things I don't like about HOPE cons:

    1) Figure $1500. No kidding. Substantial travel cost, and I'm not sleeping on someone's couch or in a cardboard box. Unfortunately I can usually find something more interesting, more long term, to do with my $1500. Yes yes for the locals they can get a badge to attend for like $25 if they preorder, well, I'm not a local. Its like a maker fair but bigger and arguably cooler. I've been to maker fair and blown maybe $100 on parking, food, junk. Is MF worth $100 hell yes. If maker fair cost me $1500, however, well I donno if I got $1500 of fun outta maker fair nor did I get $1500 of fun outta HOPE.

    2) My wife goes crazy, how can you possibly visit NYC of all places and then spend an entire weekend 16 hours per day listening to people talk about computers blah blah blah.

    3) The hotel is a dump. Or at least it used to be. They can never decide if they're keeping it for another 150 years or smashing it and building condos in three months. The facilities work, but lets me honest the place is a hole, more like a dorm than a real hotel. Then again if they had to pay list price for a real convention center, that would kind of suck. I kid you not, I got out on the wrong floor and they've got no AC and most of the drywall missing from a wall. Its ... decayed, I guess. Still its good enough. If you want to see a cool convention type thing in an absolutely filthy 3rd world swamp let me tell you about this "hamvention" thing that they hold in a building that must be avoiding condemnation solely by paying the building inspector off. Seriously, like no working indoor plumbing. So I guess 2600 doesn't have it so bad, maybe.

  • (Score: 2) by VLM on Wednesday October 29 2014, @09:28PM

    by VLM (445) on Wednesday October 29 2014, @09:28PM (#111352)

    "rather, come out in print."

    I have quite a few 2600 on shelves in my basement, but starting maybe 2 or 3 years ago I have subscribed on kindle and it works perfectly.

    "in brown envelopes just a bit smaller than a 401k mailer."

    Says a lot about the audience. Here, I'd describe it as a folded over piece of standard letter sized paper. Its not a full size magazine.

    "Its articles aren’t pasted up on a flashy Web site"

    I miss downloading phrack issues from a ftp-to-email gateway service or local BBSes in the 80s.

    "to gain control of land-line phones"

    No its MF signalling for trunks. Old fashioned analog trunks need a way to signal they're "on hook" aka not in use, how about blasting 2600 hz at 0 dBmW or whatever level it was. So then you make a legit call to "someone" or an 800 number or whatever, squirt some 2600 down the line, the trunk on the far end hears it and hangs up its side and gets ready for the next incoming call, but your side of the trunk stays up, because you haven't dropped loop current (old fashioned copper telco lines). So now you stop the whistle and you've got control of a trunk. The bell system hilariously used the same DTMF tones for call routing (well, plus a few more) as a desktop phone. So you type a bunch of whatever down that trunk and you're routed who knows where for free, because the billing system was dumb enough to only understand one billable call termination per physical phone call. See before 2010 or so, long distance wasn't free, in fact it was horrifically expensive and billed per minute. Anyway, you already have control of your land line phone, what you did with 2600 was spoof trunk signalling. All this stuff was before my time and nobody on the planet still does MF signalling AFAIK, not even in the third world. Now obviously if you separated your control plane maybe on the 24th channel of every 4 DS-1 trunks, then users of the trunks couldn't F with the trunks. Which is SS7 signalling over the D channel of ISDN PRI trunks.

    It was very interesting growing up reading about this in the 80s and early 90s on BBSes etc, and then working for a telco as an engineer in the late 90s and seeing that perspective. I was working "around the time" all the worlds trunks switched from E+M signalling to ISDN PRI trunks, and "around the time" frame relay was considered cool (anyone remember that?) and in the dying sunset of analog trunks and analog multipoint. In fact before the telco I worked at a financial services provider that still used analog MTP to trade stocks, which is a long semi-interesting story. Its hilarious fun when a slave leg of a MTP goes into loopback, for example and I got to troubleshoot stuff like that from both the end user side and the telco side. At the same time as we were turning up SONET fiber rings. Crazy time to be alive and working in telco...

  • (Score: 1) by keithzg on Wednesday October 29 2014, @10:25PM

    by keithzg (4842) on Wednesday October 29 2014, @10:25PM (#111366)

    It has kindof vanished from local shelves, although in my area that's in part because the magazine+tobacco shop nearby that used to carry it closed. I just signed myself up for a year's subscription delivered to my office, though; working as a sysadmin is the classic "boring other than the moments of sudden panic and terror" kind of job, so I might as well ;)

  • (Score: 2) by wonkey_monkey on Thursday October 30 2014, @08:41AM

    by wonkey_monkey (279) on Thursday October 30 2014, @08:41AM (#111464) Homepage

    2600 is the photocopier to Snowden’s microprocessor.

    I don't think that metaphor is as good as you think it is.

    systemd is Roko's Basilisk