Part time virus hunter
March 5, 2012 8:09 PM   Subscribe


 
It came from California, maybe. [shot of Golden Gate Bridge to remind viewers who may have thought California was in Texas or France or something]
posted by birdherder at 8:15 PM on March 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


Best part is the extended shot of someone (probably a news anchor's kid) playing that god-awful E.T. game on the Atari.
posted by vorfeed at 8:17 PM on March 5, 2012 [5 favorites]


PrETviously
posted by The White Hat at 8:21 PM on March 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


I always wanted one of those Osbourne portables. Even if they were the size of a suitcase, and the screen was smaller than that on a Nintendo DS. Back in '88, they were the shit.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 8:31 PM on March 5, 2012


As a kid I fried my friend's father's osborne. Plugged the display cable in wrong. I still feel guilty.
posted by roue at 8:36 PM on March 5, 2012


I love that all of the programmers are excited about it even though the news is trying to make it sounds scary. And that the Part Time Virus Hunter is clearly on par with Indiana Jones.
posted by cmoj at 8:42 PM on March 5, 2012


10 hours of free online time! (I'm so glad I was in college from 91-98 - I can't imagine the debt I would have racked up).

And that users guide totally threw me. It is from 95, not 90. All sorts of references pretty much from the beginning to make that clear.
posted by meinvt at 8:44 PM on March 5, 2012


Around 1:20 in the first "virus" link, the guy with the hat keeps talking for a fraction of a second, without the sound. This is typical of news reporting of the time, using 16mm film with an embedded magnetic strip on the film. The record/playback head was offset from where the film shutter was operating. The sound was synchronous without the double system alignment process requiring a clapboard and an assistant editor. And it could be edited on deadline with the equivalent of scissors and tape -- but the sound will cut out just a bit before the image.

So yeah, that's some old school technology there.
posted by StickyCarpet at 8:49 PM on March 5, 2012 [8 favorites]


1988? Hey, it's the Morris worm! Yeah, that really was the first time computer viruses hit the public consciousness.
posted by phooky at 9:10 PM on March 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


dun dun dunnnn!
posted by carter at 9:10 PM on March 5, 2012


Aw...it's W-20, that's so cute. < / MIT >
posted by maryr at 9:15 PM on March 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Alerts the Communal Service Agency? Not sure if Ron Paul would like then sound of that
posted by mattoxic at 9:16 PM on March 5, 2012




This must have been the work of terrorists based at the Morris training camps.
posted by benzenedream at 10:11 PM on March 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


My God, those glasses!
They're huge!
posted by madajb at 10:13 PM on March 5, 2012


So yeah, that's some old school technology there.

I would say it's just good ol' U-matic footage from a tube camera with a satchel deck, because I used to edit with those and we'd often drop the audio right after the soundbite for the VO, use the extra second and a half as a safety buffer for the edit (since our decks weren't exactly frame accurate) and get very similar results. That yellow tint seems a lot like an un-white-balanced camera with a mounted light, but I'm surprised there's no 60hz roll on the footage of the computer monitor, so it still may be 16mm, but it sure has the look of 3/4" U-matic to me.

Somehow you have actually made me feel wistful for the 'bad old days' of linear editing, worn out and slightly miscalibrated TBCs, and a somewhat unstable Video Toaster that would frequently have 'moods', 'fits', and 'episodes' about an hour before live newscasts. Kids today don't know how good they have it with their 1080p cameraphones, cloud storage, and nonlinear editing platforms.

still rocking that hat and beard.

Once the name slate came up, I too was googling to see what his current hat choice was, and was not disappointed. Guys like that just doesn't stop wearing hats at some point in their lives. I should know, I'm one of them.
posted by chambers at 10:19 PM on March 5, 2012 [4 favorites]




You might like this too. Here is a TED talk by Mikko Hypponen of F-Secure, talking about the first PC virus Brain.A in 1986. Includes a brief look at his visit to the Pakistani brothers who wrote it, along with showing a few old school viruses and a follow-on discussion about malware today. It's both interesting and funny, worth watching!
posted by gemmy at 10:33 PM on March 5, 2012


10 hours of free online time! (I'm so glad I was in college from 91-98 - I can't imagine the debt I would have racked up).

When I was in college in the late 70s, online time was free, but your account got billed for CPU cycles. I think we got something like 2 seconds actual CPU time per semester. If your program ever got stuck in an infinite loop and burned all your cycles, you would have to beg the sysops for more cycles.
posted by charlie don't surf at 11:03 PM on March 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


This reminds me that the SQL slammer worm is nearly 10 years old. That thing was so elegant... A single tiny packet that did nothing but send out countless copies of itself and cause your router, and routers downstream from you, to shit themselves and die. Thing was like cholera.
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 11:14 PM on March 5, 2012


I was fascinated by the portable computer in the virus video. So I had to track it down, which I did with some difficulty.

It is a Dynalogic Hyperion. That is the first portable PC-compatible ever. They beat Compaq to market by 3 months.
posted by charlie don't surf at 11:22 PM on March 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oops, I meant to say:

A single tiny packet that, when received by a vulnerable server, did nothing but send out countless copies of itself
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 11:23 PM on March 5, 2012


I don't think it says explicitly, but this is from WGBH. I didn't find this particular clip, but they've been digitizing a lot of their old news programs. David Boeri and Christopher Lydon are both still in public broadcasting in the Boston area. Carmen Fields works for the DentaQuest Foundation.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 5:32 AM on March 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


You get one guess as to where Robert Tappan Morris works today.
posted by ocschwar at 6:03 AM on March 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Internet users guide from 1990

...is clearly from at least 1994.
posted by helicomatic at 6:07 AM on March 6, 2012


I think we got something like 2 seconds actual CPU time per semester.

Jeepers.
posted by DU at 6:16 AM on March 6, 2012


Here's what "the internet for squares" was really like in 1990.

If you bought your PS/2 Model 55 SX for $3895 at Sears, and were ready to put down another $9.95 per month...
posted by helicomatic at 6:35 AM on March 6, 2012




When I started grad school for CS, one of the faculty gave us a little talk on the subject of misuse of resources that boiled down to: "Don't do that. Just don't." Turns out he was RTM's advisor in 1988 and he does not recall that historic episode fondly.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 7:17 AM on March 6, 2012


Occasionally I managed to see one of those nearly mythical beasts, not just in an ad, but in the wild ... one Osbourne, one Kaypro, one TRS-80 Model 100. Their owners were invariably enthusiastic to demonstrate and get into all the heavy tech.

Scarce and hefty as they were, I imagine they (if they haven't already) will eventually become worth more than they cost then!
posted by Twang at 8:08 AM on March 6, 2012


I'm favoriting this to use the next time someone posts an AskMe about what kind of fedora to wear. No fedora, that's what kind, because you think you look like Indiana Jones, but you actually look like that guy (who is obviously very smart, I know, so pardon the slam).
posted by jocelmeow at 10:28 AM on March 6, 2012


I was the information Systems Manager for an oil & gas company in Denver, CO in 1988 and I remember being summoned to the my boss's office (The CFO) to explain what we were doing to insure that this worm didnt impact our business. This involved explaining that A) our computer systems were not Unix based and B) we were not connected to the Internet.
posted by cmdnc0 at 12:05 PM on March 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


> The revolution of the Internet 1993
Apparently Oslo was Swedish in the early nineties.
posted by blue collar orc at 1:26 PM on March 6, 2012


It was a volatile time in European geography.
posted by maryr at 2:17 PM on March 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


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